Snow Day

SnowAnderson

Do you see that one little flake at the bottom?

I have high hopes that by tomorrow it’ll be flannel pajamas, hot cocoa and a day at home for most of us. With snow predicted, some of our hearts are buoyed by all the snow related fun to be had. From shaping it into men and forts, to packing it down for optimal sledding conditions, we’ll scoop snow up from how we found it and change it into something completely different.

It is one week into the season of Lent, and my mind keeps going back to one of the scripture readings from the Ash Wednesday service, Jeremiah 18.  A little bit like we’ll change fallen snow into joyful figures and super sledding hills, God the Potter changes and turns us into something new, something different.

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These pieces of clay received new shapes as worshippers prayed and pondered the scripture above.

This season isn’t everyone’s favorite. It is not as fun as Advent.  It is all about repentance for sin and remembering the reason that the cross and resurrection were needed. It is also about grace, change, renewal, and rebirth. We remember Paul’s letter to the Romans, “As surely as we died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him.”

How might God be reshaping us? Molding us like clay or like snow? How might God be turning us into something new?

Enjoy your snow day and remember that even if we have the day off, our God is at work.

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Rejoice in the Rose

Complete the following statement: “Where two or three are gathered…”

THE GRUMBLING STARTS.

When asked about particular challenges in their lives, folks around here sometimes say, “I could complain about it, but it wouldn’t do me any good.”

And yet, grumbling and complaining, the case can be made, is the national pastime. Not a day goes by that I do not grumble about something or someone — the weather, my joints, traffic (those OTHER drivers!), spam e-mail, the government, and, of course, negative people who grumble too much.

Where do we go to find a grumble-free zone? And would we be welcome there?

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God’s Word consistently, continually, and emphatically takes issue with complaining, murmuring, and assorted grumbling.

Shortly after the Exodus, their deliverance from generations of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites actually offer this complaint against their leaders Moses and Aaron: “If only we had died back in Egypt, at least we had enough to eat and drink there!”

The result of all their complaining in the wilderness? God grants them an extended stay — 40 years — IN THE WILDERNESS and plenty of time for more complaining!

Jesus has a quick response when self-righteous religious leaders complain that he is sharing fellowship with tax collectors and other sinners: God sent me here to help these very folks. That shuts their mouths, at least for the moment.

God’s Word exhorts the Christian community to cut out negativity:

Let no evil talk come out of your mouth, but only what is useful for building up… so that your words may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29)

Do all things without murmuring and arguing… (Philppians 2:14)

But now you must get rid of… — anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth (Colossians 3:8)

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt… (Colossians 4:6)

The apostle James puts it strongly: “Beloved, do not grumble against on another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors!”

It occurs to me that while there is unending praise in God’s presence, there is probably not a complaint department.

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