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Religion
Surely

My Mother’s admonitions still toll between my ears.

“If everyone is jumping in the fire, are you going to jump with them?”

“Just get on with it and I don’t want to hear another word about it.”

“You’re not too old for your wants to hurt you.”

“Put that in your pipe and smoke it.”

There were others. Life and its living gave meaning to them, but years passed before I began to live them back, before each gestured through me without thought.

Jesus gave us a few sayings to follow. “So, in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” (Matthew 7:12, NIV). Speaking about the law and the commandment to love God, He said, “And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31, NKJV).

Most times over the years, I thought these were good suggestions, nice when convenient. I knew what they meant, but overriding my understanding, life’s unwritten rule prevailed—treat me as I want to be treated or treat me as I believe I need to be treated. There, isn’t my life better when you treat me as I want to be? I deserve it.

Worse, I inclined to treat others as I thought they needed to be. I thought they deserved it. Of course, the attitude had the effect of raising me and lowering them. Every encounter was a competition. See, I’m not so nice.

A theologian may comment, but I believe Jesus meant something else. He said, “I’m not going to treat you as you want or think you need to be treated. I’m going to treat you as I treat myself and guess what? I’m telling you to do the same to everyone you meet, including your rivals. I want you to live back my commandment, to gesture love without thought for gain or advantage. Perfect love is where I wish you to go. You may resist, but this is where I’m taking you.”

Jesus? Yes, Deck.

It’s not going to be like riding in Mom and Dad’s station wagon filled with Mom’s cigarette smoke and hauled across South Carolina for two-and-a-half hours, is it?

Some days will be just like that. But I promise when you get there, I will give you more than the Hershey Bar at Granny’s house.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the Sons of God. (Romans 8: 13-14, NKJV).

Augustus J.C. Hare wrote, “Surely, of all the Christian graces, that charity (love), which vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, beareth and endureth all things, is the most hard to attain.”

There’s a long way to go to live as Christ in my first thought.

“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15, NKJV).


Religion
Thoughts spiritual and practical in a pandemic

I imagine you are determined to make the best of it during this period of coronavirus. Here are some suggestions we all could use:

You can be alone and still feel connected to others. You can feel connected to others, yet feel lonely. It all depends on your state of mind, how we feel about ourselves: our sense of hopefulness or hopelessness. Being alone gives you a chance to evaluate your life. For instance you can look back at what have you done of which you are most proud and how might you add to that.

If you need better shoes or frozen dinners you might call a friend and ask if you could shop together, being sure to follow all regulated precautions. With others, I just watched on TV the one woman show, Ann, about the former Governor of Texas. It was Tony winning high drama, and we all laughed our heads off. Savor such moments! Because a public or church library is likely nearby, with books and videos, allow it to help you keep an active mind.

I think Julie had the right idea. She landed unexpectedly in a nursing home at a relatively young age. She felt isolated. She saw an opportunity and volunteered to be the home’s “mail girl” delivering all mail in her wheelchair.

Now she knows everyone and they know her. Many new friendships have begun.

Many people consider a dog or a cat. As a boy I knew a couple who had a parakeet. The husband, who was blind, really bonded with the Tweety bird. In the obituary section of the Atlanta Journal & Constitution on June 18, 2020, it was reported that Mary Ann Edwards had died at age 94. She led a very active married life at home and church. Months before she died she wrote her obituary based on Psalm 9:11, “For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways.”

I believe it is worth our reading.

“What the lord has done in my life that shows His goodness:

1. He brought me into the world in the USA in the 20th century

2. He brought me into a Christian home as the daughter of two godly parents.

3. He gave me the privilege of a college education in a Christian college.

4. He made me attractive to a Christian man whom I met in Sunday school.

5. He gave me five healthy children.

6. He gave me an opened heart to believe the scriptures and saved my soul.

7. He gave me a heart for missions and missionaries.

8. He gave me a desire to “grow in Him.”

9. He gave me a comfortable and pleasant home and the means to maintain it in my widowhood.

10. He gave me the gift of extremely good health.”

Since exercise is vital to good health, plan some time each day for movement of arms and legs. Through daily walks, immerse yourself in the wonders of nature. The rewards are worth any wise sacrifice. Maintain a devotional life, memorize Psalms, dig deeply into the gospels, and read the Holy Bible until the Bible reads you. Pray before bedtime.

This pandemic will pass: may its requirements leave you a richer soul forever. God go with you.