Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
For some time we've carried a concern in our hearts. Things aren't right at work. Something is amiss in the family. We just know something is going on. But we're not sure what to do about it. Do we push pleasantries to the side and plow ahead full steam? Should we be political? Would it be better to wait for a more auspicious moment?
Were we to speak with the letter writers of the New Testament, they might give us some advice.
First, they would say, give a word of love. Greet them in peace.
Then, share your concern that they have lost their way. Talk honestly about what’s happening. Don't be afraid to express yourself directly. Don't mince words. At the same time, don't ever forget that you share the same goals.
Next, discuss what can be done to make the situation better. Remind them that things can improve, that they have a higher calling, and that we all must act from love and avoid acting from anger.
And, finally, give a blessing, much as Jude does in today's verse.
Time and again we see the same pattern: First, a concern is acknowledged and the situation addressed, then comes an assessment of what must be done, then comes an affirmation and blessing : “I know you will act in love; and may the God of life bless us all.”
I suspect most of us can think of situations that call for charity, clarity, and an appropriate word. If you are like me, it is sometimes tempting to just ride out the storm and wait to see what will happen. But in so doing, we may well fall short of our true calling. We are, after all, not called to watch the peace—we are called to make it. We may well find, as Jude so beautifully wrote, that when we do that, the God of life is able to keep us from falling.
Whether it is for the first time, or the umpteenth time, blessings to you as you find a starting point for a conversation that has been awaiting your full attention.
We trust you, Lord. We know you can do all things. But sometimes we shy away from the very words you would have us say. Help us try it again, knowing that your peace is meant for all. Amen.
Copyright ©2008 Larry Pray.