Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Color of Love

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
-Galatians 3:28 (NIV)

I heard a story recently about a South African bird, the sociable weaver, that welcomes birds of other species and colors to nest with it. The weavers and the other birds all fly, sing, and hatch their young together. Their differing feathers' hues only add to the beauty of their group, much like an array of mixed spring flowers creates a breathtaking sight. A field of flowers of only one type or color, although beautiful, cannot match the variegated mixture's stunning display.

Some friends of ours are a lot like these multi-colored birds. He is white, she is black, and their son says he is "brown." Unfortunately, the three of them have experienced the pain of being treated unfairly based solely on their variation in color. Others attempt to pigeonhole them because of prejudices born out of ignorance.

In the scripture from Galatians, Paul teaches us that we are all one in Christ Jesus. As a child I often sang "Jesus Loves the Little Children." Part of the song's lyrics say, "Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight" - and yes, brown too. God created our many variations; no two of us are alike, and each of us is precious to God.

by Jo Rae Johnson (South Carolina, USA)

Monday, February 23, 2009

God's Beauty

Read Psalm 27

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.
-Psalm 27:4 (NIV)

ON the wall of my friend's house hangs a painting of a ruddy-faced, ragged-clothed hobo. The hobo sits in the midst of rubbish, cans and bottles strewn everywhere. His face displays the hint of a smile in an otherwise sad demeanor. Among the shadows and grays, a snow-white flower cupped ever so gently in the hobo's hand draws the eye to the center of the painting. The hobo's tenderness protects the fragile beauty amid the devastation.

In the 20 years I have spent in prison amid the ruins of countless lives, that painting has often reminded me that God's beauty can never be diminished, no matter how large the dump. I need only to look at an old man sitting on his bunk reading the Bible, or to hear the laughter of a young man talking on the phone to his family. Beauty is everywhere, but we must put on the lens of love to truly appreciate it.

We can learn to look for God's beauty in ordinary settings. We can see God in the smile of a stranger or hear God in the song of a single sparrow. To do so is to learn to live in God's presence daily.

by Richard A. Ryan (Florida, USA)

Friday, February 20, 2009


Read John 4:1-15

One who gives water will get water.
-Proverbs 11:25 (NRSV)

MY favorite childhood memories include going to Grandma's country home to play with my cousins. The hand pump in the front-yard well fascinated us. We considered the pump fun to use, and we competed for the chance to fill the water buckets. The adults were only too happy to let us complete this chore, since they viewed it as work! We were not allowed to play in the water, but we filled the buckets to overflowing so we could "accidentally" get splashed. That was especially wonderful on hot, humid days.

Recently as I meditated on the lesson of Proverbs 11:25, I revisited these childhood memories. I began to understand that others can receive gifts of God's love and grace from the "splashing" that occurs during our relationship with them. Just as we children filled the water buckets to overflowing, when we allow Christ, the Living Water, to fill us, we can refresh others. In turn, we can find encouragement when we extend hope, a deepening prayer life as we intercede for others, and God's blessings when we share.

When we pay attention and look around us, we will see those who need the living water that Christ offers.

by Rachel Rhodes (Missouri, USA)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Light of the World

Read Isaiah 2:2-4

O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.
-Psalm 43:3 (NRSV)

SINCE my childhood, I have kept in mind a Bible verse that has helped me during my life. It is Psalm 119:105: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." I learned the verse in Sunday school.

This verse has stayed with me throughout my life because I could transfer the words to concrete situations. When I was a little girl, we lived in the country. During the dark nights, I depended on the light from a flashlight to find my way home. The flashlight, with its little cone of light, gave me the sense of security I needed as I walked through the dark forest.

Jesus said, "I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness" (John 12:46). During the years since I was a little girl, I have learned from experience that Jesus is the best light on our way through life.

by Elsa Dagerblom (Stockholm, Sweden)
Powered By Blogger