Daily devo available on Hinton Facebook page
Daily devos can be found on the Hinton Center Facebook page.
Listed below is the Friday, April 17th edition:
Buzzword: Be in community
Read John 1:1-5, 14
Key Scripture Verse: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish.” –John 1:14 MSG
Moving into a neighborhood has a lot of implied meaning to it, because there’s a difference between just going somewhere and moving into the neighborhood. Moving in implies getting to know your neighbors, learning more about the area, being present, and being in community.
How are you reaching out to make someone feel included in community during this time of physical distancing? Share your ideas in the comments so others will benefit from them!
Missional Musings: We are more beautiful for having been broken
March 26, 2020
I’m fascinated by the Japanese art form of Kintsugi – are you familiar with it? It’s the practice of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.
Simply put, it’s the practice of highlighting brokenness and calling it beautiful.
In my own life, I would say that I’m more beautiful for having been broken. At least on most days. I think that’s why the art of Kintsugi speaks to me so much. I mean, think about it. How often do we handle our own brokenness by highlighting the cracks, the scars, the marks left behind? Probably not all that often. We generally handle it in other ways…
We try to cover the brokenness up. We hide it from others, afraid if they see those parts of us, they’ll think we’re to be discarded, just like a broken piece of pottery. Not good enough. Not worth anything. So we cover it up.
We even try to cover the brokenness up from ourselves. We think we if stuff it deep away or act like we aren’t affected… like we weren’t broken, that we will be okay. So we power on. We forge ahead.
The problem is, whether we’re hiding it from others or denying it to ourselves, those cracks just don’t stay hidden. Try as we might, more wear and tear, more stress, more trauma, more life stuff just keeps compounding and the cracks either start to show or they get bigger.
But mending our brokenness and calling it beautiful? Allowing others to see it? That’s how we heal.
I think during this time where we are forced to do life differently, where we or people we know are struggling with job loss, illness, fear, isolation, grief, and uncertainty, is a time that either brings out the best or the worst in people.
Friends, we have such an opportunity to be the hands, feet and smile of Jesus during this time.
We can model what it means to believe that we are more beautiful for having been broken. We don’t have to cover up the brokenness from others or ourselves. We don’t have to act like we are always okay. It’s okay to feel grief, to be stressed, to feel all the things during this time of uncertainty. We can STILL show the love of Jesus – through that very brokenness.
Even though I have hope, I have real fears. I’m starting to feel this bizarre blend of compassion fatigue, not from being on the front lines of this, like first responders, medical professionals, and all those who are doing their jobs to keep stores clean and open, to keep factories running, to keep some things moving in life. I feel it because I’m reading and hearing the fear and stress from my friends, my loved ones, my community, and really, the entire world. I feel like I’m absorbing so much of it and it’s wearing me down. I find myself exhausted day after day.
The current situation and all that comes with it has also caused me to feel triggered by a previous trauma I experienced, and, frankly, it’s overwhelming. Even though my brain knows I’m not in that situation anymore, my body is reacting like I am.
If I’m honest, I feel broken.
Maybe you do too.
This is where the opportunity enters. Instead of trying to hide it, which we know won’t work well for long, we can lean into it. We can use our brokenness to let the light of Jesus shine through. We can start to believe that we are more beautiful for having been broken. We can acknowledge the pain and suffering, but we can also allow our brokenness to help someone else during this time.
Friends, I think our society as a whole has an opportunity to emerge from this situation more beautiful for having been broken. I already hear wonderful things that are happening in spite of the fear and uncertainty.
So, today, I would encourage you to allow yourself some extra grace… and allow your neighbor some too. When you feel the urge to try to hide the cracks, your brokenness, remember that just like that piece of pottery that now shines with gold in the cracks, YOU are more beautiful for having been broken.
I want to leave you with this poem by Nikita Gill, titled, “You Are a Survivor.”
The bits of you that are broken,
the bits of you that are damaged,
do not see them that way.
Instead see them as slowly being filled with beautiful experiences and truths
you have learned from the damage,
the equivalent of lacquered gold.
I want you to remember, you are not a broken thing,
Instead, you are a human full of incredible and wonderful experience,
made of the same things swords and diamonds are made of.
You are a survivor, my darling, and
I salute you for everything you have been through,
and for making the universe so proud,
so very proud of what you have become.
Go, be beautiful.
Missional Musings: Becoming a seed in our difficult circumstances
March 17, 2020
What a difference a few weeks can make. I’m sitting at home this morning, after just completing a staff Zoom meeting, recognizing the privilege in being able to have internet and work from home.
I know most of us are now self-isolating, or at least doing our best to socially detach, and what a strange thing that is. I mean, how often have I taken for granted meeting someone for coffee or ice cream? How often do I just casually pop into the store to grab just one item that I “need” (but let’s face it, it usually isn’t a need… and my definition of what “I need” has now somewhat shifted).
I’m an introvert, so in some ways this isn’t that difficult for me, although there’s something to be said to desiring to come home and be by myself with my furries (dogs) for a little bit to recharge, vs. feeling as if it’s not really my choice to do so.
Things have changed.
Friends, my heart is heavy and I’m sure you might find yourself in the same place as I am… this place where you feel discouraged and concerned.
My heart is heavy for all those who are at-risk. My mom is one of those individuals, and I’m fearful for her. Yet, I know all we can do is be cautious and do our best, so that’s what we’re doing.
My heart is heavy for all the people on the front lines of this thing, trying to find answers, trying to get the right information out there, fighting to save lives.
My heart is heavy for all those who are losing income or having to continue working in their daily jobs, those who are struggling to make ends meet, those having difficulties in finding childcare, those who need to have extra funds for more food for their children who are now home from school… so many people who are hurting and struggling. Those who aren’t sure what today will bring.
My heart is heavy for all of the unexpected changes we’re now facing. And yet… YET – I have hope. It’s not that I don’t recognize the severity of the situation, but I’m clinging to hope and looking for opportunities.
I’ve seen this quote a lot lately and it rings true for me personally and I think it applies for what we are facing today… “They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds.”
This thing may feel as if it’s trying to bury us… but we are seeds.
Our theme for missions 2020 is Treasured… taken from 2 Corinthians 4:6-9, which reads –
It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful. If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.
Surrounded and battered by troubles? Not sure what to do? Spiritually terrorized? Feeling thrown down?
I think these are applicable words for us today.
And yet – there is hope – because God says to light up the darkness… because… we’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, BUT we’re not demoralized. We’re not sure what to do, BUT we know that God knows what to do. We’ve been spiritually terrorized – that is, not really understanding the why or the how of all of this, BUT God hasn’t left our side. We’ve been thrown down, BUT we haven’t been broken.
We are seeds.
So I wonder as followers of Jesus what we are during this time of uncertainty and fear that is around us?
There are opportunities here for the light of Christ to shine in the darkness.
So many of my clergy colleagues have been able to be creative to provide worship experiences, and that’s a beautiful thing. That’s a seed.
So many people have been connecting to others in different ways that may be a stretch for them. Case in point: me doing a video… That’s a seed.
There are so many opportunities to connect with loved ones in meaningful ways. To spend more time together.
To pick up a book and travel to a new place, while staying at home. To make the most of each moment we have.
To live and love differently, in spite of change and difficulty.
Those are seeds.
There are many ways we can continue reaching out to our neighbors, even as we are doing our best to follow CDC guidelines and stay healthy and safe, and try to do all we can do to protect the most vulnerable populations at this time.
We can pray.
We can act… from a safe distance. Pick up the phone. Send a text. Facetime. Use the tools we have available to reach out to another person. Going to the store or pharmacy? Find out if your neighbor or friend needs something and drop it off to them (you don’t even need to see each other). Write a letter – a real letter – to someone.
We can be present. Take a walk – enjoy nature and fresh air… Listen to the birds. Watch the squirrels play. Know that it’s okay to pause and to just BE in the moment.
Be a seed. Allow the light of Christ to shine in and through you.
Let me leave you with this Non-traditional blessing… one that is a great reminder for all of us:
A Non-traditional Blessing
May God bless you with discontent with easy answers, half-truths, superficial relationships, so that you will live from deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, abuse, and exploitation of people, so that you will work for justice, equality, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and to change their pain to joy.
May God bless you with the foolishness to think you can make a difference in this world, so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.
If you have the courage to accept these blessings, then may you also be blessed with:
happiness—because you will know that you have made life better for others
inner peace—because you will have worked to secure an outer peace for others
laughter—because your heart will be light
faithful friends—because they will recognize your worth as a person.
These blessings are yours—not for the asking, but for the giving—from the One who wants to be your companion…our God, who lives and reigns, forever and ever. Amen.