A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dave's Deep Thoughts - Our Different "Teams"

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.

Sing along………
“The more we get together, together, together,
the more we get together the happier we’ll be.”

or maybe not………………..

I root for Team A,
the virtuous team that stands for everything that is right about America.

Team A does not like Team B.   Never has, never will.
Team B does not like Team C because Team C cheats.
Team A is not particularly fond of Team C either
  because for once, Team A agrees with Team B: Team C  cheats.

This year Team A played Team D three times, including the playoffs.
Prior to this year, Team A thought that Team D was just a silly nuisance.
That is until Team D added some mean, stupid, not so nice players to their team.
These mean, stupid, not so nice players hurt several players from Team A.

This hurt Team A  both emotionally and physically,
so much so that they could not continue to be in the playoffs.
This meant that they didn’t have a chance to beat Team C,
the Cheaters who are always in the playoffs, only because they cheat.

A funny thing happened  during this crazy season.
Team A  now dislikes Team D more than they dislike Team B.
Team A still thinks Team B is evil, but not as evil as Team D
Never before in the history of mankind has this been true.

Nobody even talks about Team E
Nobody cares about them.
They always finish in last place.

This caused Team to sit down and think……..
what happens next year when Team B plays Team D?
Or what if Team C plays Team D, or Team B plays C?

This caused Team A’s head to hurt just thinking about it.
What could Team A do?

Option A
Team A could hope for Team B not to be so evil,
  or for Team C not to cheat anymore,
  or for Team D to not have any mean, stupid, not so nice players.

Option B
Team A could  beat Teams B, C, & D and be the champions,
   proving that being virtuosity has it rewards.

Option C
Team A could become as evil as Team B or D, 
   or begin to cheat like Team C, 
   thus giving Teams B, C, & D a taste of their own medicine.

Option D
Team A could pray for Teams B, C, D & E.

What?    You thought I was talking about football?
Goodness no. 

I was talking about international affairs.
Or maybe I was talking about candidates seeking election.
Or maybe I was talking about how ethnic groups treat each other.
Or may I was just talking how people in general treat people.

We don’t treat each other very well,
not as nations, not as citizens of a country,
not as fellow human beings.

If we are honest with ourselves……

Sometimes, we are Team A.
We see all that’s wrong with all other teams,
but fail to see what’s wrong  within us.

Sometimes we are Team B.
Our thoughts or actions are not what they should be.

Sometimes we are Team C.
We do things to gain undeserved advantages for ourselves.

Sometimes we are Team D.
We just hurt other people.

Sometimes, we are Team E.
Beaten down, with no hope of being seen as of value.

Jesus recognized that condition within us.
It is our sinful nature.

He showed us that only by being transformed,
so that we are not the center of our universe,
that we become the people that we are intended to be.

That is, people who love.
He loved everyone, even while hanging from the cross.
Granted, He did not love the things that people did sometimes,
but He loved who they were created to be.

I believe He even loved the Pharisees,
the one group to whom He consistently demonstrated His righteous anger.
I believe He loved them individually as the ones whom He formed in their mother’s wombs..

This Lent, 
I don’t seek the changes that I need in myself
through nations winning wars.

Nor do I seek the changes that I need in myself
through a candidate winning an election.

I claim no victory in my ethnicity or my upbringing.
My only victory is in Christ.

May I be the change that I seek in everyone else,
and may I open myself Lord, for You to do exactly that in me.

And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that you may prove what the will of God is,
that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
                                                                Romans 12:2

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