Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The hopeful, the imperfect, and a time for what is yet undone

I am in the process of revising menus for the week, searching my file for new recipes and old,  and making a list of things that are yet undone.

Two days from now is Thanksgiving, a time for turkey and all of the trimmings.  Unfortunately, for some of us, those side dishes are the annual serving of roots of bitterness carefully stewed for a few years, wounds never healed, words still resounding, a continual platter of revenge, and words carefully scripted to win the battle this year.  And oh, by the way, throw in the divisive election, in case things get too quiet during dinner.

But what if I bring grace to the table, healing in my hands, peace in my words, kindness in my listening, a gentle response instead of a sharp reaction?

What am I bringing to the table?

Fruit salad is always appropriate.  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,  self-control; against such there is no law."  Galatians 5. 22-23

What am I wearing?

The same old grudges? Or something new?  "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts...And be thankful."  Colossians 3.12-15

What words have I prepared?

Do I stir up past fights, childhood rivalries, parental wounds, the injustices of the world?  Or do I stir up love for one another and good works?  "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."  Philippians 4. 8

Underline those words, "if there be anything..."  Think about these things now.  And put them into words, carefully prepared in your pocket.  

Am I ready?  Have I given thought not to how to endure a few hours, or to serve something different? Unlike the famous Norman Rockwell painting, the dinner will not be perfect.  Because none of us are perfect.  There will be glitches -- guaranteed.

But I can avoid the obvious potholes.

And start a new tradition.

Repay no one evil for evil,
but take thought
   for what is noble in the sight of all.
If possible,
      so far as it depends upon you,
live peaceably with all.
...Do not be overcome by evil,
but overcome evil with good.

                      Romans 12. 17-18, 21

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