Friday, August 15, 2008

May God Bless You

At the conclusion of his message at the Willow Creek Leadership Conference last week, Craig Groeschel read the following Fransciscan Benediction. Thanks to Don Greb who was there and shared it with the rest of us during our staff devotions this week.

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

May we all be so blessed.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Peace of Wild Things

There are times when I wake at night and my mind fills with concerns about the issues of the day -- problems my children are facing, struggles weighing heavily on people in the church, or fear of things that could go wrong. It doesn't help matters when I've had a cup of coffee too late in the day.

It was nice to pull away from things around here and have my family together for a few days in Cape Cod last month. It was our first time there but hopefully it won't be our last. The natural beauty and peaceful surroundings made it a special time for all of us. I even found a new appreciation for bird watching. I confess, though, the whale watching was a little more exciting.

One evening before our meal my daughter Bethany read the following from a book of poems she had been reading:

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendel Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds,
I come into the peace of wild things
Who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

I hope you have a place where you can go to escape and, as Jesus said, "observe the birds of the air and the flowers of the field." I find rest from my worries when I remember that the God who cares for them cares even more for the things that bring me anxiety. Maybe that is why I slept a whole lot easier when I was on vacation.