We live in a noisy era. Words are hurled at us, often thrown as weapons. You know as well as I do how words can do damage but can also elevate and inspire us. During the month of November, we’re talking about “Words to Live by.” On Sunday, November 5, All Saints Day, we focus on kindness, which can often seem in such short supply. Even a small act of kindness goes a long way, or it might stand out because it seems uncommon. Someone does something unexpectedly caring for us and we can be so pleasantly surprised. Yet kindness is a core element of our faith. I often say as a benediction (which literally means good words) at the end of our worship, a phrase from the prophet Micah: remember what it is the Lord requires of you: to do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). God wants us to love and share kindness. Ephesians says this is how we are to live: Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32). Paul reminds us at the beginning of his beautiful chapter on love in I Corinthians 13, Love is patient and kind. Why is it so hard sometimes? We get busy. We are pushed by life, rushing about, so we forget to be kind. We get fed up or angry about the state of the world. We get competitive. Kindness begins to retreat or gets left behind.
When you are in a difficult situation, perhaps a moment of conflict, kindness might not be your first response. However, it can be your second or your final response. In a heated moment. our first response can be one of anger or defensiveness, and unfortunate words get exchanged. However, we can still make the choice that our next response will be a word of kindness. Or it could be an act of caring and support, which always catches people off guard. We want to allow some room for the Holy Spirit to enter and work in us, sometimes in surprising ways. The Spirit can inspire us to make a decision to not fuel the fires of conflict, or to pause, or simply wish someone to have a better day, even when they are intent on making ours worse. In fact, Paul says in Galatians that we get to have a very different kind of life if we allow God’s Spirit to work in us. Our lives become fruitful, exhibiting the character and qualities of: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Paul calls these the “fruits of the Spirit” and they appear in our lives because we have allowed God to nourish our faith.
On Sunday, November 5, we also celebrate our All Saints Sunday. We honor and remember the saints in our lives, those beloved people who inspired us, shared lives of faithfulness, people we loved, who helped to make our church what it is. We remember that often our saints stood for kindness, compassion, finding ways to reveal God’s love to the world through their words and deeds. We worship in gratitude for their lives and invite God’s help that we, too, would could be so faithful.
Join us for Change the World Day on Sunday, November 12. Read More.
Dave Summers, PhD
602.840.8360, Ext 131