Not too long ago, Rick Dorien, Pastor of Centenary UMC, Skowhegan and Executive Director of the Maine Little Wanderers Home, shared the Rotary “Four Way Test” with me.
The Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do.
First Is it the TRUTH?
Second, Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Third, Will it build GOOD WILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
Fourth Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
As a child, I learned that Jesus was real and going before me, with an invitation to follow. As a youth, I’d learned he desired a home in my heart, but, as an adult, my life changed again when I read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s idea that Christ is not only within each of us but between each of us. He describes how anything I do to you; I do through Christ, literally. If I strike a blow to your head, I strike Christ on the way. If I demean you with words, I insult Christ on the way. It doesn’t matter who “you” are, friend, brother, neighbor, stranger, even enemy. The insight gave Bonhoeffer the motivation and the strength to act radically and practically on behalf of vulnerable people who he did not know. It caused him to think deeply about the words he used. It caused him to agonize over the people he hurt. Each represented Christ in a very tangible way because Christ stood between them.
In this space between you and I is the living Spirit of God.
When we enter the living word of God, and open ourselves in prayer with Christ, the “yous” increase. This is wonderful and awkward, affirming and terrifying. Is there enough “me” to meet all of “you?” The simple answer is no. There is not enough me unless I rely on the expansive presence of Christ. If I don’t depend on this, I grow anxious, controlling, defensive.
That sounds abstract, but it’s very real. There is enough food in the world if I, and you, am willing to see myself as part of Christ’s expansive body instead of hoarding what I declare to be mine. There is enough water in the world if I, and you, am willing to put my needs in perspective with the others with whom Christ connects me. There is even enough time in my, and your, life for what I, and you, are meant to do, and to be.
The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose,
and each will receive wages according to the labor of each.
For we are God's servants, working together; you are God's field, God's building.
-1 Corinthians 3: 8-9
In God’s Grace, Karen
Karen L Munson
A pastor and artist, I'm wondering while I'm wandering through God's marvelous creation.