Reflections on action & service: advocating and helping others and ourselves. Themes from Jame 2 and Matthew 7.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. — Gandhi

Have you ever experienced a “work of mercy” (“good deeds for the benefit of the neighbor”) to be a two-way street? — Tanya Barnett

Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life
 — St Francis of Assisi

The Good You Do: Taking Action

It is not enough to be compassionate: you must act. — The Dalai Lama

No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. — Aesop

The willingness to share does not make one charitable; it makes one free. — Robert Brault

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.  — St Mother Teresa

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. — Theodore Roosevelt

People say, “What is the sense of our small effort?” They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. — Dorothy Day

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. — St. Francis of Assisi

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you cal. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can. — John Wesley

The Good You Are: Being You

When you get your, “Who am I?”, question right, all of your, ”What should I do?’” questions tend to take care of themselves. ― Richard Rohr

Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.  — Martin Luther King, Jr.

What you do matters — but not much. What you are matters tremendously. ― Catherine de Hueck Doherty

Wake Up and Live (lyrics excerpt)
— Bob Marley & The Wailers

All together now:
Wake up and live (wake up and live, y’all),
Wake up and live (wake up and live),
wake up and wake up and live, yeah! (wake up and live now),
Wake up and (wake up and live) – wake up and live!
Rise ye mighty people, ye-ah!
There’s work to be done,
So let’s do it-a little by little:
Rise from your sleepless slumber! Yes, yeah! Yes, yeah!
We’re more than sand on the seashore,
We’re more than numbers.
All together now:
Wake up and live now, y’all!
(Wake up and live) Wake up and live!
Wake up and live, y’all!
(Wake up and live) Wake up and live now!

Meditation — Suzanne Guthrie

She is a woman. A foreigner. A pagan. Unclean.
He belongs to the chosen people.
She has means, independence, and a crackling intelligence.
He is an illegitimate, itinerant rabbi.
She has a daughter possessed by a demon. She needs him.
He is on a purposeful but limited mission.
She is everything he most despises and fears.
… He’s in for a major breakthrough.

Commentary on Faith & Works
Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. — Martin LutherAs long as broken and beautiful humankind struggles through and dances with earthly time, there will be the divide between the haves and the have-nots, between the lucky and the down-trodden. The only hope we have is to align our saint/sinner selves … choosing to see and live the wholeness of the beloved one hundred percent. By loving our neighbor as ourselves, by seeing and doing … — Sharon Blezard

Pray with all your might for the blessing of God, but work, at the same time, with all diligence, with all patience, with all perseverance. — George Muller

God created hand, head, and heart; the hand for the deed, the head for the world, the heart for mysticism.. ― Abraham Kuyper

Don’t tell me how big your mountain is. Tell your mountain big your God is. — Benson Idahoa

God will not move unless I say it. Why? Because he has made us coworkers with Him. He set things up with way. — Benny Hinn

God never asked us to meet life’s pressures and demands on our own terms or by relying upon our own strength. Nor did He demands that we win His favor by assembling an impressive portfolio of good deeds. Instead, He invites us to enter His rest. ― Charles R. Swindoll

Commentary on the Syrophoenician Woman’s Advocacy

Central to a sense of belonging is the call to help others belong, even to the core of the soul … Inclusion continually softens all boundaries, reaching deeply into the soul and expanding widely into the world, growing more profoundly in both directions, within, without, loving God and neighbor. — Suzanne Guthrie

No one can be excluded. All must be given food. None can be treated like dogs. The story celebrates this reality. There are many … in our community who know what it is like to be shut out, told to wait, given second best. … it had become natural to treat them that way and to ignore their plight and our often naive prejudice – until the Syrophoenician woman gives them a voice.  — William Loader

If that woman could stand up to Jesus, I think Jesus was telling us, we ought to be able to stand up to anybody else or anything else on this planet. “You want change? You want to build on earth the kind of diversity we envision in heaven” he seems to be telling the woman, “then you’re gonna have to fight for it. You’re gonna have to be relentless. You’re gonna have to raise your voice!” — Brian Blount

… when Jesus listened to the Syrophoenician woman, he heard not only the truth of her reality. He also heard the brokenness of his own reality. Both must happen in order to confront ethnic prejudice in any time — and, yes, racism in our time. We must be able to hear the realities of the oppressed and disenfranchised as true. This, in and of itself, can be difficult for those of us who are members of a privileged race or gender, to accept a foreign reality without qualifications, to listen without interrupting, to hear without reworking their experiences into the dominant cultural narratives embedded within us. — David Henson

… renewal comes when we look around us – to our households, schools, communities, and world – to discern who needs us, what they need from us, and how we might leverage our resources to be their advocates before God and the world. — David Lose

In any case, the woman does not back down. … She is challenging him.  “What are you going to do, Lord: Judge me by externals only – or judge me by my heart?” — Heidi Husted

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