Thursday, January 16, 2014
THE ANNE OF GREEN GABLES COINCIDENCE
Recently my cousin gave me instructions on how to grab Kindle PC. This was the beginning of a wonderful adventure. I have been able to download several good books for free and now I am able to take advantage of 99 cent offers and bypass the S&H charges that makes even 75 cent books on line end up costing $6.00 all together. The Anne of Green Gables series, which contains all but two of the stories, cost a mere 99 cents and I went for it.
Also, at this time there is a community group of young thespians who are putting on a play at our church called, “Anne of Green Gables, the Musical.” Do you recognize a “coincidence” here? Since there are not coincidences in God’s timing of things I am assuming that this was a planned occurrence.
This, plus other things, has pushed me toward trying to read some of the books I did not read as a young person. Somehow I did not read those books called the “Classics.” I seemed content and even excited to read historical novels and biographies instead. (Although, I confess that as an adult I purchased a large set of “Classics” because they would look cool on my fancy piece of furniture which held books and knick-knacks. That was 20 years ago and I still cannot bring myself to wade through them.)
Since the screen is a glaring white and my eyes are sensitive to that, I will have to take it slowly; but I will take it. I have been captured by it in the first three chapters. And I have found a wonder in it already: one that can be applied to our Christian lives and the behavior of our hearts.
We are told early on that the man who will be a lead character in this story is seen to be – if I may put this impolitely – ugly. He, himself, admits that he is a pretty scary looking guy and that small children avoid him when they pass.
I have always said of myself that I was okay with my not very pretty appearance so long as I did not make dogs bark or scare small children. Apparently He does scare small children.
But when he and Anne meet, Anne looks at him and sees only a beautiful man who is going to take her in and give her a home. She does not see what other children see; she does not shy away from him. She is looking at him through her heart, not her eyes. I think that is beautiful and I think that it pretty much represents how God looks at us and how we should look at each other and at ourselves.
I am impressed with this whole scenario: looking at people with our hearts instead of our eyes.
The thing is that Jesus told us to love. Jesus loves us and gave us Love as fruit of the Spirit. The only reason that we can truly love at all is “because He first loved us.” But we really don’t grasp the full meaning of that in our human short sightedness. We truly tend to love by sight and sound and even smell. We truly trip over those things when, in God’s scheme of things, they matter not at all.
We can very easily find reasons to not love because sin blooms all around us and is as unattractive as thistles in the fields. We do not wish to pick those thistles and take them home to put in vases, so we ignore them or cut them down or pull them up. But we do not find them lovely - unless they are artichokes. Yes. Artichokes are thistles that are edible, and their blooms are lovely, so they are acceptable thistles.
But most thistles are easily rejected; as are many human beings who do not quite meet our standards of loveliness. They may be rough in their language; they may be rough in their appearance; they may be too old to matter as real people; they may be too young and “weird” for our tastes. There are a lot of ways in which people “fail” to draw the love out of us.
One “people” we all recognize as hard to love is the homeless population around us. How shall I put this… we seem to pretty much write them off. There are many good and righteous reasons for that in way too many cases. But that is not an excuse.
As I passed yet another pan handler at a popular street corner, I was once again torn over what to do. I mostly do not carry money, but even if I have it I mostly do not hesitate to say I do not and go on my way. That sounds horrible to me even if I know that some are making more money than some working people. I have thought of carrying extra food in my car to hand them when I pass their way, but I would have to stop and get the food from the back seat area and traffic will not always allow that. So I asked God what I could possibly do in these instances. Quite honestly, He suggested I pray for them. Ahhh… What? Pray for them, Cheryl. : )
You know, that’s not a bad idea. : ) They are people, after all. And it is people that we are sent to love. And the poor and the orphans are on the top of that list.
Well, I confess that the homeless annoy me more than they encourage me to care about them. But the truth that multitudes of them have come to desire the life style of homelessness does not mean we are not to care about them. Many, many do not love the lifestyle and are only looking for a way out.
And, but for God, we could ALL be homeless, even those who have jobs or other income. Housing is costly and meager income from a job or other source is often just not enough to keep a roof over one’s head.
So I have been challenged to pray for those I must pass by (and I don’t pass by every single one.) It is my responsibility to remember to do that. They deserve a prayer because a prayer is a big thing when that prayer reaches the ears of God in Heaven.
But we must also give God the opportunity to say, “Yes, give them what you have,” even when we suspect they may spend it on drugs or alcohol. God knows their weaknesses and loves them anyway; so should we. They may actually spend it on food because they may actually be hungry. Only God knows and only God needs to know. We need to love and listen to Him and be willing to do His bidding.
That does not mean that we are to give out money willy-nilly. That means that we are to become sensitive to God’s guidance in even these small things, and be open to giving if that is what God wants.
And don’t forget that our churches have ways of funding for the poor which they use to provide food and comfort and other help to the poor; we can start by giving there and those gifts will expand exponentially as God runs with it.
May we all give serious generosity a try this year: Take someone to lunch; provide a meal for someone; have someone over to share time and food with you and your family; take time to sit and listen to someone who needs to be listened to…. And may we learn to love through our hearts rather than through our minds and thoughts alone.
God, bring us up to use the love you have given us to extreme dimensions this year. Move us to think out of the box and to love like we never have before. In Jesus name, Amen.