The Gift of Healing

The Gift of Healing

The Lord promised to heal people’s waywardness and to love them freely (Hos 14:4).  God was going to restore their health and heal their wounds (Jer 30:17).  A Dutch Catholic priest, professor and theologian Henri Nouwen (1932–1996) wrote, “Did I offer peace today?  Did I bring a smile to someone’s face?  Did I say words of healing?  Did I let go of my anger and resentment?  Did I forgive?  Did I love?  These are the real questions.  I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.”  Undoubtedly people can do many small things to be these miraculous gifts to others.  This means we don’t have to do big things to see great results.  Small ones are just as important.

Growth is essential when giving love.  This comes in different forms with abundant meanings.  Max de Pree (b. 1924), a businessman and writer said, “We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity.  We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.”  These lasting transformations are known in various ways.  When they contribute to growth and understanding, healing takes place.  These manifestations often take time, and ought not to be rushed.  People should persevere in doing good works.

Friendships

A vice president of the United States, Hubert Humphrey (1911–1978) wrote, “The greatest healing therapy is friendship.”  It’s ideal to have good friendships.  They enable us to interact freely, explain our personal concerns, and solve problems.  Good friends are able to give us honest opinions.  These are free gifts that bring joy to our hearts.  In times of worry their words soothe us bringing us comfort and hope.

These benefits are from people who appreciate us for who we really are.  They know our faults and accept us as blessings.  An Indian spiritual master Sai Baba (1835–1918) said, “Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love.  Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.”  With love a healing balm encompasses us.  People come to know their brothers and sisters care about what they do, and count on them for support.  Such attributes nurture their welfare.

Positive Faith

People do hear good and bad things about religion.  But author and literary critic Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011) views were positive.  He believed, “Religion is part of the human make-up.  It’s also part of our cultural and intellectual history.  Religion was our first attempt at literature, the texts, our first attempt at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at health care, believing in faith healing, and our first attempt at philosophy.”  People who are healed attribute these phenomena to their beliefs in a loving God.  Hitchens saw religion not only as important but having far-reaching consequences.  Many believers become recipients of these blessings that shape their lives for the better.

Unitarian Universalism (UU) Beliefs & Sacred Texts

According to Wikipedia, in 1961 the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) was formed through the consolidation of the American Unitarian Association (AUA), established in 1825, and the Universalist Church of America (UCA), established in 1793. The UUA’s headquarter is in Boston, Massachusetts, and serves churches mostly in the United States.

This is how UU’s website describes its symbol of the flaming chalice:
“A flame within a chalice (a cup with a stem and foot) is a primary symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith tradition. Many of our congregations kindle a flaming chalice in gatherings and worships and feature the chalice symbol prominently.
Hans Deutsch, an Austrian artist, first brought together the chalice and the flame as a Unitarian symbol during his work with the Unitarian Service Committee during World War II. To Deutsch, the image had connotations of sacrifice and love. Unitarian Universalists today have many different interpretations of the flaming chalice, including the light of reason, the warmth of community, and the flame of hope.”

UU’s Beliefs
UU practices a creedless and non-dogmatic approach to religion. An attitude toward each congregant’s beliefs and tradition is one of tolerance and acceptance. They reject a belief in the Trinity as God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Instead they worship a unitary notion of God. They see believers will be eventually reconciled to God. So they reject preaching about hellfire and damnation. UU celebrates worship services on Sundays with a sermon and the signing of hymns.

Sacred Texts
Some of their sacred texts are from the Jewish and Christian traditions. However they look at additional sources for further religious and moral inspiration. These are drawn from the scriptures of the world’s religions. By so doing they recognize the wisdom teachings not only of the Bible’s New and Old Testaments, but also works like Dhammapada, or Tao Te-Ching, and other philosophers, scientists, poets, and sages.
On the pages of these writings UU trusts that their congregants to use reason and come to conclusions that speak to them. These goals they see necessary, since their membership, whether atheists, agnostics, Christians, Jews, Chinese, Hindus, Muslims, believers, and non-believers alike, would find meaning on their quest in seeking the truth.

YouTube Programs
1) Sermon “The Basics of Unitarian Universalism” – Rev. Aaron White, First Unitarian Church of Dallas 24:51
2) The Rise and Fall of Unitarianism in America 17:20
3) Interview with a Unitarian Universalist 53:21

Love of Friendship

For all who are joined to the living there’s hope (Eccl 9:4).  A man and woman may live many years and rejoice, but let them remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many.  We should therefore enjoy life with reservation (Eccl 11:18).  Build a good foundation by the way we live.  Of such are the gifts of the sweetness of life that come through friendships.  Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer Khalil Gibran (1883–1931) wrote, “In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.  For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”  Much of what passes off as insignificant has meaning beyond our comprehension.  These small deeds may very well be those attributes that shape our lives for years to come.

Gift of Friendship

Friendship is an important gift.  It’s precious and adds to life’s dimensions.  Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC–43 BC), a Roman philosopher, politician, and lawyer said, “What sweetness is left of life, if you take away friendship.  Robbing life of friendship is like robbing the world of the sun.  A true friend is more to be esteemed than kinsfolk.”  The price of friendship is greater than the value of gold.  Companions are valuable and able to sustain us in the unpredictable aspects of our lives.  They can stand by us, assure us, and are always there to help us.  These are true gifts by which some people are blessed.

We may wonder about our friends and say all manner of things about them.  These remarks come alive in the sentiments we express.  A Nigerian novelist, and poet Chinua Achebe (1930–2013) wrote, “When old people speak it is not because of the sweetness of words in our mouths; it is because we see something which you do not see.”  Often it may be difficult to tell who people’s friends really are, but some do express this gift because they are able to recognize them.

Perfection in Friendship

In choosing friends never expect perfection.  This may never come.  When you decide let it be based on the feelings in your heart.  Say a prayer to be guided to loved ones.  Matthew Arnold (1822–1888), an English poet and cultural critic said, “The pursuit of perfection, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and light.”  Inevitably when we make friends we eventually hope that they will become like rays of sunshine in our lives.  Being perfect may be our goal.  But don’t be disappointed if you find yourself working for such a goal to evolve into something beautiful.

One ingredient tops it all when it comes to friendships.  It’s the gift of love.  Listen to what Marie de France (1154–1189), a medieval poet wrote, “For above all things love means sweetness, and truth, and measure; yea, loyalty to the loved one and to your word.  And because of this I dare not meddle with so high a matter.”  Loving friends is a perfect gift.  Still it must be remembered it might be love that isn’t returned the way we expect.  Nevertheless Scripture teaches us to continue to love them.  This is also, loving our enemies.  People must always show they care.  We ought to bless others in a loving manner, and be compassionate.

Spiritual Power

Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933), President of the United States said, “We do not need more intellectual power, we need more spiritual power.  We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen.”  Being good, just, and holy are unseen.  Some are able to tell if we’re gifted in this way by our actions.  But we don’t easily see these qualities.  Coolidge may well be alluding to some longed-for goals also like peace, justice, and equality.

Working for the common good, calls for foresight, honesty, and trust.  These gifts are by nature spiritual.  Billy Graham (b. 1918), an evangelical Christian evangelist and Southern Baptist Minister wrote, “The greatest question of our time is, ‘Will we be motivated by materialistic philosophy or by spiritual power?’”  Often Americans receive in our homes a preponderance of TV ads to buy more goods with promises that they will be happier.  They are never satisfied although it seems there’s an overabundance of goods available.  This may well be the sort of materialistic philosophy Graham was talking about.

Touching Eternal Goodness

Some believers have gained insights in what it means to touch the eternal goodness of things by persevering in goodness.  M. Scott Peck (1936–2005), a psychiatrist and best-selling author said, “Great awareness comes slowly, piece by piece.  The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning.  The experience of spiritual power is basically a joyful one.”  Having the gift of knowledge and dedication is hard work.  Year after year, some scholars persevere in studying and doing painstaking research to be of service to mankind.  These endeavors have to coincide with the gifts of the Holy Spirit to obtain the best results.  Many of these explorations are ongoing, never end, and will last from generation to generation.

Jane Goodall (b. 1934), a British ethologist, and anthropologist wrote, “I absolutely believe in a greater spiritual power, far greater than I am, from which I have derived strength in moments of sadness or fear.  That’s what I believe, and it was very, very strong in the forest.”  Goodall discovered this force in the forest where she worked with animals.  Believers may be able to find it in sanctuaries at their churches, while others may touch this power in their homes, or work places.

Two Known Powers

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968), a Baptist Minister and leader of the African American Civil Rights Movement said, “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power.  We have guided missiles and misguided men.”  King, Jr. was commenting critically of the affairs in scientific America.  Let’s hope that he was wrong on that score, for much of spiritual power is unseen, still many people believe it’s superior to science.  For, it’s an amazing and indescribable gift.

Amit Ray (b. 1960), an Indian spiritual master and author did a great job in summing up spiritual power at work in the world.  Ray wrote, “There are two types of seeds in the mind: those that create anger, fear, frustration, jealousy, hatred, and those that create love, compassion, equanimity and joy.  Spirituality is germination and sprouting of the second group and transforming the first group.”  So it’s with these spiritual gifts in our world.  Some situations may look grim and hopeless, but spiritual power is able to transform these bad, and worthless elements that taint our lives.  It’s the truth which flows from our good and merciful Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Discovering Our Spirituality

Spiritual gifts come to us from the Holy Spirit.  To know them we’ve to give careful and thoughtful prayers to discern what they really are.  This calls for individuals having knowledge of themselves and their abilities.  For, it’s though the working of the Holy Spirit that people are given special knowledge and wisdom to determine their gift or gifts (1 Cor 12:7).  Many through their baptism will likely receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  These instruct, regenerate, sanctify, and comfort us (Jn 16:13-14).  In Mark 16:17-18, we learn these gifts were first given to the apostles as they were about to preach the Gospel to all nations.  Through them other believers became recipients of these blessings.  As for Christians it must be remembered everyone has at least one gift from God (1 Cor 7:7), but it was only in the apostles these gifts were made perfect.

A New Spirit

When people unconditionally surrender to God they will be blessed with renewed lives, and be led by a discerning Spirit.  Billy Graham (b. 1918), an evangelical Christian said, “Some people have a warped idea of living the Christian life.  Seeing talented, successful Christians, they attempt to imitate them.  For them, the grass on the other side of the fence is always greener.  But when they discover that their own gifts are different or their contributions are more modest (or even invisible), they collapse in discouragement and overlook genuine opportunities that are open to them.”  The essence is that people not only have a gift or gifts from God, but they must be able to recognize, and use them wisely.  They mustn’t be anxious, and envy other Christians who have different gifts than them.

It’s obvious that whether our gifts are great, or small, our missions must never be viewed as part-time activities.  They are to be our source, and must be animated by the Spirit as we proclaim the Word of God.  There will however still be pastoral challenges as believers become involved in social outreach programs.  Nevertheless, people ought to use their gifts wisely to touch the lives of those around them.

God’s Blessing

Russell D. Moore (b. 1944), an evangelical theologian and president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission wrote, “In the New Testament, we don’t find our gift through self-examination and introspection and then find ways to express it.  Instead, we love one another, and in so doing we see how God has equipped us to do so.”  Spiritual gifts bring us to the exact place where we must be.  It’s also true people can’t have these gifts without loving, and serving God, and our neighbors.

To have authority calls for the fulfillment of God’s commandments for service in our churches and communities.  This is all part of having renewed personal encounters with others.  Christians do so when they bring their message of hope to them.  These blessings come to them as they practice a Christ-centered morality.  Believers then experience osmosis with those living on the periphery of their lives.  These gifts become profound blessings when people discover their spirituality.

Gifts of the Spirit

It’s amazing to be blessed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Glossolalia – speaking in tongues are well known and respected in some Christian churches.  Some view these occurrences as the wind of God giving utterance in his people.  It can be considered as a dimension of the breath of life.  However such a gift has to be put into its proper perspective.  Some Christians may be carried away, and view these utterances like having a mountaintop power of experiences.  However it must be remembered that the fruits of God are centered in a life of the Spirit.  These gifts can be ecstatic, emotional, illuminating, moral, transforming, charismatic, miraculous, healing, or a religious awakening.

Ayrton Senna (1960–1994), a Brazilian racing driver said, “Wealthy men can’t live in an island that is encircled by poverty.  We all breathe the same air.  We must give a chance to everyone, at least a basic chance.”  All gifts come from the same source, and are like the air we breathe.  We must never fall into the trap of making distinctions about what gifts are superior, but must promote what’s good in the church.

Prophetic Utterances

 All gifts are through the Spirit of God.  Prophetic utterances may be in the form of speech or writings.  We know these authentic works because they are expressions of enlightenment.  But the goal of each gift is the same.  It’s meant to proclaim the risen Christ’s power, resurrection, and they are known for their spiritual depth.  Christian devotees of such utterances live a life that’s steeped in prayer.

We can usually tell who these Christians are.  It was Confucius (551 BC– 479 BC), a Chinese teacher, politician, and philosopher who wrote, “The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.”  There’s an old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.”  Thus, “Show me how people live and you’ll be sure about the fruits they bear.”

Agents of Salvation

 True agents of God are always guided by the Spirit.  In their walk they are impacting, shaping, and transforming lives in everyday places.  They are able to do these things because they were baptized in the Spirit, have the power of discernment, and see themselves as full-time missionaries.  Such believers are prudent, gifted in wisdom, and know what’s right, or wrong.

This doesn’t stop here.  How are they free?  Ramakrishna (1836–1886), an Indian mystic and yogi said, “A man is truly free, even here in his embodied state, if he knows that God is the true agent and he by himself is powerless to do anything.”  People’s freedom and power are therefore manifested through their Creator.

Believers’ Inheritance

 Believers are blessed with sacred hope.  Their service and help are gifts from a loving God.  They may be in counseling and administration, but through their stewardship they are able to give aid, and mercy to others.  They know that in their duties they are propelled by a Spirit of Benevolence.  Their actions include witnessing, and praying.  In their arsenal these attributes are the most powerful weapons.  Many observers know that their spiritual force is animated by the Holy Spirit.  Through whom they are accomplishing, and will continue to accomplish their heavenly goals.

Donald Miller (b. 1971), a bestselling author wrote, “Sunday morning church service is not an enormous priority; spending time with other believers is.”  The lesson we can take away from Miller’s statement is that Christian outreach is more than being in the church, but on the highways, and byways of life.

Seeds of Hope

Seeds of Hope

What are you sowing?  By what you do, are you sowing seeds of peace, love, joy, hope, and tranquility?  Is your goal to love your neighbor as yourself?  Do you feed the hungry and house the homeless?  Are you an advocate for the least among us?  Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) is doing these things.  They have trained some 930,000 volunteers for ERD’s NetsforLife that’s active in developing countries.

ERD has brought their services to:

  • Liberia where agricultural priorities are practiced;
  • Yangon, Myanmar through the Anglican Men’s Association (AMA) with demonstrations of smallholder farms;
  • Nicaragua where malnourished children are fed soy flour mixed with corn flour;
  • Nyanza in Kisuma, Kenya, where there’s 95 percent HIV-negative graduation rate for children;
  • Gaza Province of Mozambique Africans where there are making bricks to sell and build their own homes;
  • And in the Diocese of Tamale where there are education, seeds, fertilizers and an increase in crops.

Giving Back

What ERD is doing according to their past Lenten Meditations is giving back to society in education, skill, love, and training.  Are you doing the same with your talent and treasure?  You may have benefited through a scholarships from a university.  Are you dedicated in doing charitable work?  Like thousands of these volunteers, the poor, hungry and homeless are depending on you.

Giving Joyfully

It’s good to be a happy giver.  As a charitable giver it’s gift to have a sense of humor to share with those you meet.  A human touch will put a smile on a face.  Sharing in such an undertaking enlightens a recipient in knowing that you care, and are giving from your heart.  Your attitude will be positive.  Some givers make jokes and are friendly.  Receivers of their gifts are happy to be with them.  It beats being negative, and depressed as though you’re carrying the burden of millions needy on your shoulder.

Whether it’s through the Diocese of El Salvador that provides services and training to many, or being an advocate for the over 50,000 unaccompanied children from Central America that cross the U.S. Border, you should play your part in creating a future for the least among us.  The seeds you sow send roots deep down into the soil of hopefulness.  Remembering that you’re mainly a branch of that eternal vine is an apt way of focusing on how you care.  But through faithfulness you’ll make it possible for your branch to bear fruit in abundance, so that when the harvest comes you’ll be awarded your just reward.  ERD’s website can be accessed at: https://www.episcopalrelief.org/.

 

Our Eternal Soul

An author, political activist and lecturer Helen Keller (1880–1968) said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”  Developing this aspect of one’s life was seen as crucial for our soul’s development.  People’s souls usually go through trials that serve as catalysts for their successful growth.

Depressed People

Many people are weighed down by problems.  During our earthly pilgrimage our souls experience torments.  During these moments individuals will have difficulties.  Such conflicts are one of uncertainty, skepticism, and denial.  They may make comprises that are troubling, and some they may regret.  By feeding on evil bombarding their psyches, their actions may become negative.  That’s why Christians sing hymns about their wretched souls.  It’s feared that continuing down these perilous paths they will lose their souls.

What is the soul?

In Hebrew Scripture the soul and the body aren’t sharply distinguished.  The Rabbis of the Talmudic period recognize a separation of body and soul.  In Genesis, God is known to have breathed a soul into the first man, Adam.  From this beginning our soul was considered a separate entity from the body.  Christians believe in a soul that’ll live on when they die.  In following the footsteps of Jesus Christ they look forward to their resurrection after death.

A soul shares this earthly life with the body.  Judaism like Christianity believes in the soul’s immortality.  A Greek philosopher Plato (428/427 or 424/423 B.C.–348/347 B.C.) taught about immortality, while Christians believe in an embodied resurrection.  Another Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 B.C.–322 B.C.) reasoning was somewhat differently from Plato, when he stressed that the soul was the human being.  An Italian Catholic and Dominican theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) promoted the view of an individual’s immortality.  Since 1869, it was the Roman Catholic position our soul is conferred at the moment of conception. This fact is regarded as an inviolable truth by the Catholic Church.

Sustaining the Soul

It’s imperative that people strive to have peaceful souls.  In our worldly journey our souls mustn’t be burdened with evil.  By embracing what’s pure they can be perfected.  In this way we grow spiritually.  During our lives it’s good to practice the virtues of love, joy, faith and peace.  These attributes rejuvenate and refresh us.  Christians in the inner recesses of their beings are spiritually nourished. These gifts are achieved in churches that are God-centered, for believers are able to cultivate blessed souls.

An English novelist and journalist George Eliot (1819–1880) recognized the importance of the influence of a human soul on another when he wrote, “Blessed is the influence on one true, loving human soul on another.”  A poet and essayist Walt Whitman (1819–1892) wrote, “Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.”  Undoubtedly the truth of life is paramount for the full and authentic development of our souls.

Early Black Souls

The soul within us is impervious to any sort of degradation.  It was Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), an African-American social reformer, and abolitionist, who said, “The soul that is within me no man can degrade.”  But with the introduction of film in the United States African Americans were stereotyped.  The Flights of Nation (1907) depicted a lopsided and demented black culture.  D.W. Griffith (1875–1948) with The Birth of a Nation (1915) chronicled the story of the free South in the civil war that showed the revenge of the Ku Klux Klan on blacks.  This movie that was considered a masterpiece set the precedent of portraying blacks as idlers, brutish, vagabonds, and outcasts.

Role of Blacks

 In this depiction blacks never really had a chance to be presented as leaders.  It was Colin Powell (b. 1937), formerly secretary of state of the United States, who said, “I think whether you’re having setbacks or not, the role of a leader is to always display a winning attitude.”  Early blacks never had the opportunity to display these traits because of racism, and society excluded them from holding important positions.

Other films showed the grizzled tramp in Jim Tully’s tale of the lowly Beggars of Life (1928), the seaman in James Craze’s Old Ironsides (1926), black roles in Showboat (1927), Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1927), and others in the early sound films like Dudley Murphy’s St Louis Blues (1929).  But some blacks played conventional roles as chorus girls, convicts, boxing trainers, ill-mannered servants, and persons of disrepute.

In the 1940s and 1950s, white actors Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll were the talent behind the popular radio show Amos ‘n’ Andy.  These two actors were masters in their imitation of the degrading dialogue most Americans associated with blacks.  These condescending techniques made for the popularity of the program.

Stereotypes

 Chinua Achebe (1930–2013), a Nigerian novelist, and poet wrote, “The whole idea of a stereotype is to simplify.  Instead of going through the problem of all this great diversity – that it’s this or maybe that – you have just one large statement, it is this.”

In the era of TV, white actors were replaced by blacks in Amos ‘n’ Andy and this show’s popularity continued.  Eventually the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was able to persuade Hollywood to abandon negative stereotypes of blacks in their films, and TV followed suit.  Such a decision didn’t produce changes overnight, but there was some progress being made.

Christianity & Racism

 Many Christians have long been opposed to any form of racism.  Throughout history there have been a number of abolitionists in the United States and abroad.  The Gospel tells us that whether we are Jews or Gentiles God looks at our hearts.  People can’t hide their feelings.  Jesus Christ was forthright in warning the rich about the exploitation of the poor.  Many blacks belong to the lower class because of a past of slavery.

Although many Americans consider themselves Christian racism is still a problem in the society. The Christian faith reminds us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  The story of the Good Samaritan is alive and well for everyone to note.  In the 1960s with prayers, sacrifice, and dedication, and social change the Civil Rights era began impacting these wrongs that were degrading our society of its true Christian way of living.

Battles Won & Lost

In David’s Song of Ascents we could picture “those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.  He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing sheaves with him” (Ps 126:5-6).  The wicked boasts of his heart’s desire, and the greedy man curses and spurns the Lord.  His thoughts are, “There is no God” (Ps 10:3-4).  But when the joy of our salvation is restored and a willing spirit sustained, then he will teach transgressors his ways, and sinners will be converted to the Lord (Ps 51:12-13).

Soul Winners

An author, historian, and diplomat Washington Irving (1783–1859) wrote, “There is sacredness in tears.  They are not a mark of weakness, but of power.  They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.  They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”  These are the same tears which missionaries shed as soul-winners, rejoicing over the battles that are won, and being upset over souls that are lost.

Soon these evangelists realize that they aren’t always victories.  Yes, they do experience highs, but there are lows too.  Billy Graham (1918–2017), a Christian evangelist and Southern Baptist minister said, “The Christian life is not a constant high.  I have my moments of deep discouragement.  I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’”  Christians of faith cry when others’ salvation is at stake.  It may not be for this reason only, but when they pray and try to convert the wayward, who refuse to see the light.

But how must they think of people who have transitioned to the great beyond?  There could be lots which can be said.  Believers wish they could have been more open to these individuals, but now it’s too late.  Abolitionist and author Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–1896) wrote, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”  At such moments it takes our loving Savior to put our hearts at ease.

Tears of Joy

Yet there are happy tears especially when evangelists’ prayers are answered.  They jump for joy and are delightful over every saved soul.  Hosea Ballou (1771–1852), a Universalist clergyman and theological writer said, “Tears of joy are like the summer rain drops pierced by sunbeams.”  What a magnificent image that captures the delight of God’s blessings of those who are sinners!  A better life awaits them and they will live in peace.

This life though is a mixed bag of emotions.  An activist on behalf of the indigent insane, Dorothy Dix (1802–1887) wrote, “There isn’t a single human being who hasn’t plenty to cry over, and the trick is to make the laughs outweigh the tears.”  Evangelists prefer to be laughing especially when there are joyful victories.  Laughter sets the right tone for future efforts in missionary fields.  But these Christians might be on a roller coaster.  It is therefore wise to view such variations as gifts.  For believers may never know when such problems can be blessings in disguise.

A Spanish mystic and Roman Catholic Carmelite nun St. Teresa of Avila (1515–1582) said, “I think you have to pay for love with bitter tears.”  Tears can be expressions of joy and sadness.  But their significance to Christians is profound for they reveal a caring nature.  For these Christians pride themselves by putting their hearts and souls in their evangelical works for other people’s welfare.