The other day we found broken glass all over the floor of the Cafe' here at church. It turns out someone took a rock and threw it through a window. We don't know who it was or why they did it; but it clearly wasn't an accident. Someone wanted to smash that window (it looks like it took a few throws to do it) and the result was broken glass on the floor.
In truth, it's not that big of a deal. We will replace the window. We swept up the glass. We are redoubling our security efforts at the church to keep this from happening again.
But it is an opportunity for us to do a few things. First, we are going to pray for this person. Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us...so we took time in our worship service this past week and in our staff meeting as well to pray for this individual and I would love it if you would as well. We don't know who it was or why they did it, but it gives us a chance to pray for them that we didn't have before. Pray that God would use this as a way to reach them with grace and forgiveness.
Second, it's a chance for us to remember that we've all broken a few windows of our own. Maybe not literally, but we've all done bad things and we've all left behind a trail of broken glass as our actions hurt others and had consequences. A lie we told might have broken another's ability to trust. A betrayal we committed may have hurt another deeply. We have all hurt others. But, we know that, for us, Jesus lovingly forgave us our sins and helped clean up the broken mess of our lives. This is a chance to admit our own sinfulness and rejoice in the grace of God.
We belong to a church full of broken people who have done evil things and who have left behind a trail of broken glass...and yet are forgiven and free because of the great mercy of our God...and for that we are forever thankful. May this truth help us show grace to others and gratitude to our Lord always!
One of the most famous stories in the Old Testament is that of Moses and the burning bush. It has been featured in movies and is a common idea we discuss as we are looking for a "sign" from God. We often joke about wishing we had a burning bush type sign. But as I was reading that story once, I noticed a phrase in the text that I hadn't seen before. In Exodus 3:3 Moses says (in the King James version), "I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt."
It occurred to me that Moses could not have turned aside. He could have kept going. He was busy after all, tending his flocks. To take his eyes off his sheep was to put them in danger, so he might have just kept going about his business without bothering to go see this bush that didn't burn.
I wonder how often we miss some great opportunity because we don't stop and turn aside. Maybe we keep going when we see a stranger in need of help. Maybe we ignore the child who is hurt on the playground. Maybe we forget to check on a loved one. Maybe we miss our burning bush moments because we are too busy, too focused, too selfish or just too distracted.
Keep your eyes open. It might not be a burning bush, but it might be an opportunity from the Lord if you just keep your eyes open and be ready to turn aside.