Dear Friends,

 We pray you are safe and well.

Today's Meditation seems perfect for today and all we are going through as a country, politically and with COVID.

"Heart Vision" invites us to go deeper than what we see in front of us and see with the heart as God does. When one sees rioters in the Capital, what is their story? what are the dreams of their hearts? what is beneath the anger we see? how can we connect to them? how can we work together with respect and care?

We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in healthcare, in the workplace, in the Church--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.

In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that in God’s economy of abundance, when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.

 

We hope and pray that you and your loved ones experience genuine peace of mind and heart, and remain in good health during this challenging time.

 

May this New Year beginning be a time of peace, of healing and hope, of the infusion of joy in your life!

 

With our love and care,

Ron and Jean

 

 

 

 

 

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Daily Devotional

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January 12, 2021

 

Heart Vision

Vicki Kemper

 

Samuel looked at Eliab and thought, That must be the Lord’s anointed right in front. But the Lord said to Samuel, “Have no regard for his appearance or stature, because I haven’t selected him. God doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the Lord sees into the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:6-7 (CEB)

 

Maybe you’ve seen the doodle that illustrates why we should be gentle with people: A long horizontal line represents someone’s entire life. Then there’s a bracket covering the last eighth of the line, labeled “what you know about” their life. In other words, next to nothing.

 

In South Africa they say, “everyone sits beside their own pool of tears,” meaning that we all carry some pain, the oppressed and their oppressors alike, the ones who seem to have it all together no less than the hot messes.

 

And still we are quick to judge, reluctant to forgive, afraid to reconcile, and often anything but gentle.

 

Exhibit A: The prophet Samuel’s divine mission to anoint King Saul’s successor.

 

No sooner has God explained that the Lover of All doesn’t care about the physical package than the narrator tells us how good-looking God’s chosen one is, a young shepherd named David.

 

To know the human heart is no easy feat. To understand someone takes time. To accept another requires looking beneath their behavior to see the pain or fear that drives it. To make way for healing and empowerment, we must pay attention with eyes of love.

 

As this new year begins, may we see one another as God does: heart to heart.

 

Prayer

 

Develop in me your heart-centered vision, that I might know all people as beloved.

 

Matt Laney

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.