The Greatest Gift…

Tomorrow is my birthday. Another August 22nd on the horizon. And, I’m already thankful for it. It’s the first one I can remember that has organically fallen on a Saturday…when I have my kids. All of them except my bonus son who will be at work.

I plan our lives (and all our birthdays) knowing we have specific weekends with and without the kids. As they get older, I recognize that even this starts to change. So, getting to wake up knowing they are home, that I don’t have to rush and leave for work all day, that my husband will be home too, and that my family is coming over is the greatest gift. Time. A day together.

I’m thankful for the other family members we get to celebrate tomorrow. I’m thankful for the house and space and health to do so. I’m thankful for the lessons learned this year and the desire to learn more next year.

We plan to go to church in the morning. It’s the first weekend it’s been open in awhile and I’m thankful for that too. Not only that we can go and worship with others, but also that my daughter asked to go. No greater gift than that. The desire to worship and time together. Makes me think of heaven one day. Nothing but worship and time. Togetherness with no awkwardness, no grudges, no paranoia, no shame, guilt, or blame. Only what we love and desire about togetherness. Peace and harmony.

I don’t expect this tomorrow. I expect food, family, and some fun. But, I also realistically expect a house full of people, littles, and teenagers. In all it’s imperfection, I say thank you. To each one. Even if the choice isn’t theirs to be there, I am thankful they will be. Because we never know how many birthdays we have left. Especially ones that fall on a Saturday.

 

 

What Are You?

What are you? Male, female, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, American, immigrant, Republican, Democrat…? How about human?

If I were to ask you what church you go to, we’d also have many different answers. Some may not even go at all…But, when the religion question comes up, what do you say first? Baptist, Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, Methodist…? How about Christian? I think this says a lot about what we value most.

Do you consider yourself your denomination over Christian? Are we all brothers and sisters in Christ first? Or does your particular denomination shame or discredit others for being different? What was Jesus? His nationality was Jewish, but it’s because of Him that we can even claim Christianity at all. Did He belong to a certain church? He preached in synagogues, on sea shores and mounts, but He also seemed to get on to the church folks more than any others.

He’s why we worship or should be. Denominations are formed by different interpretations of the Bible. Personally, I am a Christian who, at this point in my life, attends and serves at a Seventh-day Adventist church. I love my church and the people in it. I may not be happy with everything going on in it, but maybe that’s exactly why I’m there.

Since there are no perfect people, I can assume there must be no perfect church on earth either since they are made up of just that, people. Their ideologies, theologies, policies, doctrines, interpretations of scripture. I also think there are wonderful churches everywhere because I think there are wonderful Jesus following people in them. May we each be one where we are.

May we all serve Him where we are called and shine His light in all denominational congregations. May we love like Jesus to the best of our ability right where we are and especially in church. Sometimes they need it the most. May we go where He asks us to go. Because, one day, one sweet day, we’ll all be together. Regardless of the biases and prejudices associated.

There are enough prejudices in this world already, may we be increasingly aware that denominations do this too and may we try to be different and gracious about it.

I believe each one of us who claim Jesus will worship together in heaven. There won’t be six different churches to choose from on the streets of gold. We will be Christians who proclaimed His name above all others and clung to Him here like He clung to that cross for us.

So…what are you??