New Friends

I’ve met some new friends this summer. I’m not talking about the new neighbors down the block, though I am happy to have met them, too. I’m not even talking about all the wonderful folks I met in Booneville, MI on our mission trip in July. But yes, I am glad for those new acquaintances as well.

I actually haven’t met either of my new friends in person. They are both writers who visit me via email. I may be wrong, but I think they would both like that I consider them friends.

Pastor Dave introduced the first new friend to me. Caroline is his and Amy’s niece, she is the sister of their nephew Will, who was tragically killed this summer. Caroline and her new husband live in Brooklyn, and she writes a blog. She has such a special way with words, sharing her Godly devotion while inviting her readers/friends (me!) into her private space. Her blog “musings in montage” is very special.

Vikki introduced my other new friend. Pastor Steve writes a daily piece (unfolding light) which hits my inbox early morning. He starts every post the same…Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you. Just reading the opening line makes me feel good :) He too has a unique “way with words.” I’m sharing one of his recent posts below.

New friends can come into our lives in all shapes and ways. I pray that you too have met some new friends recently and that your lives have been equally enriched as mine has.

Andrea Heshmati

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

"If you want to become my follower,
deny yourself and take up your cross and follow
me.” —Matthew 16.24

The Christian faith is not a set of opinions about Jesus.
It is a life of following him, practicing his self-giving love.
To follow Jesus is to enter the suffering of the world.
The cross is not an annoyance, a burden, an injustice.
Your “cross to bear” is not the overbearing aunt.
It is the fear of the abused, the tears of the deported,
the rage of the dismissed, the weariness of the exploited,
the despair of the condemned, the loneliness of the forgotten.
It is bearing in your heart—perhaps even in your flesh—
the suffering of others, and their infinite worth,
to act for the sake of grace in their lives,
to be in solidarity with the poor for the sake of justice.
It is to embody God's grace amidst human failings.
It is your grateful choice to suffer for the sake of love.

Lay down the sword of doctrines and arguments,
the shield of your separate self, your privileged security,
and take up the the cross of Christ,
the risk and vulnerability of the Gospel,
the courage to confront injustice and embody healing,
the love of God, weak, naked and tender in this world,
and more powerful than a hundred armies.

Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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