Freedom to Worship

Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and follow after it.

Psalm 34:15

I recently overheard a young man mumbling about church. Apparently, his experience included far too many references to hell and damnation and far too few regarding community and caring and love. Because I know him reasonably well, I decided to pursue a conversation. Because he knows me reasonably well, he eventually worked up the courage to ask me why I still go to church.

After what evolved into a very productive and pleasant exchange, we went our separate ways. With us, we carried our understanding and respect for one another. In the end, we had agreed that all of us are free to relate to our loving Creator as best we can in our own ways. Some will be guided by a community of believers; some will be guided by other experiences; we’ll all be guided by our hearts.

I had the good fortune to grow up in a more-than-tolerant family within a diverse community. In the process, I met many good people who happened to look or to behave or to believe differently than I did. Still, they were very good people. The more my world expanded, the more these differences increased. Still, I encountered very good people who looked or behaved or believed differently than I did. It seems to me that God is pleased with all of our efforts when they cause us to turn from evil, to do good, to seek peace and to love one another.

Patient God, thank you for making each of us unique and for giving us all the freedom to live and to love you accordingly.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Ambassadors of Love

Behold, you are pleased with sincerity of heart,
and in my inmost being you teach me wisdom.

Psalm 51:8

While organizing my desk for the umpteenth time, I came across an article about church. Recent reflection regarding my own role within the church prompted me to reread this lost treasure. Afterward, I acknowledged that the negative impact of some have distracted me from the amazing good that the church has brought to my life and to the lives of many others. These “others” include both believers and non-believers who have been served by those good souls who do their best to live out their love for God.

I truly believe that God lives among us and within us both inside and outside of our institutional religious affiliations. Whether we worship in a synagogue, mosque, temple, church or elsewhere, within a faith community or alone, our most important God-related responsibility is the same: To live out our relationships with God in our relationships with one another. The technicalities which separate our various denominations must never separate us from one another.

Loving God, open our hearts to your wisdom. Make us all good ambassadors of your love.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Back To God’s Basics

Behold, you are pleased with sincerity of heart;
in my inmost being, you teach me wisdom.

Psalm 51:8

While procrastinating a bit before writing today, I cleaned off my desk for the umpteenth time. In the process, I came across a years-old article about church. I asked myself, “Why do I still have this?” Though I didn’t answer myself aloud, I did determine that my recent reflection regarding my own role within the church was reason enough to reread this lost treasure. After doing so, it occurred to me that I sometimes allow the negativity of some to distract me from the amazing good that the church has brought to my life and to the lives of many others. These “others” include both believers and non-believers who have benefited from the efforts of good souls who do their best to live out their faith in God.

I truly believe that God moves among us and within us both inside and outside of our institutional religious affiliations. Whether we worship in a synagogue, mosque, temple, church or elsewhere, within a faith community or alone, our most important God-related activity is the same: To live out our relationships with God in our relationships with one another. In the process, we will reveal God’s goodness and God’s love to everyone whom we meet along the way. The technicalities which separate our various denominations must never separate us from one another.

Loving God, open our hearts to your wisdom. Make us all good ambassadors of your love.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Faith

Behold, you are pleased with sincerity of heart,
and in my inmost being you teach me wisdom.

Psalm 51:8

While organizing my desk for the umpteenth time, I came across an article about church. Recent reflection regarding my own role within the church prompted me to reread this lost treasure. Afterward, I admitted to myself that I sometimes allow the negativity of some to distract me from the amazing good that the church has brought to my life and to the lives of many others. These “others” include both believers and non-believers who have been served by those good souls who do their best to live out their faith in God.

I truly believe that God’s Holy Spirit moves among us and within us both inside and outside of our institutional religious affiliations. Whether we worship in a synagogue, mosque, temple, church or elsewhere, within a faith community or alone, our most important God-related responsibility is the same: To live out our relationships with God in our relationships with one another. The technicalities which separate our various denominations must never separate us from one another.

Loving God, open our hearts to your wisdom. Make us all good ambassadors of your love.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved