Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Saturday, July 23, 2011


When we learn to say a deep, passionate yes to the things that really matter... then peace begins to settle onto our lives like golden sunlight sifting to a forest floor. ~ Thomas Kincaid

I normally preach from the lectionary. I admit to preaching from the lectionary so I am not searching for scripture verses to back up my sometimes radical thoughts! This week, the reading from the Hebrew Scriptures is Genesis 29:15-28, the story of Laban's trickery on the night of Jacob and Rachel's wedding, which, if you know the story Jacob married Rachel's older sister Leah without knowing. In Psalm 119:129-136 the psalmist celebrates God's law and prays for God's mercy so that he might guided by God's way.

Then in Matthew 13:31-33; 44-52 Jesus describes God's kingdom  by using five different parables: it is like a tiny mustard seed, growing into a large tree, like a small amount of yeast that permeates the dough in baking, like the treasure hidden in a field and like a precious pearl. Lastly, Jesus says, it is like a fishing net in which many fish are caught. After the net is brought in, the good ones kept and the bad ones thrown out.

One of my professors absolutely loved St. Augustine and he enjoyed tying in quotes of this early Church Father to nearly every class he led. One of his favorite Augustine quotes came to my mind as I read these passages and throught of tomorrow's sermon:  "Love God, and do what you want!"

I'm a rule breaker.

Rules make me nervous. Give me a rule, and I'll work to understand it so I can find a way around!

I know...not one of the best traits to have. Still, I need to confess this so I can admit that when I read about "obeying God's rules"....I feel skittish.  

I felt skittish until I understood that if and when I give God my heart, then I don't think of "obeying his will" as constraining! It is what I want to do to the best of my ability, because I love him!
Earlier this evening I was talking with another woman. She shared how she sometimes just goes without turning on the evening news. We talked about the oppressing heat. We shared concerns regarding the health of some greatly loved individuals. We talked how so many seem to feel so very tired.

I smile at the image of the little boy, captured so well in this photograph, yet the heaviness of what my friend was sharing, is not endearing or cute, it is simply painful.

What am I...what are we to do?

The words of that old hymn immediately came to my mind, Trust and Obey.

Jacob obeyed Laban and worked for the hand of Rachel. He later said that the years seemed to go by very quickly because he was working for the love of someone very special.

The psalmist celebrates God's law and asks for mercy to help him follow the law.

Then Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God being worth more than anything I can imagine here on earth.  Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God coming from something as tiny as a mustard seed.

Yes, I am a breaker of rules, although growing up, I was very obedient simply because I never wanted to do anything that would cause my Dad to be disappointed in his little girl. And here I am, all these years later, still a breaker of rules...except for the rules that really count.

As St. Augustine said, "Love God, and do what you want."

So, I will love God by offering him praise...every evening , no matter how I am feeling by writing three praises...three gratitudes in my journal. Three little mustard seeds of gratitude a long with a prayer  "135 Look upon me with love; teach me your decrees.(Ps: 119:135)

This road of life is not always easy and it sure as heck sometimes does not seem to make a lot of sense!!!  Yet, it is not for me to know nor to judge, it is for me to love my God and to obey his will.

I needed a smile this evening and found it in this short video on obedience:
Sermonspice - Obedience

Holy God, I do not always understand why this person has to hurt, why we go without rain or why floods take away homes...God, I don't understand why my own body cannot be healed so I don't hurt, so my life is not so difficult, yet...this life is a gift and I thank you and I praise you! Lord, I ask for your grace and your mercy so that I might better obey your will, so that I might better serve you. By your Spirit, help me to say "Yes!" to what is truly important and then, may I know your peace.  AMEN.

Chris Rice - Everything is Okay

Many Blessings ~ Sandi


  1. I am appreciating more and more the idea of being present and being grateful.