Monday, July 21, 2014

A Smile

Friends of Faith:
Smiling is a universal language. “Smile and the world smiles with you.” “A smile is the shortest distance between two people.” “Smiles multiply.” “You are someone’s reason to smile.” “A smile through tears is the most beautiful smile.” “A smile makes the world go round.” (I think this one should be, “a smile goes around the world.”) “Use your smile to change the world today but don’t let the world change your smile.” And, “Peace begins with a smile”—Mother Teresa.

As I was relating “fire stories” to one friend, she commented, “sounds like God has given you a few small miracles.” And I commented back—“yes, God has given us many BIG miracles.” Miracle after miracle, smile after smile—I wonder what God is thinking—not just about my own reactions, but about the reactions to the reactions of my actions, about how his miracles, his blessings are being carried forward. I hope each of my smiles is being carried on, multiplying as it travels, becoming love, peace and joy for someone who needs it more than this someone who is already so blessed.

"Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered,‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

“He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’” He spoke to them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” ….His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels….”” Mt 13:24-43

This weekend’s reading of the parable of sowing weeds amongst the good seed, and of the parable of the mustard seed, made me draw parallels between the sowing, growing, greatness and strength of the Christian community to the likeness of the spreading of a smile, just as God spreads the seed, and of the smallness of the mustard seed, to the seeming smallness of a smile which grows great and strong.

There is also the parallel of the devil that sows and promotes weeds to the everyday spreading of rumors and untruths, wherever possible, into every event of our lives, with the hope to cause us as Christians to believe the weeds are real, and to fail or make us forget to look around for real beauty, true blessings, growing around us.

And how God’s hand, his seed, is always the greater, better part of every circumstance: how his seed, like the mustard seed, like a glimmer of a smile, always grows stronger, taking over the entire field if we nurture and spread it—leaving the weeds behind, to be gathered at the end and burned, while the beauty of the flowers of the field are gathered by angels.
But what if what God plants, we as Christians sit back and ignore, become complacent and accepting of the weeds, allowing rumors and untruths to grow? Won’t this then mean the devil is being allowed a ground to play on, and the beauty of the flowers growing in the field could be overshadowed?

Heavenly Father, Your seed is strong, Your smile is powerful. I know I am as small as a mustard seed. Help me to become strong in faith so that my seeds, my smiles, will grow and spread. Thank you for your continued blessings of the smiles you send to give me peace and encourage me, the seeds of Christian friends, who support me when I am weak. Help us together to uphold the beauty of Your field, the Church, a community of love. Amen.

So as to kill some of those weeds, the rumors: we are doing fine; the shop, both sales and service, are up and running thanks to wonderful neighbors and friends; our insurance company is treating us well; I am thankful for my new offices downtown and enjoying having neighbors to smile at. And Stan’s phones are working J.

Please continue to pray for a resolution by the Fire Marshall as to the cause of the fire so we can begin demolition and rebuilding. As they are doing their job, God is developing our patience.

Although His miracles, like our smiles, might be small at first – His miracles, just like our smiles, are always big as they grow and spread into others’ worlds. When we are weak, he is strong.
If you are struggling to smile because you have no one physically smiling at you just try Googling: “smiles!!!” (And see the poem below)

The smile on my face doesn’t mean life is perfect; it means I appreciate what I have and what God has blessed me with.
Keep smiling, God loves you. Do me (or someone) a favor and smile, for you are someone else’s reason to smile,

PS: I couldn’t resist posting this poem – insert a smile at every dare…..
Dare to Be
When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.
When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.

When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.
When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.
When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.
When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.
When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.
When times are tough, dare to be tougher.
When love hurts you, dare to love again.
When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.
When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.
When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.
When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.
When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.
When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.
Dare to be the best you can –
At all times, Dare to be!”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

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