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Part 3:  Family

laughing teens

Quiet your space and open your mind.  Place both of your feet on the floor.  Focus on being and breathing.

Breathe in honesty.
Breathe out gossip
Breathe in community.
Breathe out isolation.

The Messiah Is Among You

“The Messiah is among you.”  This was the persistent rumor the monks in a small and dying out monastery heard.  At first they didn’t believe it.  But when they kept hearing the rumor, they began to think about which one of them might possibly be the Messiah.  At first thinking that bossy Father John or old, arthritic Brother Placid, a real grouch if there ever was one, might be the Messiah seemed preposterous.  Their faults were all so obvious to each other.

But then the monks began to think what if Father John or Brother Placid or one of the other monks really was the Messiah.  As they thought about one another’s good points, they began to think yes, maybe, just maybe, this one could be or that one.  After all, Father John got more done than anyone else in the monastery.  And Brother Placid had a right to be grouchy once in a while.

No one could decide for sure who was the Messiah, but the monks began to treat each among them as if this monk were the Messiah.  Soon more and more people came to join the monastery because of the monks’ deep love and respect for one another.  Was the Messiah among them?  No one is sure.  Maybe it was just a story.  Maybe the Messiah is among you.

It’s hard to imagine the Messiah living among us.  Sitting next to us at school?  Standing behind us in the checkout lane?  Cheering at the same basketball game only a few rows away or maybe on the other side?

If that seems bizarre, now try imagining the Messiah being part of your family.  Too strange? God could have sent Jesus to us in any era, any shape, any form.  The Messiah could have been a hurricane, a talking giraffe, or a famous loner.  Instead, God becomes one of us, part of our human family.  Why?  Can we relate to Jesus better as a member of a family?  Does God want Jesus to have a built in support system?  Is your family a support system for you?  Who offers you the most support?  Who offers you the most challenge?

Write the name of a family member in your journal or just on a piece of paper.  Think about this family member and your relationship with him or her.  Consider the following questions and write your answers.

What does this person need?  Patience?  Self-confidence?  Peace in her or his heart?  Motivation?

Is there any hardness in my heart for this person?

Do I need to forgive this person for something?

Do I need to ask forgiveness?  If so, what steps should I take?

Take a few minutes to think and write about how you would like to see God move in this family member’s life.  Think about how God might be calling you to help and support your loved one.  When you are finished writing, take a few minutes to pray for that person.

If you choose, repeat for other family members.  Commit to getting to know someone in your family better.  Ask him/her about the highlight of the day and share your own.  Then pray:

Be with our family now, all you who have gone before us—our great grandparents and other ancestors and teachers.  You laid the groundwork for the family we are today.  Be with us.  Help us learn from your strengths and weaknesses; your successes and failures.

Be with us now, all you with whom we live and work on this planet.  We are a family, too.  Help us be patient and respectful of one another and of our earth.  The torch has been passed to us, to be passed on to others.

Be with us now, all you who will come after us on this Earth, You who are waiting to be born in the ages to come.  It is for you that we work to heal our world and build a just and holy global community.  We cannot picture your faces but we know your claim to this legacy is as strong as our own.

Amen.  Amen.  May it be so.

Turn to Part 4: Hope

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