Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Spirits Are Lifting!

While we had a very moderate Winter here in good ol' Warren, PA, I'm really getting excited about the Spring weather and all of the sunshine we have been having lately. WOW, does this begin to lift the spirits! Now, I enjoy gray, rainy days more than the average "Joe." I like to walk and drive in the rain. But sunshine really charges the emotional batteries. Know what I mean? Summer will be here before we know it, and since we had a fairly lousy one last year, I think we're in for a beaut in 2010. (Yes, I'm one of those "the glass is half full" people.)

The church has just celebrated a glorious Easter is now into the countdown to Pentecost, the time when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit into the lives of the early believers. We often think of this as the "birthday" of the Christian Church. We United Methodists are trying harder to seek the Holy Spirit's guidance in our individual Christian lives and in the goals and affairs of the church. While it make sense to trust God's Spirit to lead and guide us, and to impart wisdom to us as we live and act, we, far too often, don't consult the Spirit until we've made all of the plans and are getting ready to launch. Then we say something like, "God bless our efforts and send your Spirit upon our endeavors..." I bet our lives--and the church--would be hitting on more cylinders if we started with seeking the Spirit's guidance.

Well, the new health care plan passed the congress. Whether you were in favor of it or not, changes will begin to take place in this important element of the human community as early as this year, but some of the major ones won't kick in until 2014. In discussions with many of my church members, some are optimistic about the new plan, while others are really discouraged or even angry about it. Most of these discussions occurred because Nancy Pelosi cited the support of "The United Methodist Church" when calling for the vote the night of the bill's passage. What did she mean? Well, this denomination has, for many, many years, through its legislation at General Conferences every four years, supported "universal" health care, even going so far as to call for a "single payer" system. This basically means we have lobbied for a government-run health care plan. This is not new news; as I said, we have been "on the record" as calling for this for years. What Pelosi was most likely referring to was our United Methodist Board of Church and Society, which probably advocated for this current plan, believing it was at least a step in the "right direction." From what I have read, I don't think anyone in the denomination believes this plan was a great thing, as the plan was presented. Since it is now law, we should all pray that it gets some serious tweaking and perfecting as it unfolds so that it helps to close the gap between those who have insurance and those who need it (a justice issue), and that it doesn't create an undue burden on anyone's shoulders. That may be praying for a miracle, but I believe in miracles.

Hey, as a good United Methodist, I realize I should have rooted for Duke (a United Methodist school) in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. I didn't. I was hoping little Butler University could pull off the upset. They almost did. Chalk one up for the "Davids" again! How amazing. Still, Duke did what they needed to do to win. If only that last, desperation fling had gone through the hoop...can anyone say "Hoosiers"?

Get out; get some sun; go to church soon, if you haven't been there in some time. Surprise your pastor or priest--show up AFTER Easter Sunday! Shalom, my friends.

What's Next?

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