top 3 for September 1

As a pastor, each week means reading. I spend time reading Scripture, books, newspapers, blog sites and everything in between. I’ve been thinking about how I can review and catalogue the ideas, concepts, and stories I come across. I’ve also been thinking that many of my “findings” may be of use and interest to others. To this end, I am launching something called Top 3. This is my list of the top 3 things I’ve read this past week and a bit of commentary around one or more of them. You will find links, when possible, to read for yourself.

#1 – America’s Buses Lose Riders, Imperiling Their Future from the Wall Street Journal

After moving to the Downtown community last year I began taking the bus from my house to the church building and offices a few times per week.  Quite frankly, it’s the best $1 I spend as the bus picks me up a block from my house and drops me off a block from my destination.  One of the more surprising upsides of my commute is getting to know some folks I wouldn’t necessarily be in contact with in my daily life.  For example, I’ve gotten to know one of the bus drivers who had major heart surgery about a year ago.  I’ve also heard another commuter express his desire for people to be nicer to one another and assured me that this is all we really need to make the world a better place. A word I needed to hear at that particular moment!

For a slice of Lexington, the bus is one part convenience and one part community.  If the buses become less frequent and more expensive as this WSJ article suggests, I can only imagine the negative impact on this group of folks both financially and otherwise.

#2 – The Power of Listening

The gift of presence is what we call it in Christian-ese.  The putting aside of our agenda and focusing attention fully on the person in front of us.  I believe, as this article asserts, that this is one of the greatest gifts we can give another person.

#3 – Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring one another. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

(Romans 12.9-13 NLT underline mine)

As it often happens the Lectionary reading for this week hits home on a current event.  My takeaway from Hurricane Harvey is that it showed the best of humanity in the face of the worst of creation.  It showed how vulnerable life is and how great a helping hand can be.  My prayers have been flowing and I desire for my hands to have the opportunity to do the same.

I’ve seen love, helping another thrive, this week.  And in the face of one of the most devastating weeks in US history, I’ve seen hope arise.  I thank God for working in and through people.  I pray for those who have lost their lives, homes, way of life, and family. God will restore.  I know this because God is faithful and God has a group of people who’ve proven themselves ready and willing.