Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I include this mainly because of the title of this blog. I got this via the Episcopal News Service. Why don't we talk about things like this in General Conference, and instead choose generally to focus on things that reinforce the authority of the church? Should I choose a path that fills my heart with Jesus' teachings, or the path that binds me ever more tightly into the earthly organization?

Grow in Love
by Sarah Knoll-Williams

A smart young mother did a very smart thing. After she poured a full glass of milk, she set it before her daughter. As her daughter reached for it, the mother stretched out her hand and knocked it over. Milk was everywhere; all over the table, onto the floor, making a puddle. The daughter looked up at her mother in complete shock. The mother smiled down at her daughter.

"What happened?" she asked the little girl.

"You spilled the milk!" the daughter replied.

"The milk?" asked the mother in mock confusion. "Why didn't juice come out of the glass?"

"There was no juice in there! You put in milk!" the daughter squealed.

"Ohhhh!" the mother laughed. "You mean, whatever we put in the glass is what comes out when the glass is spilled?" As they cleaned up the spill, the mother spoke to her daughter. "We fall down, too," she said. "When something goes wrong, whatever is inside us is what comes out. If you are angry and someone pushes you down, your anger will spill out like the milk. If you are full of love, love will spill out instead."

Jesus says, "What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart" (Matt 15:18).

The last time someone pushed you down, what came spilling out?

It is hard to fill our own glass with love. When I draw near to God in scripture and prayer, God fills my glass with good things. I have known people whose glass was filled with love, and it often overflowed into mine. If my glass is already full of selfishness, impatience, or anger, there is no room for love from God or anyone else. Have you looked in your glass? What's in there?

Our heart is like our own roots. Our lips, our hands, our feet -- these are like leaves on the stem. You can tell the roots by how the leaves look. You can tell the state of my heart by what I say to you and do for you. In Ephesians we learn to pray for each other "that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith, as we are being rooted and grounded in love" (Eph 3:17). If our roots are planted and watered in love, if love fills our glass, we will not be afraid of falling down. When we do fall, our good things from God will spill out.

Ephesians urges us to grow in love because we invite God to tend the garden. Jesus says, I am the vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes, to make it bear more fruit" (John 15:1-2). I urge you to offer your branch to be pruned, and see what fruit God makes through you. Let's offer ourselves to God with an empty glass, that we would be filled with good things. If we grow in love, we grow in God. Out of God's great love, "my cup overflows" (Psalm 23:5).

As long as we are living with others on a daily basis, we will fall down. Some may push us; we may push others. Prepare with me to fall down and spill a full glass of love. Prepare with me to have a cup that overflows for others.

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