Prayer: Lord, grant me the grace to live gently.
Reading: James 3:13-4:8 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: The Bishop’s Reconciliation Team, which I chair, runs into conflicts and disputes in our congregations and sometimes we just shake our heads. Where does this come from? We laugh a lot in our team meetings. I think to somehow balance the tears in our hearts. I’m grateful for James today who reminds us that conflicts in the church are not new and for a word—“gentleness.”
We can learn all sorts of techniques and skills for dealing with conflict. We can teach people those skills and it helps. But what about attitude? That’s difficult to teach. But, maybe if a word can be planted in lives, conflict can be reduced. Life can be more peaceful. Today’s word is “gentleness.”
In face of terrible conflict in our world. Seeing conflict in our churches. Experiencing conflict in our lives. Let us today just decide to live gently. To be gentle with ourselves. To speak gently to our children, our grandchildren, our spouses, our coworkers, our pastors, our nemesis, the cashier, the truck driver …
--Jim Bricker, Chaplain to Camp Mount Luther’s Summer Staff
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