His Grace is Enough Written by Kate McPherson Grace-on-the-Hill corps member
There is no one in this world who judges me harder than me. I guarantee it.
I work as an instructional assistant at an elementary school, and every once in a while, I’ll miss my scheduled time with a class because I’m working in another area of the school. I always feel incredibly bad about this and shoot an apologetic email to the affected teacher, whose response is inevitably something like this:
Hey Kate, thanks for letting me know. No worries!
Obviously, this teacher isn’t judging me for running the front desk instead of tutoring students. I, on the other hand, spend a significant amount of time lamenting my inability to be in multiple places at once. If only I could clone myself! If only there was enough of me to accomplish everything I want to accomplish!
As humans, we spend an awful lot of time trying to be enough. We want to do enough things, get enough sleep, work out enough, eat enough vegetables. We resolve to be kinder, volunteer more, donate more, raise awareness about more issues until we are so tired.
We chase the idea that
Paradoxical Pardon Stephanie McCullough Grace-on-the-Hill corps member
Throughout college, I spent my summers working at an incredible Christian summer camp in northwest Arkansas. On the very first night every session, we would go over four tenets of God: righteousness, judgment, love, and mercy. It can be a lot to wrap one’s head around. How can the Lord perfectly balance judgment in one hand and mercy in the other? How can God be total and perfect love while being righteous and just? (My tiny human brain struggles to reconcile the Creator’s divine mystery; my thoughts and ways are so very different from His.) Yet perfectly and beautifully, our Father encompasses all.
The passage in Numbers tells a story of God’s judgment and mercy, all wrapped into a neat paragraph. Full of poisonous serpents, it can be a bit jarring to read, particularly for anyone who experiences ophidiophobia. The Psalm draws us back to those giving aspects of God — great mercy, delivered them wonders, etc. To focus on just the judgment or just the mercy severely sells the Lord short.
The Creator of the UNIVERSE is so much more than those four basic qualities; beyond that, God on the whole is
Reflection on Judgment Written by Joseph Wood ESC Maryland Alum
Some of my fondest memories from my year in the Episcopal Service Corps are from our “family dinners.” Living in intentional community can be hard, can involve a lot of rough edges and a distinct lack of personal space. Yet those nights when we were able to come together around the dining room table to share in food and fellowship helped to make it all worth it. The fact that we could laugh, commiserate, talk, and, yes, even argue over that table helped to bond us together in the common life we had committed to. It linked the service work we were doing with the small, seemingly inconsequential habits of everyday life. The connections we were making were not just about how much we helped other people; they were about sharing and shaping who we are as people—even in as simple an act as breaking bread together.
In the collect for this Fourth Sunday of Lent we pray that God “evermore give us” “the true bread which gives life to the world.” As we live into this season, I think it is important to recognize that the “true bread” that
Reflection on Judgment Anna Holleman and Weslie Detwiler Colorado ESC corps members
In the season of Lent, we remember God’s judgment against the Israelites as they wandered for 40 years in the desert. We remember God’s judgment against Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We remember that we are separated from God because our of broken humanity caused by the Fall. We engage in practices, such as fasting and confession, to remember the righteous judgment of God against our sin and pride.
But this judgment is only one part of the story. Just as God allowed the Israelites to finally enter the Promised Land, just as He allowed Moses to create a serpent of bronze to save the Israelites from the plague of snakes He sent among them, God allows us to enter back into redemption after our own falls. Easter comes after Lent. Easter redeems this time of remembering our own rebellion and separation from God. We remember that Good Friday did not have the last word. Jesus died on a Roman cross and rose from the tomb on the third day, absorbing the judgment meant for us and instead offering us mercy. He took the finality
Reflection on Judgment Caroline Noland The Road corps member
I judge you. I judge you for the money you spend on that new bracelet. I judge you for the way you over-spiritualize your morning coffee. I judge you because you never use public transportation. I judge you by your lack of awareness for anything outside your own neighborhood.
And I pass this judgment like one passes salt and pepper at the dinner table- casually, almost unconsciously, and regularly. It bellows up within me some days. It blocks any goodness in you like a cumulonimbus cloud.
Yet I’ve come to know what I judge most of all, is my own soul.
I see all the minutes I have in a day, how I fail to use each one productively and I find this detestable. I retroactively watch my words falling out of my mouth, spurting with bitterness and I recoil at my behavior. I notice all the ways you encourage and I perseverate on my selfishness. I judge you because I judge myself. This exchange of hypocrisy and raising of eyebrows and shaming, though, murders any hint of grace.
Because each moment I fail to offer you or myself forgiveness, an
Loving Darkness, Seeking Light Written by Justin Rose Life Together corps member
“And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”
What does it mean to love darkness? To me, it’s when we capitulate to and propagate systems of oppression, either for short-term gain or out of fear. Human darkness hangs like a tattered rag over our planet. Loving darkness looks like investing countless millions of dollars into private prisons or weapons systems with the primary goal of destroying life. Loving darkness looks like using secret drugs to execute people on death row or wielding technology to explode the tops of mountains and poison surrounding communities, all in the name of Profit. Darkness is murdering difference, strangling subversive Love and nailing it to a cross. Often those with the most power cling to darkness the