Daily Bread July 8

Unchallenged Presence
By Terry Brown of Pigeon, MI, USA

So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith. As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. —Galatians 6:9–10, 16 NRSV

I read recently a story from Spain where a man missed work for six years without anyone noticing. Employers discovered the oversight when they were about to give him an award for 20 years of “loyal and dedicated” service. In fact, after further review, there was no evidence that he had been to his office in 14 years. He had done no work during that time. His supervisors each thought that role rested with others.

The article amused me, not only because of the incompetence of the bureaucracy that allowed the condition, but also the brashness of the employee who allegedly continued to accept his salary. This would embarrass me if this was my company. I would be humiliated if the worker was a member of my family.

Who would (or would not) do such a thing?

Then I wondered if our congregations have similarly, by our passivity, allowed people to sit unchallenged Sunday after Sunday, sometimes for years? Maybe we even think of attendees as present in spirit just because they come to church each week. Do we think of others that do not attend as “unfaithful,” while we sit in the pews next to persons who needs ministry and do not respond? Are we absent to our family of faith?

Jesus says “My yoke is easy.” It is not hard to connect to Jesus, but we need to accept the yoke which provides direction and purpose to our lives. We need to know our leader and respond to the clear signals sent to us. We need to respond to the Spirit gently nudging us to move forward. We may not be sending paychecks to those who have stopped coming, but we still need to check on them occasionally to make sure they are all right.

Prayer for Peace

Compassionate God, forgive us for our judgmental musings. You call us only to love. Forgive us if we grow weary of doing what is right. Help us respond to every opportunity to promote peace.

Spiritual Practice: Offering Blessings of Community

Receive and share Blessings of Community. Begin with a prayer of gratitude for the friendships in your life. See and feel connections with family members, spiritual friends, people in your congregation and community, and people and creatures in God’s sacred web of life. What blessings flow to you from these circles? How have you responded to the love of the community?

Peace Covenant

Today, God, I will be fully present for another.

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