Thursday, March 30, 2017

Holy Appreciation

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 87: Today... I am grateful for "holy appreciation."

The timeless Rev. Fred Rogers will forever hold the sweetest spot in my heart. We country kids never missed a chance to watch when the TV antenna had good enough reception for PBS to be watched. 

A minister who was discouraged by what was on the television... even back in the day... decided to jump off the complain train and BE the solution. This quote speaks a simple depth into what he offered every day... love for his neighbor: 

"I believe that appreciation is a holy thing- that when we look for what's best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we're doing what God does all the time. So, in loving and appreciation our neighbor, we're participating in something sacred." -Fred Rogers

Wow! Right?

He offered gratitude for all of his neighbors from the delivery men and the mailman... to vets, firemen, custodians, grocery clerks, nurses, teachers, people with disabilities, garbage collectors and grandparents. He honored every human he encountered by loving them with appreciation and gratitude. He tried to see each human... and even animals... with God-vision.

Not one of us is perfect, but if you watch even one episode, it is hard to miss the love that oozed from him. He loved. Children could not get enough. Even adults, who wanted to make fun of him found that love sucked them into the fan base. Every lesson was worthy of a watch. 

What if instead of reliving, rehashing and magnifying how each and every segment of the population has been wronged in one way or another- we spoke hope, appreciation and gratitude into their journey?

No one is perfect. Everyone has had "hard stuff". Some are wronged more than others. Anger and retribution are not justice and mercy. Change begins when we step away from the hurt and anger and choose to be the difference. Jump off the complain train and reign as children of the living God. 

It is the very reason Fred Rogers campaigned for his little television show that everyone told him would surely fail. They said such a show would never fly. They didn't know his Jesus. 

Remember Peter? He jumped off a fishing boat to follow Jesus. People thought him nuts. Jesus saw his potential and his worth.

Peter was warned he would betray Jesus... three times before the rooster crowed. Peter was almost always in the "inner circle" of what was happening with the disciples. Jesus kept him close. Why? I can't really say I know the mind of Jesus on this matter... but I know he loved them all equally and differently. Peter got things started... John was the Fred Rogers of the crew. 

Peter could be kind of a loose canon and Jesus needed to refine him for the mission ahead, and Jesus time was short. Peter would be "the rock" on which the church would form, grow and the good news of Christ would spread. Peter the Fisherman... electrifying evangelist... but he had to go through a little something tough to refine him. 

Denying Christ three times was his refining "fire". Jesus forgave him and the "Peter, do you love me?" question three times. "Lord, you know I love you was his reply." Jesus had forgiven him - but Peter needed to work through it to forgive himself. He found solid ground when he knelt before His risen Lord... took up his cross and follow. He had a "holy appreciation" of Jesus that few others could fully grasp at that time. 

Peter's hard stuff was an integral part of his refinement. He made mistakes... Christ forgave. Some things... horrible things... we can't take back and get a "re-do". We have to learn and move forward. We have to BE THE CHANGE we want the world to see. We must be his hands and feet. 

The prophet Isaiah wrote these words about Jesus: 

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. Isaiah 53:3-4

He bore our sins and our shame on the cross so that we could be free of sin. True belief results in real change. It all comes down to this...

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

A holy appreciation for WHO God is... the great I AM... and an appreciation of the children he created and loves. All of them. 

Today... I am grateful for "holy appreciation."

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