Sunday, May 1, 2011

Simple Acts of Kindness

Pastor Brad greeted us warmly on this Communion Sunday, despite the chilly reception our weather gave us, which included yet another dusting of snow. "I'm delighted you're here today," he said, and then briefly commented on the theme of his message. "Kindness is a serious act." It would be another seriously good message.

1. Mother's Day is next week and the men of the church will be helping prepare breakfast for the women and families of our church. If you are a man who would like to help, contact Jamie. There will be some prep work Saturday evening and waffle making Sunday.
2. There will be a prayer time after church to seek wisdom for the building project starting today.

The worship time was special, led by Brad on guitar, accompanied by Darlene.

Simple Acts of Kindness

Brad began by noting that kindness levels vary. Some people ooze kindness. Other are kind when they're in a good mood or when things are going their way. Still others are kindness challenged.

The Bible contains some very direct statements about kindness. In II Timothy 2 Paul states that we are to be kind to everyone. Colossians 3 has a verse that says "clothe yourself in kindness." It is like a garment we wear. II Peter states, "add to your faith kindness." And we're all quite familiar with the famous statement in I Corinthians 13, "Love is kind."

Brad's aim, in this message, is to call us to a higher level of kindness.

Some people, he has observed, seem to take nasty pills. They can be hurtful and even real jerks.

Sometimes even Christians are unkind, though Brad warned against being judgemental and harsh toward people. He cited C.S. Lewis' observation, "I wonder who hurt those people." When Christians are unkind, Lewis admonishes us to understand that everyone starts somewhere and many are in negative territory when they get saved. Brad's take is this: "No matter where you're starting from, Christ is calling you to a higher level of kindness."

Brad then outlined three levels of kindness.

Level 1 Kindness
Lowering and eliminating your nastiness disposition.
Having a bad day does not justify being unkind. Being a jerk is never O.K. If you're a Christian is is no longer cool. Ephesians 4:32 says, "Be kind and gentle, tenderhearted to one another."

Level 2 Kindness
When the Spirit reveals to you that kindness is a better way.
Retribution never works. We can see this in nearly any direction one looks. Kindness empowers us. It is not "a girl thing." Kindness can cross ethnic boundaries. And it can lower others' stress.

Level 3 Kindness
Graduate level.
This is when we start dreaming up ways to show outrageous kindness. Outside the box, creative kindness. Brad then shared the story of King David's over the boundaries kind of kindness which he showed to Mephibosheth, his extreme kindness to a crippled youth who was the son of his best friend, but also potentially an enemy by virtue of being the last living heir to the throne. Mephibosheth was totally undeserving of this kindness, the invitation to eat at the king's banquet table. And in this sense the story is a picture of Christ's kindness to us, for who among us is worthy of being on the receiving end of His great mercy and sacrificial love?

Kindness is what is needed, in our community, in our homes, and in the places we work.

At this, we shared the Sacrament of the Last Supper.

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