Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing devotions based on the United Methodist membership vows, where we pledge to support the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. This week’s focus is PRESENCE.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.
To be present for and with someone means to meet them where they are and care for them where they are.
You know this already. Have you ever tried sharing good news with someone who doesn’t meet your level of excitement and enthusiasm for it? It’s crushing. But find someone who will pop the champagne and celebrate with you? Amazing.
Likewise, have you ever had someone come to you ready to laugh and joke when you’re feeling really low? All you want in that moment is for this person to go away and leave you alone. But if a friend approaches you quietly, gently, ready to listen more than they speak? That’s genuinely a balm for the soul.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” It’s a reminder to be human.
Though a lot of Christians might live like it, we are not thieves who conspire to steal joy.
But we’re also not meant to be those who blindly spew positivity to whitewash real pain. You’ve probably seen the sticker or the T-shirt that says, “good vibes only.” I hate that sticker.
Why? Because we’re not about “good vibes only.” We’re about good vibes mostly.
That is, we do all we can to be positive, joyful, and hopeful, while allowing room for ourselves and others to be fully human. That means allowing people room to experience the full range of human emotions, and supporting them as they’re going through it, whatever it is. Things are hard sometimes, and that’s ok. We don’t love people through hard times by denying their experience.
God honored our humanity by walking with us and feeling the things we feel. We honor God and each other by being present for people where they are. Good vibes mostly!
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Do you tend to be more guilty of squashing joy or squelching sorrow? Why do you think that is? Is God leading you toward a different kind of reaction to people today?
Prayer: God, today help us to honor the humanity of those we love by being present to them in whatever emotional state they bring – happy, sad, or anything in between. Teach us to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep. Amen.
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