Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Energy You Bring into this Space

I took a few days at the end of May to spend time with my parents in Houston. One of my mother’s favorite shows is the Oprah Winfrey Show. On May 25, Oprah broadcast her last show and I watched the show with my Mom. Oprah’s last show was actually a monologue, with no guest stars, no car giveaways. She imparted some of the lessons that she had learned in 25 years of hosting her show. I was impressed that Oprah gave a teaching, instruction for life using plain language and real examples. Essentially, Oprah gave a very effective sermon.

In her “sermon,” one of the nuggets of wisdom that Oprah shared was something she learned years ago from one of her guests, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. Dr. Taylor told Oprah that a lesson for life is this:

Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space.

Everyone has energy. Some people have energy that is upbeat and optimistic. Others have an energy that is pessimistic and defeated. I have known some people who, just by walking into a room, can either suck the life out of the room, or can fill the room with radiant joy.

Jesus has energy, as well. And Jesus takes responsibility for the energy he brings into the room. To the Pharisees and religious muckety-mucks, Jesus is responsible for his energy that calls us to task for injustice, bigotry and hypocrisy. To prostitutes and tax collectors, Jesus is responsible for his energy that calls us to forgiveness and grace. To everyone, Jesus is responsible for his energy of tough love that calls us to lay down our lives for our friends, even on a cross.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the energy that I bring into a room. At home, do I bring an energy of engagement with my family, or a preoccupation with things from earlier in the workday? At my work, do I bring an energy of optimism, or of pessimism? At church, do I bring into worship an energy that is ready for prayer and praise, or a mind packed with a to-do list for Sunday afternoon?

To me, a good thing (no, a great thing) about being a Christian, is that the Spirit of Jesus helps me to bring a more loving and merciful energy into spaces. The Holy Spirit, when invited, can fill in the gaps where Jeff Fisher’s energy falls short, so that Jesus’ Spirit of Love can assist me to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.

This summer, I invite us to ponder the energy that we bring into our homes, into our workplaces, into our places of leisure, into this church. When our own energy seems to fall short, invite the energy and power of Jesus (aka the Holy Spirit) into the space, as well.

Take responsibility for your own energy - and invite Jesus’ energy into the spaces of your life.

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