Wednesday, April 28, 2010
For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. 1 Thessalonians 2:5-8
When we were expecting our first child, we talked to our doctor about having the birth in water - it was very popular in the late 70's and was to be a gentle and kind way for a child to enter the world. I have always found water to be comforting and soothing to me, so I was a big proponent of this idea. Our doctor and his wife, who was also a doctor, suggested, very gently, that if we wanted to see what real life was like with children, we should come to their house. Life, in their house was neither gentle nor quiet. Their brood was loud and boisterous and he reminded us that life is loud and boisterous. Entering the world is not gentle, he reminded us, and there was no real way to get around it. Besides that, it would be totally impractical, if not impossible at Johns Hopkins Hospital. We laughed and realized we were asking for what we could not have. We also knew we have the best doctors and we trusted them with our new life. The gentleness in our lives would have to come from us.
Paul suggests that out of love for the people, they were gentle and tender in their relationships. They were willing to put aside their own intentions and opinions and care for the people. The love of God in their hearts awaken a gentleness and tenderness that they might otherwise have demonstrated. How remarkable, that this canon lawyer, this outspoken defender of the faith was moved to a gentle and tender compassion, even where he felt that folks were slow to follow and change. God stirred up in him and his companions a new and necessary way of being - gentle and compassionate -like a mother with her newborn child.
Today, I want to remember how harsh the world can be to all of us and how we each need gentleness and tenderness in our lives. The best thing I can do today is offer gentleness and kindness to all I meet - no matter how cruel and boisterous the world becomes. May God moved within us all today, so that we,like Paul, might have such affection for those around us, that our hearts are moved to compassion and gentle, tender care in every moment.