Archive for August, 2013


Greetings everyone!

Good to be back with a post today.  Since my last post, ‘sequestration’ has ended early thankfully!  I have no more mandatory Monday’s off for now.  A lot of course remains unanswered concerning next fiscal year’s budgeting so for now, I am very thankful that its over. 

Also since last time the Gryder Family went on the yearly beach trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  This was our first year without my father being there.  He’d picked out the house before he passed away last December. 

I’ve been trying to find time to get a posting up and yesterday and today seemed the best opportunities so, I’d like to pick up where we left off.  Today I’m encouraging you to take time to view the enjoyable video discussion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV8lp7d5yWA with my good friend, Rev. Greg Ott.

Greg is a pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  After he and I finished an evening workout on the tennis court, I asked him about the next topic in our ‘spiritual stone’ series journey: ‘ministry’.

Greg emphasized the importance of ‘ministry’ and how it is a word of action.  We see people performing acts of kindness and compassion (‘living like they mean it’) around us all the time.  We recognize that being our brothers keeper is, for most Christians, an act of ‘ministry’.  But what about the individual who doesn’t attend church, the non-believer, or perhaps the seeker that doesn’t get that the leaves they raked up for their neighbor without asking was an act of ‘ministry’?  And what about the Muslim, the Jew and other faiths; what do they believe about ‘ministry’? 

 Thanking someone for an act of ‘ministry’ you see them carry out, bringing it to their attention is, in itself ‘ministry’. The ‘teaching moment’ opportunity for conversation whether it be with a believer, non-believer or someone of another faith, makes it so we’re able to share our story “of the Jesus you understand”, to “make our claim in a loving way”.  

Today’s world community presents us as ‘Jesus Followers’ with a tremendous opportunity for ‘ministry’.  It is up to us as active people of faith to act and in the spirit of ministerial compassion go through the doors that are opened to us.  The spiritual stone of ‘ministry’ is truly and important key to who we are and to ‘Living Like You Mean It’.

Peace and thanks again to Greg for his participation. Until next time.

-Ray

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What a ‘Fellowship’!

When I think of fellowship, I think of spiritual connection.  I think of a community coming together in the face of a natural disaster or some other tragedy.  I think of people sharing their stories and their lives in ways to bring compassion and peace to one another.   Fellowship is about weathering the storms and getting back on your feet.  Fellowship is about individuals lifting one another; living like you mean it, helping others live like they mean it.

In exploring this weeks ‘spiritual stone’ of ‘Fellowship‘ I remember August 6, 1993.  That day a tornado swept through several central Virginia communities causing a substantial amount of damage and several lost.  Today’s video posting was recorded in one of those localities, the ‘Old Towne’ area of the City of Petersburg, my hometown.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYhNgqxvnck&feature=youtu.be

As I write this post, I think too of the coming together of the many people who through their ‘fellowship’ helped in on an another far more tragic August 6th.  In 1945 the people of Hiroshima in Japan suffered the devastating effects of the worlds first nuclear bombing.  In the coming weeks, months and years, many people worked in ‘fellowship’ to heal the wounds of war suffered by so many.

I have seen ‘fellowship’ exhibited on many occasions by various men I’ve encountered over the years both as a participant and a leader at men’s retreat events.  Seeing men lift one another spiritually through their collective ‘fellowship’ and individual ‘fellowship’ is a true gift the Creator has allowed me to see.  I have witnessed more than once men praying one on one, or in deep conversation, meditating; reassuring and sharing words of love, guidance and compassion.  Men connecting as ‘Jesus Followers’ is truly a sight to behold and experience.  I remember in 2010 standing in a room of about 75 men all in small groups of 4 or 5.  The room hummed with dialogue and discussion the speaker had instructed take place, but then slowly the dialogue shifted from conversations with one another to conversations with God.  Group by group the sound of intimate prayers; bare, open requests were being lifted aloud throughout the room.  I recall the guest speaker and I sharing a joyful smile in response to the joyful noise saying,”Wow!” to one another as we looked on.

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Whether in time of despair or time of joy, the collective intimacy and human aspect of ‘fellowship’ and its ability to tap into the cosmic, mystical spirituality within the depths of our souls is a gift from God.  It connects us and makes us whole.  We need and feed on the holy connection of ‘fellowship’ and the peace it brings to ourselves and to others; safe and secure, leaning on the everlasting arms.

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Have a great week!

Up next: ‘Ministry’

Peace,

Ray

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