GREAT LEADERS BUILD BRIDGES

Christ Bridge to GodFor it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 23:8-9

 

When I accepted Christ as my personal savior, I was twenty-nine years old. I had not attended church regularly in my life; I knew nothing about the Bible and what it meant. But my sister had once given me a King James version of God’s Word, and I discovered that I could suddenly read and understand the text somewhat. Knowing I needed much more understanding, I enrolled in a weeks-long course called the Bethel Series, which used graphic illustrations to help those in the class remember what various Scripture passages meant. The one I remember the most clearly to this day is the illustration of the cross of Christ bridging the gap between humankind (me) and sin (also me), leading to reunion and reconciliation with God.

 

I soon began to understand that (a) by my very nature as a human being, I am a sinner, falling short of God’s glory, and (b) I didn’t need to do anything because Christ’s death on the cross had already bridged the gap between me and God. His cross stood for Grace, the unearned, unmerited forgiveness of my faults, shortcomings, stupid behavior, and all the rest that I thought was a permanent stain on my life. Gone. Just like that. And after several decades of following Christ, I am still gob smacked that, in spite of my continued “humanness,” the Lord’s mercies are new every morning.

 

Over the years, I have realized how inexplicably intertwined my career path of social work and counseling have been with my faith walk. I have always been an empath, showing heartfelt compassion and caring for those I met in my life. But being a practicing Christian deepened the meaning behind that concern for others and filled in the cracks with renewed purpose. And in all my work years, I could clearly see that effective leaders—including myself—build bridges to connect people. How else, I asked myself often, would we ever get “unstuck” without the bridges? It had worked for me in a simple introductory religion class, and it works for all of us.

 

Jesus, strengthen us to follow Your example and create bridges to wholeness for others. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

OPTIMIST AT THE APOCALYPSE

Optimist at the Apocalypse“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down….” Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to be fulfilled?” Mark 13:2-4

 

I recently read an article describing a prominent female political figure as “an optimist at the Apocalypse.” I did not agree with that assessment, and no, I won’t name the political figure or the writer! But I began to think what that would mean to stand watching this world spin out of control and out of existence and be optimistic about that event. Webster defines “optimist” as “a person who is inclined to be hopeful and to expect good outcomes.” And the Apocalypse is described as “the expectation of an imminent cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil and raises the righteous to life in a messianic kingdom.” So observing this “cosmic cataclysm” with mirth and glee might not be everyone’s picture of the “end times.” Hollywood has made many people very rich producing disaster movies that bring viewers to the edges of their theater seats if not their sanity. It is downright scary to consider being a witness to the earth’s demise!

 

The Gospel of Mark recounts Jesus telling the disciples a bit about what the end times will be like. He speaks of false prophets, deception, “wars and rumors of wars,” earthquakes, and famines (Mark 13:6-8). But still the timing of the end will not be clear to us. Many cling to the promise that “the gospel must first be preached to all nations” (v. 10) before the end will come. But we are not to concern ourselves with what we must say if asked to tell why we believe in God’s merciful love, kindness and justice. Jesus says, “Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit” (v. 14).

 

Why is it whenever the disciples—like us—are freaking out about life, Christ just raising His holy hand and says, “Fear not?” Well, if there ever was an “optimist at the Apocalypse,” friends and neighbors, that would be Jesus Himself.

 

Lord, You say “Fear not.” Teach us to trust You today and always. Amen

 

Alone on a Colorado mountain, Meg Corrigan faced the unthinkable, a situation that almost ended her life. Learn the details of her astounding rescue from the hands of a gun-wielding attacker and how she walked off that mountain. Hers is a story of tragedy turned holy, a journey of sorrow and healing, a powerful message of hope in the darkest hour. In her memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, Meg credits her resilience to the grace of God. She is also the author of Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, tales based on her years as a drummer in a Hawaiian show band; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, released this month. Meg is a retired college counselor, author, speaker, trainer and sexual assault survivor. She speaks to churches, civic groups, college students, mental health professionals and law enforcement personnel, as well as youth in juvenile facilities. She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota with her husband, Patrick. She loves to coax seemingly dead plants out of the soil in her yard. The couple have four daughters, ten grandchildren and a great-grandchild on the way. Contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net or www.MegCorrigan.com .

CRUISE CONTROL

Cruise Control“Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” Luke 8:45

 

There was a frozen fog the morning I picked Agnes up at the farm. Her only child, Edgar, stood peering at me from the barn. I went in the house and helped Agnes pack her one small suitcase, but I didn’t see Edgar sneak in behind me. We turned to leave, his mother hugged him. He looked straight at me and said, “Take care of her.” “I will,’ I said. After forty-six years of marriage, Agnes, a sixty-five year-old farm wife of an alcoholic and violently abusive man, was going to a women’s shelter seventy miles away. The public health nurse had told me the family were “backward.” Edgar did two years in the Army but came right home to help his mother. Seventy milk cows and thirty stanchions meant lots of bellering in the cow yard. His father Alfred could not be counted on. The corn stood unharvested. I didn’t know which was greener: the young county social worker picking Agnes up or the withering stocks in the field.

 

Oddly, we passed Alfred on the gravel road as he was returning to the farm, driving the tractor because he had lost his license for driving drunk. Agnes didn’t even duck, and Alfred wouldn’t know my vehicle anyway. I hit the highway and set the cruise. Agnes stared wide-eyed. “The car drives herself?” she asked. “How can thaThe shelter staff saw Agnes to her tiny room and explained the daily schedule. We all feared she would not fit in with the younger women and their small children at the shelter. But Agnes surprised us. She became the “house mother” to all those new moms; their children flocked to their new “grandma.” Agnes had been courageous to leave her abusive husband. She had turned off the “cruise control” of her daily life of sorrow and found a place where she was useful and cared for. Just as the woman who touched the robe of Christ found there was hope for healing and new life, Agnes found a way to begin again.

 

Lord of Justice, the hands of those suffering domestic violence are reaching out for help. Show them ways to break the chains that bind them and lead then to better lives. Amen

 

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you or someone you know suffers at the hands of an abuser, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-7997233. Is this abuse? Follow this link: https://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/