Monday Morning Magic

My alarm went of at 5:15AM. I leapt up, made my bed, grabbed a shower, dressed in the clothes I set out the night before, and raced out the door. Between getting dressed and dashing out the door I did pause to make sure that Mom’s meds and breakfast were set out exactly the way she likes them.

Once out the door I headed for the the place I love to be on Monday mornings: The Animal League of Green Valley. Choosing to volunteer on Monday mornings is the best thing I ever done. My week starts out with lots of wags and puppy kisses. I walk whoever I can, and love every moment whether I’m being pulled along or stopping to smell every leaf. Then when every dog is walked by all the volunteers, we hang out for socialization and some training.

There are times when I ache for my dogs back in Ohio. I would rescue in a heartbeat, but Mom can’t handle the stress or the dander. I’d volunteer every day, but Mom can barely handle me being gone for one day. So I suck the life out of my time away and give thanks for this respite that feeds my soul.

As I was reflecting back on my morning doggy therapy session, I had a pang of sadness. For a brief moment I was reminded of the Syrophoenician woman who had a conversation with Jesus. It went like this:

Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the region of Tyre and Sidon. And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely demon-possessed.” But He did not answer her with even a word. And His disciples came up and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us!” But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” Yet He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” And she said, “Yes, Lord; but please help, for even the dogs feed on the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed at once (Mark 15:21-28, NLT).

I love this story. She wasn’t asking for the world. She was, in her own mind, willing to settle for “crumbs that fell from the table.” The scraps. The castoffs. Jesus commended her for her persistence and her faith. The Apostle Paul said it this way: little is much when God is in it.

So while others are dreading Mondays, I’m ready for the “crumbs.” They more than satisfy.

Lenten Thoughts: Bubblin’

(This post originally appeared as a note on Facebook seven years ago. While I wrote it on a Monday, the truth applies to every day.)

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It’s Monday morning. And if that’s not enough, it’s the Monday morning after spring time change. So this morning, I’m not feeling very bubbly. I have been accused of having an effervescent personality, which sometimes (like on Monday mornings) is described as annoying.

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Enthusiasm and eagerness should be words that describe us all as believers. According to Paul, “He (Jesus) gave himself for us to set us free from every wrong and to cleanse us so that we could be his special people who are enthusiastic about doing good deeds (Titus 2:14, ISV).

There are certain words I have discovered over the years which have impacted my faith and practice as a Christian. The Greek word for enthusiastic or zealous is one of them. It’s a word that conjures up the image of frothing over. One of the first pictures that comes to mind is the classic volcano science experiment many had to do as kids. Adding the right ingredient, at the right time, in the right quantity resulted in an erupting volcano.

The ingredient making all the difference for us as believers is Jesus. He embodies everything we need. When we take him in, we experience a cleansing, a bubbling up that results in a bubbling over of eagerness and enthusiasm to serve him.

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Now when I think about being enthusiastic and eager I don’t think about waiting to be asked. Enthusiastic believers look for, and anticipate ways to serve–to do good things for the Kingdom. A few weeks ago one of the staff members at church was inviting people to fill out a survey to identify ways they were interested in serving through the Church. She kept describing it as a pool of volunteers. In my mind, I had this image of the community pool in summer. Remember how we had to get out every now and then and rest? We would be watching the clock and counting down, eagerly anticipating getting back in the pool. That eagerness should be what we feel as we think about serving: it’s so hard to wait!

It’s still Monday, and I’m still a bit tired, but I’m also excited! This new day holds all kinds of possibilities for service, some I’m aware of and planning for already. But there will be others that just present themselves to me. Tired or not, here comes the bubbling!

Do you remember the old Sunday School/Camp song: Jesus love is a bubblin’ over….babababubblin’…babababubblin’…..