Daily Reflection
May 6th, 2002
Barbara Dilly
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
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Acts 16:11-15
Psalms 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 9
John 15:26--16:4

How do we identify the faithful?  Or better yet, how do others identify us as the faithful?  This question is the focus of my reflection today.  I think that in general, other people identify me as one of the faithful because I am a pretty cheerful person.  I am usually more likely to sing the praises of God by going around with a smile on my face than to grumble about life.  But lately, I am not so sure that I have been exulting in glory.  I’ve been grumbling. 

Since last September, when I became the owner of a charming old house in Dundee, I have been trying to convince myself that this home is one of God’s many blessings.  I still think that in the long run, this will be true.  It got the house for an unbelievable low price and property values are going up in my neighborhood.  Sure, the house needed some tender loving care but I have lots of “fix-it” skills.  And I am patient.  I don’t need everything to be perfect right now.  I was willing to let go of the desire to paint and do some wallpapering.  I even resisted the temptation to put in more than one package of tulip bulbs.  After all, I am frugal and well disciplined.  My first priority is my job.

So much for being in control of my priorities.  Here are just a few of the highlights, disasters, that tormented me.  The drain's backed up.  A neighbor backed up into my back porch and detached it from the house.  A retaining wall began to fall on another neighbor’s driveway and I had to have it removed during a thunderstorm.  Then the furnace quit four times, each time when I was out of town at a conference or faculty immersion.  The utility company had to install a new gas line in the middle of one of the coldest nights in the winter.   I don’t think I’ve been smiling as much lately and more than once, I just sat down and cried.  Friends suggested I watch the film “The Money Pit.”  I did.  I couldn’t even laugh.  I don’t think God is blessing me with my house.  And I wonder if I have been acting like one of the faithful.  With all my grumbling and exclamations of despair, how would anyone consider me to be a believer in the Lord? 

In today’s readings Lydia says, “If you consider me to be a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.”  The readings challenge me to demonstrate my faithfulness by inviting other believers to visit my home.  Maybe not inside, it is truly a disaster.  But outside, if I listen to the Spirit of truth, I can see where God is blessing me with my house.  There are violets everywhere.  The tulips came up.  The lilacs are blooming.  Birds are singing and building nests.  I have decided to join with them in singing the praises of God. 

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