Monday, January 24, 2005
Once a church had fallen upon hard times. Only five members were left: the pastor and four others, all over 60 years old.
In the mountains near the church there lived a retired Bishop. It occurred to the pastor to ask the Bishop if he could offer any advice that might save the church. The pastor and the Bishop spoke at length, but when asked for advice, the Bishop simply responded by saying, "I have no advice to give. The only thing I can tell you is that the Messiah is one of you."
The pastor, returning to the church, told the church members what the Bishop had said. In the months that followed, the old church members pondered the words of the Bishop. "The Messiah is one of us?" they each asked themselves. As they thought about this possibility, they all began to treat each other with extraordinary respect on the off chance that that one among them might be the Messiah. And on the off chance that each member himself might be the Messiah, they also began to treat themselves with extraordinary care.
As time went by, people visiting the church noticed the aura of respect and gentle kindness that surrounded the five old members of the small church. Hardly knowing why, more people began to come back to the church. They began to bring their friends, and their friends brought more friends. Within a few years, the small church had once again become a thriving church, thanks to the Bishop's gift.
Self-fulfilling prophecy. It is one of the most amazing tricks, traits and wonders of the human existence. The very sheer ability to will a moment or action into being - mind over matter, or in this case above, spiritual over physical...
It has been stated that if one should possess the faith of a mustard seed, he/she would be able to move mountains... anything would be possible. To breathe life into a parish took only a simple matter of faith. Not specific faith, but just enough to treat each other with "extraordinary" respect and care... just in case. Now imagine if we were only more sure of the specificity and did this with one another across this great big globe.
Perhaps this is the very "coming of the Kingdom" - when we treat each other with extraordinary respect and care. It is this very caring and simple act that attracts moths to a flame... and humans to the Flame.
Fan the Flame of humanity in your own life. You may never know who you will impact by your simple act of extraordinary respect and care.
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