Pause

It’s a new school year. Time to get back to the books. Time for thinking and learning.

Where is my mind today? In a place of curiosity, faith, understanding, and love? Or preoccupied with fear, doubt, injury, and hatred?

I open my mind and invite God’s love to move through me.

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Listen

Avoid foolish and thoughtless discussions, since you know that they produce conflicts. God’s slave shouldn’t be argumentative but should be kind toward all people, able to teach, patient, and should correct opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will change their mind and give them a knowledge of the truth.

2 Timothy 2:23-25

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Think

How are we supposed to be kind and patient toward ALL people? What about those who are hateful, ignorant, stubborn, obnoxious, aggressive, or just plain wrong? God instructs us to teach. Teaching does not mean lecturing a person until they submit to our way of thinking. A good teacher invites the other person’s understanding, which often means listening first. An effective teacher is able to stay calm and explore multiple perspectives. A wise teacher assumes the other person might have something to teach them! A wonderful teacher sees everyone as they are – children of God.

As humans we can become attached to our thoughts above all else, treating them as though they’re the most real thing – “triggered.” Then we close off to new information, different ideas, and other opinions. If you want to be a teacher in Christ, learn to recognize when you become attached to your thoughts. Tools such as mindfulness, prayer, and meditation help us stay close to God and close to one another, even those we disagree with.

Alex Flannagan

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Pray

Dear God, loving Creator, perfect Teacher, thank you for creating me in your image and sending Jesus to show me what it means to be a Christian. Teach me to be kind and patient and to listen (really listen) to those I disagree with, that I might be reminded of the things we have in common, not just the things that make us different. Bless and protect me as I learn to watch my thoughts, noticing them emerge and allowing them to pass by without becoming too invested in them. I ask these things, trusting and believing in you with open mind and open heart. Amen.

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Go

Go unashamed and proudly, for God made you you.

You are a divine instrument of God’s peace.

No need to overthink it – go and play your song!

Alex Flannagan

Alex Flannagan grew up in a small town in the English countryside. After moving to Washington state at 19 years old, he spent ten summers working at an Episcopal summer camp. Alex now serves as the youth ministry coordinator for the Episcopal Church in Western Washington and in his free time enjoys being outdoors with his dog Charlie.

Veils of Morning

Jon Chacko

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