Where has all the courtesy and caring gone?
In my own roots and relationships, courtesy and caring were paramount while growing up on Detroit's east side in my family of nine.
Three marks distinguish one who seems to be ministering in the person of Christ and not just their own person:
A certain disinterestedness, (a take it or leave it attitude)
a right beneath the surface tranquility, (a serene spirit) and
an effortless humility (down-to earth).
These marks shimmer through the event and personality in such a way that the encounter is always much more than "just me."
In an age of self, myself, me, myself and I, the story looms larger than "just me."
When these marks shine through one, another may ask:
What are you up to?
How do you do it?
Who are you doing this for?
It is at this point that one shares authentic "good news," not before.
The caring or courtesy is much more than me.
It is deeper, wider, longer, swifter, and, more meaningful.
Signs of Christ energy are zeal, dedication, passion, hard work, or strong conviction.
These are not the marks referred to here.
These could be, however, more often than not, they are "ego" signs, insecurity and
immaturity in Christ, the Way, truth, and life.
Francis of Assisi showed Christian caring.
His contemporaries defined this "knightly soul' with the word, courtesy, the courtliness of the king.
His love was unaffected by class or position, or power, or prestige.
God's love poured thorugh him in a natural courtesy that placed all of his time, attention, knowledge, presence and caring at the humble disposition of the one right in front of him.
Francis believed that the "courtesy of the King" toward himself awakened the same courtesy in his own heart.
Courtesy, of course, refers to how the best behavior is modeled in the "court" of the king and queen.
It is the love of the Best that urges us to love better.
It is the charity and love of Christ that urges us to love better (2 Cor. 5:14).
It is the courteous Christ who partners us into ministries of caring.
Just me is too some for the larger Story I am inserted into for some limited years.
Kindness and politeness go deeper in Christ. The One who converts, cajoles, challenges and consoles, provides that extra something/Someone that kindess and politeness only beging to offer.
This all looks, feels good. It is not enough, however. Finally, it will be "just me."
Just me is too private, and dependent on personality. Not large enough to bring in the Chrsit figure who is larger than my life.
A good dose of this interior life would do us a world of good.