Bishop Karen Oliveto's Weekly Message (7/22/23)

July 24, 2023
I am praying for the laity and clergy of the Mountain Sky Conference as we prepare to gather for worship on Sunday.

This week, The United Methodist Church lost a spiritual giant—retired Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar. His death hit me hard, and when I reflected on this, I realized it was because of the depth of his kindness and the mark he left on me. From his welcoming embraces to the way he looked you in the eye when he asked you how you were, he was a man who was fully present, grounded in grace, and an embodiment love.

I have been thinking all week about kindness. I do think it is a quality we easily dismiss and a power we underestimate. Think about the ways others have brought hope and healing into your life. It’s not usually the grand gestures we think of, but the small ways people saw us, responded to us and our needs, offered a squeeze on the arm, prayed for us, called us out of the blue, sent a card of encouragement, caught our tears.

Scripture tells us that kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5). Paul encourages, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32). Jesus embodied kindness in the ways he saw those the world overlooked, ate with the outcasts, healed those who were hurting, and washed the feet of his disciples.

We live in a world that is in dire need of kind people. Too many of us are stepping over or around those in need. Too many of us allow anger, resentment, frustration, and impatience get the better of us, so we fail to do the simple things that express kindness. We forget that our small, random acts of kindness, powered by the Holy Spirit, make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Consider ways you might express kindness today.

Pray the words to this hymn by Margaret Cropper:
Jesus' hands were kind hands, doing good to all,
healing pain and sickness, blessing children small,
washing tired feet and saving those who fall;
Jesus' hands were kind hands, doing good to all.
Take my hands, Lord Jesus, let them work for you;
make them strong and gentle, kind in all I do;
let me watch you, Jesus, till I'm gentle too,
till my hands are kind hands, quick to work for you.

With love,
Bishop Karen