Thursday, November 15, 2018

Like a child...

"For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you."
Luke 17:21

"Did your hair used to be all black and now it's turning white?" We have a new kid in second grade and he needed to clear up the question of my hair color before we could get to the spelling words.  There are so many times I feel like I'm on a TV sit com and cannot possibly say, out loud, the funny things the writers are giving me to say. But the whole experience of this job is showing me the Kingdom of God, right here, right now. It's not always hilariously funny. Some of the kids' comments are maddening. Like the kid who was angry with me and looked down at my Mary Jane shoes and said scathingly, "You don't even know how to tie your shoes." (At the time that was maddening, but now it's funny. Sort of.) I think we tend to romanticize the Kingdom of God, but in reality, Jesus is telling us the Kingdom of God may be challenging. The Kingdom of God may test our mettle. If the Kingdom is among us now it is difficult, filled with life and death, rejoicing and suffering, mourning and dancing. What makes it the Kingdom of God is the presence of God among us and I think that is what Jesus is giving us with this passage. The Kingdom of God is among us because God is among us...right in the middle of the mess. God is surrounding us with revealing situations and people who show us, sometimes more clearly than others, God's presence in the midst of this life.  It's may be easier to see the presence of God in second graders, that is why Jesus set a child in the middle of the disciples and told them to be more like children. Let's look closely at our lives today and see the Kingdom of God right here right now, no matter who it is revealing God to us. Love, heidi

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Seeking God's will...

"My chief care should not be to find pleasure or success, health or life or money or rest or even things like virtue and wisdom...But in all that happens, my one desire and my one joy should be to know: 'Here is the thing that God willed for me. In this God's love is found, and in accepting this I can give back God's love to God...'"
Thomas Merton, "New Seeds of Contemplation"

Whoa...does this sound like a gamer-changer to anyone? All this time we thought we were striving for success, even success in holiness. And all along if we just seek to find God's will for us, God will meet us right there! If you have been reading some of the same spiritual sources I have these last several years, we've learned that God's will for us can be found by searching our own deep desires. Wow. Fabulous, isn't it? We can find God's grace and presence all over our lives as we seek our deepest desires. God will be there, bolster us up, cheer us on, send others to help us. Days that we struggle to get a head of steam for what we are to accomplish just need to be lifted up. We will be helped from the inside, but also those around us can be shining lights for us, too. As we are going about our daily doings, we are loving God with God's own gift of Love to us. Brilliant, really. Let's spend some time with this in prayer and see where it takes us! Love, heidi

Friday, November 9, 2018

Ms. Not Me...

"Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwells in you?"
1 Corinthians 3:16

Pray-As-You-Go asked this morning if we are aware of this presence of God within us? Can we ever sense that there is a light within we can identify as God? I thought about it and realized that there are so many times when "Not Me" does or says stuff that sure isn't me! Ms. Not Me surprises me with a reserve reservoir of patience just when I need it. Not Me says much kinder things than I usually do or that my mind may be thinking. Not Me seems to take more positive action than I could ever think to take, for others. I'm pretty sure Not Me is God's indwelling Spirit within me. All of us are graced with the dwelling of God within us. That is why it is so important that we treat each other as lovingly as we can! God dwells in me as well as in you, and you, and you! Realizing that, we can rely on the spirit of God to influence us to be the best we can be. We also realize that everyone has this indwelling, not just the people we like or who are like us. So, Ms. Not Me really IS me, just a little nicer version of me, with God's pulse beating within me. Today, this autumn Friday and all weekend, let's make a special attempt to treat each other like special containers of God's Spirit. And let's rely on that very Spirit within us to do it with love. Love, heidi

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The heaviest purse of all...

"In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple."
Luke 14:33

Yesterday, in my first grade reading group, we had the word "eek!" in a story. Good thing, because I can use it effectively today. Eek! I say, Jesus. This seems a bit harsh, especially to someone like me who has done quite a bit of renouncing possessions in the last couple of years. So I sit and ask myself, what is there left to renounce? It comes to me easily from a book I read last year on retreat. According to St. Francis, we must set down the "purse of our own opinions." Another excellent opportunity to use the word Eek! That is the heaviest purse I own, truly. But what if my opinions are right? Do I still need to set them down? I think we need to hold them very lightly. Have a gentle, loose grip on our own opinions and try not to shove them down anyone else's throat. Don't think just because we are so right that everyone who disagrees with us is wrong. It's a good lesson to have the day after an election, don't you think? The lessons I am learning from St. Francis are to live our opinions instead of just carrying them around in a footlocker. If we live our lives in the manner of our Gospel beliefs, we won't have to say a word, much less preaching our opinions to others or hitting people over the head with them. So, today, let's think about how we can actually live what we believe as followers of Jesus. Let's consider setting down the heavy purse of our own right-ness and just go about our day, living Matthew 25:31-46. Love, heidi

Monday, November 5, 2018

Hello Dearest...

"Hello Dearest, I'm so glad it's you!"
Anne Lamott, "Almost Everything"

Author Anne Lamott has a friend who always answers the phone, "Hello Dearest, I'm so glad it's you!" Anne says she thinks that is how God responds when she prays, even at her "least attractive." I read this book while on retreat and the minute I read that line (and  it's early--page 6) I heard God saying that to me too. I don't know how any of us survived with any kind of spirituality when we were raised with the idea that God was still mad at us for the sin of Adam. Really? We were taught to do this and that to appease God and this was to be a lifelong pursuit. I still shudder when I remember nervously entering the confessional to tell all my most heinous sins (I was 8) to an invisible man behind a screen. Gratefully, things changed, and were a bit more user-friendly, by the time our kids went through the process, but still. What if we had been taught that whenever we pray God is tickled to death to hear from us and says joyfully, "Hello Dearest! I'm so glad it's YOU!" God loves us. Even at our most unattractive or disagreeable. We need to accept and get used to that fact. Maybe it would help us if we could imagine God so delighted to hear from us, each time we reach out. "Hello Dearest! I'm so glad it's YOU!" Let's bask in that beautiful image this autumn Monday! Love, heidi

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Our Divine heritage...

"Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are."
1 John 3:1

One of the classes I help with at school is learning about genotypes and phenotypes. As I am finding I need to do often, I asked a kid what they were all about and he explained it to me. Naturally, when I read this, this morning, I thought of the fact that God created us in God's image, we are God's children, so therefore, God's traits and qualities are already wired into us. God is love, therefore we have that in us too. We are made to love and made to reflect the qualities of God, just as a blue-eyed person carries that trait of a parent. We have a divine heritage, not a sinful one. We may not always act out of our divine heritage, but we are also human beings who sometimes act solely out of our own self interest and not always from our true selves. Our true selves are who we are in God. God's own little progeny; and we need to remember that! Whether we have hazel eyes from our mother, or brown curly hair from our father, we know that we have a nature of love within us from our Divine Parent. Once we tap into that love and share it with everyone, the world will be a better place! Love, heidi