Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Losing ourselves...

"The gift of Christian service is this: the work we do in this life is the labor of losing ourselves to find--and to be found in--God."
Sr. Colleen Gibson, "Give Us This Day"

This made me sit up  a bit straighter and read it twice this morning. For a long time I felt the good I try to do in this life was earning me brownie points or paying my "fire insurance" as Richard Rohr likes to say. There was an element of delayed gratification in it--I do this now for a reward in heaven later. Gradually, I'm learning that the later is now. I do whatever I can to help in this world now, because of God within me, not to appease God or lure God over to my corner. God, residing within me, just wants to love others through me. As I lose myself and surrender to that, I experience my unity with God. It's all happening here and now, not in anticipation of some later pay off. When I struggle to love others well, I need to remember to let go of myself and just let God love through me. Easier said than done, of course! But, identifying that God is already working within me is a good start! As we go about our November Tuesday, let's remember that, as we struggle to love, that is not our true selves struggling...as we grow to let go of our false selves, God shines through. And God can brightly shine through even the tiniest little crack! Love, heidi

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Who we are...

"What are the things you have become too attached to or reliant upon that you need to let go of, to move closer to Christ?"
Pray-As-You-Go, November 7, 2019

Interestingly, I discovered an answer to this question just yesterday.  In an effort to reduce paper I have piling up around here, I went through and sorted out what I can shred. I went through my accordian file of receipts, important papers, you-know-the-stuff, and was able to part with much of it. I came to the file folder that contained several years of my old Performance Appraisals from my career with the Commission for the Blind. I worked there for 19 years and received, roughly, one per year and they were several pages each, so the math is easy to do--they take up space--get rid of them! But, in the morning as I thumbed through them, I wanted to keep them. Silly, I know. But it was a bit nice to relive a time when I felt more competent in what I was doing, thusly reflected in the appraisals...I did OK there and, in contrast, some days I feel so inept at my current job at school. I tucked them neatly away in their file folder and went on about the day. Last night, I took a walk through the neighborhood and pondered, with God, my need to hang onto the past like that. Long story short--I went through each report, reread it, and shredded them all when I returned from my walk. They represent the past, my "container," as Richard Rohr would call it, that I carefully built and honed for years. I am no longer that container, but am growing more closely to the True and Real me...who I am in God's eyes. I no longer need to hang onto a past that was good, but is just that--past. I only need what I need right now to do what I do, and only God can give me that. Who we were is part of who we are, but we are to transform, with God's help and grace, to be who we  truly are in God. And as we grow more deeply in love with God, that is much more important.  Love, heidi

Monday, November 4, 2019

Seeds of love...

"The saints saw suffering more as a door than a wall. Not 'this is the end' but where does God's artistry lead next? Focused on God, they didn't over-identify with their own success or failure."
Kathy Coffey, "Give Us This Day" (2017)

I was reading an old journal from two years ago and reread this little gem. Wow, right? I think we are wired from childhood that success is always the goal. Why do anything if you're aren't going to succeed, I remember hearing frequently. But we may never see the fruit of the seeds we are planting in our lives now. The seeds may take a long time to take root, sprout and grow, and we may be long gone by the time the blooms show up. But that doesn't mean we don't try--put forth the effort, till and nourish the soil, water and care for the seeds. Behind all of our action, there is God, nourishing and caring for us. Yesterday at worship, just after receiving communion, I sat and savored the nourishment that I knew was filling me. Everything I need within myself to do God's work in the world is in that nourishment. And I'm so grateful! Today, as we go about a November Monday, let's remember that God gives us all we need to do God's work in the world. The soil of our hearts has been carefully tended and nurtured, our seeds of love are sprouting for all, let's go out there and share! Love, heidi

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Just a wee bit...

"Like every other gift and grace from God, hope speaks through human voices and touch."
Kathy Coffey, "Give Us This Day"

And here's the thing...the human voices and touch needed are ours. It's up to us, those of us who look to God to right the world, to listen to God and find out what WE are to do. Lately, I have been struggling with my Homework Room duty at school. Students come in over their lunch recess and work on school stuff they need to finish. Think the movie "The Breakfast Club,"  I play the role of the poor soul that has to monitor them. (Yea, THAT guy!) I realize today's Gospel of the mustard seed and yeast address exactly what is needed to make the situation better for us all. A tiny bit more compassion and love will go a long way to help. A bit more patience, and loving concern, coming from me, will likely turn the whole thing around. I'm so grateful that God infuses me with the love first, so I can pass it along. God's love is already there, so I can draw from it all day long and share with others. Today, let's think and pray about the situations we find ourselves in, where just a wee bit of God will help the whole picture. That wee bit of God is already inside of us...we just need to tap into it. Love, heidi

Monday, October 21, 2019

Less is more...

"Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions."
Luke 12:15

It's difficult to explain to people, in this day and age, that I value wealth less and less as I get older. I tried to explain to the lady who handles my retirement account that I'm not interested in how much bigger it can grow. In fact, I told her, I want out of the market and just leave the bit that's in there. I'm trying to learn the lesson from our Gospel today (Luke 12:13-21) NOT to build bigger barns to store my wealth. My wealth can't be stored in a barn anyway! My wealth is my family and dear ones with whom I have shared time on this planet. My wealth also includes the visually impaired clients I grew to know and love through my career and the wee little "clients" I serve in my school job now. This is a lesson I haven't completely learned, mind you, but I'm in the process of learning. It's completely upside down from what I grew up believing. More is not better. More is just more and with more, there's more work. More to worry about, more to protect and keep track of...more to distract us from what's really important. Like I said, it's a work in progress, but this Gospel today brings it home. It's all about our relationships, with God, with loved ones, with strangers, with our fellow travelers on the journey. The more stuff we are carrying, the less able we are to reach out to others. Love, heidi

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

What God has made...

"For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, (God's) invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what (God) has made."
Romans 19-20

On my walk this morning, I noticed several trees in their full-on red glory. Other trees were still in the process of turning and their colors were almost iridescent.  Over all this beauty hung the still-almost-full moon, like a huge soccer ball, in the sky. Pray-As-You-Go asked us to reflect on what we see in creation and what does it tell us about God.  The tremendous beauty shows me how God is steadfast and never-changing, like the moon. Reassured in that, we are called to be like the trees, constantly transforming and letting go of ourselves--being open to regular shedding of the old and budding of something new. Under the steadfast love of God, we can allow our hearts to be changed, our attitudes and opinions to be transformed until we are able to look around us with eyes more like God's eyes. Our world is not just black and white. Our world is a mass of color and light, birth and death, sorrow and joy. Under God's loving gaze, we can learn to hold these paradoxes and ironies of our colorful world. Today, let's all find some time to be outside and experience the power and divinity that God shows us in creation. Especially this beautiful time of year, God is showing us, so vividly, the path of life. Love, heidi