Thursday, January 17, 2019

Take action...

"Turning our feelings into practical action is one expression of solidarity. Jesus was good at finding ways to be with and support people and was a living expression of solidarity."
Pray-As-You-Go, January 17, 2019

No doubt, Jesus had a powerful belief system. He grew up in a Jewish home, going through the prescribed rituals and studying the scriptures. He was a faithful Jewish man. But, all through scripture, Jesus took it a step further. Jesus showed the people of his time, as well as the rest of us, that it isn't enough just to believe, we are called to go further. Our actions must follow our beliefs to make them real and living. In today's Gospel (Mark 1:40-45), Jesus seemingly goes against the Jewish laws about touching lepers and heals the leper who comes to him for help. Jesus' action reflects the greater law that he gives us with his whole life--the law of love. In touching the leper, Jesus shows solidarity with those suffering, in this case a leper. But all through the Gospel, Jesus shows solidarity with those on the fringe of society, the outcasts of his time. Let's spend some time thinking and praying about where Jesus is today, showing solidarity with those cast out. Because, Friends, we are Jesus' hands and feet in our world now. Where Jesus would be is where we should be. Love, heidi

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Simply living simply?

"If we follow Jesus we need to live simply--it's not just giving up possessions but about putting Christ at the center of our lives."
Pray-As-You-Go, January 15, 2019

It's no  secret that living simply has been a theme for me the past several years. But Pray-As-You-Go really gave me pause today when they pointed out that Jesus should be the one replacing all the surplus possessions and the focus of the extra time I find with a simpler life. It's one thing to get rid of stuff, live small and clutter-free. It's another thing altogether to put Jesus at the center of my life. Am I truly putting Jesus front and center of my simple life, or am I just simply living simply? I mean, it sure is fashionable now to declutter and downsize, isn't it? Am I just doing it to be eccentrically interesting or can I fill up the new empty spaces with Jesus? These are ponderous questions, Friends, and, if I can pull myself away from Netflix long enough, perhaps I will ponder them! No really, what do we fill our empty spaces with as we uncover more time in our lives? Let's pray with these questions today! Love, heidi

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Message to us, too!

"You are my beloved; with you I am well pleased."
Luke 3:22

One thing I noticed with this reading is that the voice from heaven is affirming Jesus, not talking to the crowd telling them who Jesus is. Had you noticed that before? God is letting Jesus know that he is loved and appreciated and, here's the thing: Jesus hadn't really even started his ministry yet! God isn't expressing appreciation for what Jesus has done because Jesus is just getting started! So, what about us? Can we imagine God saying this to us? Maybe each morning, before we even begin our day? Before we have a chance to get out there and make busy doing what we think will please God? Because, I believe, God loves and affirms us just on the basis of having created us. God loves what God creates--God actually loves us into being. There is nothing we need to do to earn God's love, nothing we can do really. So, this morning, let's prayerfully imagine God greeting us this very day with this very greeting: You are my beloved, with you I am well pleased! With that in our hearts, we will have a fabulous day! Love, heidi

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Love of neighbor...

"Whoever loves God must also love his (or her) brother (or sister)."
1 John 4:21

Continuing with the letter of St. John about love, we see the hard part. Loving God seems so much easier than loving our neighbor. God seems more abstract, easier to love, while our neighbor could be right next to us, saying things that drive us crazy, getting on our last nerve. No question about it, it's easier to love the abstract than the real thing next door. But what if we imagine for a moment that it is God living next door? Maybe it's God using a leaf blower at 7:00 AM? What if it is God challenging our good will by taking up the position opposite of ours (and we know we're right!) What if it's God at the border or in the prison or on the street corner with a sign? If we can imagine God as our neighbor it may help us overcome the ill-will with our neighbor. If we believe that God creates all living things (including people) and breathes life into all creation we can maybe wiggle around to the idea that God is in all creatures. The love of God is in all, whether people choose to manifest that love or not. It seems that creation has less difficulty manifesting the glory of God than human beings.Think of sitting out in nature and taking in the vast glory of God there! Human beings have free will, which may make them a bit less loveable at times. Just for today, let's imagine all we meet are carrying the love of God within them, whether or not it shows outwardly. And let's try to make sure our love of God does show outwardly! Love, heidi

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

God is love...

"...for God is love."
1 John 4:8

We've heard it before, many times probably, but what does it mean for us this January day?
Pray-As-You-Go says that it means God is active and engaging, not static or far away. God wants to be part of our everyday lives, not just thought about on Sundays as we dash off to church. The fact that God is love means that God wants to be in relationship with us 24/7, no matter what we are doing. I used to think the "religious life" was defined as being a priest or sister, but in fact, all of us are called to the vocation of being in love with God and being actively engaged in God's love in the world. No matter what job we do or where we are in life, we are little ambassadors of God's love. Let's pray with that a minute and see what it looks like in our Tuesday. For me, I was so happy to get back to school yesterday! The kids seem to have grown over the break and I had missed them! I know God has me right there to shower them with love and compassion, patience and kindness, too. God wants them to feel loved and, blessedly, there are so many at our school who love them. I feel so grateful to be one of them! What does it look like for you to be God's love in the world today? Love, heidi

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Jesus Star...

"They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother."
Matthew 2:10-11

The Magi hadn't spent much time with the infant Jesus, but just finding Jesus and his mother filled them with joy! The star stopped over the place where Jesus was but finding Jesus may not be as obvious for us. It may not be so obvious to see Jesus in the faces of the poor, the refugee, the prisoner, the drug addict. We may choose to keeping looking, thinking that Jesus couldn't possibly be in such forsaken faces and places, but that's where the Jesus Star stops. The Magi were wise because they followed the star wherever it went and, rather than stopping over a palace, it stopped over a stable. Jesus shows by his humble birth that his star always stops over the poor. That's where we find him, not in the palace, not with the wealthy or powerful, but in a humble place, with humble people. If we are truly wise, like the Magi, we will stop looking for Jesus in wealth, power and possessions. In fact, those were what Jesus discarded while he lived among us. Satan, himself, tried to offer all three to Jesus while he was in the desert. Jesus, true to himself, chose to hang out with the poor and those cast out by the system. For us, we need to remember that the wise still seek Jesus, and the really wise know where to look. Love, heidi