Monday, April 24, 2017

Lead me, Lord!

"Jesus said to all, 'Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in my steps.'"
Luke 9:23

The folks on Pray-As-You-Go had a different Gospel this morning and it spoke to me quite loudly. All the time I spend pondering the future seems to be so wasteful, really. I made the decision, years ago, to follow Jesus wherever I am led, but I also feel like a fish on the end of a line, battling it out for my own agenda.  When I was just a kid of eighteen, I offered my life to God--to do whatever God led me to do, which, as it happens, led to a fabulous ride! So why do I feel I need to over-think it all now? Good question! Yesterday, as I drove back from Montana listening to a book on the life of St. Francis, I was awed by the way Francis made his decisions based on God's will for him. Whatever God wanted of him, that was his choice. I hope to do the same, but it sure seems hard to get beyond my own little plans. Loving and giving God, you led me into the work I do and I have enjoyed it all these many years. Please give me the faith I need to trust You to lead me out of it, when You think the time is right.  Love, heidi

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Touch me and see...

"Look at my hands and feet, that is I myself. Touch me and see..."
Luke 24:39

Jesus appears to the Eleven in this passage and sees their shock and fear. He offers them proof that, yes, it is him and no, he is not a ghost. He offers them physical, indisputable proof. Do we have such proof in our lives that Jesus is with us? Pray-as-you-Go offered that ponderous question this morning. What is our evidence that Jesus is alive and in the world today? There are so many, but, if I really am honest, it's a calm stillness I can find, deep within, whenever I let myself go there. I think I first learned it while learning Centering Prayer many years ago. I can just go still, for lack of a better description. It's hard to explain, but whenever I start to pray, begin a walk, settle into church (well before it starts) or set out in the car, I can just turn to heart center. A calm comes over me and I feel a tangible Presence in there.  I can also find indisputable evidence of the Presence by seeing the little critters at the Hermitage, or even a plump robin on my walk with the dog. I can see the Presence of God in people helping each other, caring about each other. Whether it's a peace deep inside, or in creation or in the love and compassion of my fellow travelers on this journey, Jesus is alive and well for me.  Love, heidi

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

We had hoped...

"We had hoped..."
Luke 24:21

In "Jesus: A Pilgrimage," Fr. James Martin says this could be one of the saddest sentences in the New Testament. Said as two disciples of Jesus recount the activities surrounding Jesus' crucifixion and death to a mysterious stranger who walks with them on the road to Emmaus. It is a sentence that we have often probably had on our lips as we go through the ups and downs of our lives. We had hoped _______. You can fill in the blank with anything that you had hoped would turn out differently; a relationship, a job, a move, an election. The disciples are described as "looking sad" at the beginning of their encounter with Jesus, but by the end of the passage, having walked, talked and broken bread with Jesus, their hearts were burning (v. 32). They finally recognized him in the breaking of the bread.  We, too, can encounter Jesus, especially through the "we had hoped" times of our lives.  Through the times of loss, trial, and sadness that seem to entomb us in sorrow, we can encounter the risen Lord.  We can experience Jesus, through our prayer, through meeting and helping others, or maybe through silence and awareness of creation. Our encounters can lift us back on the road. Today, let's pray for all who are going through "we had hoped..." times of life. They may need to encounter Jesus and that could possibly happen through us.  Love, heidi

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Cut to the heart...

"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and they asked Peter, 'What are we to do, my Brothers?'"
Acts 2:37

"Cut to the heart." Isn't that descriptive? True enough there are times I've felt cut to the heart. Yesterday, in fact.  I was in a hurry to get out of town to see a client (that's my excuse, anyway) and a guy in an adjoining parking lot to our office building flagged me down. His van needed a jump. I mumbled something about being late for an appointment, my apologies, etc. As I turned out of the parking lot, it hit me. I spun back around and went back to the where the guy had been, but didn't see him. Soon he came back with another guy who was available to help him. A guy who'd actually recognized Jesus, and didn't think he was the gardener (today's Gospel, John 20:11-18).  As I drove off I asked forgiveness a hundred times. I missed it. I didn't recognize Jesus and help when I was asked. I felt cut to the heart. Jesus gently reassured me, "Next time, you'll know. You'll recognize me."  Love, heidi

Friday, April 14, 2017

Die to yourself, before you die yourself...

"And, bowing his head, he handed over the spirit."
John 19:30

I was struck this morning, while reading this, how Jesus willfully handed over his life.  No one took his life from him. No one wrestled his life away from Jesus...he gave it up as a conscious act of surrender. In the little bit I've studied and learned about the act of dying, it is certainly a letting go. People may fight it to the end, but it is, ultimately, a surrender.  It can be much easier if we are able to surrender a bit sooner, in that we recognize our lives belong to God and we are returning to God and we needn't cling to the things of this earth. Some people have such a hard time letting go of things...
Today, as we walk up the difficult road to Calvary with our Jesus, let's think about ways we can surrender to God prior to that last bit of letting go at our own death. Can we adopt an attitude of unimportance of material things of the world? Can we embrace others as our companions on the journey and realize that helping them is part of our true purpose for being on this planet? Can we get to a point where it's not about us after all?  Blessings on your weekend that promises New Life! Love, heidi