Friday, March 16, 2012

The love behind the pain

"It is helpful to remember that the value of Jesus' suffering lay not in the pain itself (for in itself it has no value), but in the love that inspired it."
Brennan Manning, "Reflections for Ragamuffins"

It is so easy to get caught up in the actual, physical suffering of Jesus as we go through Lent. But, Jesus' love is the whole crux of the matter. In the beautiful Michael Card song, "Why," the third verse says,

"Why did they nail his feet and hands, his love would have held him there..."

So true. It is Jesus' vast and amazing love we relish. Tonight, at Stations of the Cross, I'm going to concentrate on the love demonstrated throughout the Stations...the love behind each fall and each encounter. If you like, I have added a link to Michael Card's song:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lenten prayer

"I love you, my Friend."
Brennan Manning, "Reflections for Ragamuffins"

Brennan Manning was reflecting on a time when he was preparing for Adoration and just didn't feel it. He questioned his own sincerity and why he was doing what he was about to do. Once he sat there, however, these words came to his lips. "I love you, my Friend." The Christian journey can be difficult, as we all know. Jesus asks difficult things of us...being servants, loving our enemies, forgiving those who hurt us, not judging those who bug us. But, what we need to do along the way, is sit in Jesus' midst and pray, "I love you, my Friend." That's what it is. It all boils down to Jesus and me. Together. And me acknowledging that I love my Friend, Jesus. Let this be our own Lenten prayer today! Love, heidi

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Love is a verb!

"Jesus' death and resurrection fulfilled the old law and inaugurated a new law of love that is much simpler."
The Word Among Us

"A new law of love..." I like that! The thing about love is that it isn't for pondering or idealizing. Love is for doing. Love has feet and hands. Brennan Manning talks about that in his piece today; loving others by being a servant. Jesus showed the disciples how to make love an action, not just an ideal. "So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist..." (John 13:4) We all know what Jesus did next. He got on his knees and washed the disciples' feet. He demonstrated to them that one must love and serve others. He put action to his words. It's so much easier for us to talk about stuff than it is for us to actually DO stuff, isn't it? Today, let's think about love as a verb. Let's love well today! Love, heidi

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Every time

"Peter approached Jesus and asked him, 'Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?'"
Matthew 18:21

These people in Jesus' day were really big on numbers. Numbers were so symbolic for them and they attached numbers to everything it seems. From the Ten Commandments to the number of times a leper must be dipped for healing (seven), numbers were a big part of their ritual lives. So, Peter wants a number and Jesus gives him a number. I often wonder why Jesus just didn't respond, "Every time." But Jesus understands the people and their need for numbers and responds, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times." (v.22) Basically, while still giving Peter the number he desired, Jesus was telling him "Every time." We certainly don't want a number attached to the times we are forgiven, so we should never put a limit on the number of times we forgive. We can't say to our neighbor, "Oh, that was the seventy-eighth time you stepped on my toe, I am done with you! My forgiveness has expired!" Certainly not. Jesus went out of his way to demonstrate to the people his Father's forgiveness and told us to emulate that. And, no matter how hard we try, we couldn't put a number on that! Love, heidi