Friday, May 25, 2012

To give your life...

"Remember, you've already given your life. You gave it by following Christ, when you decided to leave everything."
Brother Christian, "Of Gods and Men"

Yesterday was the anniversary of the day seven French monks were killed in Algeria. Eerily, the movie "Of Gods and Men," which is based on their story, arrived from Netflix the same day. I gathered I was to pay special attention to it! The monks knew they were in danger, but they also knew they were a comfort to the villagers in the small village of Thibirine. "We are the birds, you are the branch we sit on," one villager told them. At the beginning of the film, they wrestled with whether or not they should leave the country, as recommended by the government, accept military protection, or just continue living and serving the villagers as they had been. One monk, who was particularly distressed and wanted to leave, shared his dilemma with Brother Christian. And Brother Christian put his hand on the monk's shoulder and tells him, "Remember, you have already given your life..." It struck me very powerfully and I watched that part several times. Certainly, they have given their lives in service to Christ as monks, but shouldn't all of us, who follow Christ, do the same? How would we react to a life-threatening situation if we knew, in our hearts, our mission was to stay, peacefully? It is a wonderfully thought-provoking and powerful film. We all need to ponder what it means to give everything to serve God. Love, heidi

Thursday, May 24, 2012

We are family...

"Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying, 'I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word...'"
John 17:20

Faced with a serious illness or our own mortality, our first thoughts go to our family, don't they? What will happen to my family when I am gone? And Jesus is no exception here. The night before his death, Jesus prays for his disciples and also all the people his disciples will influence--us! We are the family Jesus is concerned about as he knows his end is near. Isn't that an amazing thought to ponder today? We are Jesus' concern even as he faces his own demise. Today, let's think about the fact that we are Jesus' family. And not just us, but the many generations of people before us and the many generations to follow us. We are a family. Love, heidi

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Word vs World

"I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world."
John 17:14

Jesus points out here the disparity between the Word, or God's way, and the World, which would be Man's way or the, sort of, opposite way. For the sake of clarity in my own head, I divided a piece of paper into two columns and wrote Word on one side and World on the other. I jotted down things in my life that seem God-centered and others that seem World-driven. On one side I have prayer, silence, nature, service, sharing the gospel, even things like listening to K-LOVE or spiritual music and then I capped off the column with a summary statement, "It's not about me." The other column has things like, consumerism (those Kohl's ads!), over-indulging, gossip, judging, spending too much time thinking about money, irresponsible behavior, and the summary statement there was, "What's in it for me?" It seems pretty cut-and-dry when I see it in columns, but it sure can get muddy in actually living life, can't it? The world and its enticements seems so pervasive, but we must remember that Jesus conquered the world and he understands the daily conundrums we face each day. Thanks be to God, for that! Love, heidi

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Joy in the deep...

"The way to joy is not through fleeing all difficulties. Joy is found in your deepest recesses, and your deepest recesses are always with you, even in your most difficult times."
Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, "This is the Day the Lord Has Made"

As if we could flee all difficulties! But I think Fr. Stinissen means that we need to face the difficulties and see what they have to teach us. And we have a God-given reservoir of joy within us from which to draw. We may not be able to change others, or the the situation, but we can change how we react to things and how we cope. When the rubber meets the road, our faith can be tested and held to the fire. How does it stand up? And then what about the times we seem to be coasting? No big traumas or dramas going on? At those times we still need to practice our faith. We can be a friend to those who are struggling and stand with those, we may not even know, who are going through difficult times, in prayer. Our joy is down deep...sometimes we don't even realize how deep until we need to tap into it. Our joy isn't as much dependent on the situations around us, but is a gift from God. And it is ever-present. Love, heidi

Monday, May 21, 2012

I've got this...

"In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world."
John 16:33

In today's language, Jesus is saying, "I've got this. Everything will be OK, even if it seems it won't." I'm sure we have many times in our own lives when these words are comforting to us. Things seem to be coming apart at the seams and there isn't a realistic, positive conclusion. It is also comforting for our global community, too--our bigger family. The world seems out of control, but there is Jesus, saying, "I've got this." In all of our personal dilemmas and our global issues, Jesus is there to comfort us with his words, "Take courage..." It is such an amazing gift to have Jesus' own words at our fingertips! Blessings on your brand, new week! Love, heidi