Friday, July 6, 2012

Grateful to be a sinner?

"I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."
Matthew 9:13

Jesus may not have come to help the righteous, but he sure did try to show them the way! He taught them whenever opportunity rose, but they, so often like us, needed to open their eyes and ears. The lesson Jesus was trying to teach in today's gospel was, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." (v. 13) The lesson of mercy must not be lost of us, either. To paraphrase Brennan Manning in today's devotion: Pious thoughts cannot replace putting on an apron and washing dirty feet ("Reflections for Ragamuffins"). The work Jesus asks us to do is not just sitting around thinking religious thoughts. Joyce Rupp says in "Prayer," "The purpose of prayer is ultimately to bring forth and share the kind of love that shines with divine radiance." Our prayer must not stay in our prayer chair or in church! The "righteous" in Jesus' day thought they had all the answers because they followed all the rules. But the fact was they were far from salvation because they lacked mercy; and that was what God wanted of them, not just adherence to the rules. Lucky for us, we are among those Jesus came to save! Let's latch onto the hem of his cloak! Love, heidi

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ignore the labels!

"But (Thomas) said to (the other disciples), 'Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks...I will not believe.'"
John 20:25

I think St. Thomas gets a bad rap. After this, he has been called "Doubting Thomas." We don't attach an adjective to the other apostles for their foibles or personality traits, do we? We don't say "Denying Peter," for example. James and John are often called the "Sons of Thunder," for their tempers, but the others come off scott-free. Labels are hard to shake and often not accurate. Thomas was so much more than just the one incident of doubt, but yet, that is what stuck for a couple thousand years! We label people as lazy, loud, obnoxious. I've even heard someone refer to another human being as "evil." What would Jesus think about that? Are we equipped to make a call like that? We are commanded not to, that's for sure. ("Judge not!") Today, let's be aware of the labels we attach to our brothers and sisters. Are they the same labels God would give them? Do we want the unkind labels we give people to stick for a couple thousand years? Love, heidi

Monday, July 2, 2012

Trust...the lesson of children

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart..."
Proverbs 3:5

As is the case every year, I learn more at blind camp than I teach. This past week was especially enlightening for me! One thing that struck me was the trust the kids have in us. Son Blaine was able to come with us to the water park in Boise and help chaperone. A couple of the boys sat by him on the bus and got to know him a little bit, but certainly not as well as the rest of us who had spent the whole week with them. Nevertheless, they were perfectly trusting to go with Blaine on all the water park slides. It boggles me. He had two boys the whole day and went on every slide! Maybe the reason I can actually SEE the slides is what keeps me off of them, but still. To put your hand in another and go into the unknown is stunning to me. If we could only be so trusting of God! I thought of those little boys, all the kids actually, and realized how sweet and adorable and trusting they are...and that is the way we should be, too. Love, heidi