Friday, February 15, 2013

Release and untie!

"This, rather, is the fasting that I wish; releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own."
Isaiah 58:6-7 would be so much easier just to skip a meal, wouldn't it? What God asks of us is not easy. I am reminded of Tom Hanks character in "A League of Their Own," when talking about baseball: "If it was easy everyone would do it." But this Lent business can be hard! When considering how we are to release those bound unjustly, I think of grudge-holding. I have an amazing memory for past hurts, so I am very good at holding grudges. Releasing someone from something that happens years ago (or even yesterday) is a good way to think of releasing those bound unjustly. Let's begin this Lent by releasing any past grudge or even bad feeling we may harbor about another person. Let's untie those yokes this very day! What is past, is past...let's leave it there. Blessings on your first weekend of Lent. There are Stations of the Cross tonight at 7:00 at Christ the King, for all you Idaho Falls peeps. Love, heidi

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Practice our trust!

"Trusting in God was not some feature out at the edges of Jesus' teaching; it was its heart and center."
Brennan Manning, "Reflections for Ragamuffins"

It is much easier to trust in God when things are going well, isn't it? I mean, seriously, when things are fine, we can easily see God's tracks all over it. Hopefully, we remember to give God the glory! But, the real test of our trust is when things go awry. Think of Peter, stepping out of the boat to walk on the water toward Jesus. He was fine for a minute; it must have taken considerable trust! But then he faltered, and he began to sink. That's when Jesus extended a helping hand and kept him aright. Let's consider, this Lent, how we practice our trust in God. And let's remember there is no punishment for faltering. We just reach out for a helping hand--Jesus' helping hand. And that, in itself, builds up our trust. Love, heidi

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A change of heart...

"Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart..."
Joel 2:12

"A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me."
Psalm 51

If anything is rising to the surface in my mind about this Lent, it is the theme of changing my heart. Beginning yesterday with the reading about softening hearts, not just paying lip service to change, but actually softening my heart, seems to strike me as the focus of this Lent. I have seen God change my heart...many times, in fact. I would feel one way about something or someone, then suddenly, I feel differently. So I know that God can change my heart. But God doesn't just come in and change my heart uninvited. I have to seek that out myself. I need to invite God in to make the change. So, today is Ash Wednesday--ushering in a time for renewal, repentance, rejuvenation. Our season of Lent will feed us mightily if we open up and seek its nourishment. Let's invite God into our lives and hearts today, and invite a change. Let's turn to God with our whole hearts during this season of Lent. Our efforts will be rewarded one-hundredfold, as the sisters used to say! Blessings on your Ash Wednesday! Love, heidi

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

From the inside out...

"This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."
Mark 7:6

Impossible as it seems, Lent begins tomorrow (I know, the Christmas decorations are still warm!) In reading this from today's Gospel, it really gives me pause about my Lenten activities. St. Mark is actually quoting the prophesy of Isaiah here in this snippet. It reminds us of the disconnect between our actions and our hearts. We can do great sacrifices this Lent and yet, still miss the whole point of Lent--that we must change our hearts. We can give up TV, sweets, smoking, eating between meals, whatever austere sacrifice we can think of, and, if our hearts are not softened by March 31, it is all for naught. This is a stunning revelation to me, today, Friends. It doesn't mean we are not to sacrifice for Lent. It just means that whatever we do needs to improve the inside of us as much, if not more, than the outside of us. Today is Shrove Tuesday! Clean out your larder, make your pancakes! But, let's spend some time today thinking and praying about what we can do for God that will heal and soften our hearts. That is the part that really matters. Love, heidi

Monday, February 11, 2013

Climbing down off the mountain...

"And Peter said to Jesus in reply, 'Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.'"
Matthew 17:4

This is such a universal response to the mountaintop experience, isn't it? You want to stay on the top of the mountain and never come back down to real life. Yesterday, as the Cursillo was winding down and the realization that we would have to climb down emerged, I wanted to dig in my heels and say, "No! I want to stay up here! Please don't let this end!" But, end it must. Life becomes real and things go back to (somewhat) normal. Not so fast, though! I said "somewhat" normal, because WE have changed! Having such a vivid encounter with Jesus of any kind, changes us forever. We may have dismantled the prayer room and put Jesus back into the tabernacle, but Jesus is still with us in a very real and tangible way. We are extremely different than we were last Thursday! We will never be the same, having encountered Jesus, no matter where or how we encounter him. We rise today, rejuvenated in faith, realizing that God is still in our midst and will never leave us! Love, heidi