"If I fly with the wings of dawn and alight beyond the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand hold me fast."
My first afternoon on retreat at the Hermitage, I watched a large bird fly overhead. He wasn't flying, really, he was more just gliding along. His wings didn't flap at all, I only watched him glide on the air current. It was a bit breezy that day and I noticed he just moved up and down, catching the current and allowing it to propel him through the air. I decided that I wanted to do the same on retreat. I wanted to just glide along, allowing the current of the Holy Spirit to move me through the days ahead. I didn't want to have an agenda or feel I should be doing this or that. I didn't want to be flapping my wings, trying to make something happen. I just wanted to be free to glide and go where God led me. Interestingly, I felt later I was able to do just that. If the urge to take a walk hit me, that's what I did. If I felt called to climb into and explore the ravine, I did that. If I felt beckoned to go outside in the middle of the night to look at the stars, I did (albeit, a bit reluctantly!) It was an incredible ride, gliding on the Holy Spirit's current! I think I will try to do that more in my everyday life, too. Blessings on your weekend! Love, heidi
"He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, 'Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven."
I sat there, thinking this morning, about what qualities of children Jesus wants us to emulate. I came up with quite a list! Children are honest and trusting, for two things right off the top of my head. They haven't yet learned to doubt or fear others. They are accepting of others, too, not yet learning the adult technique of judging others before they even know them. Children are loyal, often sticking up for family who may not even deserve their loyalty. Children are creative, until they learn they have or do not have certain gifts, they create like they can do anything. Children can bring out the best in others; who can resist smiling at a baby after all? Children in the time of Jesus were not particularly valued. So, Jesus telling the people that they must become like children to enter the Kingdom of heaven, must have really surprised those listening! Let's think about some of these child-like qualities and act on them as we move through our autumn Thursday...especially the one about bringing out the best in others. Love, heidi
Oh, we can and do ask God what is going on...frequently, if we are honest with ourselves. And while it may seem like a silly and futile question, we have the freedom to ask it. In fact, it's not bad for us to ask God what God may be doing because that affirms that we are in relationship with God in the first place. And that is what God really wants. We don't have to tiptoe around God and only say what we think God wants to hear. We don't have to treat God as a houseguest and hang out the "best" towels and eat off the "good" dishes. God wants to be intimately part of our lives, eating over the pizza delivery box. God wants us to be honest in prayer, just like Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he cried real tears and said, "Hey, if there is any way out of this..." (Mark 14:32-42) Being in real relationship with God means that we talk to God honestly, even if we find ourselves saying, "What are you doing?" God can take it and we may feel better questioning, even lashing out a bit. Jesus is always teaching us how to relate to God. And Jesus was bluntly honest with God. But, ultimately, Jesus surrendered to God and said, "Not what I want, but what you want." We may come to that, too. But we need to know that we can talk openly and honestly with our Beloved God. Love, heidi
"Our return 'home' is to relate intimately in spirit with Love and also to become Love for others: compassionate, forgiving, creative, spirit-filled lovers in the best sense of the word."
Henri Nouwen, "Home Tonight"
It's fascinating to read about Jesus. It's wonderful to know Jesus personally. But the hardest part of being a follower of Jesus is to DO Jesus. To translate all you learn and study about Jesus into your own actions for the world. It's one of the biggest lessons I feel I'm still trying to grasp as I live on this planet. Being a lover of Jesus must show up in our actions with our fellow human beings or we just aren't--lovers of Jesus, I mean. In today's Gospel (Luke 9:51-56), Jesus and his disciples are passing through Samaria on their way to Jerusalem. They get a frosty reception from the locals. James and John, who Jesus nicknamed the "Sons of Thunder" ask if they can call down fire to destroy the city. Perhaps a wee bit of power has gone to their heads? But Jesus tells them, "no!" Anger and retaliation are not the answer here. Just shake it off and move on. That is a perfect example of doing Jesus--doing it Jesus' way. All day long, today, we are asked to do it like Jesus. Whether we are frustrated, angry, inconvenienced, in pain, or faced with others who drive us crazy, we are asked to do it like Jesus. And the recipe for that is above, by Henri Nouwen: Love for others: compassionate, forgiving, creative, spirit-filled lovers..." Love, heidi