Friday, November 20, 2015

Turn over the tables of injustice

  "Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things..."
Luke 19:45
"Pray-As-You-Go" this morning asks the question, What was it that made Jesus so angry in the temple that he flew into rage like this?  What would have caused him to react so powerfully, turning over their tables?  In thinking about it, I'm pretty sure it was greed that was making Jesus so mad.  The merchants and money-changers were cheating the poorer people and not giving them a fair shake.  People who were offering sacrifices in the temple needed to purchase birds and other items relating to their offerings and they were being taken advantage of by the merchants and money-changers. It makes sense to me.  Jesus was all about the little guy, the poor widow, the downtrodden, the outcast.  Can we get passionate about these same folks today? Can we get our ire up about injustice and people being mistreated in our day?  What tables of injustice can we turn over on our Friday? That sure seems to be Jesus' passion...shouldn't it be ours, too? Love, heidi

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Lover of vs. worker for...

"The journey of peacemaking is not easy. It may be easy to be a lover of peace, but it is more difficult to be a worker for peace, a maker of peace, day in and day out."
Jean Vanier, "Finding Peace"

The putting it into practice is the hard part, certainly.  I can admire peace and justice, but I need to be able to practice it, day in and day out in my own circle of influence...and that's hard.  Yesterday, I had an experience that taught me just how far away I am from this ideal.  I was getting my hair cut and two other ladies in the small shop were having a rather loud political discussion.  The things they were saying were very offensive to me and I could feel my blood start to boil.  I beckoned my stylist to come closer and I whispered to her, through clenched teeth, "Let's fire up that blow dryer NOW!"  I couldn't take another word, but yet, didn't want to speak up and take a more peaceful stance to what they were saying.  I couldn't speak up for the people they were denigrating; I was too afraid of offending them. Instead, I chose to drown them out.  Shame on me. Later, of course, I thought of a better approach.  I should have, very kindly, explained to them that I was offended by how they were speaking of others. I could have been a worker for peace instead of just a lover of peace.  Lord, please help me to stand up for those put down.  Help me to speak up kindly and with compassion for all, even for the people speaking unkindly.  Please help me to be a worker for peace, not just an admirer of peace.  Day in and day out.  Love, heidi

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Come down quickly!

"Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house."
Luke 19:5
It's kind of a which-came-first deal in today's Gospel.  Which happened first, Jesus' love and mercy toward Zacchaeus or Zach's repentance? Easy. The former.  Jesus calls Zacchaeus down from the tree, inviting himself to dinner before Zacchaeus says anything about repaying those he had cheated.  He didn't have to win Jesus over by changing his life, but it was his encounter with Jesus that changed him from the inside out. This is such a valuable lesson for those of us who feel we can earn God's love and mercy.  That we have to do enough to please God.  That we can to earn our place in heaven.  God, with infinite love, calls us down from our trees everyday, just wanting to be loved by us. We change in response to God's love not to earn God's love.  Today, let's smile every time we think of Zacchaeus in the tree and let's climb down, ourselves, changed from the inside by the love of God we can't even comprehend.  Love, heidi

Monday, November 16, 2015

Lord, help me to see!

"What do you want me to do for you?"
Luke 18:41
I heard this question from Jesus so clearly during my first retreat at Marymount a couple of years ago. I was a bit stunned because I was always thinking I was to work for Jesus, not so much the other way around.  But, I spent three days in the silence, answering Jesus' question.  It's a good question for all of us to consider everyday, because Jesus asks it of us everyday.  I prayed with the question this morning and came up with a short list of prayer requests for today and then read on.  Jesus says in verse 42, "Have sight; your faith has saved you."  That, to me, says that the blind man had a hand in his own healing.  Jesus responded to the faith the blind man had and the willingness of the man to shout out and not let the crowds deter him in calling out to Jesus.  Realizing that we, too, must have a part to play in answering our own prayers, I prayed that God would use me however necessary to answer my own requests today. Guide me, Lord, in my actions to let good things happen today.  It's not that we just ask and wait passively.  It's that we ask, wait and respond however Jesus beckons us.  "Lord, please help me see!"  Love, heidi