Thursday, December 17, 2015

Pure and clean...

  "For the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment."
James 2:13
Pope Francis quoted this scripture last week as he began the Year of Mercy. And I thought he made it up!  I had several thoughts last night during the Reconciliation service and some may be worth sharing.  As I sat there, I felt the air just thick with mercy.  It was a tangible air quality, like humidity. There is something so humbling about a bunch of people coming out on a stormy night to confess their sins, and it was palatable.  There was a lot of mercy going in and out in that church!  Then, as I waited in line, I had a view out the window of a little courtyard.  The snow which had fallen during the afternoon was pristine and completely undisturbed.  It was like a beautiful blanket, just like it was put there by God.  In the midst of that there was a little potted pine tree, its branches heavy with new snow. It was like the scene on a Christmas card.  I had a realization that this pure beauty was just how God sees us.  In God's eyes we are just as God created us, clean and fresh, not yet disturbed by the anxieties and concerns that sometimes overwhelm us. Today, let's try to see each other, and ourselves, as the beloved of God, like a fresh blanket of snow.  Love, heidi

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mercy--give and take

  "A year in which to be touched by the Lord Jesus and to be transformed by his mercy, so that we may become witnesses to mercy. Here, then, is the reason for the Jubilee: because this is the time for mercy."
Pope Francis, on the Jubilee Year of Mercy
The Year of Mercy is about giving and receiving mercy in our very own lives.  It should be in our thoughts and prayers each day, not just the day it begins or ends.  It is to remind us to reach out to those we may have offended or hurt and ask for forgiveness.  It is for us to extend forgiveness to those who have hurt or offended us.  It should touch and affect our lives at every level or it just won't mean anything at all.  The Year of Mercy is so personal to each one of us.  Deep in our hearts we know who needs our mercy and from whom we need to ask forgiveness.  But the bottom line and glory of it all, is that we are to see and appreciate God's mercy toward us. Those of us in Idaho Falls will have that chance tonight during our Reconciliation service at 7:00 at Christ the King.  We cannot give what we don't have ourselves, so let's allow that to kick off a chain reaction of mercy throughout our community! God's grace and mercy await us...we simply need to just come and partake. What a wonderful gift! Love, heidi

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Heading to the vineyard...

"He came to the first and said, 'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today...'"
Matthew 21:28
The father in today's Gospel has two sons and he asks each one to go work in the vineyard.  The first says, "No," but goes anyway, the second says, "Yes," but doesn't go. Which one is the Good Guy? Similarly, but not quite, I have to report for jury duty today (these connect in a second, stay with me!) Now, I didn't have to show at all last week, my first as a potential juror, but this week, I've been caught, apparently.  My first thought when finding this out was to try and wiggle out of it.  I have a full calendar, after all.  I have kids to see, grown ups who need to be rehabilitated. I'm important, dang it!  But, as I snuggled into bed last night I realized that I should be more open to how God needs me today.  Maybe God needs me on a jury? Maybe my agenda should wait and God's needs should come first? Maybe I am needed in the vineyard?  Today, dear, darling day is yours. I know everyday should be yours, but today I feel more drawn to do your will, even though it messes up mine.  I know you will use me well, if I don't try to squirm loose from your grasp.  Love, heidi

Monday, December 14, 2015

A refugee family

"The greatest of kings, born in the most humble of places. God made flesh."
Melchior, "The Nativity Story"
Yesterday was my annual viewing of the beautiful movie, "The Nativity Story" (2006). I laughed again (Joseph has such a dry sense of humor!) I cried again.  I marveled at how real and beautiful the familiar story is told.  It is so real.  And, as I cried, I realized that I love this movie because it really brings the story to life.  You can believe it. From the teenage Mary's sulky little pout, to the wise men arguing about faith. The fear, the uncertainty, the clinging to the hope of a Savior. It is all there.  This time it really struck me how the Holy Family was a refugee family, traveling to Bethlehem with nowhere to stay when they arrived, then fleeing to Egypt to escape a murderous regime. They are helped by kind shepherds and other travelers but they are also treated cruelly by some and ignored by others. It occurred to me that the Holy Family is alive and struggling in our world this very day.  Where are we? How are we treating them? Something to think about as we move toward our celebrations of the most famous refugee family.  Love, heidi