Friday, March 11, 2016

Food for thought?

"God of loving truth, keep me from the world of gossip and accusation. Do not let me 'kill' others, even in my mind and heart."
Fr. Richard Rohr, "Wondrous Encounters--Scripture for Lent"
The authorities are coming after Jesus in today's Gospel (John 7:1-25). The handwriting is on the wall.  Holy week is approaching.  As these events take place it gets me thinking about how I view and feel about others.  Of course we are to love others.  But, ALL others?  There are certainly people I feel very justified NOT loving (this is an election year, after all).  There are people who seem like fair game for me to dislike and speak out against.  But when I do that, am I "killing" them?  Can I disagree with them without hating them? What about how we feel about those who attack Jesus? Or those who rile Jesus' anger? Jesus, himself, had righteous anger against those who he felt were abusing his Father's house.  All of this is very ponder-worthy, my Friends.  And Fr. Rohr's prayer here is good for us to pray and remember, especially if we feel we are in any way justified in our distain for anyone. Anyone. Love, heidi

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Our Champion!

"So the Lord relented in the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people."
Exodus 32:14
Moses, in this reading, calmed God down and changed God's mind about punishing the people for making and worshipping a golden calf.  And, after reading this fabulous story, all I could think of was what Moses thought as he went back down the mountain.  Was he pleased with himself? Did he think, "Wow, we dodged a bullet there!" Was he still angry with the people he had to defend? Was he surprised that God's mind could be changed just like that? The real take-away from this reading for me today is this: Jesus, too, came to defend us, and our questionable behavior, to God.  "Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do." We'll be hearing those words of Jesus from the cross very soon.  God loves us, even when we are not our best selves.  God forgives us time and time again.  And we have a Champion, Jesus, who defends us whenever we need defending.  Rather than just letting us off the hook, doesn't that make us want to love better ourselves?  Love, heidi

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The desire to be well...

"One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, 'Do you want to be well?'"
John 5:5-6
I have to admit that all the readings about water today (especially Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12) made me a bit nervous, just recently experiencing flood waters in my own home! But this Gospel touched on something else this morning as I read it.  The man lying by the pool of Bethesda for thirty-eight years reminds me of someone being stuck in the muck.  I'm sure I've had grudges that have lasted at least thirty-eight years, probably even longer! It's so easy for us to get stuck in a hurt or grudge and then just stay there.  It feeds something in us somehow, but that something isn't a healthy critter at all. On the surface it may seem odd that Jesus asks the guy, "Do you want to be well?"  But, in reality, do we want to let go of the unsavory little illness that we cling to? Do we want to forgive the past hurt? The whatever-it-was we enjoy wallowing in?  Is there a real desire in us to climb off the mat and wade into the healing waters? Jesus invites us to do just that, and this Year of Mercy seems like a perfect time to do it!  Love, heidi

Monday, March 7, 2016

Un-justly judging?

"Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity...'"
Luke 18:11
As I prayed with this Gospel over the weekend (it was actually Saturday's Gospel) I realized something, possibly, worth sharing.  The Pharisee's prayer was really quite cringe-worthy, indeed. But I think if we step back and look at it, the real problem with the prayer is that the Pharisee compared himself to his fellow pray-er in the first place.  We all do it--it's human nature to compare ourselves with others.  We either see others as further ahead, up the ladder, or we see others behind us and that gives us a puffed up feeling--don't we love that?  Sure we do! We're human! But comparing ourselves to others is really a form of un-just judging.  We are either unfairly judging others or unfairly judging ourselves...neither are what God wants for us.  We may be shocked by the Pharisee's puffed up prayer; Jesus was known for using shockingly obvious examples for simpler truths. But what we can learn from this is not to compare ourselves to anyone else.  To keep our prayerful eyes on God, like the humble tax collector, and say honestly, "O God, be merciful to me, a sinner, no better or worse than anyone else. (v. 13, but I added the last part.)  Blessings on your March Monday! Love, heidi