Thursday, September 22, 2016

Far from just vanity...

"Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth..all things are vanity! ...There is no remembrance of the men of old; nor of those to come will there be any remembrance among those who come after them."
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 11

I will admit it. I have a tote in the crawl space filled with photo albums of people I don't know. They are ancient relatives of my mother's and the tote has followed me house to house to townhouse for most of my adult life. And I still don't know who the people are behind the grainy, serious stares. My mom probably told me who they were at one point, but I can't keep them straight now.  So what's the deal with Qoheleth, in today's reading? Why so grumpy? So hopeless? It's easy to see that we can get caught up in the hamster wheel of everyday life and yes, it can see like rather useless toil. I feel a bit sad that one day I will be a nameless face in a photo in a future generation's crawl space. I get that, but I also get something bigger.  Each one of us and each person in photographs is the beloved of God.  I may not know who they are, but God certainly knows them, inside and out. And God purposefully and carefully chose them to be my ancestors and their DNA flows through me today and my children, too.  And, far from being useless vanity, that seems quite stunning to me.  Today, let's thank God for all who have gone before us and realize that their lives led to our lives. They are the beloved of God and so are we! Sounds like a party to, heidi

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Jump up and follow!

"I have come to call, not the righteous, but the sinners."
Matthew 9:13

When Jesus walked by Matthew's tax collecting booth and said, "Follow me," we are told that Matthew just got up and went.  Jesus called a sinner and Matthew got up and followed. Just like that.  We don't even get a hint of hesitation on Matthew's part. He changes his life for Jesus immediately and completely. Amazing, that. What about us? We are fortunate in that we are the sinners Jesus came to call in our time. How do we respond? Do we just get up and follow? What does that look like? It could look like this: changing our thinking into a more loving approach. Thinking of our possessions as not ours but belonging to all who are in need. Loving the people who drive us nuts and scooping up those who are lonely and alone on the fringe. How quickly do we get up and follow Jesus, if we really know what that entails? Jesus, I know you call me every single day! You call me out of my comfortable, cozy little life into doing harder stuff. I may want to follow, just as easily and willingly as Matthew, but I may get stuck along the way.  Change my heart, please, into a more loving heart for others!  Then I can jump up and follow you!  Love, heidi

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

You are enough!

"All I can give back to God is who I really and fully am."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Daily Reflection, 9/20/16

I could sit and ponder this forever, and just may when I go on retreat next month! But the first thing that pops into my mind, unfortunately, is that who I really and fully am couldn't be enough for God. And that isn't humility, either, which would be OK. That is me doubting and questioning the goodness of what God has created. And who am I to do that? I think we really need to move past the picture of ourselves as falling so short of God's desire, when all God really desires of us is surrender.  Let's go there again...all God really desires of us is surrender.  Not perfection. Not hours and hours of rote prayers. Not beating our breast to be seen beating our breast. Another quote from this same Reflection today is, "All God wants from you is you."  Our unique selves, our unique gifts and abilities are treasured by God. Our "you-ness" was created by God. And all God wants is that back in surrender.  And what would that look like? Our surrender means we choose our actions to be what Jesus would do in any given situation.  And that's easy to figure out if we read the Gospels. It isn't a mystery what Jesus would ask of us...kindness toward others, compassion and love for the poor, welcoming strangers, sharing what we have, living simply and generously. It may be easy to figure out, but it's sure harder to do! Love, heidi

Monday, September 19, 2016's all prayer

"'And' demands that our contemplation become action
'And' insists that our action is also contemplative..."
Fr. Richard Rohr,  A Spring Within Us, "The Shining Word 'And'"

I had a chance to ponder this yesterday on a Somewhat Silent Sunday.  I recognized that it is exactly what happens when I volunteer at the Hospice Home. I still have so much to learn about it all--action and contemplation and also the Hospice Home.  I'm not totally comfortable with any of them, but that's OK...I'm learning.  Mostly at the Hospice Home I am doing household chores while trying, diligently, to stay out of the way.  The work of dying is very difficult and is a struggle, sometimes, for the person dying as well as for their family.  How can action and contemplation work together to keep the flow of God's love, well...flowing?  After a few weeks, I am finally getting the picture (I'm a bit of a slow study!) As I went about my chores last week, I could sense a real need for prayer among the patients and families.  I could feel a palatable need for peace and letting go.  I felt so helpless and yet, I was able to connect with the need by sitting down and praying for a while in between dusting and laundry. Then, after a time, the prayer actually became the dusting and the laundry.  What I learned from all this is that any action I do there (and anywhere, really) needs to come from a prayerful place within me. And the prayer that I am saying needs to manifest in the work of comfort, be it sweeping the floor or offering beverages.  It is all prayer.  Love, heidi