Friday, October 28, 2016

No longer strangers...

"Brothers and sisters: You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God..."
Ephesians 2:19

I think the most powerful experience I've had the last several years is journeying with seniors during the last years of their lives.  The nature of my caseload and the fact that most of the people I work with are in their 70's and 80's just lends itself to me watching them decline and even enter Eternal Life on my watch. Since I've just recently started as a Hospice volunteer, it is reinforced to me that we are no longer strangers and sojourners, but one family of matter who we are.  I have had the experience of just sitting with a person as they journey toward God's full embrace and it is amazing how nothing else matters. It doesn't matter what religion they are, or what political party they belong to or any other particularity about them or me. It only matters that we share time together and journey together, even if it is just a short time. We all share time and space on this planet and that is a truly beautiful thing.  Today, let's take a loving look at the people in our day. Let's be reminded that each person is a gift to us from our God who loves us beyond measure. Is there something we can do to make their day better?  Love, heidi

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Serving God

"...but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, willingly serving the Lord and not human beings..."
Ephesians 6:6-7

All this talk about slavery can make us uncomfortable, can't it? But this part about serving God and not human beings hits home for me. As fulfilling and wonderful as my job is, I've been doing it nearly forty years and, frankly, there are days I long for something else.  This discontent gives me pause, and I listen to it, because, amid the clamber of restlessness, God may be calling me to something new.  Yesterday I had one of those moments, driving between appointments, when I just wondered "How long, Lord?" (Psalm 13:2) I arrived at the lady's house, spent a wonderful hour with her, was able to provide an item that helped her a great deal and left there with a sense of serving the Lord.  All good, that.  It is the will of God I desire to do. The human beings, most often, give me joy, and I really love them, but it is God I serve.  So, thank you, Gracious God, for helping me serve you and showing me your will. Love, heidi

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The mriacle of growth

"(The Kingdom of God) is like a mustard seed...It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour..."
Luke 13:19, 21

Pray-As-You-Go invites us to ponder both of Jesus' images of the Kingdom of God and think which one we relate to better.  What I found was more the similarities of the two; mainly, that the Kingdom of God occurs miraculously.  Both the tiny little mustard seed growing into the huge plant and the small bits of leaven making a loaf of bread rise seem miraculous to me.  Both miracles are surprising, you may look over on the counter and catch your breath when you see the risen loaf. Or one morning you go out and notice, "Whoa! That plant grew overnight!" So it seems with us when we surrender to God and try to become pliable in God's hands.  We may surprise ourselves with choices we make that seem a little kinder or welcoming. We may be surprised to find our hearts melting as we feel differently about others. These signs of God working quietly in our hearts may take us by surprise! But first, we must let our own agendas go and release our hearts to God for the changing. God certainly won't change us without our willingness to be changed! That is what our free will is about.  God doesn't infringe on that, but God will delight in growing us, leavening us and filling us with God's own love if we are just open to be changed.  Love, heidi

Monday, October 24, 2016

To have and to hold...

"Brothers and sisters: Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ."
Ephesians 4:32
I have been learning a lot about non-dualistic thinking and sincerely have the goal to try and live more like that...with less "us vs. them" and more "both/and" ways of seeing things.  Just when I think I'm getting somewhere I am faced with how deficient I really am and how much further I have to go.  During this difficult election I'm especially challenged, but I sure don't need an election to show me I'm still very dualistic! I took it to prayer yesterday and really asked God for guidance. Does being non-dualistic mean not having my own opinions? That doesn't seem realistic at all. If we have a brain we have opinions and someone who has lived as long as I have has rather strong opinions based on sixty years of living on this planet.  The answer I gleaned was this: It's not about whether or not you have opinions, it's about how you hold your opinions.  Do we hold our opinions as the only way to believe? Do we feel everyone is wrong if they disagree with us? Do we feel compelled to share our opinions because they are so "right" and others need to know how right we are? Do we feel justified by our opinions and thus, like the Pharisee in yesterday's Gospel, we are saved by them? Is it possible to hold our opinions too tightly? Deep and ponderous questions we can ask ourselves. Being non-dualistic means allowing that there are other opinions and people feel just as passionately about their opinions as we do. We do not have all the answers and neither does anyone else.  We are trying to live our lives as faithful, loving, compassionate people. As we muddle through this difficult time, let's all pray for each other, and our country, these next couple of weeks and beyond. Love, heidi