Thursday, February 2, 2017

Guided by the Spirit...

"Guided by the Spirit, Simeon went into the Temple..."
Luke 2:27

We can often see, when we look back, that we did something "guided by the Spirit." We may wonder how we happened to be in the right place at the right time to help someone or for someone to help us. We can look behind us and marvel at how things worked out. Perhaps, no, not just perhaps, but most definitely, we were guided by the Spirit, just like Simeon. We followed the nudging of the Holy Spirit and ended up where we were that we could marvel at seeing the work of God. Today, many of us, feel very guided by the Spirit to be involved in the women's Cursillo beginning this evening.  (Truth be told, some of us feel quite captured by the Spirit to be there!) So, on this Groundhog's Day, let us be aware of listening to the Spirit as we go about our day, and follow the Spirit wherever we feel led.  And, please pray for this Cursillo and all involved...the Spirit is a'movin'!  Love, heidi

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Fear Not...

"She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for as she said, 'If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.'"
Mark 5:27-28

There is so much gold to mine in the story of the woman with the hemorrhage! But today, I went back to a book by Fr. Anthony Gittins, called "Encountering Jesus" and gleaned a wonderful nugget. The woman with the hemorrhage was a castoff of society due to her condition.  She was physically unwell, but the fact that she had a hemorrhage would have made her ritually unclean as well. She could not pray with others or worship God in the temple. She had no husband so she was really a social outcast. She had spent all of her money too, on doctors, so she was also poor. She is desperate to find help and her only hope is Jesus, for she has heard about his healing ways. She feels that all she need do is touch his cloak and she will be healed.  When she does this, she immediately feels healed and Jesus immediately feels power going from him.  What we often don't think about is this woman touching him as also rendered Jesus unclean--now HE cannot go to the temple and worship either.  That's why she is so afraid to come forth when he asks, "Who touched me?" (v. 31) Fr. Gittins: "Jesus would demonstrate that to be touched by a defiled person was NOT to transfer contamination." Instead, it was the healing power of God that was transferred to the woman and she was healed.  How does this look in our own world today?  People who need us--our compassion, comfort and healing love, will NOT contaminate us, Friends!  Instead our God-given love will embrace them.  We must never be afraid of those who need us...Let's remember that as we move through our deep winter Tuesday.  Love, heidi

Monday, January 30, 2017

Do Something

"The Lord keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry,
the Lord sets captives free.

The Lord gives sight to the blind;
the Lord raises up those who were bowed down.
The Lord loves the just;
the Lord protects strangers.

The fatherless and the widow the Lord sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts,
The Lord shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations..."
Psalm 146:6-9

This is comforting and reassuring to us, certainly. And then we realize that God accomplishes all these wondrous deeds through our hands and hearts.  God gives food to the hungry through us, sets captives free through us, raises up the bowed down through us.  God always works through human beings. God inspires us to act and guides the work of our hands, but--make no mistake--if we don't roll up our sleeves, these strangers will go unprotected.  One of the most powerful songs on Christian radio recently was about a guy looking up to heaven after seeing such poverty and sadness here on earth. "Why don't you do something, God?"  And God said, "I did. I created you." ("Do Something" by Matthew West-link below). The world's refugees and immigrants are looking to us, the USA to "do something." So, what are we going to do?  Love, heidi

Do Something

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Turning away Jesus...

"Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something..."
1 Corinthians 1:27-28

If it feels like the current refugee crisis is bringing us to our knees--it is. We "Somethings" are being challenged by the lowly to do the right thing and treat them as if they are Jesus--because they are.  We, the rich and comfortable, are shamefully complicit while many in the world suffer poverty, rejection and want. And now our country is rejecting them at our very doors and shores. We are a country of immigrants, built by immigrants and yet we have pulled up the drawbridge and are turning away Jesus himself, who seeks comfort and refuge with us.  What can we do? We can speak out. Contact our legislative officials, those who we put into office (or our system put into office) and let them know we expect to be the welcoming sanctuary our country is supposed to be. Support organizations that help refugees. Pray for softer hearts and less fearful minds that cause us to be so wary of those unlike us.  This, our second reading Sunday, shook me to my very core, Friends. It may have been written for the people of Corinth, but it is spoken to us now. Love, heidi