Thursday, March 2, 2017

Carry and help carry...

"Then he said to all, 'If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'"
Luke 9:23

And we're off! Lent Day Two. The ashes are carefully washed off our foreheads and here we go. We still have zeal for this, right? Although, Easter seems a long way off, doesn't it? It was inspiring watching people (lots of people!) go forward to receive ashes last night. A sign of taking up our cross and following Jesus, just as he suggests to us. It's the long haul that can get difficult. Talk to me on Day Twenty-two of Lent and let's see how excited I still am. But following Jesus isn't just a one-time decision. It is a daily, "here-we-go-again" thing and definitely a marathon not a sprint. It will get tiresome and we will need some support on the other end of the cross we are trying to carry. And that is where community comes in. We have others to help us on this journey and we are called to help them too. That's the whole deal with Simon the Cyrenean, helping Jesus carry his cross, to help us recognize that we need help at times and others do, too.  We carry and we help carry...that's what we are to do today. Day Two. Love, heidi

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Return with your whole heart...

"Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart...Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God."
Joel 2:12-13

Funny how familiar these words are to us who have grown up with Lent. This morning, when the reader on Pray-As-You-Go read them, I could recite them from memory.  But each year, familiar as the readings are, it's a new Lent. I am on a completely different space on my journey than I was last year on Ash Wednesday and that's a good thing.  This year Lent means something different than previous years, because I'm different.  I was thinking of the Prodigal Son reading and thinking how the wayward son was feeding the pigs, yet starving himself and, suddenly, it dawned on him to go home and face his father. That was his Ash Wednesday, choosing to go back and seek forgiveness and reconciliation with his father.  We all may not feel as estranged from God as our friend the Prodigal Son, but each of us can decide to return home and embrace our loving God. The best part is that God will be scanning the horizon, watching for us. The minute we are just a dot in God's view, God will come a runnin', meeting us on the road! And that is such a beautiful thing! Blessings on your Ash Wednesday! Love, heidi

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Give as we've been gifted

"In a generous spirit pay homage to the Lord, be not sparing of freewill gifts. With each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy. Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously, according to your means."
Sirach 35:7-9

Well, THAT sure doesn't need much commentary from me, does it? In a reflection on this reading, Fr. Dan Talafous, in Give Us This Day, hits the nail on the head when he said that if we cannot give cheerfully, with kindness, we needn't bother. As Lent sneaks up on us, let's think about how to honor the "giving alms" part of our Lenten observances. If we give to be seen giving, if we give announcing our sacrifice to assembled company, if we give just enough to satisfy a requirement, we may as well skip it. That is not the kind of giving God wants at all.  Rather, God desires that we give generously, cheerfully, compassionately and without judgment...just as we have been generously gifted by God. Love, heidi

Monday, February 27, 2017

Lent is coming!

"The mystics would say whenever you stand apart and objectify anything you stop knowing it. You have to love, respect, and enter into relationship with what you desire to know."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation for 2/26/2017

When I read this yesterday it hit me...that is what I want to do for Lent this year. We can only learn so much by reading and studying someone. That gives us a start but only takes us so far.  To really get to know someone we need to meet them, spend time with them, and enter into relationship with them.  I can read many biographies and watch documentary films about Abraham Lincoln but that doesn't mean I actually know him.  I hope to meet him in heaven someday, but until then--I can only know about him.  With God, I can spend extra time during Lent getting closer through experience.  Letting go of distracting activities and chasing shiny things will give me time to spend just sitting with God. And that is how I can get to know God experientially.  So, as we spend these next couple days planning our Lenten activities, let's pray about what God desires we do, not just what we have always done or what makes us feel good about ourselves.  Let's turn to God for ideas. What will help us draw closer to God in our own experience? What will draw us deeper into relationship with God? And how will this directly benefit our fellow human beings, because that is important too. Our Lent practices must enhance the lives of others. What we glean behind our prayerfully closed doors, must help others on the other side of the door!  Love, heidi