Friday, April 14, 2017

Die to yourself, before you die yourself...

"And, bowing his head, he handed over the spirit."
John 19:30

I was struck this morning, while reading this, how Jesus willfully handed over his life.  No one took his life from him. No one wrestled his life away from Jesus...he gave it up as a conscious act of surrender. In the little bit I've studied and learned about the act of dying, it is certainly a letting go. People may fight it to the end, but it is, ultimately, a surrender.  It can be much easier if we are able to surrender a bit sooner, in that we recognize our lives belong to God and we are returning to God and we needn't cling to the things of this earth. Some people have such a hard time letting go of things...
Today, as we walk up the difficult road to Calvary with our Jesus, let's think about ways we can surrender to God prior to that last bit of letting go at our own death. Can we adopt an attitude of unimportance of material things of the world? Can we embrace others as our companions on the journey and realize that helping them is part of our true purpose for being on this planet? Can we get to a point where it's not about us after all?  Blessings on your weekend that promises New Life! Love, heidi

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Holy and Whole

"Peter said to him, 'You will never wash my feet.'"
John 13:8

Peter just couldn't handle looking down and seeing Jesus washing his feet. It was just too much for him. I can hardly blame him.  The couple of times I have had my feet washed during this beautiful ritual, on Holy Thursday, have pushed me way out of my comfort zone. Where do you look? Do you say anything? What if I start crying? Hold it together, try to just hold it together.  Let's put ourselves in Peter's sandals. We have traveled this three year journey with this guy who we really think is going to be the King of Israel. Like a King-in-power-type King. But sometimes he says and does the oddest things.  He says he has to die and be raised again on the third day. He gets down on his hands and knees to wash our feet like a common servant.  We just don't understand it. It's too hard for us to understand. So Peter just draws the line. "You will never wash my feet!" Aren't we all just like Peter? Tonight marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the most stunningly holy time of the whole year. Holy and whole. Life, death and resurrection.  Let's not miss a bit of it! Love, heidi

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spy Wednesday

"One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, 'What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?'"
Matthew 26:14

I sincerely hope that one of the first people I meet in heaven is Judas Iscariot. Because Jesus is forgiving like that. I like to think Judas was the first redeemed by Jesus; a friend for many years who took a wrong path, but was redeemed through Jesus' unfailing love. Jesus modeled this redemption with Peter, who also failed him that fateful night. I imagine that, during the time both Jesus and Judas were dead, Judas after hanging himself and Jesus after his death on the cross, that it went down something like this:
Jesus: "Judas, did you love me when we were both alive and together?"
Judas: "Jesus, I did and I still do. I don't know what went wrong, but I'm so sorry. Please forgive me."
And then, they were together again, brothers in Paradise. Because Jesus is like that.  We hope in that. We relish that. There are no enemies in these events, only human beings acting like human beings.  We all make mistakes and all we need do is ask Jesus for forgiveness.  Let's think about that this "Spy Wednesday." Love, heidi

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

At the edge of our seats...

"You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, 'You cannot come,' so now I say it to you."
 John 13:33

Imagine how befuddled the disciples must have felt hearing this from Jesus as they shared their last meal together!  Here they had walked away from their own lives to follow him, stuck with him for three years and now he was saying he was moving on and they can't come? They must have felt flummoxed. Maybe rejected. Certainly confused. Was all of this going to just end? Was all they had worked for and sacrificed for just going to dwindle away as Jesus headed off on his own? "But the crowds were so excited to see you when we got to town!" Our Gospel starts out today saying, "Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled..." (v. 21) So, no one was actually comfortable at this gathering, beginning with Jesus.  This was looking like a dark cloud coming quickly.  Think of all the emotions experienced by everyone at the table...fear, excitement, angst, anticipation, uncertainty, confusion, wonder, bewilderment, all circling back to fear.  What was going to happen? We imagine these same emotions with the disciples and Jesus as we sit at the table, at the edge of our seats.  Love, heidi

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Journey to Calvary...

"Jesus, then, gentle-hearted as a grandmother, as dignified as a king, could ride serenely up to his death because he knew he was returning to his source."
Fr. Ed Hays, "The Lenten Labyrinth"

Fr. Ed Hays offers some pondering questions in the Palm Sunday entry in the Labyrinth.  Jesus rode into Jerusalem, knowing that the end of his journey was near. And yet, he was serene, allowing the people to laud him as king.  What about us, Fr. Ed asks. Are we OK with our own death--the hows and whens of it?  Definitely some rich food-for-thought on a Relatively Silent Sunday. I had to admit, now that my Will is complete, I'm much more at ease about dying! It isn't the actual death that scares me as much as the passage toward death-the walk to my own, personal Calvary. The physical/mental diminishment, the dependency on others, the lack of capacity myself scares the dickens out of me. I'm so independent and self-contained that the idea of depending on others scares me much more than the thought of taking that last breath. I'd choose to die peacefully in my sleep--causing minimal fuss and trouble for anyone. But that may not be the cross I am dealt.  Jesus asks me to accompany him to Calvary with whatever cross I am meant to carry--that is part of what being a follower of Jesus looks like. I can journey with Jesus this difficult week to his Calvary and I can rest assured that Jesus will walk with me to my Calvary, whenever and however that comes to pass.  This Holy Week, let's be especially aware of journeying with Jesus as he shows us how it's done.  Love, heidi