Friday, November 17, 2017

Preserve and secure...

"Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.
Luke 17:33

I admit, I looked at this reading with new eyes this morning. I sat there and wondered, how do we preserve and secure our lives? Well, by overly feathering our nests, surrounding ourselves with superfluous stuff, for one thing.  When I think of all the pretty treasures that spent years in my crawl space, I shudder. They could have been making others happy but I wouldn't let them. I kept them boxed up and "secure" in the crawl space until I finally heard the word to let them go. I think we also preserve our lives by the old "looking out for Number One" adage of the 70's. We take great care of ourselves but what about our neighbor? Are we doing anything to help preserve his life? Jesus tells us that the greatest thing we could ever do is give our lives for another and then he showed us what that looks like. That seems so extreme and out of reach for us, but what does this passage look like within our reach? Can we step out of our own little comfort zones and well-feathered nests and let go of ourselves? Can we look at the other guy as more important than our own needs and wants? Our own security? Things to ponder this weekend, Friends, as we also count our blessings! Love, heidi

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A new priority...

"...(Jesus) reveals a new law of love,
of compassion,
of forgiveness,
in the 'now' of today.
He reveals a new priority:
to be present to the poor and to the weak;
for it is they who will lead people
into the Kingdom;
they are the key to the Kingdom..."
Jean Vanier, "Jesus, the Gift of Love"

This is just one part of this beautiful poem but it speaks so richly of the quandary we as humanity find ourselves in today.  We search for God and God is right here among us as the refugee, the immigrant, the sick and uninsured, the single mother, the drug addict, the alcoholic, the prisoner on death row, the suffering planet earth beneath our feet. We, as a society, are looking up to find God, when God is actually not "up there" at all. God is right here with us and we are missing God all together and, thus, rejecting God. We need to turn ourselves completely upside down and recognize that God is not at the "top." God is not sitting in the seat of power, prestige or wealth. God is at the bottom, shivering due to our cold rejection.  Next week is Thanksgiving. Our time for giving thanks for all we have been given. What does that mean, exactly, if we are rejecting the poor? Our attitude of gratitude must include our being present to the poor and weak! Love, heidi

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

They made it!

"The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace."
Wisdom 3:1-3

In the bit of study I've done on death and dying the one thing I've learned is this: Be Not Afraid! Maybe that's why that song is sung at so many funerals! Most recently, in the Franciscan Way course I've been enjoying this fall, Fr. Richard Rohr mentions that, frequently, the most peaceful person in the room of a person dying is the person dying. There is some sense of the next road being pleasing and comforting and the fear just drifts away. Dr. Kathleen Dowling Singh, in her work on death and dying, indicates that the next world seems enticing and the person dying is just enveloped into it. She calls is transcendence. I call it "sign me up!" In the work of both Fr. Rohr and Dr. Dowling Singh it is emphasized that we can prepare to let go of this world by letting go well before we face eminent death. Material things can lose their importance to us (I'm nearly there!) and we find value in enhancing our relationships with others. We don't want to allow bad feelings and grudges to hang over our heads like little black clouds. We make sure people know we love them. We "do unto others" and treat people with respect and compassion. No need to wait until the end of our lives to do these things, Friends! And, perhaps best of all, we can know our loved ones are in the hand of God. They made it! They are there with God, enjoying the banquet. That should give us peace! Love, heidi

Monday, November 13, 2017

Forgiving heals!

"And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, 'I am sorry,' you should forgive him."
Luke 17:4

If I had been there at this gathering,  I would have been tempted to ask Jesus, "But what if he or she doesn't apologize? Do I need to forgive then?" What if someone hurts us and they seem to be unaware? I'm sure I have hurt others, unaware of their feelings. What then? Knowing Jesus, he would want us to forgive even the unrepentant, too. And I know that because I'm aware how our forgiving helps us in healing our spirits. When we forgive others, they may or may not be changed, but we are changed. Forgiveness heals the forgiver. So, today, if we feel a twinge of hurt from another, let's not wait for them to apologize to us before forgiving them. They may be completely unaware they have hurt us. Let's rely on a mustard seed size bit of faith and forgive them. The spirit we heal may be our own. Love, heidi