Friday, December 1, 2017

Our God waits with us...

"The purest form of spirituality is to find God in what is right in front of you."
Fr. Richard Rohr, "Just This"

"Just This" is the little book I'm reading for Advent this year and I'm appreciating why I was drawn to it. It is simple and easy. Well, reading it is easy. Implementing it is a bit harder. We tend to complicate things spiritually, making them seem harder than they really are. Why? Maybe to make ourselves seem more righteous, virtuous, special. In fact, it is all very simple: finding God who is right in front of us. When things globally and nationally seem so dismal and difficult, all we need to do is stop and take in a moment. We need to take a deep, cleansing breath and open our heart to what is right here, right now. This morning, the first day of December, there is a blanket of fresh snow on the ground. I could get wiggy about it and dread venturing out in it, or I can look and see how God has gifted the earth with moisture and nourishment. The dark long nights of December could daunt me, or I could see them as a chance to rest; snuggle in and enjoy. The vast, bustling Christmas machine could freak me out, or I could see it as a chance to give of my resources to help others. It's all a matter of opening the heart space, the mind space, and nourishing our bodies to be aware that the God we seek is already here.  We talk of waiting in Advent, but if we open our eyes, minds and hearts, what we are waiting for is actually waiting with us.  Love, heidi

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

I forgive...I really want to

"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

I am revisiting this today because I had a bit of a break-through with it and thought it may be worth sharing. Remember I had prayerfully asked Jesus, what about when the other party doesn't apologize? Are we still to forgive? Jesus had pointed out how forgiveness heals the forgiver, with or without an apology. Well, there's been an issue hanging over my head that I can't seem to get past. It was hurtful and harmful and I can get riled up about it at the drop of a hat, and hats seem to be constantly dropping! I asked Jesus to help me get over it, I'm tired of being angry about it; it needs to go. I was doing some Centering Prayer and, afterward one word popped into my head. Forgive. Just forgive the whole thing; it's the only way out of this anger. No one has apologized, but still the only way out is to forgive. I mentally just kept saying over and over, I forgive. Each time the issue came into my head I chased it out with "I forgive."  I am not completely over it, by any means, but now I have a counter punch whenever the thought seeps back into my brain. I forgive. I want to, I really do. And God can take that willingness and desire and heal my broken heart about this. God just desires my desire to forgive. So, there you go. A bit of rubber-meets-the-road spirituality for your Wednesday.  Love, heidi

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Looking for God...

"While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, 'All that you see here--the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.'"

It's hard not to be impressed by grand cathedrals and temples, isn't it? I remember going through the Vatican in a state of awe at how magnificent it all was.  The mistake one makes in that line of thinking is that all that grandeur is about God. That grandeur is about human beings expressing their admiration of God in an architectural, artistic manner, but the grandeur is not God, nor does it even reflect God. God chose to come into the world in a stable, not a grand structure. God chose to live a simple, unadorned life, not the life of a king in a palace. God chose to die, among thieves on a hillside, not in an Intensive Care Unit of a vast teaching hospital. All the grandeur we see in our churches and temples must make God twinge when looked at from the streets and gutters. For that is where God is among us, right now in our time. Still in the metaphorical stable--the homeless shelter, the halfway house, the prison, is our God. And we are still trying to find God at church. Let's think about that this day, and plan our Advent accordingly.  Love, heidi

Monday, November 27, 2017

Gifts from the heart...

"Jesus said, 'I tell you truly, the poor widow put in more than all the rest, for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.'"
Luke 21:1-4

One strange thing that struck me as I read this today was that Jesus didn't perform a miracle and "heal" this woman from her poverty, did he? We don't hear that, as a result of Jesus admiring her willingness to give, Jesus changes her station in life; her widowhood or her poverty. Strike one down for the "Prosperity Gospel!" Jesus admires her willingness to give all she had and that's all we hear about.  Apparently, Jesus felt that this widow, somehow, had all she needed--all that really matters anyway.  This widow has a heart for giving and that is much more important in the Big Picture than material wealth. Pray-As-You-Go emphasized with this reading that Jesus values all we do in our giving as well. We may feel we come up way short, and we possibly do, not giving so much from our livelihood as the poor widow. But if we know that anything we do for God and with God is so treasured by Jesus, we yearn to do more. Today, what can we give of our very selves? What can we do to share what is in our hearts with others?  As we give of ourselves, we give our very livelihoods.  Love, heidi