Thursday, January 18, 2018

The path to life...

"Therefore my heart is glad, my soul rejoices, my body also dwells secure...
You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever."
Psalm 16:9,11

And so it is.  During my New Year's retreat, I was going through some files in my desk. I came upon the file of application materials for the Spiritual Direction training program I attended, four years ago. As part of the process, I had to write a spiritual autobiography, where I put into words and on paper, my journey with God lo these many years.  I remember I enjoyed writing it, but the real gift of the autobiography was in reading it out loud (to the dog), sitting on the floor on New Year's day. In it, I recounted my journey, as a little girl, as a high school kid on a Search retreat, as a college student, and a young adult, trying to find the best way to serve God with my life. Because, see, I knew that much--that I wanted to serve God with my life. As I read, I could see the unfolding of each life choice--how it began as a desire, deep in my heart. I could see how God opened my eyes to the desire, and I could see how God guided me to fulfill the desire. Seeing it all open up to me in print, I just sat there and marveled at how God has worked in my life.  And I needed to see this now, at this stage of new beginning, a new unfolding.  So, therefore, my heart is very glad, and my soul greatly rejoices, and even my body, a wee bit sore from last night's yoga class, dwells secure.  God is so good...all the time!  Love, heidi

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A law of love...

"At this the Pharisees said to him, 'Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?'"
Mark 2:24

In the book, "Abba's Child," by Brennan Manning, he explains why Jesus wasn't as concerned about the laws of the sabbath in this and other scriptures.  Manning explains that originally, the sabbath was set aside in the Jewish culture for two reasons. First, as "a worship of adoration and thanksgiving for all God's goodness." And second, the sabbath was a reminder of the covenant of love between God and the Jewish people. Only after the Babylonian exile did the Pharisees shift the emphasis to not working on the sabbath and imposed strict rules against most forms of activity.  According to Manning, "The Pharisees falsified the image of God into an eternal, small-minded bookkeeper whose favor could be won only by the scrupulous observance of laws and regulations." ("Abba's Child") Wow. So Jesus, knowing the true meaning of the sabbath, saw nothing amiss in the disciples picking and eating the heads of grain while they are hungry.  If one wonders why Jesus performed so many of his healing miracles on the sabbath, this is an explanation, isn't it? Jesus knew that the Pharisees had twisted the sabbath around for their own gain and to lengthen their own tassels, and Jesus would have none of that! Jesus came with the law of love and the spirit of that love is that no one go hungry or unhealed or uncared for.  Isn't that just as true in our world today? Love, heidi