Wednesday, February 7, 2018

God is indwelling...

"Living from the inside out means we're not driven by the roller coaster of circumstances, emotions, or events. Instead of relying completely on external cues, we draw on the deep, abiding source of our heritage as God's children: union with God."
Kathy Coffey, "Give Us This Day"

Oh, I need this right now!  As a confessed news junkie, I can get way too caught up in the news and external cues, which is a dangerous activity at this time. Dangerous because it leads me to the near occasion of sin, as described in the Baltimore Catechism.  I can get so angry and feel so hopeless with the way things are, it is counter-productive! Where can we turn when we want to get off the roller coaster of circumstances and events? Do we just have to hang on for dear life, close our eyes and hope for the best? I agree with Ms. Coffey that we need to turn inside to God who dwells there in each person. God is on the inside, with a calm peacefulness the world cannot give. But it doesn't mean we close our eyes to the injustice that is swirling all around us, either. As residents of the world, we need to do our part to make the world a better place, but we cannot get overwhelmed by that task, thinking we work alone. We need to tap into the God indwelling within us and offer ourselves as healers in this suffering world. With God working from within, we can help God heal.  If that seems like an exhausting task for this winter Wednesday, it is, but we are God's children, with God's divine grace within us.  We can, (and must!) do our part...Love, heidi

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Commandments and traditions...

"You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition."
Mark 7:8

Pray-As-You-Go had an interesting question based on this reading today. What is the difference between God's commandments and human traditions? Often, our traditions have a religious origin, don't they? Some of our traditions seem more important than others and when I prayed with which ones are which, it came down to what I think God would care about more. And that pointed to love and care for others. Sometimes our religious traditions seem to just make us look good. Or pious. Or righteous. And those, to me, are much less important to God than the ones caring for others. Does God really care about us bowing and genuflecting in church, if we leave our neighbor hungry? Yes, we are honoring God by our bowing, but we are also honoring God by caring for our neighbor, where God resides just as present as in the tabernacle. It may be a fine line. Jesus really takes the Pharisees to task in today's Gospel for washing their hands and ceremoniously cleaning their dishes and possessions, while missing the spirit of God's law all together. And that is to love each other. They were clean, sure enough. But they were also exclusionary and judgmental of each other. Today, on our February Tuesday, let's pick apart the commandments and laws for ourselves. Which do we believe are most important? Which seem to us to be more important to God? Love, heidi

Monday, February 5, 2018

Mercy and ashes...

"The mystery of forgiveness is God's ultimate entry into powerlessness. Withholding forgiveness is a form of power over another person, a way to manipulate, shame, control, and diminish another. God in Jesus refuses all such power."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation, 2/4/2018

OK, so Lent begins next week...on Valentine's Day. Rather than being a funny conundrum, I think it can be a stunning reminder to us of what Lent should be about. Love. We may think of it as about ashes and sacrifice, and those smells and bells from our childhoods, and that can be part of it. But Ash Wednesday falling on Valentine's Day is a clear indication to me that this Lent needs to be about Love. We are so loved. And we are made to love others. Whether we give up chocolate or alcohol or any of the things we tend to do, we need to remember that those things do not change God's mind about us. God already loves us immensely. God desires mercy, not sacrifice and if we could genuinely forgive one person this Lent it would mean all the world to God.  We could celebrate Easter (on April Fool's Day!) knowing that a little bit of the mercy of God has rubbed off on us, and God is thrilled about that.  So, as we have a few days before the ashes are placed on our foreheads, let's prayerfully consider how we can be merciful this Lent.  Are there people we can finally forgive? Are there relationships we can reach out to mend?  Let's pray about it before we are "ashed." Love, heidi