Thursday, February 15, 2018

Who we really are...

"If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen, but are led astray and adore and serve other gods..."
Deuteronomy 30:17

It's all too easy to tell ourselves we aren't worshipping other gods, isn't it? But not so fast...Pray-As-You-Go invites us to think about what detractors can stand in our way and that is a bit easier to pin point. What distracts me from what I know God asks me to do? What distracts me from the person God knows I am but who I struggle to bring forth in my interactions with others? See, God knows who we really are and it is not the distracted and floundering us, but the us imbibed with Divine DNA, made and wired to love and be loved. We aren't who we aren't, Dear Ones. But who we are is lovely--truly lovely, made in the image and likeness of God. Today as we go about with the memory of ashes still on our heads, let us imagine ourselves as God's beloved, set into the world to love God and others. That is who we are. That is what we do. Love, heidi

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Hearts and ashes...

"...Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God."
Joel 2:13

 Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day have not fallen on the same day since 1945.  That tells me something right there. It tells me that this Lent must be especially about Love this year, 2018.  Think about the spring of 1945 when war was still raging throughout the world. God heard the cries of the war-weary world and yearned for love as much as the people did. Now, in our time, there seems to be such an absence of love and care for the poor and those in the margins of our world. We seem so divided and oppositional on everything. I think the Lenten calendar is telling us again, "What the world needs now is love, sweet love." As we go around with ashes on our foreheads this day, how can we bring more love, sweet love to the hurting planet? Can what we plan to do for Lent help someone else? Can our prayer, fasting and alms-giving bring the world closer to healing? Can we care for the earth better? Can we love the Hard Ones better? Can we fall deeper in love with God? If it all sounds like a tall order, it is. But it's worth the effort!  If I had my way, I would ask the person who places the ashes on my forehead to draw a little heart this remind me to love! Love, heidi

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Desires...good or bad?

"...for God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one. Rather, each person is tempted when lured and enticed by his desire."
James 1:13-14

I admit, I struggled with this reading today. I have grown to believe that our deepest desires are put into our hearts by God to guide us to how we can serve God. What's the deal? Are our deep desires placed there to lure us to evil? It was the good sisters, actually, who guided me to look inside to the deepest desires of my heart. It was when I was discerning the religious life, back in the earliest of 80's. I trust them to have read that correctly, since following my deepest desires has led me to this awesome gift of life I have experienced! But I wonder what James means when he talks about our desires luring us to evil. I think we can be enticed by wealth, power and greed--that enticement is all around us constantly.  It even seems to be rewarded in our society--look who we admire and put up on pedestals! Maybe we must dig deeper for the desires God places in our hearts. We may need to look beyond our immediate desires for what flashes in front of us in advertisements and billboards. We must look deeper than the new toys in the neighbor's driveway or the latest technology. The deep desires God places gently in our hearts look quite different than those passing fancies. God places desires in our hearts for how we can serve others and grow deeper in love with God. Those desires are not on any billboards, at least ones I have seen. (Especially the one that said "For the wages of sin is death!" I noticed up for a while...sheesh!). So, this Shrove Tuesday, let's think about the deepest desires of our hearts.  If we know God resides in our hearts, can we ask God to help us pray with our desires? Love, heidi

Monday, February 12, 2018

Ask for wisdom!

"But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it."
James 1:5

That's exciting, isn't it? Knowing that if we ask for wisdom God will generously give it to us? The rascal in me would say, "Why didn't I ask for wisdom long ago?" and "How will I know when I have it?"  I think, as we grow in faith (possibly corresponding to growing in age) we notice that things may not freak us out like they once did. We've seen this pattern before, we know it will work out somehow. We've been through a trial like this and it turned out fine. When these experiences pile up behind us, we may breathe a little easier when a new one comes along. Is that wisdom? Is that persevering through trials, as James mentions earlier in this reading? God gives us wisdom generously as God does everything, little by little, bit by bit, so that we barely notice a change in ourselves--until we need it. Then we can just pull it out and marvel that it is there at all. It's kind of like when you put Rhodes rolls out to rise before you go to bed, and you are flabbergasted when you wake up and see them all huge and risen! Wow, that! God works so subtly, yet remarkably, through our trials that we're not even aware of the wisdom and perseverance we are being given until it's time to use it.  Can we take some quiet time and notice the mysteriously subtle, yet unmistakeable work of God within us? Love, heidi