Friday, March 9, 2018

Return, not earn...

"I will heal their defection, says the Lord, I will love them freely; for my wrath is turned away from them. I will be like the dew for Israel; he shall blossom like the lily..."
Hosea 14:5-6

Now, does that sound like a God who wants to annihilate us? Is that a God who only loves us if we behave and obey all the rules? It sounds to me like the most loving parent...the parent who loves nothing more than to give us our hearts desire and asks nothing of us in return. I'm not sure how we got to the point where we feel we must earn God's love. Rather than earn, we are just invited to return God's love. And that means loving God's creation--ALL of God's creation.  We are midway through Lent (hasn't it gone fast?) and now is the time to look inside and see where we are as far as loving God's creation. For as we love God's creation--that is how we are loving God. And this Lent of Love, beginning on Valentine's Day, is all about love. Love, heidi

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Sitting with the suffering...

"Presence is the gift we bring to the heart of this suffering world and to our Lord. And it is the gift he most desires. It is the gift that matters."
Colleen C. Mitchell, "Who Does He Say You Are?"

Every time something horrible happens we say the same thing, "What can I do? How can I help?" That's where we go immediately--wanting to DO something, fix it, make it better. It's human nature, I believe, to want to alleviate suffering. But what about when you can't? What about those times that are so far beyond our ability to fix?  It could be that simply our presence is help enough. This particular chapter in this book on women who encounter Jesus, emphasizes that simply being with others in their suffering should not be discounted as helpful. Sitting with someone in a situation you cannot fix may be exactly what they need right then. It never seems enough to me and I tend to run the other way unless there is a concrete "something" I can do. I'm a better do-er than a sitter-with-er, believe me! But there is tremendous grace in the space of sitting-with. Taking the step to enter into the grief of another person results in great grace, for that space of suffering and pain is exactly where God is too. Entering in it allows us to be with God, cry real tears with God, and be graced by God. There is such suffering all around us and, if you're like me, it feels overwhelming-like emptying out the ocean with an eyedropper. But let's try to just enter in and be with those who are suffering, whether we know them or not, whether they live in our community or not. We may know someone going through a difficult time right now. Or we may sit and pray for the people of the world most vulnerable and struggling.  Just being with them and going to that difficult space will take us right to God.  Love, heidi

Monday, March 5, 2018

The ripples of loving well...

"We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep...Thus, we shall always be with the Lord."
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 18

I heard this reading at a very beautiful, but very difficult funeral this last weekend...for a young man who died far too young.  But something his good friend said during his remarks really touched my heart. His friend said the way Henry (Lopez) lived meant his life couldn't be measured simply by number of years. His life would be measured by all the people he touched and the lives he enriched just by knowing him. I watched all of these beautiful young people, so stunned by the sudden loss of their friend and realized how different their lives would be now they have been touched by this grief. But they will take their friendship with Henry with them wherever they go and lovely ripples of Henry will go on and on through all the lives he touched. Those of us with several more years behind us can learn a vivid lesson from this wisdom of youth. We can learn to measure our lives, not by number of years, but by how others enrich our lives and how we can touch the lives of others. So, as we go about our March Monday, lets be aware of all who we will contact today. Can we create positive ripples that will move out and enrich others? Let's learn from the young people among us and love well today... Love, heidi