Friday, June 1, 2018

Overturn the tables of injustice...

 "They came to Jerusalem, and on entering the temple area (Jesus) began to drive out those selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves."
Mark 11:15

Why was Jesus so angry that day in the temple? The reason that makes the most sense to me was presented in a homily long ago. Jesus was angry because the poor were being over-charged and taken advantage of as they purchased their offerings. Jesus is a champion of the poor and his actions were in their defense. I wonder, too, if Jesus wasn't upset there was so much commerce happening. Was it a bit like today where people are pressured into buying things they don't need so others can profit? Was it the commercialism that upset Jesus? Maybe it was a bit of both. In our own lives today how are we treating the poor? Are we treating them with love and compassion? And how are our consumer habits? Are we buying beyond our means? Going deeper and deeper into debt to buy stuff we don't need? Jesus was so angry with what he saw in the temple that day that it is worth peering into it and gleaning a lesson for our own day. Our treatment of the poor and our consumerism need to line up with our desire to follow Jesus. I saw a news story where a televangelist wanted his flock to pitch in and buy him a personal jet. That just doesn't ring true to Jesus' values to me! That would be a table I would suspect Jesus would overturn, what do you think? Love, heidi

Thursday, May 31, 2018

God, surprise me!

"If I were God, I'd have the answers at the end of the workbook, so you could check to see if you're on the right track as you go along."
Anne Lamott, "Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace"

Oh, I love this! I'm an answer-checker myself, and there are many times during this transition I'd love to peek in the back of this workbook to make sure I'm doing this puzzle right! One thing I have learned though, is that there aren't really "wrong" choices as we discern our lives. I mean, none of us is choosing between a life of prayerful living for God and a life of crime are we? If we are faced with a decision to do this or that, BOTH this AND that are probably good choices. We are choosing between two positives. And in that, God can work with us and our situations no matter what we choose, right? We need to listen and pray, and discern what the deepest desire of our heart says, because that is where God has placed God's desire for us. God doesn't want a planet-full of unhappy campers, grudgingly doing service in the world. God wants joyful people, eager to do what they love most, for the glory of God. But there really isn't a wrong choice, especially as we have prayed and listened about what to do. God is so excited to give us these life-gifts and watch us unwrapping them like kids on Christmas morning.  And it seems like God enjoys surprising us, too, which can be a little disarming as we grow older.  The hardest prayer of all could be "God, surprise me!" Love, heidi

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Listen, wait and pray...

"Eventually, we must allow ourselves to be drawn by our soul's desire rather than driven by ego needs."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation, 5/30/18

My "ego needs" led me into a wonderful career that just may have turned into more of a vocation as I grew into it. It was a deep desire to go into the Blind Rehabilitation field and I totally felt led into it. And now, that same hand, that guided me in,  is guiding me out of it. But why? I had someone ask me yesterday why not work another year and make it an even 40 years in the field? Good question. I wish I could have explained it to the person, but I can barely figure it out myself. And then, I read this and it was as clear as day. I am being drawn by my soul's desire into something else. And here's the thing: I don't know what that is yet! A little farther into today's Meditation, Fr. Rohr says, "One sign that something is your vocation is that you would do it for free, even if there is no reward or social payoff." I guess that is why I have to retire to do it! And finally, one last fabulous nugget, "Listen, wait and pray for your unique gift, your True Self." Today, as we wind up our May, let's take some time to "Listen, wait and pray," giving ourselves to God in loving service. We may not even know what we are being called to do, but we know we can trust the One who calls. Love, heidi
To receive Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation visit: Center for Action and Contemplation

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Bottom rail on top...

"Many who are first will be last and the last shall be first."
Mark 10:31

This reminds me of something I remember from the Ken Burns "Civil War" documentary, which I have watched too many times to count.  In describing how those who had been oppressed were now in a position to bear arms and fight the enemy, one former slave observer said, "Bottom rail on top now." In other words, those who had been kept down are no longer down. Those who had been oppressed are now in a position of more power. Those seem to be the folks Jesus is referring to in this Gospel. And isn't that what Jesus came to do, really? Free those who are oppressed and pushed down? Those who society or the "in" crowd have pushed to the back of the bus? Many of the people Jesus healed were cast aside by the "good" people and Jesus went to the side to find them and heal them. What does that look like in our own day? Where would Jesus be if he walked the earth in his own physical body today? I see Jesus at the border, in the margins, comforting those who are being demonized by the very people who should be helping them. I see Jesus spurning the places of power and walking through the poorest of neighborhoods and among the saddest and most suffering of people. The people we place on pedestals now, the politicians, the powerful, the elite, will be on the very bottom of the fence in the Kingdom of God. And where will we be? Unless we follow Jesus to the margins and serve those as Jesus served, we won't be anywhere near the Kingdom. "Bottom rail on top now."  Oh happy day! Love, heidi