Friday, August 24, 2018

I'll follow...

"The path that I've chosen is calling me, and I'll follow."
"Journey, " Salt of the Sound

The opening song on Pray-As-You-Go this morning says everything we need to know about finding God's will for us in one sentence! It beautifully weaves together the truth that God plants into our hearts God's plan for us. We need to look no further than our own deep desires to find out what God wants us to do. How can it be so simple? Shouldn't our mission be harder to find? Shouldn't we have to sacrifice and suffer to please God? Certainly not! God wants us to joyfully go about serving each other. If we're crabby and suffer through our service, how could that possibly please God? But could it really be so easy? Well, it isn't necessarily easy if we insist on making it difficult ourselves. If we run around chasing earthly rewards and pay offs, simply serving our brothers and sisters can seem contradictory. We need to spend time, considerable time, in quiet, contemplative prayer, giving God a chance to speak to our hearts. We also need to give ourselves quiet time to listen. This isn't accomplished in just giving God a few minutes of our time once a week. Spending deep quiet time with God gives us a chance to find that path the song describes. The path that we choose that calls us, and we follow. Blessings and love from the treehouse, heidi

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Find a robe!

"In the improperly clothed wedding guest, we recognize the many occasions when we follow Jesus in only the most superficial ways. We show up for the feast, anticipating our share in the goodness of God's kingdom, yet we neglect a vital part of God's invitation: the summons to repentance and reform."
Jessica Coblentz, "Give Us This Day"

This is such a great explanation for a passage that has always gotten under my skin. In fact, Pray-As-You-Go invited us to talk to Jesus about how this reading (Matthew 22:10-14) makes us feel. I sort of unloaded on Jesus, wondering why the guy gets thrown out of the wedding feast for not having a wedding robe.  "I thought you wanted us all, Jesus, why should something as insignificant as a robe come between us being with you in the banquet?" No sooner were those words written in my journal, I read Ms. Coblentz's excellent interpretation. Jesus made it clear what our wedding robe was: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, welcoming the stranger. Those tasks hang on a clothing rack as wedding robes for us to put on and wear.  Our decisions to bypass the rack and think of getting to heaven just on our good looks alone (i.e. without a wedding garment) will lead to our disappointment. Typical me though, I imagine the king showing the guest to the outer room where many wedding robes are hanging. "Pick one out and put it on," says the king, "and come on back in!" If we woke up this morning, and most of us did, we have a chance to put on our wedding robes. Let's get out there and find the need in our world that Jesus puts us in the position to fill. Love from the treehouse, heidi

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

What's in it for us?

"Then Peter said to him in reply, 'We have given up everything to follow you. What will there be for us?'"
Matthew 19:27

Peter has the knack for saying what the rest of them were probably thinking but didn't have the nerve to say. St. Peter, the Patron Saint of the Cringe-Worthy. But how often do we think or even say out loud, "What's in it for us?" Some people spend their whole lives working diligently to get to heaven. I wonder if they'll be disappointed when they get there? I think I'd rather spend my time working for a better Here than just aiming for There. I'm sure heaven will be wonderful but Here can be pretty fabulous,  too, really. And we are desperately needed by God to make Here a better world for everyone. My first day with the kids yesterday was absolutely splendid! Such imaginations and built-in wit and wisdom! I have every desire to help their Here to be the best it can be.  My reward for anything I do is just the warm comfort of knowing God has placed me where I need to be, doing what I can to help Here to be a good place. Heaven for me, right now, is basking in Here. That is plenty for me! Love from the treehouse, heidi

Monday, August 20, 2018

Traveling light

"Jesus said to him, 'If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'"
Matthew 19:21

The Rich Young Man (or RYM, as I refer to him in my journals) and I go way back. I  heard the haunting words of Jesus to him, as if for the first time, while on my first retreat at Marymount exactly five years ago. I shook in my sandals. Here Jesus was extending a fabulous invitation to the RYM and it was just too hard for him to sell all his stuff and follow Jesus. I remember praying that I wouldn't do the same thing. I wanted to do what Jesus asked of me, but selling all my possessions seemed a little extreme for me, too. I was so afraid I would go away, sad, like the RYM from Jesus' invitation. Fast forward from that retreat to now and I write from my wonderful treehouse, with considerably fewer possessions (Jesus said I could keep a few things!) Today is the first day of school and the first day of my new life as a Title I tutor at Hawthorne Elementary. I feel, so deeply, that I am following Jesus in this that I could barely sleep and am itching to get to school already! If this is a dream I don't want to wake up.  What Jesus asks of us, Jesus puts into our hearts as desire. The RYM may have come around, in fact, I love to think of him coming to his senses and realizing what Jesus was offering him. He got rid of his stuff and met up with Jesus in the next town. To travel with Jesus, we must travel light. Not just fewer possessions, but fewer prejudices, judgments, hang ups about others. You never see the disciples pictured walking along with Jesus with camels carrying their stuff and the mental stuff? Seems like they left it all on the road as they walked. Today, let's all think about how we can travel lighter with Jesus. What can we discard so that our journey is freeing and nourishing? Love from the treehouse, heidi