Thursday, August 30, 2018

God in the hard places...

 "Jesus said to his disciples, 'Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come!"
Matthew 24:42

Pray-As-You-Go had a good suggestion for praying with this reading today. Imagine what a surprise encounter with Jesus could look like. It's a surprise, you don't know you are going to encounter Jesus. So how does it play out? The thing that first came to my mind is that it would be a more difficult encounter--one of the harder moments of my day. Not because I don't want to encounter Jesus, but because Jesus is so often in the hard situations and the more difficult people. If we think back to the hardest situations we have encountered in the last week or so, right smack dab in the middle of them is God. Sometimes we have a harder time seeing God in those times, except when we look back reflectively. Then, hopefully, we can see God helping us. I certainly encounter Jesus is in the joyful times, as well. That's easy. But whatever we go through that really challenges us and tweaks us to our very core; that is where God is hardest at work in us.  Let's try to meet God right there... Love from the treehouse, heidi

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Do what's right!

"The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her."
Mark 6:26

Despite having mild flashbacks to the gruesome picture of the head of John the Baptist on a platter in my Children's Bible (really? In a children's bible?) this reading brings up an important point for our lives today. Pray-As-You-Go points out that King Herod went against what he knew to be right and did what he knew to be wrong to please his dinner guests. He'd admired John the Baptist, it was Herod's wife that had a beef with him. Because he had promised his daughter anything after she danced for his guests at dinner, he had John the Baptist beheaded. Certainly our little white lies and minor maleficence won't have such horrible results...but should we still say or do them? We know what is right and what is wrong. God's law is written on our hearts and it should pop up on our mental "screens" all through the day. Do we listen to it or get swept along with the crowd? It's so much easier to follow the crowd into gossip or negative talk. It's easy to join the chorus belittling others, be they whole races or groups or individuals. It's much easier to try to please the dinner guests than it is to stand out and stand up for what we know to be right and true. Today, shake loose that image of John the Baptist's head on a plate (if you had the same bible I did) and look more at his life. He said and did the hard stuff, because the hard stuff was the right thing to do. Love from the chilly treehouse, heidi

Monday, August 27, 2018

Sorrow and shame. And anger.

"Jesus then said to the Twelve, 'Do you also want to leave?' 
Simon Peter answered him, 'Master, to whom shall we go? 
You have the words of eternal life. '"

John 6:68

This is a very hard post for me to write, Friends. I have been struggling with the latest news of the abuse scandal in several dioceses in Pennsylvania--aren't we all struggling with this? Thanks be to God I heard a wonderful homily yesterday addressing the elephant in the room. Fr. Radmar Jao, SJ was the celebrant at Risen Christ in Boise and tackled it head-on. He validated the feelings of so many: anger, angst, betrayal, lack of trust. He gave us three ways to channel our feelings into positive action. I truly believe we need to be able to DO something or we will just marinade in the evil brew of it, throw in the towel on the church or turn our backs on God altogether. First, Fr. Radmar suggested praying...for the victims, the church, and for all involved in sexual abuse of any kind. Second, he urged us to be proactive in our efforts against any kind of abuse--everywhere, in all of our environments. Be vigilant and speak up! And finally, he said, as followers of Jesus we need to be strong witnesses for Jesus in the world. We need to remember our own personal encounters with Jesus, the very encounters that put us on the path of life with Jesus in the first place.  We need to share these stories and bring Jesus to the world that needs to know Jesus. We need to stay and lead the church, not give up and leave the church. Thank you, Fr. Radmar...
Just as when Jesus overturns the tables in the temple, his anger is righteous and justified.  So is ours when we feel so crushed by the actions of these priests and bishops on the innocent.  But we have hope in our own personal relationships with Jesus and the need for the world to hear about Jesus. Gracious God, have mercy on us all. Love, heidi