Friday, November 9, 2018

Ms. Not Me...

"Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwells in you?"
1 Corinthians 3:16

Pray-As-You-Go asked this morning if we are aware of this presence of God within us? Can we ever sense that there is a light within we can identify as God? I thought about it and realized that there are so many times when "Not Me" does or says stuff that sure isn't me! Ms. Not Me surprises me with a reserve reservoir of patience just when I need it. Not Me says much kinder things than I usually do or that my mind may be thinking. Not Me seems to take more positive action than I could ever think to take, for others. I'm pretty sure Not Me is God's indwelling Spirit within me. All of us are graced with the dwelling of God within us. That is why it is so important that we treat each other as lovingly as we can! God dwells in me as well as in you, and you, and you! Realizing that, we can rely on the spirit of God to influence us to be the best we can be. We also realize that everyone has this indwelling, not just the people we like or who are like us. So, Ms. Not Me really IS me, just a little nicer version of me, with God's pulse beating within me. Today, this autumn Friday and all weekend, let's make a special attempt to treat each other like special containers of God's Spirit. And let's rely on that very Spirit within us to do it with love. Love, heidi

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The heaviest purse of all...

"In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple."
Luke 14:33

Yesterday, in my first grade reading group, we had the word "eek!" in a story. Good thing, because I can use it effectively today. Eek! I say, Jesus. This seems a bit harsh, especially to someone like me who has done quite a bit of renouncing possessions in the last couple of years. So I sit and ask myself, what is there left to renounce? It comes to me easily from a book I read last year on retreat. According to St. Francis, we must set down the "purse of our own opinions." Another excellent opportunity to use the word Eek! That is the heaviest purse I own, truly. But what if my opinions are right? Do I still need to set them down? I think we need to hold them very lightly. Have a gentle, loose grip on our own opinions and try not to shove them down anyone else's throat. Don't think just because we are so right that everyone who disagrees with us is wrong. It's a good lesson to have the day after an election, don't you think? The lessons I am learning from St. Francis are to live our opinions instead of just carrying them around in a footlocker. If we live our lives in the manner of our Gospel beliefs, we won't have to say a word, much less preaching our opinions to others or hitting people over the head with them. So, today, let's think about how we can actually live what we believe as followers of Jesus. Let's consider setting down the heavy purse of our own right-ness and just go about our day, living Matthew 25:31-46. Love, heidi

Monday, November 5, 2018

Hello Dearest...

"Hello Dearest, I'm so glad it's you!"
Anne Lamott, "Almost Everything"

Author Anne Lamott has a friend who always answers the phone, "Hello Dearest, I'm so glad it's you!" Anne says she thinks that is how God responds when she prays, even at her "least attractive." I read this book while on retreat and the minute I read that line (and  it's early--page 6) I heard God saying that to me too. I don't know how any of us survived with any kind of spirituality when we were raised with the idea that God was still mad at us for the sin of Adam. Really? We were taught to do this and that to appease God and this was to be a lifelong pursuit. I still shudder when I remember nervously entering the confessional to tell all my most heinous sins (I was 8) to an invisible man behind a screen. Gratefully, things changed, and were a bit more user-friendly, by the time our kids went through the process, but still. What if we had been taught that whenever we pray God is tickled to death to hear from us and says joyfully, "Hello Dearest! I'm so glad it's YOU!" God loves us. Even at our most unattractive or disagreeable. We need to accept and get used to that fact. Maybe it would help us if we could imagine God so delighted to hear from us, each time we reach out. "Hello Dearest! I'm so glad it's YOU!" Let's bask in that beautiful image this autumn Monday! Love, heidi