Thursday, March 7, 2019

In weakness is peace...

"Where is (God's) peace to be found? The answer is surprising but it is clear. In weakness, in our own weakness, in those places of our hearts where we feel most broken, most insecure, most in agony, most afraid."
Henri J.M. Nouwen, "Finding My Way Home"

That is surprising, finding God's peace in our weakness, isn't it? Nouwen goes on to explain that, in our weakness, we have less control and cannot rely on ourselves. We reach the end of ourselves and what we can do and must rely on Someone Else. And there is peace in that. In our insecurity and weakness, we can finally just stop rolling that boulder up the hill. We can rely on a strength beyond us and find peace in the Other's ability. It reminds me of that funny bumper sticker: "Rejoice! You're inadequate!" That's lovely to ponder on a rainy Thursday here in Boise. This morning on our walk, Tebow and I heard the most wonderful birdsong! It gives us hope that spring is on the way! Love, heidi

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Out with the old...

"Remember, finally, that the ashes on your forehead are created from the burnt palms of last Palm Sunday. New beginnings invariably come from old false things that are allowed to die."
Fr. Richard Rohr, "Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent"

Wow, oh Wow! I really needed this now. Rather than giving some some tangible, some food or drink, I desire to let go of the old false things that burden me from the past. I'll happily do that and wear a cross of that on my forehead! I even have some ideas of what those may be, but won't burden you with my burdens. Let's think about what tired old parts of ourselves we can ask God to help us let go of during this lent. Because we know we cannot do anything by ourselves. Richard Rohr's prayer for this Ash Wednesday is this: "God, give me the desire to desire what you want me to desire," Yes! Please! Help me to identify the old false parts of myself that are not working for me any longer (as if they ever did). Help me to look forward, unburdened by those encumbrances, toward new life with you! Love, heidi

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Give up everything?

"Peter began to say to Jesus, 'We have given up everything and followed you.'"
Mark 10:28

Pray-As-You-Go invited us to ponder a question with this reading today. Have you given up anything to follow Jesus? Fascinating, right? When I think of my relationship with Jesus, it definitely has enhanced my life much more than leaving any kind of void. But conscious decisions on my part, based on my relationship with Jesus, have led to my lovely simple life in a treehouse! I think what has happened is this; if there has been any gap or letting go of anything to pursue my life with Jesus, Jesus has filled in the gaps. I desire nothing more than a simple, yet joyous, life with Jesus, so I'm completely unaware of any loss. Unlike the early followers of Jesus, we are not likely to be persecuted for our faith, which is a blessing. There are other ways, though, within our circle of influence, we may feel uncomfortable sharing our own spirituality with others. Just last night, a guy was coming door-to-door in our apartment complex inviting people to a bible study. When I shared with him that I was actually doing a little bible reading myself, right then, he said I was the first one he'd encountered to that point who read the bible. He was really sticking his neck out! He was giving up his Monday evening to go around in, what could be an uncomfortable, effort to round up bible readers. Today, as we look toward Lent tomorrow, is there something we can think of that we can let go in order to spend more time with Jesus? Anything we can do to encounter people that we may not always feel comfortable around? Anything we can do to stick our necks out a bit? I believe this is what we should be looking at for our lenten practice. Love, heidi

Monday, March 4, 2019

Grace is infinite

"The moment comes when our eyes are opened and we see and realize that grace is infinite. We need only await it with confidence and acknowledge it in gratitude. Grace makes no conditions."
Babette's Feast

The movie, "Babette's Feast" was recommended viewing for a class I am taking on Mary Magdalene. What's the connection, you wonder? I think Mary Magdalene, and Babette and the general who actually makes this beautiful little speech are all conveying the same thing: God's love is extravagant and infinite and always available to us if we just recognize and appreciate it. Mary Magdalene used a jar of expensive ointment to anoint Jesus just prior to his Passion in an over-the-top act of love. Babette used all the money she had to prepare the extravagant feast for the squabbling church members. Just like the devout, yet sad little Christians in the movie, we all have our quarrels and differences. It's hard to see God in our day to day lives, especially if the days are dreary and gray. But there comes a moment in all of our lives when God's love is illuminated for us. Maybe it's an event, or a retreat. Maybe it's a change of scenery or life choice. Maybe it's just the sun coming out after several days of gloom. However it manifests to us, it is instantly clear that God is close. God is good and plentiful and richly present in our lives. As we look toward the beginning of Lent this Wednesday, and, perhaps prepare to put on a bit of gloom ourselves, let's remember that there is nothing we can do to earn or make ourselves worthy of the infinite love of God. It is already available to us, no matter what our state is. We only need to see it, appreciate it and share it with others; and the more lavishly, the better. Love, heidi