Friday, March 29, 2019

Knowing vs understanding

"And when Jesus saw that he had answered with understanding, he said to him, 'You are not far from the Kingdom of God.'"
Mark 12:34

I think this is a piece we can miss in our faith journey. We are taught to believe, what to believe, that our belief makes the difference in our salvation. But what about understanding? There are certainly many things we may not even begin to understand. But the young man in today's Gospel showed Jesus he had a deeper relationship with the law because he understood it. And what he understood was this: We are to love God with all we have and are as well as loving others as ourselves. All of that is more important than the rituals and activities we do, supposedly, for God. We can go to church every Sunday, even contribute to the collection each week, confession every Saturday (as used to be the norm) and yet...If we don't love others as we love ourselves, we are not understanding.
Having all of our kids together through this last couple of weeks has been a real joy. They are all adults, leading very different, yet wonderful lives, and it's a real pleasure seeing how much they enjoy and appreciate each other. As an only child, this can be mystifying to me, but it's a fabulous thing to see. No wonder God wants us to love each other! Isn't that a great joy for God to see us all caring for each other with compassion? I love that our kids love and respect us, as parents, but it's even more special that they love and appreciate each other. So, I can see a glimpse of Jesus' point here. Our loving each other is much more valuable to God than our rituals and ablutions we go through trying to please God and, supposedly, save ourselves. This weekend, let's try to see what that looks like in our lives. Love, heidi

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Not about me!

"Jesus, I pray that this Lenten period may make me more aware of your forgiving presence in my life and less concerned about performing well in the eyes of my world."
Henri J.M. Nouwen, "A Cry for Mercy," as quoted in "Becoming Instruments of God's Peace"

Yep, that has long been a bug-a-boo of mine--being far too concerned about what others think of me. I grew up a people-pleaser and it's really hard to let that go. It's important to treat others kindly and lovingly, but doing it just for the sake of being well-thought-of is where the problems arise. I'm not here to please the world, but to give glory to God. And that means loving others with compassion. It doesn't mean getting others to like me! I can't control that, anyway, and it really is none of my business what others think of me. Again, that is really hard to let go when one is an only child of older parents and raised to be (hopefully) loved by all! I guess all I can do is to try to joyfully serve God and God's people and let the chips fall where they fall. I can pray this lovely prayer and be aware it's never about my "performance" but only about God's work in the world.  Love, heidi