Rebirth

1 - rebirth

Ninety-eight percent of our bodies’ atoms are replaced every year. When we think deeply about this, can we accept that each year we are a new person, physically, but are we a new person spiritually, emotionally, culturally? In a word, can we accept that over our lifetime, we evolve?

We begin as babies and grow into childhood. Take a look at a baby, or a child; they look at everything with unbelievable awe and wonder. Unbelievable to us, not to them. Everything is new! As a child, their spirit is changing as fast as their bodies are changing . . . ninety-eight percent each year; maybe even each day. The wonder of childhood need not be lost on us as we age, mature.

Try as I may, I walk through nature, seeing the plants, listening to the rustling of leaves as invisible animals make their way behind me, seeing the birds playfully, to us, searching for their next bit of life-sustaining food; I accept this from my aged point of view; it is no longer a wonder to me. I enjoy the feelings of seeing and hearing these wonders of nature, but I am no longer in awe of their beauty, no matter how much I pretend.

As I write this today, I feel that if I only had retained the wonder and awe of a young child, I would appreciate it more than I do. But this is not nature’s way; I aged and matured, becoming what I pray was and is a necessary cog in the ever-turning wheel of life. I taught the wisdom of the ages to adolescents and young adults. This is the necessary cycle of progress; the old helping the young mature.

I think of how different this could have been, if I were only more in touch with my long-lost childhood. I ask if I could have presented my experience and knowledge in a more childlike, more wonder-filled way, could I have helped my students retain some of the aw and wonder lost after childhood.

I cannot answer this self-imposed question; what I do know is that I was performing on God’s path, laid out especially for me. Yes, I am special; just as you are special. As I child, I thought the world revolved around me; as an adult, I know differently, but I know that my journey was that of God.

As I take another look at the nature around me, I can sit back and smile, knowing that my journey was just God planned. Looking at the birds in my yard sharing the feeders my wife so faithfully fills, I can see them with a muted, but resurgent awe. The wonder that God gives me each day I rise.

Let’s share the rebirth of God’s beauty.

Bridges

1-bridge

The dictionary defines a bridge as a structure spanning and providing passage over . . . (many things).  We are great in building bridges in our lives. We are constantly looking to cross over obstacles, avoiding what these obstacles can do to us. I question what we are missing. Those obstacles we avoid can be great learning experiences that by avoiding, we can never outgrow or overcome.

God does not build bridges; He gives us a direct line to Him, if we recognize and accept it. We  should avoid our bridges, walking on the lighted path that God provides for us. When our feet are not on the ground, we miss God’s message to us. By rising over (bypassing) our difficulties, we often use our egos to avoid problems. Our egos can and will suppress the message of God, which always comes in a whisper.

If the avoidance involves another person, we can sometimes feel good when we cross them off our list of friends, washing our hands of their influence in our lives. Even if these friends try to overlook our voices, ignoring our wishes, they are there for a reason, and not just to strengthen us for argument.

We should face these friends, speak our voice, and settle our differences as the friends that we are, or at least should be. This is the way of God. Often, the face of God is reflected the face of these friends. We can build a stronger relationship with God, when we build a stronger relationship with those we see as bothersome. Listening for the almost silent whispers can open our hearts to great treasures.

Our lives are a gift, gracefully granted to us by God. If we can accept this, then we can also accept that the lives are others are also a gift, gracefully granted by God. If we can all live using these gifts as a start to all relationships, we can truly see the face of God reflected in all those we meet.

 

Where are You?

1 - healing

I feel You! You are all around.

I cannot miss the feeling of your presence

As my life is a joy to live

I saw you in the face of my children

When they were born

 

I know you are with us

When we pray in our prayer corner

Your comfort is warm

Your grace is a blessing

 

Why do I miss your presence

When I am in pain, when I have lost

When I have crossed into an unfamiliar place

When I am depressed

 

Why do I feel alone and abandoned

Why do I think you are not

With me during these bad times

Why do I doubt your presence

 

While on the cross

Jesus asked why you had forsaken him

This was the human side of Jesus

The suffering side

 

It is the human side of me that doubts

It is the human side that loses faith

It is my spiritual side that knows

You are always present in my life.

 

 

Overcoming

sharing a meal

Desmond Tutu was a great leader and civil rights activist; his writings are still an inspiration to us all. He reminds us that we are very capable of hurting each other in many ways, and, we feel justified in doing so. I am very active in my diocesan race and reconciliation commission and read a great deal about how I, as a white man, must face the fact that I benefited from a racist society.

With this in mind, I accept that if we truly want to treat others as ourselves, we must realize that God has given us the ability to heal ourselves and others. Just by looking for God in all, we can create great joy in our lives and in our hearts.

I consider myself to be a person who despises racism and all aspects of it, but I must admit that I have benefited from a racist society. Personally, I try to step outside of my comfort zone, go into the community, learn about how others are coping, suffering, do everything I can to change my little corner of the world, realizing that if I can change one or two wrongs, the ripple effect could broaden what I do.

There is no thing that does not belong to God. If we embrace this truth, then we too will belong to God: everything we have, and everything that we are, and then what’s left over after that. We can do this by seeing God in others and work to overcome our prejudices.

May you Walk with God this Lenten season.

 

 

 

Who Can We Trust?

1-trust

Who Can We Trust?

From Psalms: . . . as for me, I have trusted in you, O Lord.

My times are in God’s hands; His face shines upon mine, and, in His loving kindness, keeps me walking on His lighted path.

He made me a teacher, so that I can pass His words to others. He awakens me each morning, filling my mouth with His words; filling my thoughts with His comfort and wonder. I walk in His path; I will neither be disgraced by others or shamed because of my beliefs. My words try to bring His healing touch to others.

He made me a writer, so that I could spread His loving word and His comforting grace to those I do not see, but message with daily. My words are His words; my thoughts of faith are His thoughts of faith. My free-thinking heart, mind, and soul are blessed with His loving touch. I rejoice in this every day. As we all can!

Who can we trust? I love and trust my family; I love and trust my friends; I love and trust those I call friends. I can do this because all of these people, whom I call my dear friends, are placed in my life, on my life’s path, by God. I trust God in His infinite Wisdom, His infinite Love, His infinite desire to see me happy and fulfilled. He has given me you. What more can I add to that blessing?

What if?

1-woman and coins

What if ?

The Reverend Jacqui Lewis asks:

What if every human being is anointed, Messiahed, Christ? What if the most fundamental aspect of our identity is that we are each anointed and appointed by The Holy One, by Spirit—to preach good news to the poor, liberty to the captive, and sight to the blind? What if we take seriously being the Body of the Christ—that we are the hands, feet, and heartbeat of the Living God? What if we are Word made flesh, Love made flesh, Light made flesh?

I have been meditating on this idea for a long time. What if? The possibilities are endless. I can image a world free of strife, free of jealousy and anger. I also believe that this is possible, but only if we give up the biggest impediment: ego. I am not better than my neighbor; I am not better than my students. We are all equal in God’s eyes. We should be all equal in each other’s lives. This is God’s way.

I’m not an expert in world religions; I am not even an expert in my Christian religion, but I do consider myself well-versed in seeing people, seeing people beyond the outer shell that we all offer to the world. The next time you see a homeless person, or a person asking for money to support their family, look closely at him. I see a person suffering from the inhumanity of modern society. I see a person concerned with the welfare of his family, his children.

I’m not a rich man, but I do share my bounty with the homeless as often as I can. As Jesus said, the poor will always be with us; but that doesn’t mean we have to ignore or look past them. The poor are my brothers and sisters who may not have had the same opportunities that I have had. I have been blessed by God to realize my shortcomings and to have the courage and strength to accept His help and rise out of poverty myself. I did not do this alone; many people helped, and I try as often as I can to help others.

I also see those that are in the lower economic levels of society helping each other rise above their status, emulating the woman in the Bible who gave her last two pennies. I think we should all try to see the downtrodden as God sees them. His children, our brothers and sisters. Equal in His eyes and they should be equal in ours, too.

As reverend Lewis says, “This is God’s way.” I pray that we can all follow this.

 

 

 

Wilderness

1 - wilderness

You have brought forth a new spring in our lives

You have led us through the deserts, given us water in the wilderness

Feeding animals and humans, who give You praise

 

You bring us out of our troubles

And return joyful voices in our lives

You have done great things for us

And our hearts are gladdened

When we are tearful You bring us spiritual healing

 

Like the Hebrews of old, we wander in the wilderness

Searching for the righteousness that only You provide

All our gains are losses if we do not have Christ within us

 

We have not found Christ except in our hidden hearts

Yet, You continue to anoint us with the blessings of Your omnipresence

So that You are with us always.

We press on to the goal of joining Christ with You in heaven