Surrender

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Surrendering

To grow into God’s Love, we must move out of the chaos of our world and restructure our very existence to eliminate those parts of our lives that are corrosive. Without God’s Love, we are nothing but flesh and bones, believing that we are kings and rule over the dominion of Earth. How mistaken we are.

There is so much more available to us if we surrender ourselves to the reality that God is supreme, not us. The practice of Love is our purpose, not the accumulation of money and possessions. The possessions we keep during our mortal life, we lose when we die. The Love we share never dies, even after we pass from this existence to whatever is next.

People without the Love of God suffer through many negative influences in their lives. They continually worry about all that they do and all that they possess. They believe that the words what if are negative; they always perceive that something bad will happen. I believe that the words what if brings great revelations and great promises and great progress. For all of us!     

Forgiveness

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Unlocking Our Chains

James Koester writes: “We can choose to forgive as we are forgiven, or we can choose to bear our grudges and nurse our hurts. We can choose to offer and embrace and receive that peace or turn our backs.”

Most of us have difficulties forgiving others, particularly when the other hurts us deeply. This lack of forgiveness can last along time, and, when it does, we often lose a life-long friend. To prevent this, we forgive the offense and continue with a warm, close relationship with the person. One of my biggest mistakes was losing touch with my sister for ten years after a perceived slight. Fortunately, we had fifteen good years as friends before her death in 2012.

One of the most difficult thing to do is forgive ourselves. We spend too much time blaming ourselves for poor relationships, lost opportunities, and a myriad of other mistakes we make. Why is it so difficult to forgive ourselves? We take the blame for too many missteps and mistakes we make, rather than moving on looking for new opportunities to improve our situation, or to atone for a mistake.

I discovered from my sister, that she had no idea why we had lost touch. The entire problem was within me. After her death, I blames myself for the lost years. It took me a while to forgive myself, accept what was, and reflect on how close we were before she died. I have taken the lead many in talking with a person after a perceived problem, only to discover that it was all in my head. But, by talking things over, our relationships have become stronger.

I have learned, the hard way if I am honest, that God forgives us for all we do. This gives me a great inner calm, knowing that God is always with me. I, in turn, want to emulate God’s love for me in all my relationships. By expressing love and friendship with everyone, I am happier, the people I meet are happier, and strong friendships are made. Isn’t this God’s plan for us?

 

 

 

 

 

 We can choose to reach out and touch God who in bread and wine is made near and real and present or we can choose to go hungry.

-Br. James Koester

 

 

 

 

 

 We can choose to reach out and touch God who in bread and wine is made near and real and present or we can choose to go hungry.

-Br. James Koester

 

 

Being Meek

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Being Meek

When Jesus was walking to Jerusalem, ten lepers begged for him to make them clean. Only one thanked him and he was rewarded by a blessing to go and live his life according to the will of God. In a word, this Samaritan showed meekness in thanking Jesus for his healing. Is it possible for us, living in our world, sheltered or not, to offer the same meekness as this lowly, yet strong, Samaritan?

I sometimes think that we are so tainted by our world, that showing meekness is not possible. I sit here at my computer, writing my thoughts and mediations to share with my friends around the world. Unlike my predecessors, I can do this easily due to the technology of the computer and the world-wide web. Those that came before me had to write by hand their meditations and it could take years, or centuries, for the words to be read by others.

I might be spoiled by the comforts of living in the 21st century. I try to offer meekness every day. I am too infirm to prostate myself before God, but I do  pray to Him daily. I do meditate on how I can use the gifts He gave me to be humble and serve others. I do this through my writing and my prayers. I am one person among the billions living on this planet who know that God is with me wherever I go and whatever I do.

When I pray for others, I am thanking God, much as the Samaritan thanked Jesus, for the life that God had given me, the person I am praying for, and the common bond we share as children of God. Looking at what I have just written, I offer these thoughts as a prayer of thanksgiving for the wonders of life and the grace that God gives all of us.

I pray that you can share this meekness and thank God for the gifts he has given us. May God be with you in your thoughts and prayers today.

Humility

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Humility and Meekness

The way of humility and meekness is counter-cultural. But the way of the servant is also the way of joy and surrender and true fulfillment. The Bible tells us that the meek shall inherit the earth. Our cultures tell us otherwise. I believe that this is so because money has become the cure-all for our ills. I will not discount the need for money, but I will deny the idea that money makes us happy and content.

I have many friends who are on both ends of the wealth society. Being a former teacher, I am at the lower end; I am happy. I see people and families who come to the food table at our church; they are not rich in monetary wealth, but they are rich in happiness, rich in gratitude, rich in willing to share what little they have with others. I am always quite thrilled when a person comes to me and blesses me for how I have served them. Being a prayer minister at church, people bless me all the time for the prayers I offer and share. My answer to both is always the same: it is what God wills. And, I will never argue with God.

Jesus tells us that whomever wants to be first, must be a slave to others. I care not to be first, and I certainly care not to be a slave; but, my service to others is a blessing. My prayers and supplications to God are always in praise of Him, always thankful for His blessings, but also asking for a gift that only He can provide. I try to make my life into one of serving God through helping others see His lighted path.

However, I also believe that God is also a servant. He serves us daily with the gift of life, the gift of His grace, the gift of His comfort when we are hurting. He who desires to be first, must serve; He who is first serves. This, to me, is the wonderful, grace=filled circle of life. God’s Life.

Jesus’s Love

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Jesus demonstrated his love for his disciples by washing their feet. We must open our hearts to new relationships of love that include all things, the earth, all people and religions, all planets and galaxies. And as Saint Francis says, we must love all animals and plants, too; these also are God’s creations. We need to re-imagine ourselves as creatures of Love, who can only love, not hate or disrespect. This is one of the great lessons from Jesus.

 Our challenge is to bring the course of love back into a world that resists love, fears love, and rejects the cost of love. Our future depends on us speaking to those around us, within and outside of our communities; we must intercede in expressions of hate and exclusion. The price is too high, when hateful individuals decide to murder innocent worshipers. We must enrich a culture where Love trumps hate.

We must realize that forgiveness is complex and often is connected to powerful emotions. As we interact with the idea of Love conquering hate, we may find ourselves experiencing thoughts and memories that we haven’t thought for a long time. Do not turn from these; this is normal; these thoughts may unlock hidden emotions that need cleansing, leading us to greater opportunities for forgiveness.

This is God’s way. This is the lighted path that Jesus walked. This is the only way we can enrich our future. Love is the answer . . . the only answer. 

 

Love and Community

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Love and Community

I have been thinking a lot about community and love. I believe in the heart of the soul when it tells me that I must be peaceful and love everyone; it is God’s way. I also believe that I cannot love God without loving the world and those in the world, as well. One of the greatest challenges of living in God’s light is to hold those I do not know as close as I hold my friends and to acknowledge life’s challenges and difficulties, but not to be overwhelmed or twisted by them.

Being mindful of this is a healthy way to combat the stress of using hate to separate people into classes. Our communities thrive when we acknowledge each other, make space for one another, and together design practices that allow all to flourish. There is no difference between me, a Christian, and the people of the world who are Jewish or Muslim, people who practice Buddhism ort Shintoism.

We are all trying to find our place in this world and our place in our relationship to God, regardless of what name we call Him, or Her, if you prefer. Personally, God is not human; therefore, he cannot be male or female. It is only through historical reference that we refer to God in the masculine. I love all people who search for God in their lives; they are true people of faith.

But. . . I also love those people who refer to themselves as atheists, or un-religious. Whether they admit it or not, they are also searching for themselves and their significance in life. God created these people; God loves these people. I can do no less. The Bible tells me to love my neighbor, leave a place for him at my table, which I take as leave a place for him in my life.

I need God’s grace and mercy in my life; I, therefore, search for those who also need God’s grace and mercy in their lives. All human beings are in this state, regardless of what they say they believe. Nobody is self-sufficient. We need each other to comfort us; we need God to comfort us.

I pray that you find comfort in your life today.

Image of God

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Our Image of God

Jesus breaks down our false pictures of God. God is not remote or far off or cold. God is near and with us in our suffering and reaches out to us in love. 

Jesus gave the perfect model to follow. His acceptance of all people, even those condemned by his synagogue, demonstrated and still demonstrates God’s eternal Love for all mankind. His acceptance of the woman at the well, even though she was an outcast, shows that we too can see one another as children of God.

He knew of her many marriages and her infidelities. He knew that she was an outcast even in her own village. Yet, He showed her love and acceptance. He also used her as a messenger to tell others of His arrival, of His mission. She told of His special relationship to God and his ability to know all about her, without her telling Him. Today, Jesus knows all about us. We have no secrets from Jesus or God. God knows when we do not pass His eternal Love to others.

God Loves us; God forgives us. We cannot picture God in His majesty, but we can have a picture of Jesus in our minds as we pray to God. I agree that Jesus came to us to open our hearts to the Love of God, but I also think that he came to us so that we could have an image of God as we pray. After all, we are mortal, and we need an image to keep us concentrating in our prayers. Unlike Jesus, we are not perfect.

Our imperfections allow us to reach further inside us to try to achieve the perfection that Jesus demonstrate. They are our opportunities to allow God to see how we try to overcome our imperfections. I believe in the power of prayer, which is why I am a prayer minister at my church. I believe that when I pray with others, God is with us. I believe that He hears us, and this fact comforts us in our times of struggle.

God is near us always and comforts us in our struggles; may you be comforted in your struggles during this time of Lent.