God cares

James Tissot (1836-1902) Jésus enseigne le peuple près de la mer opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894 Brooklyn Museum

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Jésus enseigne le peuple près de la mer
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

Our need for signs from the Lord speaks of our very human desire to be reassured that God is near and paying attention to us—that God cares. It speaks of our need to be fed with the bread of hope, of compassion, of unconditional love. It speaks of our thirst for conscious contact with the Lord.

Does God care? A wise friend told me: “Of course. That’s why Jesus came here.”

So [the crowd] said to Jesus, “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” John 6:30-31

More than enough

Loaves and Fishes mosaic in the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, Tabgha, Israel

Loaves and Fishes Mosaic in the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, Tabgha, Israel

May I remember to thank God for the food I eat, the clothes I wear, the home I have.

May I remember to share what I have with those who are in need.

May I remember that there is always enough—and more than enough—for everyone.

Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. John 6:11

Moved by compassion

Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890 Shepherd with a Flock of Sheep Nuenen, September 1884 oil on canvas Mexico City, Museo Soumaya

Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890
Shepherd with a Flock of Sheep
Nuenen, September 1884
oil on canvas
Mexico City, Museo Soumaya

What moves my heart to feel compassion?

The 10,000 people packed in an open boat, refugees from their homes headed who knows where.

The immigrants lined up at the Salvation Army, waiting—patient, stoic—for a box of food.

My friend with cancer who has been given three months to live.

I cannot live their lives for these precious children of God, but I can be a shepherd of  kindness, encouragement, welcoming, respect, comfort, and generosity to help lighten their heavy burdens.

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. Mark 6:34

 

The simple life

James Tissot, 1836-1902 Il les envoya deux à deux, 1886-1896 Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper Brooklyn Museum

James Tissot, 1836-1902
Il les envoya deux à deux, 1886-1896
Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
Brooklyn Museum

I don’t need overstocked cupboards, expensive gadgets, a big salary, or an extensive wardrobe to do the work of the Lord. I just need love, compassion, forgiveness, awareness of others and their needs, and a willingness to serve as I am sent.

[Jesus] instructed [the Twelve] to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick— no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. Mark 6:8-9

The whole of the human mystery

James Tissot (1836-1902) Il ne fit pas des miracles mais il guérit Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, 1886-`896 Brooklyn Museum of Art

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Il ne fit pas des miracles mais il guérit
Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, 1886-1896
Brooklyn Museum of Art

When my friend Tina died, people shared so many wonderful memories of her. I was privileged to know about her spiritual insights and longings, her passion for social justice, her loyalty, her good work ethic, her sense of humor, and a few of her daily struggles. Other people knew her in different ways that opened my eyes to see a more complete picture of the beauty of Tina’s humanity. It was humbling for me to acknowledge how limited my viewpoint of Tina was. I realized that we can never know the whole of anyone.

The people in Jesus’ hometown had a limited idea of him. They were so sure that their viewpoint was the “right” one that they were judgmental and skeptical of his gifts. They couldn’t let him be Who he really was in their presence.

Today I am going to remember that I can never know the whole of another—their struggles, their pain, their hopes, their grief, their wounds, their talents, their interests. I am going to practice letting go of judging myself and others. I am going to keep in mind that we all want to be loved and accepted just as we are. And I am going to let God be God.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” Mark 6:4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practicing faith

"Laura

Laura James
The Woman Suffering from Hemorrhages
acrylic on canvas, 2007
Private Collection

Medicine is a practice and doctors don’t always have the answer. But Jesus does.

Today I am going to practice having faith that Jesus has the cure for my ailments, illnesses, and anxieties. I am going to practice reaching out to touch his cloak of compassion, mercy, and peace. I am going to practice tuning in to feel the Lord’s healing in my mind, body, and spirit.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Mark 5:25-29

At peace in the storm

Jesus asleep in the boat

Jesus asleep in the boat

Rest easy.

The storm will pass.

God is with us.

The Lord is in charge.

All is well.

A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. Mark 4:37-38a