Forsaken

TN_0cDo not be afraid of human weakness. Do not be afraid to call out to God from the depths of vulnerability.

Blame, anger, despair, abandonment: give voice to it all. Bow your head and give it all to the Lord.

We have our model in Jesus.

And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”
which is translated,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34

Read my heart

Grain of wheat

“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” John 12:24

We send messages to others in every moment. Our words, attitudes, gestures, body language, and actions speak our truth in that moment.

God has written the law of love upon our hearts. Compassion, kindness, acceptance, welcoming, encouragement, courtesy, and nonviolence are ways to express what God has written upon our hearts.

Do the messages I send others reflect God’s writing?

But this is the covenant that I will make
with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD.
I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jeremiah 31:33

Apprenticed to Jesus

Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) Nicodemus and Jesus on a Rooftop, 1899 oil on canvas Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts via Wikimedia Commons

Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937)
Nicodemus and Jesus on a Rooftop, 1899
oil on canvas
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
via Wikimedia Commons

God so loves us that he trusts us to be his hands, voice, eyes, ears, heart, and compassion in the world.

In order that we learn how to become more like God, he apprentices us to Jesus. Ours is not academic learning; it is experiential learning where we practice by watching and imitating Jesus.

Heal, eat with sinners, speak out against injustice, serve the poor, pray, love your enemies, lay down your life for others.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…” John 3:16

No surprises

Head_of_Christ_by_Rembrandt_(Philadelphia_panel)

Christ
Rembrandt or workshop (1606-1669)
oil on oak, circa 1648-1656
Philadelphia Museum of Art
via Wikimedia Commons

Nothing that happens to us, nothing we do, nothing we feel is a surprise to Jesus. In his humanity, he felt anger at the money changers and sadness at the death of Lazarus. He blamed the fig tree for not producing fruit. He accused God of abandoning him on the cross. He loved us so much he gave his life for us.

Jesus is one of us. He knows us. He knows we are capable of indifference and of compassion. He knows we can be stiff-necked and insist on our own way and he knows we have what it takes to surrender our life and will to God’s care.

Perhaps the only surprise is for us: God trusts us to be fully human and loves us just as we are.

But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well. John 2:24-25

Today’s mountain

By Frank S De Hass, [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Frank S De Hass, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It is a sluggish journey up today’s mountain of pain. Snow is coming again and once it starts, the pain will probably lessen. I hope.

It isn’t exactly hope that keeps me following the Lord up this mountain. It’s more an unwillingness—today—to give up. I’m doing my best to make this climb an opportunity  to practice patience and compassion and to put my trust in Jesus.

Maybe it is hope. I keep climbing in the hope of being led to a place of transfiguration, a place of perfect peace, acceptance, and wholeness.

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. Mark 9:2

 

Cancer and compassion

cancer_bookOut of the wisdom of the experience of having lived with cancer, my friend Colleen has written a gentle, compassionate book of suggestions for those who have a friend or family member with cancer.

This well-written book is a valuable resource for those who want to be a caring presence for someone who lives with the reality of a cancer diagnosis.

 

 

Driven

Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi (1837-1887) Le Christ dans le désert, 1872 Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi (1837-1887)
Le Christ dans le désert, 1872
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

God’s Holy Spirit points, pushes, drives us where we need to go.

Listen deeply. Be empty of pre-conceived notions. Let go of resistance.

Trust the movement of the Spirit.

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan. Mark 1:12