Category Archives: reflections

Shaping a prophet

3_candlesAs my paycheck seems to leave less and less for extras, my belongings are becoming more and more shabby. I fantasize about the shame of having my baggy, well-worn wool sweater chosen as the ugliest in a competition.

Jesus reminds me that fine clothing doesn’t make a prophet. Nor do power, riches, and fame. A prophet is shaped by hearing the Word of God and practicing the Way of love, peace, nonviolence, forgiveness, compassion, acceptance, and respect. A prophet stands firmly grounded in the truth of God’s love for all of humankind.

Today I will look for opportunities to love my neighbor. I will do my best to be a prophet by  sharing God’s gifts of joy and kindness.

Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.”
Matthew 11:7-9

A spirit of knowledge

2_candlesImagine the knowledge of God’s love, compassion, and forgiveness filling and covering the whole earth. How reverently we would step. How respectfully we would treat each other. How quickly we would help anyone in need. How peaceful our homes, communities, and countries would be.

Am I willing to participate in the kingdom of God—here and now?

There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea. Isaiah 11:9

Active preparation

Candle_flameListen, welcome, encourage. Show respect, courtesy, attention. Practice patience, nonjudgment, nonviolence. Give time, energy, goods. Seek wisdom, peace, the will of God. Be love.

[Jesus said to his disciples,] “So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Matthew 24:44

King of humility

Rembrandt (1606-1669) The Three Crosses drypoint and burin on paper, 1653 Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum

Rembrandt (1606-1669)
The Three Crosses
drypoint and burin on paper, 1653
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum

Take responsibility, be accountable, remember the Lord, love your neighbor. All is forgiven.

The other [criminal], however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:40-43

Do not be afraid

Ivan Guaderrama (b.1984) Love One Another III

Ivan Guaderrama (b.1984)
Love One Another III

Do not let yourself be manipulated into forgetting the One who is in charge. Love one another. Forgive your enemies. Feed the hungry. Help the poor. Be merciful as your Father in Heaven is merciful.

Be not afraid. The vision still has its time.

[Jesus answered,] “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified.” Luke 21:9a

Among the living

cloud_of_witnessesRight here among the living is where I am called to love my neighbor, forgive my enemies, return hatred with kindness, be the peacemaker, feed the poor, and welcome those who are strangers to me. I cannot serve the dead, only the living.

[Jesus said to them,] “That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called out ‘Lord,’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” Luke 20:37-38

Seek to see

"Zacchaeus' tree" (sycamore fig tree), Jericho, Palestine, 2012 via Wikimedia Commons

“Zacchaeus’ tree” (sycamore fig tree), Jericho, Palestine, 2012
via Wikimedia Commons

Today I have a short list of people I want to pray for, people who have hurt me in some way and against whom I am holding a grudge. Resentment is a form of bondage and I wish to live in freedom.

Lord, teach me to forgive others as you forgive me for being less than perfect. Help me to see all members of the human family with your eyes. Show me your way of mercy.

But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things;
and you overlook people’s sins that they may repent.
For you love all things that are
and loathe nothing that you have made;
for what you hated, you would not have fashioned.
Wisdom (11:23-24)

Have mercy

Dirck van Delen, 1604/5-1671 Church Interior with the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:9-14) Oil on Panel, 1653 Clark Art Institute

Dirck van Delen, 1604/5-1671
Church Interior with the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:9-14)
Oil on Panel, 1653
Clark Art Institute

Humility allows me to see the truth of my talents, blessings, and strengths as well as my failings, shortcomings, and weaknesses. I will never be perfect, but the all of me—without pretense or justification, shame or pride—is my gift to God. I know God always welcomes me and my humble gift with love, forgiveness, and compassion.

“‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’” Luke 18:13b

God’s in charge

John Everett Millais (1829-1896) Illustration of the Parable of the Unjust Judge from the New Testament Gospel of Luke (Luke 18:1-9) for The Parables of Our Lord (1863)

John Everett Millais (1829-1896)
Illustration of the Parable of the Unjust Judge from the New Testament Gospel of Luke (Luke 18:1-9) for The Parables of Our Lord (1863)

Do I have faith that God is in charge? That God has a vision of peace and love for the whole world? Do I have faith that when I practice kindness, forgiveness, respect, compassion, and nonviolence I am contributing to God’s vision?

If my faith is wavering, I need to be persistent in prayer, confiding my worries and fears and weaknesses to God and listening for God’s response.

[Jesus said,] “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:8b

 

Healing thanks

Codex Aureus Epternacensis Cleansing of the ten lepers, ca.1035-1040

Codex Aureus Epternacensis
Cleansing of the ten lepers, ca.1035-1040

I am not always quick to realize a bit of healing has happened to me. It might be a lessening of anxiety, or a comforting word from a friend, or a few moments when I am quiet and not pushing to do something, or a letting go of comparing my way of life to that of others.

Today I will reflect on healing I have experienced and take some time to thank the Lord.

And one of [the ten lepers], realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. Luke 17:15-16a