Category Archives: Spirituality

Honest doubts

Jesus appears to Thomas - John 20:24-29

JESUS MAFA. Jesus appears to Thomas, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” John 20:24

I wonder how convincing the other disciples were about their encounter with Jesus. Thomas may have had good reason to doubt them.

And I wonder how convincing I am as a witness for Jesus. Do I embody the compassion and unconditional love and non-judgment of Jesus? Do I embody the mercy and forgiveness and non-violence of Jesus? Do I embody the service and healing and humility of Jesus?

Honest doubt nudges me to deepen my commitment to practice the God-qualities that comfort and encourage others, and that bring peace to my corner of the world.

Jesus asks

sironi_samaritan_woman

Mario Sironi, 1885 – 1961
Christ and the Samaritan Woman, 1947 – 48
Oil on Panel, 56 x 70 cm
Collezione d`Arte Religiosa Moderna, Vatican Museums, Vatican City

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” John 4:7

Jesus wants a drink of
My attention.
My thoughts.
My heart.
My strengths.
My weaknesses.
My talents.
My willingness.
My gratitude.

Jesus is not ashamed or afraid to ask. He trusts me.

In Proportion

Proportion_and_Design_of_Part_of_Raphael's_Tranfiguration

Lecture Diagram 10: Proportion and Design of Part of Raphael’s ‘Transfiguration’. Part of the Turner Bequest to the Tate (1856).
By Joseph Mallord William Turner [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light. Matthew 17:1-2

The spiritual mountain treks Jesus leads me on are always in proportion to my trust in God’s movement, my faith in the Spirit’s guidance, and my willingness to be transformed into a more exact icon of God’s love and goodness.

The mountain is usually high; I am almost always breathless, sometimes whiney, often overwhelmed. And God’s silent voice revealing the glory of Jesus is my reward.

Have Faith in Goodness

Striped_daylilies

Hemerocallis ‘Frans Hals’
By Anne Norman (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

[Jesus said to his disciples:] “Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?” Matthew 6:28b-30

Have faith in God’s care and comfort. Have faith in God’s tender compassion. Have faith in God’s unchanging, unconditional love. Have faith in our own reflection of God’s love and goodness.

Another challenge

James Tissot, La sermon des béatitudes between 1886 and 1894  opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper Brooklyn Museum

James Tissot, La sermon des béatitudes
between 1886 and 1894
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
Brooklyn Museum
via Wikimedia Commons

[Jesus said to his disciples:] “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44

Every day Jesus throws out a new challenge. Today my challenge is to love those who have disrespected me, abused me, rejected me, cheated me, used me, manipulated me, been unfaithful to me, hurt me in any way.

My challenge is to love those who irritate me, annoy me, bother me, frighten me. To love those who are different from me, who have different beliefs from mine, who eat different foods, and who practice different rituals.

My challenge is to look for God, look for the good in every human person, and welcome and love—yes, love—all people in the name of Jesus.

Practicing courtesy. Being respectful. Showing an interest. Finding out what we have in common. Being a peacemaker.

The Law of Love

512px-Rembrandt_The_Hundred_Guilder_Print

Christ Preaching (The Hundred Guilder Print)
circa 1646-1650
etching, drypoint and burin on eastern paper
Rembrandt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17

The law is love.

Love of God.
Love of neighbor.
Love of self.

We are called to partner with Jesus to fulfill the law of love in the world. We are called to give birth to and embody love for all to see, hear, and touch.

Let your light shine

Via_Vitae_de_Joseph_Chaumet_-_Le_Sermon_sur_la_montagne

Via Vitae (« Chemin de Vie »), chef d’œuvre de l’orfèvre et joailler parisien Joseph Chaumet (1852-1928) représentant les principales scènes de la vie de Jésus, musée eucharistique du Hiéron, Paray-le-Monial, Saône-et-Loire, France
Détail : Le Sermon sur la montagne
By Croquant (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

[Jesus said,] “Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16

God’s Spirit shines through my brokenness to shed the light of compassion and comfort on others who grieve, who suffer, who feel lonely, lost, under-appreciated, and abandoned.

We are in this life together. May I follow your light to learn kindness, trust, and companionship. May my light show you a pathway of forgiveness, reconciliation, and love.