Connections matter

I have long been a believer in the “butterfly effect.” The idea that somehow we are all connected. I see this in so many ways. There is a wonderful children’s book called “The Invisible String” that tells us that love is one of the ways we are connected and it is the “invisible string” that never goes away even with death.

Sometimes we have a strong feeling of connection to someone we have never physically met. I feel that way about some people I connect with on this blog. I hear their voice through their words. I have a sense of who they are and feel connected. Because I don’t know them otherwise I could be wrong but there is still something there. Kindness and compassion are clearly felt.

We are connected to the people we see in our everyday lives. It could be seeing the same grocery clerk every week or someone we meet for lunch. People touch us in our work. Obviously some of these links can be good or bad but there is still a connection. Each of us has an impact on those around us.

We are connected to those who have gone before us. We may not know about them or we may have heard stories about their lives. They are present in our DNA. We often find that there are personality traits that have been passed on. People say that I look like my great grandmother. Pictures do show a strong connection.

In the church where I worked for years there is a sense in the building of the lives that have gone before. It is something I feel when I sit in silence in the sanctuary. It is as if the “communion of saints” is physically present.

Don’t doubt that we are all connected. The things that I do each day affects others. Science tells us that nothing is lost…just changed. What I do matters. What you do matters.

Where is your brother?

We often ask the question “why are we here.” For me the answer has been “to help others.” In today’s world this idea is taking a back seat and society seems intent on forwarding ourselves and phooey with others. There is love and caring in the world but many are trying to make it take a back seat.

We are seeing some of this is some attitudes about covid 19. If only we could begin to turn back the other way.

Genesis 4:9
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

God would easily answer yes to that question. For those of us who are doing our best to follow the acts of Jesus there is only one response. We are responsible for our behavior and how we treat others. Each of us is only one but many ones together can make a difference. Follow the path of Jesus and show your love and care for your fellow human beings.

Trust God

At first is seems odd that this suggests that fear causes us to believe in something we cannot see. The truth is that is exactly what we are doing. It is so easy to worry about things that will never happen. To project what we imagine into our future. We often make mountains out of molehills. There are certainly things to fear that are real but even those have aspects that we can’t even imagine.

Projecting ourselves into the future is useless. Leaning on the promises given to us by God is a much better use for our energy. Faith in God is a strong rock to hold on to.

Prayer: God whose grace gives us hope, remind us that fear does us no good. Help us to turn to you each moment and accept your love and promises.

God hears

Matthew 7:7-8 (New International Version) 

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

This was the scripture today from Bible Gateway. It resonates with me. Sometimes we do ask but the things we ask for are not important. Sometimes we ask for important things and don’t get the answer we want.

That makes it easy to think that prayer doesn’t matter. It seems as if no one is listening. However, God is always listening. His love and caring are with us every moment. He hears the prayers and understands our fears and pains.

Prayer matters. Don’t give up because you things it doesn’t matter. Don’t stop because you think it has to be a formal kind of prayer. Just speak your heart. God hears.

How we need to live

Today I cleaned out a file cabinet and found some things I wrote a while ago. This one stood out to me and I kept it out so I could think about it. It was written after re-reading the beatitudes in Matthew 5.

  • Turn loose of your pride and know that you are not the most important thing in the world. Forget “I can do anything better than you” and substitute ” together we can do anything.”
  • Remember when everything is gone…God is still there.
  • Be content with what you have. Remember the most important thing is to have a relationship with God.
  • Look for God and he will find you. When you are filled with God nothing else is needed.
  • Remember Christ’s commandment. Love the Lord you God with all your heart and all your soul and all you mind and your neighbor as yourself.
  • Clean out the closet in yourself. Git rid of the grudges and pain you still carry for no reason. Let God fill those places.
  • Be the peacemaker. Don’t take sides. Be part of the solution instead of adding to the problem.
  • Be different. Be unusual enough that someone asks “why do you act that way?” And you can answer “because I follow Christ.”

Religion is a way of walking, not a way of talking. Dean William R. Inge

Too often we spend a lot of time talking about our faith. We tend to forget that talking is only the very smallest part of what we are to do as Christians. It’s what we do when we walk out of the door of the church that matters. People know us by our actions.

Let Your Light Shine - Beyond the Pacific

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Silence of the heart.

Silence of the heart is necessary so you can hear God everywhere….in the closing of a door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers, in the animals. Mother Teresa in No Greater Love

My husband says he likes to hunt but I don’t remember him ever killing anything. He just likes to sit in the silence in the woods and observe God’s beautry around him. He communes with creation. Most of us just walk by a beauriful flower or miss the glorious sunset. We don’t know how to silence our hearts and see God’s beautiful world.

Prayer: Give us, Lord, the ability to find that silence of the heart. In its center let us learn about the needs of your world and act on those needs. AMEN

Forgiveness

God does not stop loving us every time we do something wrong, and neither should we stop loving ourselves and each other for being less than perfect.

Harold Kushner in How Good Do We Have to Be?

We can be very angry when someone else makes a mistake. We even get angry at ourselves when we can’t do things the right way. We are hard on ourselves and others. We ostracize people, and turn others against them. We are not very forgiving. We may say “I forgive you” and still hold a grudge. We are not very kind.

If we ask God’s forgiveness he will forgive us. We have to believe that we are forgiven. Sometimes that is hard to accept. Also forgiving others requires work on our part. We have to live out the forgiveness whether it is there or not. Eventually it will come.

Take your fears to Jesus

Fear is something that we all experience. Whether it is something simple like going to the dentist or something horribly frightening. I don’t know about you but I can keep turning my fears over to God and then immediately pick them back up. Sometimes I just don’t want to think about them and don’t share them in my prayers. “There is nothing to fear but fear itself” is a quote from Franklin Roosevelt and it is so true. Experiencing fear is what causes us distress. Let go of that fear. Turn it over to Jesus in your prayers. He can handle it.

Fear

Jesus promises that he will meet us in the experience of fear. He tells us, “remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Tell Jesus about your fear. If you’re afraid even to talk with Jesus about your fear, then start there: why it is that you are afraid to talk to Jesus about your fear? Tell him! Jesus is all ears. Jesus has an open heart. And he is waiting.

-Br. Curtis Almquist
Society of Saint John the Evangelist