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.
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.
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.
When I think too much of myself, Turn my thoughts toward someone else. Anonymous, twentieth century Japan
I have been using prayers from the book Woman Prayers by Mary Ford-Grabowsky. There are some wonderful prayers in this book. This one jumped out at me today. I have so often been concentrated on myself and my problems and not thought enough about others. It is an easy trap to fall into.
Turning our thoughts to others will add perspective to our own life. Look around you at those whose needs are great. See those whose pain may be hidden. See those who are afraid to ask for help.
See others and take the focus from yourself.
I give you a new commandment, that you loveoneanother. Just as I have loved you, you also should loveoneanother. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for oneanother.”
Today I realized that I haven’t written in quite a while and need to get back to posting. I have been thinking about this quote.
Pause To know the guidance of God’s Spirit, you need to be still and silent. In the cadence of your day, create some enclosures of silence where you pause and breathe and are really present to God’s presence.
-Br. Curtis Almquist Society of Saint John the Evangelist
It is important to take that time to rest in silence with God. Don’t expect for something to always come to you. It doesn’t matter. Just sitting silent and turning toward God is enough. Some people like to use the name “Jesus” over and over to focus their thoughts. Sometimes music helps. The music from the Taize community is particularly helpful. Here is one that could be used. Watch the beautiful scenes or close your eyes and just move into the song.
I have discovered how to make a playlist for my Alexa and have had fun collecting some of my favorite hymns. Yesterday I was thinking about how we can be so intolerant of others. It is so easy to think the worst of those we don’t know. This hymn calls us to see everyone the same.
Victory Send down your roots into deep soil, so that when trouble comes, you can remain steadfast and unmovable, knowing that God always has the final word. And rejoice. Always and everywhere. No matter what circumstance you find yourself in. Easter is Love’s Victory over evil and death; all fear is washed away. You – yes, you! – are a beloved child of God.
-Br. David Vryhof Society of Saint John the Evangelist
This is so true. Our roots must be anchored in God but what we have to remember our branches must be flexible or the wind will blow them down.We have to be able to adapt to changes and bend to survive. So we must have deep roots in God and still be able to bend with change. God will strengthen us with both.
Today the scripture assigned for the day talk about Mary and Martha and the death of Lazarus. Be aware as you read this scripture that Mary and Martha expected Jesus to come when they sent for him. Jesus love them and their brother and surely Jesus would come right away. Instead they waited for 2 days. They waited as we are waiting now for something to change. They waited and Jesus came and their grief was removed by the raising of Lazarus. They waited and in the end all was well. We must do the same. In the end:
• All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. Julian of Norwich
John 11New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Death of Lazarus
11 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent a message to Jesus,[a] “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6 after having heard that Lazarus[b] was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34 He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus began to weep. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
People have been posting things to do to help us to wash our hand properly. For me this is not hard. There are several things I enjoy doing and have taught them while I was at the church as parish nurse.
This is one of my favorites. Just one verse will do.
Saying The Lord’s Prayer is also good.
For children I always told them Jesus Love Me.
There are so many things that will work. I hope you find something that you enjoy and get in the habit of washing well and continue when this is all over. May you and yours be safe and filled with God’s peace during this time of anxiety.
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. – Colissians 3.12&15
It is important to understand that this means US! We are chosen by God. He has told us we have been called by name. Each and every one of us belongs to God. Clothe yourselves with these good things but as you do remember that we can have the peace of Christ. It is ours for the taking.
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Many of us have something to endure right now. This verse tells us that “endurance produces character.” This is very true. Whenever we go through a trial we come away with new insights, new ideas, and new compassion. By enduring we understand better those who have endured before us. We have insight we can use to help others.
Take what you have learned and share your compassion.