Once again I am thinking about the prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book. There is one phrase that has had me thinking for quite a while. I suspect that I will keep on thinking about it.
“Loving God in whom is heaven”
What a unique way to see heaven. Not as streets lined with gold or some other image that we might conjure up….but God himself/herself. In God is heaven. Being drawn into God to become part of all creation. I love that idea.
I am sure there are other ways to interpret this phrase but that is the one I am pondering now.
One of my favorite writers and amazing man is Dietrich Bonhoffer. The story of his life is an example for us all. This quote from his writings reminds us to think of what it means that Christ came into the world. Experience the moment before the coming of Christ and understand what it all means.
We have Halloween coming our way. It is sad that all religious connection has been lost. People only think of parties with costumes and children trick or treating. Even the churches which offer alternative options don’t usually talk about the origin of the holiday. It is fine to have fun with the day but we should not forget the connections with our faith. Here is the history of that day from History.com.
Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated each year on October 31, and Halloween 2019 occurs on Thursday, October 31. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating sweet treats.
A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour. Unknown
Life is never boring. We never know what is around the next corner with one exception. That exception is God. God may have a journey for us that we never imagined. We have to learn to take that journey and find joy in it. God with be with us each step of the way
When times are frustrating for me and things throw me off my path this is the quote that immediately comes to mind. It is something that I can say over and over again as a mantra. It will move me into a place of calm. If you have a favorite scripture verse or other piece that you can use in this way try it. Just the repetition will take you to a different place.
Richard Rohr wrote in a recent post about Midrash. This is a term I have used often when there is discussion about scripture. Midrash is a Jewish term and has to do with the way they look at scripture. Rohr says: “Jesus practiced a form that the Jewish people called midrash, consistently using questions to keep spiritual meanings open, often reflecting on a text or returning people’s questions with more questions.”
The point of Midrash is to keep digging and thinking about scripture. See what meaning lies underneath the simple. Question what it means to you today and then look at it again tomorrow or much later. We are different each day and may have different ideas and see different meanings.
Don’t be afraid to discuss scripture and hear the ideas of others. There is nothing wrong with seeing another viewpoint. Scripture is not dead words on a page. It is a living, breathing thing.
Faith is not the opposite of doubt. The opposite of doubt is disbelief. Doubts make us ask questions. They make us struggle, study more and learn. Doubts stretch us and make us grow. Don’t be afraid of having doubts. We can’t know everything. Only God has all the answers.
Amazing God, forgive us for thinking that we can know all the answers. Help us to continue to learn and grow in our knowledge of you. AMEN
We must continue to learn and grow each day. We ourselves change each day so if we read a Bible passage tomorrow it may have an insight it didn’t have yesterday. We can never stop growing. God expects us to use the mind he gave us.
Gentle God, you have given us ways to learn and grow. Remind us to use them. AMEN
We all need down time. We have to have time to think, to just sit, to listen for God. God has told us that He speaks in silence. Time in silence, doing nothing, is not time wasted. It is time to “be.”
Take time to sit in a chair with your hands rested on the arms and let silence wash over you. We all need that.
Intimate God, you wait so patiently for us to acknowledge your presence. Help us to take the time to hear you. AMEN
Death gives life its fullest reality. ——————Anthony Dalla Villa, Eulogy for Andy Warhol, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, April 1,1987
Death reminds us that our time in this life is limited. Knowing that there is an end pulls us to live each day to the fullest. God created life and a universe around us. Don’t forget to stop, look, and appreciate each moment.
Amazing God, you created everything. Help us to see that every day.