Last night before going to sleep I listened to this music which is also a prayer…for ourselves to find peace. It strengthens me when I am anxious and remind me that I don’t have to rely on my own strength. I hope that this hymn can give you hope.
I am posting a video with words and then my favorite which is in Spanish.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9 NRSV
How often we create God to be what we want. Each of us has an image of God and I wouldn’t be surprised it they were all different. If we were raised as Christians our earliest images were probably Jesus with the children or some other pleasant and kind fatherly image. As we grow that image can change along with us. The more we learn the more we alter that image. We have to be careful to read the Bible and pay attention to the words of Jesus. His statements about and the parables give us an image to think about.
Jesus is God translated to us as we would translate a book. He makes God visible. His many examples of God’s kingdom teach us the way. The parables so clearly show the Kingdom of God. Jesus taught so that we would understand. There are many references to Jesus’ teachings on this. Here are just a few.
[ The Parable of the Mustard Seed ] He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?
[ The Parable of the Growing Seed ] He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,
[ The Parable of the Mustard Seed ] He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it?
[ The Parable of the Yeast ] And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God?
[ Some Women Accompany Jesus ] Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news ofthekingdomofGod. The twelve were with him,
When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured.
Vocation is not a goal to be achieved but a gift to be received. Every life experience becomes a vehicle for God’s call to be realized in vocation. In learning our limits and embracing failures, we can begin to recognize God’s particular gifts for us, which infuse our very being and form in us our unique vocation.
– Br. Jonathan Maury, SSJE
As we move each day closer to the birth of Jesus think about what you can bring to him. This video is a wonderful example of that kind of thinking. Enjoy!
Matthew 6:34 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
I don’t know how many times my grandmother quoted this verse to me. Of course it was the King James version but the meaning is the same. I don’t know why it is in my nature to worry but I know that I am not alone. This is one of the things I am trying to change in myself. When I fall into a worried state I sing or listen to the Taize hymn. Here are the words. I have posted the Spanish sung version because it is so beautiful. Listen and sing along using the English words. (unless of course you speak Spanish)
Nothing can trouble,
nothing can frighten.
Those who seek God shall
never go wanting.
Nothing can trouble,
nothing can frighten.
God alone fills us.
I say that I seek you
But is that true?
I look for you
In the noise
Of mindless music
The television’s endless voice
I hunt for you
By being in charge
By filling each moment
By running away
When things are good
I don’t remember you
Or call for you
When I am lonely
I cry to you
No matter how
I ignore you
You will listen
Doubt can be a scary word. As children we are taught that some things are just true and we accept that. As we grow older we begin to realize that not everything we were taught is true. Our exposure to the world makes us begin asking questions. Some of the truths that held us up are taken away. We find ourselves in a dark place.
Many of us believe that doubt is the opposite of faith but I don’t think that. I think the opposite of faith is disbelief. Doubt is not sinful. It is a nudge to push us forward. It makes us question and by doing so…grow. It makes us search for God and look in places we have not explored.
Don’t be afraid of doubt. Embrace it and look deeper, listen more, learn and grow.
All your life you’ve been getting ready for now. The light is probably dawning on you – what God is calling you to be and do – and you could easily feel overwhelmed. But God is the source of the light, and God is behind the dawning. There will be provision. Go ahead.
-Br. Curtis Almquist
Society of Saint John the Evangelist
sometimes we know deep down in our heart that God is calling us. He may be calling us to something that we really don’t want to do. It does remind me of Moses who certainly had no idea about freeing the people of Israel. Sometimes what he’s calling us to do seems something that we are incapable of. But there is nothing that we cannot do with God. Listen for that voice. Hear God calling. And answer.
Romans 15:1-2 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
15 We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor.
How often do we look down on others for something they can’t help. So many who suffer from mental illness are thought of as “less than.” They may be functioning members of society fighting their demons every day but that is something we can’t see. It is so easy to be judgmental. Never presume weakness. It may actually be enormous strength that we can’t see.