A FRIDAY MEDITATION – A Good Day

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land where there is no water.”
– Psalm 63:1

I’m feeling overwhelmed today
With Jesus

Me

A child of God and inheritor of God’s Kingdom
Not only inheritor but
Resident now in this very present

Called to become
More like Jesus
Gifted with Holy Spirit who gives power
Enables my becoming
And power for doing what God desires
Strengthens the presence of his Kingdom on earth today

Unbind them and set them free, he tells me
My mission statement
May it be like his

Loved
Forgiven

“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
—Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”

I am so grateful
Sing

“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving…. For the Lord hears the needy.” ~ Psalm 69:30,33

Dance with joy (Don’t know how)
Jesus doesn’t mind
My dancing partner
Leads

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” ~ Psalm 30-11

Play
Need to
Important Spiritual discipline
And Sabbath time

“What did you see today that was beautiful? Remember it. Savor it. Thank God.” ~ Fr. James Martin, SJ

Blue sky, birds
Children – Mine
Family
Peach pie
Practicing Gratitude

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” ~ 100:4

Brings joy
In the Lord
I am grateful

In Love

Come join the dance

Overwhelmed today
With Jesus

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13

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A FRIDAY MEDITATION – Good News

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done, in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today. ~
Martin Rinkart 1636

“What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you were grateful for yesterday,” a Facebook Meme asks. Even though I have been contemplating this question, and even though this coming Thursday is Thanksgiving, and the fact that “Practice Gratitude” is one element in the Trinity Way of Life prompting Charlie Brown, I imagine, to ask, “What if today we were just grateful for everything?” that is not what has been on my mind most of this week, though there are so very many things for which I am grateful. (Diagram that sentence, St. Paul. Your turn.) 

I have been meditating on the Gospel lesson from last Sunday found in Luke 21:5-19 (NRSV). Jesus and other worshipers are standing around after the service admiring the temple and Jesus tells them that it will eventually be torn down and that all types of cataclysmic events will take place. “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. ***This will give you an opportunity to testify. *** So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.” 

There is more to that passage than I have used, but I began to think about why bad things happen to us.  There are all sorts of reasons, but I’ve not often considered that they give us an opportunity to testify.  If we pay attention to our stories, we will, most often, have some “Good News” to share. God has given much to me as I have worked out, in fear and trembling, some seriously awful events in my life.  I have, after a period of time and reflection, found new spiritual growth, new wisdom, and new understanding through these events and they have given me good news about God’s workings to share. 

I’ve never been thrown into prison, but I spent many years working with the Kairos prison ministry.  Talk about bad things happening to people – I’ve heard it all.  Most of the stories, I believed because I am reasonably good about discerning a con job.  I, by a turn of events, was the first non-ordained Spiritual Advisor for Kairos Colorado, so there were many opportunities to share Jesus’ story and the ways the “bad” things in my life had changed me with God’s help and healing.  As Spiritual Advisor, I only had about 15 minutes with each person to listen to their story, share Jesus’ story and pray for them. My personal goal was to give each person who came to me a bit of Jesus to hold on to, a bit of His love to ponder, and some hope for their story.  In. 15. Minutes. God worked some amazing miracles in that time constraint. 

An aside (I’m not making light of these programs, just wanting to share a story) – One weekend my husband, Dave, was working with Kairos and I was taking an Al-anon family seminar at Harmony Ranch in Estes Park. Someone asked one of our daughters what her parents were doing that weekend.  With a perfectly straight face, I am sure, she told them that her dad was in prison and her mother was in rehab. See what I had to live with.  No wonder I’m the way I am.  

You might want to refresh your memory by re-reading that scripture from Luke.  Questions to be used for your meditation might be: What did Jesus do with the “bad” events and hard times that have happened in my life?  What is the “Good News” story that I could tell about Jesus in my life? How has he healed me?  How has he loved me? How have I been transformed by God’s working through this event? Maybe you have some questions of your own. God does not waste any part of our lives.  He doesn’t ignore the bad and only use the good or the times we think we are good.   

Remember – Jesus loves you and there is nothing at all that you can do about that. 

This is something for which we can be grateful. 

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Meditating,

A FRIDAY MEDITATION – Practicing Gratitude

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. ~ Psalm 3:3

During prayer this morning, the above scripture started weaving its way through the silence.  Some music started – I think there is a song written about this– wandering around also. As I sat with this for a bit, I started to feel it in my bones. Under the circumstances, the feeling may not last long, but the truth of it is permanent.  God is the one who lifts me up – the one who lifts us up.

Josh Groban, though he did not write it, made popular the song, “You Raise Me Up.” It was written by the duo, Secret Garden with lyrics by Brendan Graham, one of the duo. I don’t think it was meant to be about God, but for me when I hear it, it’s about God.  Sometimes, God with skin on.

“When I am down, and, oh, my soul, so weary
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me

“There is no life, no life without its hunger
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly
But then you come, and I am filled with wonder
Sometimes I think I glimpse eternity”

“You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

Life is difficult, M. Scott Peck, said in his book, THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED. Agreed. Sometimes, it is more difficult than others. It is how we handle the difficulty that makes us grow in the life of the Spirit and closer to God.  Sometimes, I’m better at this than at others. We all are. I am struggling a bit at the moment because the difficulties keep coming.  But the fact is, that God never leaves us.  He is the lifter of our head.  He raises us up to stand on mountains.  He provides the strength for us to make it through the difficult and rough spots.  And we will.  I will.  I can only be full of gratitude.

Today I am grateful for:

Moving into our new house is over.  It’s almost presentable.  I grateful for that. And I love it.  What a wonderful gift for our older age.

I am almost through with one of the two last projects in the moving process (not counting finishing decorating).  I took a break between the draft of this meditation and the finishing of it to clean out what I call “the project closet”.  This holds sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, photo projects, genealogy, etc.  You can’t imagine how much fun that was.  Seriously, it is. I’ll finish it before dinner, and celebrate with a glass of wine.

For cooler days. For sunshine.  For rain. For blue skies. For late roses.

For Chrysanthemums.  I bought two pots of them yesterday for my patio.  I may go get another one.  Fall colors.

I’m grateful that I can, apparently, write a bit, again.  It was so hard for a while.  So much to sort out. I’m not done with that, yet.

I’m grateful for God’s strong shoulders, that he raises me up and is the lifter of my head.

My church community.  For soul friends. For the Daughters of the King. You lift my head so many times.

And, I’m grateful for you, my brothers and sisters, for being God’s agent with skin on when the days are hard and my energy is limited. I’m so grateful for your prayers.

And I am grateful to God that the answers to our prayers are so often amazing and not what we expect.