Everyday Spirituality

Posts tagged ‘scripture’

Take Up Your Mat

Seven years ago my friend and I were part of a group of 5 women who developed a women’s retreat for our church. This retreat has been well attended each year since the first weekend.

The theme for that weekend was from the Gospel of Mark 2: 1-12. Specifically verse 11 when Jesus says to the paralytic, “…pick up your mat and go home.”

We met many times to discuss this theme in depth. We wanted to literally climb into the Bible and become part of the crowded room. We wanted to be the friends who carried the paralytic to be healed. We empathized with the paralytic on the mat. We totally immersed ourselves in this beautiful story.

We discussed what it meant to have friends that would carry your mat. What it meant to have friends that would go to great means for a friend. We visualized how they broke open the roof and lowered the paralytic down before Jesus.

Each time we met allowed us to become closer as friends ourselves. We sometimes met at a restaurant and enjoyed a glass of wine or a margarita together. We were bonding as we embraced the depth of this gospel. Little did we know then how much that story would touch us in the near future.

One of us would indeed need to be carried on the mat.

Shortly after this first retreat one of the five of us would be diagnosed with a terminal illness…pancreatic cancer. My best friend allowed us to place her on the mat and carry her. Friendship has many faces and it takes on many shapes. I think true friendship must be able to morph into whatever is needed. True friendship cannot be rigid and structure. True friendship must be fluid by its very nature.

Many times before her death the image of carrying her mat became more and more evident. She was no longer to do all that she wanted to do. Others came and carried a part of her mat.

It was something she certainly never anticipated. Her whole life she was the more likely person to carry the mat of another. But when she got sick all of that changed. All that we had discussed about the paralytic being carried by his friends was too real…painfully real. At times we did not even want to admit that she was on the ‘mat’.

But unlike in the Gospel we could not physically lower her mat through the roof and bring her to Jesus. While we loved the gospel image, for me it began to become a painful image. She wanted God to heal her so much and we all wanted her to be healed. God had other plans.

In the scripture after Jesus heals the paralytic it says, “They were all astounded and glorified God…” I have written more about the word astounded on my other blog, here is the link www.scripture4you.blogspot.com    Astounded…Wonder and Awe

 

This verse also tells us they ‘glorified God’. I know without a doubt that my friend is healed and is in heaven glorifying God. She is now clothed with the eternal light of his love. He has indeed shown his brilliant face upon her. She joyfully rejoices at all he has done for her. She is now experiencing things unlike she could have ever imagined. And she had a vivid imagination.

The mat will always be an important image of friendship to me. We all need friends from time to time in our lives to carry our mat. We all need friends to carry us to the Lord…if not physically through their kindness and their love.

 

I desire to live my life so that someday I will be able to join those in the crowded room with Jesus and say, “I have never seen anything like this.”

 

I have faith that one day I will see my friend again and no words will be needed for us to communicate. Together we will glorify God for what else would there be to do in heaven? When we enter into the presence of pure love how wondrous will be that day.

“When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”

“Rise, pick up you mat and walk.”

As I am writing this I am listening to beautiful symphonic music by Julie Larson. The sound of the instruments blending together lifts up my soul and inspires me.

“It was not you who chose me, says the Lord, but I who chose you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.” John 15:16

Soon we will have our annual women’s retreat and she will be with us…her joyful spirit with be with us. This year the theme is, “… whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.” 1 Cor. 10:31 She loved this retreat so very much.

She continues to be missed and always…loved.

 

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Light of Christ:50 Days after Easter

Have you ever noticed how often Jesus interacts with people while they are going about their normal daily routine? The Emmaus story is just such a story. These two friends were walking along back to their home, a bit sad. Their hopes and dreams for the Messiah had not come to fruition. He did not appear to secure their freedom from Israel.

We spent forty days preparing for Easter. Fasting, sacrificing, and spending more time in prayer, becoming more penitent for our short comings and our sinfulness. So now what? Now is the time to rejoice and celebrate the love and light of the world. Alleluia! Alleluia!

My favorite part of the Easter Vigil liturgy is the ritual lighting of the new paschal candle from the newly created and blessed fire. This fire burning brightly in our church is a reminder of what should be burning brightly in our hearts. Just as the two companions experienced their hearts burning as Jesus spoke to them. Can we not expect to experience the same burning each time we pray with scripture? This burning is not from a consuming fire, but rather a stirring of excitement within…a realization of what has been done for us.

During the time after Jesus’ resurrection he appeared to those who loved him calming their fears, erasing their doubts, and even nourishing their bodies. With each encounter, he met them where they were, from the upper room to the seashore.

The Risen Christ wants us to believe that he is with us and will be with us until the end of time.  

These 50 days after Easter are building towards the magnificent feast of Pentecost. It is the perfect time to let your eyes sparkle with the light of Christ. It is the perfect time to speak words of encouragement lighting the way for those around you. It is the perfect time for a gentle touch to warm the heart of someone lost and alone.

Let your Baptismal light shine through in all that you do. Christ is the Light of the World and we have been brought into that light to shine with his love.

 Let your light shine! (Matt. 5:16)

Lord, lead me through your holy Light. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet! May your words light the path of my journey through life.

Christ be our Light! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

 

Soul Stirrings: Transfigured

Recently while browsing on another blog I was fascinated by the tag cloud. As you rolled the cursor over the list of tag words each one seemed to pop up from the screen and enlarge. Well today that is how I felt as I attentively listened to the proclamation of the Transfiguration. Here are the words that popped out to me: 

 I was filled with how these words created for me a thread of meaning.

Here is my personal message summary.

 

High upon a mountain appeared

a bright white light

covered by a cloud

casting a shadow

imbued with the name

“Beloved”

from the one who was pleased

 The others falling prostrate

afraid  touched

by the vision of Jesus.

My dear, Lord, transfigure me to become brilliant with your holiness.

Change my heart to be filled with the light of your unconditional love.

 

What Time is it?

As another year has quickly come to an end; I thought I would share some thoughts on TIME.

Time is a mystery in so many ways. We have created a measurement for time because we needed it for some reason. I guess it makes things easier, better?          I am not sure. But then when I think about God time really has no meaning. It is just not necessary to measure anything in increments of time where God is concerned. So measuring time is only for us humans.

Maybe that is one of the wonderful things about death…Time no longer has any meaning.  Maybe that is where we get the popular saying…time flies when you are having fun…I do hope that I will be having fun in heaven whatever that may mean then.

Time…we never seem to have enough of it and yet sometimes time seems to drag on forever. Time…keeps us so confined to schedules. Can you imagine what life would be like with no way to measure Time. Everyone would be on their own schedule I guess. I think some scientist actually did research concerning the concept of Time. Surprisingly even if you do not know what the time is you somehow gravitate to a universal time schedule. Very curious, I think.

Time, time, time sometime I really do feel like the Mad Hatter in Alice and Wonderland…running around…late for a very important date.

It’s funny how when you are doing certain tasks time does seem “to fly” and other events seem to be moving in slow motion.

Time is so fascinating. Time cannot be seen as we can observe other things. Twitter sends your precious thoughts and ideas out to the world in “real time”. “Real Time”…what other kind of time is there? Does someone have synthetic time out there pretending to be the “real” thing?

The book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-12 tells us “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.  A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak.    A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. What advantage has the worker from his toil? I have considered the task which God has appointed for men to be busied about. He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without men’s ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.  I recognized that there is nothing better than to be glad and to do well during life.”

In the business world there are numerous flashing sign posts about the benefits of “time management”. Admonitions to “use your time wisely” are lurking around every corporate corner.

~Here are a few quotes about time~

What may be done at any time will be done at no time.
Scottish Proverb

Time is the glue that bonds a broken heart, but love is the air which dries the glue. J. Franklin

There is time for everything.   Thomas Edison

Nothing is worth more than this day. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.  Andy Warhol

 

It’s time to turn the
“Etch-a-Sketch” of 2010 on its side and

 

 

begin 2011 with a clean slate.

You are in control of how you use your time; choose wisely.

What time is it? Time to wish you a Happy New Year!

Wishing you all that is good in 2011!

 

 

 

God is Light: Wordle

God is Light

 This is the time of year when ceativity reaches a peak. Decorating your house for Christmas allows all sorts of creative juices to flow…after all it’s Christmas and anything goes.

Wrapping paper in all colors and patterns…matching bows curled or looped…candles in every size, color, and fragrance imaginable…gifts that fit in the palm of your hand or on a finger to ones that defy being wrapped…visits with family (now I admit sometimes that really requires some creativity) what will we talk about???? Let’s see… “No” not that subject…”how about ____? “No that will never work.” So we end up resorting to polite frivolous small talk.

“Lke, what dessert are you having first?”

Oh my, Creativity is so much fun during the Christmas holidays!

So I want to offer you an opportunity to explore your creative side with Wordle. I used Wordle to create the picture at the top of this post.

Here are the directions:

First you type some text you would like to use. I used scirpture passages from the readings for this week.

Next you go to www.wordle.net

Click on the “CREATE  your own” button. Once there copy your selected text into the box or you can just type your text right in their box. 

Then click on GO button.

In seconds you will have created your very own Wordle “word cloud”. Now you may be excited with the results, but I encourage you to “play” with the many different options offered. At the top of your newly created wordle are some buttons; the color, font, and layout are the ones you should explore.

Find one you like and celebrate that you can be creative in many ways.

I believe creativity is inspired by God, who has certainly given us numerous examples of his wild creativity…just look at nature or the animal kingdom.

Show your children or grandchildren  Wordle and let them have some fun together.

Now I am going to create one with the names of everyone in my family. That will surely give us something to talk about…!!! I must make sure that I do not forget anyone’s name!

~Christmas Blessings~

May your life be overflowing with JOY…and generously sprinkled with FUN.

If you have any questions about Wordle just send me a message.

“Taste and See”

Sometimes I can get so frustrated! I wish that I could recall in detail everything I have ever read. Here is my visionary solution. Why can we not place these words on edible slips of material and consume them into our essence. Oh, if it were only that easy. In the description of a prayer form called Lectio Divina the initial step is to choose a brief scripture passage. Well that seems easy enough to do. But then as you are slowly reading this passage you are to eagerly await the one word or phrase that pops out for you. Is God going to highlight this one word or phrase for me? Will he use the customary yellow or could he please use my favorite color, purple. If he were to use my favorite color to pop out a word or phrase as I am reading then I could rest assured it was meant for me. Or if God does not want to use color then could he please just make it appear in a larger font as my reading eyes fall upon the special part meant just for me.

Now here is where the edible slips would come in handy. I would simply take one of those consumable slips and right down the special word or phrase meant for me. Perhaps I could even choose one of those scented pens I have used in my journal writing. I ask myself, “What fragrance would be most suited for this word?” Words of joy might evoke scents of lavender or citrus while words of sorrow might smell of musk or earth.

With mindful attention, I would meticulously form every letter of each word with the utmost care until the message was complete. After having done so I would lift up this now precious morsel to God in praise. Thanking him for his precious gift of words for me. I would follow now by ceremoniously placing this slip onto my tongue. I would like to imagine what this moment would be like. As the song says “I Can Only Imagine”. How will these words taste as they rest on the tiny buds of my tongue? How will I feel as this sacred phrase instantly dissolves and begins to circulate throughout my body? Will I be able to feel different when it passes into my heart? Will I know when it becomes part of who I am? For in my heart is where I want this simple word or phrase to remain forever. I want to be able to call it forth from my heart, the center of my being. This can only be possible if it is metabolized into nourishment for my soul. Will I truly be able to “Taste and See” the goodness of the Lord? Sometimes these words given to me in prayer actually ooze out like musical perspiration. I break out in songs of praise while driving or washing the dishes.

One day may come when I once again ceremoniously place the carefully written slip into my mouth, but this time will be different. This time the slip will not delicately dissolve on my tongue as before. I realize this time will require biting and tearing with my teeth in order to break down the fibers of each written letter. This time I want to spit out the words, but wait, I cannot because God highlighted them for me. Today in prayer he gave these words to me. I must consume them. Must I let them remain in my heart? Can I allow them to pass from my body along with the other waste products? How do you graciously discard a gift, especially a gift from God? Perhaps you cannot; perhaps you should not!

Aha! Could this be connected to free will given to me by God? I have a friend who for many months before her husband died eagerly embraced and consumed the sacred passages gifted to her from God. She found so often as she took them inside to rest in her heart they sustained her. She consumed these words God highlighted for her. Just as food nourished her body these words nourished her heart and soul. She consumed sweet words one day and bitter words another day allowing both to strengthen her spirit. I suspect she will have more days ahead where God will highlight his chosen sacred “bittersweet” words.

I would like to dedicate this writing to my friend who lost her husband just a few weeks ago. Her love of scripture is an inspiration to me as it is to all those who know her. If we could see her scripture filled heart I think we would simply see a heart embossed with four letters. These four letters most perfectly encompasses all of the scripture she feeds on daily.   L…O…V…E…

I want you, the reader, to know that I did not consciously begin writing this piece with my friend in mind, but the more I wrote the more apparent it became to me that Brenda’s (fictional name) love of scripture was clearly my source of inspiration. May her heart felt love of scripture inspire us all to “Taste and See”.