Archive for February, 2021

Far More Merciful

Sunday, February 28th, 2021

I return again and again to this place, to the belief that God is fully aware of the road you and I are on, that God is far more merciful and forgiving than we would ever be with one another or with ourselves. My prayers are different now because of it.

— John Pavlovitz, A Bigger Table, p. 165

Photo: Leithöfe, Germany, March 1, 1997

Rejection Is Protection

Sunday, February 28th, 2021

I saw such sorrow on a friend’s face today, Lord. Something did not work out the way she had hoped. There was once a time when I would have prayed for her to get the position she was aiming for. When I think of that now, how I used to pray, I wince in my soul. It took me years — and maybe lifetimes — to understand my folly. Thinking that I know what is best for someone, and that You require my guidance — my intervention — to direct another person’s life! I often replay the dream I had years ago, at the time I felt the doors had suddenly closed on the career I had chosen. I had been lamenting not getting my way. I was feeling sorry for myself, rejected by something I wanted, and abandoned by heaven, so to speak. I was not in good shape. But in a dream visitation I was informed that “earthly rejection is holy protection.” I woke up calm. Tranquil, as if I had slept under a blanket of grace. I have never doubted again — not once. When I released my unmet expectations to You, You led me down a path I did not see coming. One I could not have imagined because I never knew it existed.

— Caroline Myss, Intimate Conversations with the Divine, p. 118

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, February 27, 2021

Sitting in the Sun

Saturday, February 27th, 2021

Stop expecting the worst: at least as many things could go right as could go wrong. Think of optimism as a way of sitting in the sun now, regardless of what the weather might be tomorrow or next week.

KEEP MOVING.

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 27

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, February 7, 2021

Very Good

Thursday, February 25th, 2021

Christianity’s true and unique story line has always been incarnation. If creation is “very good” (Genesis 1:34) at its very inception, how could such a divine agenda ever be undone by any human failure to fully cooperate? “Very good” sets us on a trajectory toward resurrection, it seems to me. God does not lose or fail. That is what it means to be God.

— Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ, p. 172

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, February 7, 2021

A New Story

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

For much of my life, this guilt, pressure, and fear of exposure had left me fairly exhausted. But I am slowly but surely walking into a new story, gradually but most definitely jettisoning those things that don’t ring true anymore and traveling much lighter. My reverence for God has never been greater, my wonder never more full, my desire to know my Maker never stronger. The difference is, I now see God through the lens of one who is beloved, not one who is beloved with conditions. Life now is not a test to try and reach God, but an opportunity to notice God. I am seeking Jesus more deeply than ever — not to escape punishment, but to discover life as it is best lived. My faith is not about fleeing something horrible, but running toward something beautiful. I am daily responding in gratitude for the beauty of the gift of this world, not in the hope I can eventually escape it. I come to the Scriptures now not as divine dictation, but as the journal entries of those who came before me and who have walked this road of asking, seeking, and knocking.

— John Pavlovitz, A Bigger Table, p. 164

Photo: Rocky Mountains, January 7, 2020

Work in Progress

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

Accept that you are a work in progress, both a revision and a draft: you are better and more complete than earlier versions of yourself, but you also have work to do. Be open to change. Allow yourself to be revised.

KEEP MOVING.

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 22

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, December 6, 2020

God Longs to Bring Me Home

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

For most of my life I have struggled to find God, to know God, to love God. I have tried hard to follow the guidelines of the spiritual life — pray always, work for others, read the Scriptures — and to avoid the many temptations to dissipate myself. I have failed many times but always tried again, even when I was close to despair.

Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not “How am I to find God?” but “How am I to let myself be found by him?” The question is not “How am I to know God?” but “How am I to let myself be known by God?” And, finally, the question is not “How am I to love God?” but “How am I to let myself be loved by God?” God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home.

— Henri Nouwen, You Are Beloved, p. 16, quoting from The Return of the Prodigal Son

Photo: Lake Geneva, Switzerland, November 2000

The Ultimate Nonviolent One

Sunday, February 21st, 2021

God is the ultimate nonviolent one, so we dare not accept any theory of salvation that is based on violence, exclusion, social pressure, or moral coercion. When we do, these are legitimated as a proper way of life. God saves by loving and including, not by excluding or punishing.

— Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ, p. 154

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, 02/21/2021

No Greener Grass

Saturday, February 20th, 2021

We don’t find happiness. We become it. We embody it. We decide to see our life through a different lens. We cease telling ourselves that we should be somewhere else — that “other” place we will never actually get to. There is no greener grass; it’s the lawn we are standing on that we must water and care for. Happiness begins the second we stop believing it is somewhere other than here. And then, no matter where we want to go, it comes along with us.

— Caroline Myss, Intimate Conversations with the Divine, p. 79

Photo: Leithöfe, Germany, April 1997

Image-Bearers

Friday, February 19th, 2021

When we are living in a spiritual community where radical hospitality, total authenticity, true diversity, and agenda-free relationships are the spiritual operating system, every question is not only manageable but welcome, because our default condition becomes hope and not fear. We don’t come burdened with shame, we don’t come fearful of expulsion, and we don’t spend our time waiting for the judgmental shoe to drop. When people come to the bigger table, they don’t need to earn acceptance — this is a given. When we gather at the table Jesus sets, none of us are misfits. By our very presence we fit, because we are full image bearers of God and beloved as we are, without alteration. The traditional Church tends to favor a clearly defined, very narrow inside and outside, and this is where many people part ways because they find their messy, gritty reality doesn’t feel compatible with such clear delineation. But when everyone is openly bringing everything, there’s real connection — when each person realizes they are not outsiders around the table.

— John Pavlovitz, A Bigger Table, p. 163-164

Photo: Alsenborn, Germany, December 2001