Wednesday, March 29, 2017

And their eyes were opened

The text for today is about Jesus healing a blind man and then a deaf man.  Matthew 9: 27-34. But before he healing there was this exchange:

When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
They said to him, “Yes, Lord.”
Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.

At the end of these miraculous works of God the pharisees response was this:

But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons.”

So, all of this makes me ponder the whole notion of spiritual blindness.  And how helpful it is to believe in the healing power of God.

In the Columbus Dispatch this morning there is an article on the front page with this headline: "Clergy plays stronger role in opiod fight"  It was an article about faith based programs for detox and recovery that had had some success.  They quote a man who was addicted who said: "I felt that voice say, "I'm more powerful than all those drugs; I'm what you're searching for." 

I know that there are people who will read this and not buy into it.  We had AA at my church meeting daily and it works for some and not for all.  And that has also been true of my experience as a Reiki Practitioner. Some people have immediate "results" and for others it is "Meh." There  are never formulas that guarantee healing.  And I imagine all of us have heard people say that others "did not have enough faith" and that is why they were not healed. On the other hand, like  the pharisees we  get int trouble when we are critical and suspicious of "healers" according to our own beliefs and experiences. 

What I know to be true is that there are moments of real  awakening, illumination and healing.  Yesterday at my dream group I shared about my time serving in Zanesville as an Associate minister.  Fresh out of seminary, my first full time position and newly divorced - looking back I wonder how I did it?  But looking back I also am aware of a congregation that prayed for me and that really helped more than I knew at the time but I know now. I keep learning that it is in looking back we see the healings, the transformations, and the miracles of our lives.  The practice of reflection is truly eye opening.


Here is a prayer by Saint Benedict

O gracious and holy Father
Give us wisdom to perceive you,
Intelligence to understand you,
diligence to seek you,
patience to wait for you,
eyes to see you,
a heart to meditate on you,
and a life to proclaim you,
through the power of the spirit of Jesus Christ
our Lord

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

May you be made Strong

As I read the text from Colossians 1: 9-14 today I was struck by this verse:

 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.

I found myself thinking about asking to be made strong.  As a young woman I did not realize the importance of strength.  Instead I think my prayers were about being nice, kind, smart, loving and loved.  I don't know that I was as aware as I am now of the need to be strong.  

And that strength takes a lot of different forms.  
 - We need strength to hang in there during the tragedies of life
 - we need strength to combat the various addictions and temptations that lure us throughout our lives
 - we need strength to do the things that need to be done every day 
 - we need strength to speak our truth even when it is uncomfortable

I do find that often people mistake stoicism for strength.  After a death I have heard both men and women talk about the need to be "strong" which they often translate to not expressing their raw emotions.  I don't think that is strength.  In fact, in this culture we live in we at times have to be strong enough to honor our emotions and not ignore them for the sake of others.

This morning I watched a news story about the statue of the fearless girl that is supposedly staring down Wall Street's statue of the bull. The strength we have is not without fear - it is despite fear.  You certainly can make a case for the fact that we had less fear as children and more possible fears  now as we have experienced illness, failures and accidents.  

What I know for sure is that there is a strength that comes - not from my will power - but that I think can only come from God.  I have experienced it often in times of trauma and when I felt like I just could not do whatever was ahead of me.  Not to be simplistic - life IS hard - but God has given me words, energy and power when I felt most weak. That is my testimony today. :)

So my mantra: May I be made strong with the strength that comes from God

Here is a poem by Stephanie Kaza called "Letting Go"

Let go of the place that holds,
let go of the place that flinches,
let go of the place that controls,
Let go of the place that fears.
Just let the ground support me.
Listen, the wind is breathing in the trees.
Sensing the edge of soft and hard.
I follow the unseen path
Walking in the dark night.
I practice faith,
Building confidence in the unknown.
Walking in the dark night,
I practice courage,
accepting the vastness
of what I cannot see.