Forward Movement is a ministry established by the Episcopal Church that publishes a daily devotional entitled Forward Day by Day. It is a tremendous resource for prayers and it can be found online.
One prayer that has been part of the publication for many years is below.
Give me strength to live another day;
Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties;
Let me not lose faith in other people;
Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness;
Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them;
Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity;
Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things;
Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;
Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness;
and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls;
in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
For a long time this has been one of my favorite prayers and the words within it seem incredibly relevant and appropriate for our current lives. Strength, courage, faith in fellow human beings, keeping our hearts in the right place, avoiding tit for tats, integrity, seeing what is good and right and true, joy, and being Christ’s presence for others are key themes within the prayer. I encourage you to use this prayer at the beginning of each day.
This last week in the news was the story about the giant hornets that are now on American shores. I love the outdoors and God’s astonishing creation, but frankly, these hornets look downright scary. One to the most disturbing aspects of these social wasps is that they sting and they do so mightily and painfully. Someone sent me a video of a fellow allowing himself to be stung just to see what it feels like. My reaction was, “Yikes.”
As I watched the video and the stinging wasp something interesting happened. I thought about the prayer I shared above and especially the line, “Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them.”
Over these last few weeks, I have witnessed loving acts of kindness, altruism, generosity, new levels of prayer, consideration, and words that reflect that we are all doing the best we can and we all need to cut each other some slack. That said, on occasion, whether through social media posts, letters to the editor, passing strangers on walks, or while shopping in grocery stores, I’ve seen people stinging others through behavior, words, or facial expressions. I certainly have had a stinging thought or two.
This time is more than upending and upsetting. I understand the stress and upset many of us are feeling. But through it all, I pray that as followers of Jesus, we, with God’s help, will avoid stinging anyone, even those with whom we disagree. “Oh Lord, keep us sweet and sound of heart,” the prayer I’ve shared says. What an amazing opportunity we have to allow ourselves to be the vessels through which God’s love is spread even when we get stung.
This week has been strange. I have felt out of sorts. Along with sadness and spikes of frustration, perhaps what has been most troubling is that it has taken me a few days to figure out what is going on. On a walk this morning, it hit me.
I like many of you have lost a lot of people in life. People that really mattered. My parents. Some friends. Relatives far and near. This aside from the countless folks I have had the privilege of walking alongside during the dying process. With each death, in varying degrees, has been grief. Sometimes profound. At other times moderated by things such as relief that suffering has ended or gratitude that a full life was lived.
Grief, while a different journey for every person, generally includes sadness, anger, a whole host of other emotions, feeling out of sorts, and a surreal disconnected feeling. It is this surreal disconnected feeling that I now realize I’ve been experiencing since the coronavirus has hit the world and turned most things upside down.
I recognize I’ve been having thoughts such as, “This isn’t real. This can’t be happening. I’ll wake up tomorrow and everything will be fine. I’ve never felt this way before. I feel separated from what I know. Where is Rod Serling?” The bottom line is that I’ve been grieving. Understanding this helps me know, at least in part, how to respond to the time we are in.
For me, when grieving, I know it is so critical to emote, pray, give myself space to do nothing, acknowledge what has been lost, and realize that some of what I feel at the moment will have at least a slightly different flavor down the road. I also know it is vital to be gentle with myself, forgiving, and to recognize I am doing the best I can in a tough circumstance. Sometimes it is ok not to be ok and often I need to cut myself some slack. I also know that grief happens despite and in the midst of having deep faith and a love of God. Again, while our journeys are unique to each of us, I invite you to consider some of these points in your own life as we go through this shared experience.
I believe God is fully present and in charge. I trust that we will get through this as God’s beloved human kind. There are great people doing amazing, astonishing things every day to deal with this crisis. We have much to be grateful for and many that need our appreciation. I also understand, however, that many of us are grieving and that while we may not be grieving continually throughout each day, grief makes sense and it is ok. God gave us our hearts to feel not only joy, but sadness.
I along with our entire Chapel team are here to be helpful to you. We love you and so does our loving, sustaining, healing God.
“What can I count on? What can I trust? What can I hold onto? What will be here tomorrow? How can I feel secure?” These and many other similar questions represent what I have been hearing from people over the last several weeks. To be honest, such questions have crossed my mind as well, because life as we have known it, in many respects, has been upended. While much of what it means to be alive remains in place, so much of what defines life in our culture has been significantly constrained.
As we remain in the season of Easter, I have been reflecting upon the Gospel descriptions of the morning Jesus rose from the dead. One of the most poignant stories is found in chapter 20 of John’s Gospel. Here, Mary Magdalene, whose life had been transformed by Jesus, stood weeping outside of the tomb. Consumed by grief, loss, and confusion, Jesus appears to her, although she does not recognize him at first. However, when Jesus says her name, Mary understands immediately that Jesus is before her. Jesus then says, “Mary, do not cling to me.” Or, “Mary do not hold onto me.”
Although Jesus then asks Mary to go to the disciples, I have to wonder what Mary thought at the moment Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me.” I can imagine Mary thinking thoughts such as, “OK Jesus, but what do I hold on to now? How can I let go of what I have come to trust?”
In reflecting upon this part of the story, I do not believe that Jesus was asking Mary to give up her relationship with Jesus. Nor was Jesus compelling Mary to no longer depend on Jesus. But I believe Jesus was asking Mary to let go of what she had known, what was familiar, in order to move forward in her life and in her relationship with Jesus.
It is as if Jesus was saying, “Mary, you have known me as I have been. But now it is time to let go so that your relationship with me will be even deeper, more profound, and even more life changing. You must let go of what has been familiar, in order for our relationship to be more than what it has been.”
At this time in life, when so much of what is familiar has been shaken, I have to wonder if Jesus is asking us some similar questions and in fact is inviting us to explore some things.
Is it possible, at this time in our lives, Jesus is saying things like the following. “I invite you to take a look at what has given you a sense of security in the past. To explore what you have counted upon. To look at what you have been holding onto.”
“Are there ways of being, thinking, and living you need to let go of to move into a deeper relationship with me? Could this time of grief and confusion and loss be an opportunity to re-evaluate what you have been counting on? Is this a chance to hold on to me in new ways, a chance to go deeper in our relationship, a relationship that will never go away despite circumstances?”
While we are not standing in front of Jesus’ tomb on Easter morning, all of us are standing next to the grave site of a former world. Although much will remain and many things will go on again as we have known them after this pandemic recedes, the world has been changed permanently, just as it has following other pandemics, wars, and world crises.
In the midst of it all, we have a grace-filled opportunity to let go of some things in order to move into a profoundly deeper relationship with God. Painful, hard, upsetting, discombobulating? Absolutely. Nevertheless, we have been given a profound opportunity to discover more of what God has in mind for each of us, which of course includes his boundless love.
The other evening I was playing a card game called Monopoly Deal with one of our daughters. It was a delightful time. As we played, I imagined the countless people worldwide who likely were doing something similar in this mandated downtime. I also thought about the massive numbers of people around the world who have no access to clean water, food, or any modicum of medical care as the virus spreads. This fact in combination with all the grief that is happening is soul crushing. All of this is agonizingly heartbreaking and I don’t know what I can do other than pray, pray, pray.
This is such a unique time, although there have been many similar times in history. There is no way to know what the future precisely holds or how things will play out. How things unfold in the immediate days ahead is unpredictable at best.
The other evening I needed a distraction so I played Yahtzee on a phone app. I’ve enjoyed the game for decades. It can be relatively mindless or it can bring back memories of studying probability theories in high school math classes so long ago. You may remember that the likelihood of rolling any one number on one die is 1 out of 6. The likelihood of rolling three dice and ending up with the same number on each is 1 out of 36. And the probability of rolling a Yahtzee in which all five dice match is 6 out of 7776.
The point of all of this is despite the uncertainty in the game of Yahtzee, at least you concretely know the likelihood of specific outcomes. With this virus we do not know with any certainty the probability of any exact outcome. Said another way, playing games in Las Vegas is clearer than the time we are in now, hence the angst I along with many others often feel.
Yet, in this tragic and very difficult time, we have a tremendous opportunity to work toward living as Jesus invites us to live and that is with a primary focus on the moment and the day at hand, rather than the uncertain future. In the midst of his talk known as the Sermon on the Mount, in chapter 6 of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus said, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” He said this in a broader discussion of worry.
His point. Focus on today. Pay attention to what needs to be dealt with today. Trust God and turn the future over to God. Easier said than done, you bet! Yet prayerfully I believe this is exactly what God is calling us to do, with God’s help. While this is much more challenging than the cliche of “stop and smell the roses,” the moment is where we live, where God is, and where life’s greatest joys are to be found.
Twenty years ago I was serving at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Concord, New Hampshire. It is a historic church that sits adjacent to the State House. St. Paul’s was a great church and one thing I enjoyed was the bell tower. At the top of the stairs of the tower, if my memory is correct, were 8 bells of various sizes. To ring the bells, there was a bank of wooden levers. By pushing a lever down, a particular bell would ring. I spent some time in the tower learning how to play hymns on the bells. To this day I cherish this experience.
One afternoon I was in the tower playing away when all of a sudden our parish administrator came running up the stairs. She said, “Robert. Robert. You need to stop. The Senate is in session and the bells are so loud they cannot deliberate. They just called. They asked who on earth was making all the racket. I did not tell them it was you.” I was certainly grateful for that especially as I knew the governor at the time.
Bells have been part of faith traditions for centuries. The use of bells by priests is found in the Book of Exodus. There we learn that Aaron wore bells whenever he was in a particular area of the Temple. In the Christian tradition, bells were introduced by an Italian Bishop in the 400’s. A Pope in 604 sanctioned bells for use in worship. Since that time, church bells have been used for worship, to announce the beginning of worship, special services, or simply for celebratory purposes.
Church bells can be small or quite large. One bell at the National Cathedral weighs over 3500 pounds. Other bells around the world are even larger. Regardless of bell size, there are few sounds as glorious as church bells ringing.
In Psalm 100 we find this verse. “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.” When we worship God, we are invited to do so with joy, even and perhaps especially in the midst of painful hard times. One way to do this is with bells. Also in Psalm 100 is this. “God made us and we are his. We are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” In other words, we worship God with joy because we are God’s. We belong to God through it all and nothing changes that.
This Sunday is Easter, the day we remember and celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. It is the day humanity learned clearly that new life follows the life we have now and that death is a passage into something wonderfully and beautifully beyond description. Because of Jesus, we can trust eternal life is ahead and this changes everything, including how we live now each day.
To help us celebrate Easter with joy, let’s use some bells and connect ourselves with those who have worshipped God over many centuries. I invite each of you to join me, following our online live broadcast of our Easter service at 9AM, MDT, to go outside, wherever you are, and make a joyful noise unto the Lord. If you have bells of some kind, use them. Ring them with vigor to express your joy over Easter and Jesus’ resurrection. If you don’t have bells, I invite you to make a joyful racket unto the Lord. Use pots and pans, anything to express joy to God. And if you cannot join us at 9 MDT, sometime during Easter Sunday go out and make some joyful noise. You might just get somebody’s attention who needs a smile.
This time in all of our lives is so tough, hard, and unsettling, to say the least. The losses many are experiencing are massive. I believe it is during this time, we need a dose, even if just a small one, of joy. Joy over our Lord who is guiding us through this time. Joy over God who loves us without bounds. Joy over our Lord who promises us that when it is all said and done, all will be well. Happy Easter my friends.
Without a doubt, as I reflect upon my 60 years of life, I have learned the greatest lessons through pain, struggle and tough times. Often when in the midst of something difficult, however, it can be hard to find meaning or to gain insight into what can be taken from the experience. Sometimes the passage of time is required to gain perspective.
I suspect the global crisis we are in now, will one day prove to be a teacher to each of us if we are attentive, intentional and prayerful, today and in the future. Said another way, through the very significant hardships, fear, and up-ending consequences of this current time, we have been given the opportunity to reset various aspects of our lives, how we live them, and who we are down deep. When what we are accustomed to is stripped away, we can be forced to explore our values, priorities, and ultimately what matters not only the most, but at all.
While what we learn from this time will be unique to each of us, my hunch is that shared realizations may happen. Having said this, however, I pray that some specific lessons will come from this pandemic. Others likely will have very different hopes. That said, it is my prayer that these months will remind us of our utter dependency upon our loving Creator. That every day we wake up we will embrace the truth that any given moment we have is a gift from God, ripe with opportunities to serve and live selflessly.
After this crisis, I pray that we will embrace face to face relationships with people in person and understand that being in person with another is where true connection and intimacy happens. Perhaps we will learn to distance ourselves from uni-dimensional forms of communication and learn to pause to look into the eyes of the person in front of us.
I pray that we will get back to God’s understanding of the world. Borders, differences in languages, backgrounds, cultures, religions, and various ways of doing things does not mean we are not all God created human beings. All of us are on the same singular planet and hope resides in flipping the way we see others and how we approach global problems. Historically every great challenge that has arisen in human history comes from the distinctions we make, not God.
I pray that what gives us a sense of security and stability will move from that which is ephemeral to that which remains over time. Friendships, families, congregations, integrity, honesty, doing the right thing, empathy, lack of ego, and love, in my view, are where security for daily living comes. Stability arises when who we are in public aligns with who we are in private. Assets come and go. And while wealth can and has been used for great good, stability and security does not come from things temporary. What gives us a foundation is that which we take with us into eternity.
I pray over time that as a result of this crisis, our definition of success will broaden. That our tenderness toward others will increase. That our sense of who our neighbor is will reflect what Jesus taught us. That indeed we will treat every person as we wish to be treated. That we will embrace the truth that when one person hurts, we all hurt. That we will learn to seek joy, share it and laugh more. That we will learn to take what we do seriously, but not take ourselves too seriously. That stress will be embraced as a signal to turn in a different direction. That we will honor this planet as a spectacular gift from God and act accordingly.
While there is much more that I pray for, when it is all said and done, I pray for a dramatic resurgence in love. The love of God. The love of others. And loving compassion toward ourselves. As we say over and over and over at the Chapel, as God is love, the only thing that really matters is love and actions based on such love. I pray that through this time we learn most of all to celebrate, emulate, communicate, and live our lives based on love as our number one priority. Idealistic? Certainly, but we have chosen to follow Jesus who calls us to His ways, not ours.
Please know we are praying for you and we want to know how we can be helpful to you and those you love.
Several decades ago I along with my classmates were at the midpoint through our 36 month residential seminary training in Tennessee. For the vast majority of us, it was a very difficult time, largely because of the uncertainty of the future along with the extreme academic and spiritual demands placed upon us.
I recall lots of my friends were stressed, in tears, worried about income, because none of us had any, and uncertain as to what the future would hold. Few if any of us knew where we would end up serving.
It was at this particularly shared low point that we were all gathered in a classroom. As we took in yet more information about this and that, it was then we heard a strange distant sound. Over a few minutes, the sound became louder and clearer. It was the sound of singing and of musical instruments being played. The volume increased as did our puzzled expressions.
Then, to our great surprise, the doors of the classroom burst open and the room filled in with seminarians in other class years, dressed up in funny costumes singing a very clear repetitive line. That line. “We are all in this together. We are all in this together. We are all in this together.” This dramatically changed our perspectives and outlook amidst our worries and uncertainty.
The world wide pandemic is obviously difficult beyond description and my seminary experience is vastly insignificant in comparison. But one thing is quite relevant. Indeed, we are all in this together. For every single human being across national boundaries, ethnic identifications, orientations, political persuasions, income levels, lots in life, philosophical differences, and spiritual paths, we are all in this together.
In the midst of hunger, unemployment, illness, fear, boredom, worry, uncertainty and more, we are all in this together and to me, this makes all the difference in the world. It is my prayer that each of us individually and we as human kind collectively, will gain new perspectives, levels of understanding, empathy, compassion, and love for all people across every divide. We have always been on the same boat and perhaps, just perhaps, something will come from this time that reminds us of this profound truth.
We are all God’s children, no exceptions. Can you imagine the global shift if we were to embrace such a truth. And perhaps, just perhaps, the profound losses that we are experiencing along with the new normal will lead us to look at each other through new eyes. We are all in this together.
God created all of creation and everyone in it. That was God’s choice. In response, the choice has always been left up to us as to how we will respond to what we have been given. The path of love or the many others humanity has taken since inception.
Over the days and week ahead, please let us know how we may help you, through prayer, grocery shopping, a call to check in, or simply a reminder that you are loved by God and all of us at the Chapel. We are here for you and we are all in this together.
There is a phrase that appears in scripture more than any other. It is not the phrase don’t sin, or start repenting, or watch out, or don’t do this or eat that. It is none of these. It is a phrase that occurs more than 365 times. It’s a phrase in the Bible that is repeated more often than there are days in the year. And that phrase is Fear Not. Fear Not.
What God has to say to you and to me this day in the midst of our vulnerability is Fear Not.
In the book of Genesis, soon after God calls Abraham, he and his wife Sarah experience a terrible famine. They have no food or drink. In the midst of their hunger, Abraham ends up in a horrific battle in which he must rescue his nephew from tyrants. And it is in the midst of the anxiety of hunger and battle that God says to Abraham, “Fear not Abraham, for I am with you.”
Years later in the book of Exodus, through the actions of evil Egyptian Pharaohs, the chosen people of God suffer tremendous oppression and hardship. The people are forced to work long hours for no wages. They see the waters of the Nile turned into blood; the land consumed by frogs, the air filled with gnats and flies as one plague after another strikes.
Parents search to find words to explain to their children why locusts fill the air and why hail destroys the land and people. And after all of this, the people finally escape Egypt, hopeful that Moses will lead them into safety. As they flee the land, thousands of chariots and quantities of weapons of mass destruction are aimed at the fleeing people. It is at this point that God speaks to His people, “Fear Not, I am with you.”
Years later, in the book of the prophet Isaiah, the chosen people of God have lost it all. Their land has been taken over by an invading army. Their homes have been destroyed. Their places of worship are no more. Friends and family members have lost contact with one another as hoards of people are hauled off by marauding troops into a foreign land. The people have lost everything, a place to live, a means to make a living, and the support of extended family members and friends.
It is at this point of utter despair that God speaks to His people and says, “I, the Lord your God hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, Fear Not, for I will help you. Do not fear, for am I with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you….”
In the New Testament, Peter, whose life had been spent fishing, reels with uncertainty and confusion. He is confronted with a world in which nothing seems predictable. Everything he had learned to count on seems shaky. And it is in the midst of Peter’s turmoil and soul-searching questions that Jesus says to Peter, “Fear Not.”
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says to His disciples, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body…Consider the birds of the air, they don’t sow or reap and yet God feeds them. Can any of you add a single hour to your life by worrying? If God clothes the grass of the field…how much more will he clothe you…Fear Not, little flock. I am with you.”
Over and over and over throughout the pages of scripture, which is a story about our fragile lives, God says, “Fear Not, I am with you.” Throughout the Bible, whether dealing with death, fear, anxiety, anger, numbness, confusion, hunger, despair, or economic devastation, God says, “Fear Not.”
Although I know it can be a challenge to let go of fear, this is precisely what God asks us to do in this and any time of uncertainty. And let us remember Jesus’ words to his followers and to each of us. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.”
This last week for several days, my wife Regina and I visited our eldest daughter who is attending The University of the South, Sewanee. It certainly felt like a homecoming as Sewanee is where I attended Episcopal seminary in the 1990’s. It is a special place with wonderful people and tremendous opportunities to learn and grow. While we have not lived in Tennessee for quite some time, it is a magnificent state with much to offer.
Tragically this week, a horrific tornado ripped through the Nashville area causing devastation and death. Tornadoes are not unknown in this part of the world and I remember many afternoons and evenings sheltering in place.
It was also this past week I visited several clergy friends of mine and we discussed the Coronavirus, a threat of another kind with lots of unknowns. Both of these things are poignant reminders that life, while full of blessings and joy, is also indeed fragile and ephemeral.
Over the years living with the frailties of life as we all do, generally speaking I’ve had two reactions to threatening possibilities. One is to keep the words of Psalm 46 front and center, the other is to be prepared and informed and hence non- reactive or panicky.
In excerpts, Psalm 46 reads, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea: though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult…Be still and know that I am God…The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”
These words are a potent reminder that ultimately we have nothing to fear because God is God. While terrible things will happen, our destiny and future with God is clear and known. And as God is love, we can trust that love is where we ultimately will all reside.
Having said this, however, it is our obligation to respond to the current situation with resources and preparedness. As our Surgeon General recently said, it is important to be cautious but not afraid.
At the Chapel, we have decided to take some very simple steps, things in fact we should do every flu season. Here is a list of what we are implementing, which is in keeping with health recommendations, as well as guidance from other churches and national church bodies.
Charla and I both use hand sanitizer before serving communion and have for years. This will continue.
Beginning this Sunday, we will serve bread and not wine. When the current crisis passes, we will resume serving wine.
As has been the case, we have hand sanitizer throughout our worship and fellowship space and ask all people to continue to practice good handwashing.
We ask, and this includes staff and clergy, that if you are sick with cold or flu symptoms on a Sunday morning, that you stay home and watch our service online (go to www.snowmasschapel.org). Of course, as always, if you are not well, we also would like to know so we can offer care and prayer.
Some churches have asked parishioners not to shake hands during gatherings, but instead to smile or bow or give a sign of peace with hands. We will leave this at your discretion, but as is the case during flu seasons, handwashing after contacting people in large groups is wise.
We are looking at ways to more effectively serve food following our Sunday service.
None of this is meant to cause alarm or fear. We are simply responding to the situation at hand with how we have been advised with easy steps. This crisis, as others have, will pass. I ask you to please join me in praying for the end of this virus, for healing for those who have been infected, and for the complete restoration of world economies upon which we all depend. Please also pray for the people of the greater Nashville area as they recover from the tornado.
Know I hold all of you in prayer and I am so grateful for each of you and for the Chapel, a place filled with the presence of Jesus, the love of God, and great care and love for one another.
A number of weeks ago, the roads in the valley were dry as we were in between storms. The warm winter sun had melted all the snow. On that day, I was headed toward Basalt and was behind a well worn van. What struck me was that the wheels were so out of alignment it almost appeared as if the vehicle was traveling at a 45 degree angle down the road. Several minutes later I’d reached my destination and turned off the road, although the image of the van stuck with me.
This week we begin the season of Lent. It is a 40 day period from Ash Wednesday until Easter with Sundays omitted. Sundays traditionally are not considered part of the Lenten season because every Sunday we remember not only the cross, but Jesus’ resurrection.
Lent is observed by many Christian traditions across the globe and has been for centuries. Countless Christians use this time of year to reflect, re-establish priorities, intentionally pray, study scripture, and repent.
Repentance is a theme throughout scripture from Genesis through the Book of Revelation. While some have interpreted repentance as “feeling bad for bad things done,” or “immersing oneself in a big dose of guilt,” or, “getting in touch with how one has sinned and the consequences,” there is something much more fundamental and frankly transformative to the idea of repentance.
Repentance, if you go back to its central meaning in scriptural Greek, means to have a change of mind or a change of heart. In my own life and journey in faith, I know when I am off track. I can feel it. I can see it. I can observe the effects. Like a van going down a road with tires out of alignment, I know when I am a bit out of whack, and this is where repentance comes in.
Down deep, I believe that every single person, at their God given core, wants to do the right thing, to be kind and loving, and ultimately to be in alignment with why we have been life to begin with. That said, certainly countless people have lost sight of God, moved away from a relationship with God, have had life circumstances that have precluded knowing healthy love, have endured horrific events and happenings that have led to profound trauma and heartache, or simply have been terribly ruffed up in life, all of which leads to the pain, acting out, and sin we see so evident today.
But I believe, every person, given the right circumstances, seeks love, to be loving, and to feel at home within themselves and with God. I also think that most of us, if we are honest with ourselves, realize we need a change of heart now and then to get back to being whole and the creatures God intends. This is what repentance is all about. It is about a change of heart, about getting back to the way things should be, relationally, vocationally, physically, psychologically, and spiritually.
Sometimes the way I act, respond, treat myself and others, think, perceive, and relate to God are not in alignment and I can feel it. Repentance is all about spending time with God, with intention, seeking a change of heart, and getting back to who we know we want to be, to whom God made us to be, God’s beloved creatures being loved and loving in return.
In invite us all in these weeks ahead to keep the image of a car traveling down the road in mind. That is, to identify the ways in which we are and are not in alignment with what makes us feel truly at home with ourselves, others, and with our loving, healing, forgiving, creator. To take what we know about ourselves to Jesus and to ask in prayer for a change of heart.