Monday, November 26, 2012

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

As we continue to absorb and be absorbed by the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, it’s quite remarkable that this Sunday's Gospel (Luke 21:35-36) calls us to stand up straight, expectantly, with our heads raised and our hearts watchful. As people of faith we are called to assume a posture of hope in the face of despair. It strikes me that to do so must be an act of determined will, for it runs contrary to our most basic instincts. It’s so hard to comprehend the promise that is meant for us beyond all that is described. It is difficult to believe that there will be anything more than what we can now see.
How is it that we can stand with our heads raised in hope in the face of suffering and despair?
Perhaps our willingness to stand up and be seen and heard in a world that is shaking all around us, and our walking into our own suffering and the suffering of others, is where it all begins? Maybe when we step into the large and small heartbreaks of those who are in pain, we will meet Jesus. For that is where Jesus can always be found: waiting in the midst of the pain to somehow show us the way to new hope and new joy and new life.

And once we've done that for a lifetime and experienced the gifts of God in such unexpected places over and over again, maybe that’s when Jesus does return --- whether it is only to me at the end of my life or to us all at the end of this age? I guess we won't be able to keep ourselves from lifting up our heads in hope to see our redemption drawing near! Because we will have already encountered the source of that redemption in Jesus over and over again!
(adapted from Dancing with the Word, Rev. Janet Hunt)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Peace I Leave With You My Peace I Give Unto You...

What happens when our personal “structures” are reduced to rubble? For many of us who live here on the coasts of New Jersey and New York, Mark 13:1-8 has become a reality. Hurricane Sandy has enabled us to witness an apocalyptic time: the collapse of what we had; what we valued; what we took for granted.  Can we say “everything will be all right” without it sounding like an ingratiating platitude? Embedded in the rubble can we hear what God is trying to say to us? How do we trust in the Holy Spirit when we are too cold to listen, too frightened to hear?  What can we learn from the despair in the faces of our brothers and sisters? Perhaps Jesus is telling us in Mark to Pull together in these hard times. This is how you get through. I’ll be with you too, and I will show you the way. Things will get difficult, but stick together and remember what is important in life – to love one another

In the words of John Powell:
 There have been quite a few times when I have felt the winds of God’s grace in the sails of my small boat. Sometimes these graces have moved me in pleasant and sunlit directions. At other times the requested acts of love were born in the darkness of struggle and suffering. There have been spring times and there have been long cold winters of struggle for survival. God has come to me at times with the purest kindness, at times with the most affirming encouragement, and at other times with bold frightening challenges. I think that all of us have to watch and pray, to be ready to say “yes” when God’s language is concrete and his request is specific-“yes” in the sunlit springtimes and “yes’ in the darkness of winter nights. (John Powell, S.J., The Christian Vision, The Truth That Sets Us Free, p147)