Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee.


     January is a time for us to take stock of the old year and move forward into the new.  It is arbitrary, but also necessary that we look at our lives and how we have served the Lord and one another...Have we Loved God, have we loved others, and just as important – have we loved ourselves?

     How easy it is to procrastinate on the things we really want to do. “Tomorrow” is always more attractive because we envision ourselves better able to conquer our fears, overcome challenges, and develop the motivation we need to move forward.  We don’t want to do these things now because we trick ourselves into believing that we don’t yet have the courage, time, money, experience or resources that will make it feasible.

     However, the problem occurs when tomorrow comes and we find ourselves still feeling intimidated, fearful, or hesitant to take action. Rather than pushing through feelings of resistance and taking action anyway, we find it easier to refine our plans, visualize our success, do further research – anything except leave our comfort zones and take action.  If we allow ourselves to be stuck in a cycle like this for too long, eventually we reach a point where we are almost paralyzed by fear.  We want to move forward and we know how important it is to break the hypnotic spell that holds us captive, but it seems impossible to do so.  The longer we stay locked into a cycle of inaction, the more effort we will need to break out of it. As time goes on, we find ourselves looking at what we’ve (not) created in our lives, feeling regretful about all the missed opportunities we could have taken advantage of, but didn’t.  We look at our level of success, our living conditions, the state of our physical bodies, and we feel shameful about squandering the gifts and talents we have.  We know in our heart we could do better, but we don’t.   Jesus reminds us over and over that the kingdom of God is here in each one of us and St. Paul reminds us that WE are the body of Christ.  So we are not only limiting our own potential but that of Christ’s presence in the world today.  There’s a popular Christian song that proclaims God’s love is bursting into our world through a million doors and one of those doors is YOU!

     Do yourself a favor: take action NOW!  Don’t wait until tomorrow.  Don’t let your dreams die a slow, neglected death.  As illustrated in Jesus’ parable of the Rich Fool, don’t run the risk of believing that you have all the time in the world.  Don’t let another day go by that you will later look back at what you didn’t do with regret. If you begin by taking even small steps forward, taking action on even the tiniest of aspirations, you will gain confidence. Before long, you’ll grow to love the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction you get from moving forward. Then you will be able to look back at each “yesterday” with a feeling of pride about what you’ve been able to accomplish. Don’t leave the world with your song unsung; for where your passions and gifts meet the world’s needs – there you’ll reflect the kingdom of God.

And remember that you are not on this journey alone – God is with you – ALWAYS!

Have a Blessed and Happy New Year!

Your faithful servant,


Saturday, January 9, 2016

“God doesn’t play dice.” — Albert Einstein

During this New Year many of us will reflect on how we can become a better person.  We will think on eating less or perhaps exercising more.  We will strive to be a better individual. I would like us to think on another way to focus our efforts: look at the people in your life you have become disconnected from and try to reconnect.  Much of the success of Facebook is due to using the internet to connect with people and interests that are a part of our lives.  If God used Facebook we would constantly be getting “friend” requests!  The focus of God has always been to get us to live our lives connected with all of creation - connected to family and friends, connected to our church and the diocese, connected to the world and those suffering in it.  In order to live a purposeful life one must be connected to the whole of creation!  That is when we experience the peace, love and joy that Jesus and later Paul describes.

We all start out connected, quite literally, to our mother; we then spend our whole lives trying to find separation and our “selves.”  We strive to find our meaning and purpose in life.  What makes me different and special?  What are my gifts and talents?  American culture emphasizes individuality above all else.  The American Dream is uniquely geared to the individual being the best they can be.  Sometimes, living our dreams comes at the expense of something or someone else.  However, it’s ironic that the journey of finding our “selves” inevitably leads to reconnecting with God and those people with whom we previously shared our lives.  In finding the self, we find God and others, because we were created with the intention of being individual parts of a greater whole.  Even God is connected with other aspects of being - God as the Trinity! 

Many of us spend our whole lives trying to be self-sufficient and secure, only to learn at some point that there is no such thing.  It’s an illusion.  Paul’s description of the “Body of Christ” (I Cor. 12) is so appropriate because from it we can glimpse the larger picture and understand just how we are all connected.

I heard recently that as many as 67% of college grads are now moving back in with their parents.  The tone of the report was very negative, but then I began to wonder if this was really such a bad thing.  A century ago, most people and their own families lived in community with their parents - either in the same house or very close by.  At the time of Jesus, the entire family lived in the same attached housing complex.  Even today, all around the world, families live with families and are connected with their communities; Americans are the exception.

When we see the tragedies of violence in our country, notice how the “broken” person is always “dis-connected” in some flawed way.  God created us to be connected.  When referencing the Gospels it becomes readily apparent that Jesus really didn’t care much about social norms, governments, laws, or who was right or wrong.  What he cared most about were relationships.  He reconnected people to God and to each other; his whole ministry can be summed up in that endeavor.  When the rabbis of his day tried to corner him by asking which of the 600 laws in the Torah was the most important, Jesus simply stated to love God and love one another; this was the most important thing above all else in the eyes of God.  He then added that on these fundamental laws (of the Creator) hang ALL the laws and ALL the prophets! 

Connections… Everything in the universe, the whole of God’s creation is connected.   The more I experience this life the more this truth becomes apparent.  Our strength lies in being connected with each other.  My hope is that we may all come to know this truth in our lifetimes.  God Bless You All and Have a Peaceful, Loving and Joyful New Year!

Your faithful servant,