Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Where Did You Find God Today?

Starting with the premise that no human being is perfect, the thing I love about the Celts is that they seemed to be able to find God in their life all the time and in many different ways and places. It was, for them, just a normal thing to experience God in their daily lives. We can rationalize it was a simpler time, not so many distractions or not so much stress. I think it is closer to the truth for us that we forget to look or to breathe in the moment and realize. God is in front of us, and behind us, and to the right and left of us, we just need to look and listen. Make it a practice at the end of your day to ask yourself: Where did I find God today? In what conversation, in what act of random kindness done for me or that I did, in whose eyes, in what expression of nature or creation.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cup Half Full or Half Empty

What it is about human beings. We all meet people whose cup is half full. They are very positive in their outlook, always try to say something nice or nothing at all. And, then there are those whose cup is half empty, interestingly always seeming to see things in the negative. Our responses vary. To the positive response, it is just too sweet, too marshmallow, too cliche.  To the negative response, it can be disheartening, discouraging, even hurtful. I have often wondered how this "half-full" "half-empty" cup feels inside. Are the half-full people really that positive? How is it to live with that positive an attitude when all around you is crumbling? Are the half-empty people really that negative? How is it to live with that negative attitude when good things are going on all around you?

More importantly how do these attitudes affect our relationship with God? Does the positive attitude draw us closer? Does the negative attitude separate us? St. Patrick was discouraged when he was kidnapped and held prisoner; St. Brendan was discouraged sailing the Atlantic for what seemed like forever, looking for land; and yet, they continued on. What made the difference for them?

How responsible are we for how our attitude in daily living affects others? Do we ever look at our face in the mirror and see what other's see? Is the statement: "that's just the way I am" good enough. What is it that God expects of us? As Micah says:  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Church-Institution-Community-Group

I have been thinking about these words, what they mean in our culture, how they relate to God and to worship, if they do. Somehow I just keep going in circles. Why is it that we have so much trouble finding God in our world, when God is present all the time? OK so there is distrust for the institutions but do you then throw out the baby with the bath, do you throw away God because humans mess up institutions that represent God? Maybe the Celts had one up on us. They seemed to find God everywhere in together. And how did they worship? Yes in small groups? Yes in communities? Yes in corporate settings? Yes! Yes! Yes! They clearly understood the value of together in different forms. I believe they also understood that each size of together provides a different type of anchor for the soul. The small group - intimacy, closeness, comfort. The community - caring, serving, growing. The corporate body - security, buoyancy, privacy.  One gathering was not eliminated in favor of another. There is wisdom in knowing that each type of gathering soothes the needs of the soul at different moments and different times. It is for sure that we might favor one over the other, but favor, not eliminate the others. If we place emphasis only on the favored then our priorities will realign to avoid the others and we open ourselves to miss the presence of God in a new and different way. We open ourselves the opportunity to have a soul soothed even when we aren't yet aware of its need. We are not unidimensional human beings and our God is not unidimensional either. Why is it that when we find one way, we think there is no other way to worship? I wonder what would give us the idea that group gathering and worship in one form is all there is? Anytime, anyplace we are together in His name there is His presence in which we can rest and learn.