Certain Places – Good News for October 6

6 10 2010

Luke 11:1-4

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”

The Daily Path: Do you have a certain place that you find ideal for prayer? I like the outdoors and serene settings for my chats with God. But how often can we actually benefit from those surroundings? We probably spend more time stuck in a crowded commute scene or in the midst of rushing about or some stress. Perhaps I should be better at making my “certain place” for prayer Ground Zero of chaotic settings.

Squalls – Good News for June 21

21 06 2009

Mark 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us cross to the other side.”

Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up.

Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet!  Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

The Daily Path: Happy Fathers Day to all the dads in the audience, and the mothers who’s circumstances require they do double duty as a father.

Being a father can be terrifying at times. Not that our children are the storm, although they have their moments. But being a parent has obligations. We must to take care of the family by providing a home, food, clothing, education, healthcare, life examples, discipline, and most of all love.

In these days the squall seems to be all around us growing ever worse. For so many, including myself, it’s all we can do to keep bailing out the little boat so we can stay afloat and keep our family safe. And that for a father is the terror.

It’s during these most difficult times that we feel overwhelmed and run to the stern in a panic. “Teacher wake up! We’re sinking! HELP ME!”

And what does Jesus teach us about these challenges?

To have faith in Him. Believe that God is with us in the most violent of storms.

Of course, we are going to be scared. We’re human. We’re flawed. We also want to care for our families so they don’t have to suffer. I don’t believe that God wants His children to suffer either. That’s why He sent His son, Jesus, to save us from eternal suffering.

Let’s keep today’s Gospel in mind during the days ahead. We’re not alone in this squall. Jesus is with us. And remember… with the Father, all things are possible! 

Room to Chat: Lord, you command the wind and the sea. Calm our minds in this storm and send the Holy Spirit to bring inner peace to all who need it.

Row Your Boat – Good News for February 7

7 02 2009

Mark 6:30-34

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” 

People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.

People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

The Daily Path: When we read that Jesus and the Apostles got into their boat and headed to a deserted place, it wasn’t as though they climbed onboard a motorized yacht and zipped away out of sight. “Row faster James and John. They’re still following us on shore! Row away! Row away!” They couldn’t hide from those who needed them. And to make matters worse, the boss decided that important work still had to be done. The fisherman’s  holiday could wait.

“Peter, why did we sign up for this cruise again?” I’m sure the hearts of these weary men must have sank to the bottom of the Sea of Galilee… or did they?

Last night I caught up with a friend who shared that he had been experiencing some pain in his chest. After about a week of this his wife was finally able to “convince” him to see a doctor. Wives are good at that. Turns out my friend was suffering from stress. His work and the worry of job security had him on the brink. I can certainly relate. In some ways it was like looking in the mirror and seeing myself as I was not that long ago. I know there are legions of men and women who are also in that boat. Work! Work! Work! 

I’ve found there are a few ways to handle this: medicate, abdicate, gravitate or levitate.

Sometimes medicate will help calm the pressure and save your life in the short term. This helped my friend. (WARNING:  Medicate can have some very serious downside.)

You can abdicate and just walk away from the source of career related stress. (WARNING: In this economy abdicate is not the same option it was just a year ago.) You can also abdicate the Throne of Worry over to God, as I did.

The next two are perhaps what the Apostles used…

You can gravitate towards work that you love. It’s been my experience that when engaged in something that enables my passion to flow, it never feels like work. It’s as though I had a reserve tank that kicks in when ordinary tasks would have tired me out.Perhaps the Apostles didn’t view their mission as task labor. (WARNING: You can still overdue it and put pressure on the body that it can’t sustain indefinitely. Moderation!) 

Finally there is levitate. For me, levitate is perhaps the best and certainly the easiest of all things I can do to keep me going and stay ABOVE the noise and chaos that cause stress. I “levitate” by finding ways to God throughout the day. It’s as simple as calling Him to mind. I quietly say “Hello God. I’m here.” (WARNING: I don’t suggest you do so overtly in the middle of a board meeting unless fully  prepared to abdicate or gravitate.) Quiet your mind for an instant. Replace the madness with something of beauty. Smile. Ask for God’s help in the matter at hand. It doesn’t take much.

Even in the moment of exhaustion, with more work looming, the Apostles must have found renewed energy in the company and example of Jesus. The work may always follow us, just as the crowds followed Jesus and the weary Apostles. When it does, take an instant and ask God to row your boat to that deserted place where you can find a moment’s peace. 

Room to Chat: Lord, keep me in orbit above the chaos today.

Rushing – Good News for December 22

22 12 2008

Luke 1:46-56

Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has looked upon his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home.

The Daily Path: Last night the 11:00 p.m. news was full of stories about people in a hurry. People rushing to get to their holiday destination. The pundits rushing to criticize a clergyman. People rushing to finish their gift shopping. Rush. Rush. Rush.

Sadly, no one was shown rushing to embrace Advent and prepare for the true celebration. In this crazy, busy time of year how many of us are hurrying in search of the Baby Jesus? How many of us are straining for just a few extra minutes to draw close to God in the midst of all this rushing?  

Perhaps over these final few days we can all rush to take a deep breath… slow time in our minds eye… just for an instant. And in that moment listen for the sounds of His coming. Let’s find His peace among all the rushing.

Finding the Child in a Storm – Good News for December 2

2 12 2008

Luke 10: 21-24

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. 

Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” 

The Daily Path: I made a serious mistake this morning…

I departed from my usual routine of starting each day by reading the Gospel. Instead, I went directly to my e-mail to check the status of a business meeting scheduled for this week. While checking messages I opened a business related note from a colleague. That note sent me into a rage. My friends, I must confess that I’m still angry as I type these words. My blood pressure is boiling. What a horrible way to start the day. (Deep breath. Calm down, Kin.)

A number of years ago, one of my life teachers (Dr. Wayne Dyer) explained how we are often closest to source (God) when we first wake from a night’s sleep. And, like Dr. Dyer, I find both peace and inspiration from God usually flows through me like a river in those waking hours.

When I first started reading the Gospel early in the morning it was an attempt, I’ll even say a desperate attempt, to find a sense of peace that was alluding me each night. As some of you know, I would wake up at 3 a.m. filled with anxiety and anger. Reading and focusing on the Good News of the Gospel helped me to calm down and in many cases allow me to go back to bed for some sleep. Over time, these anxiety filled wake-up calls ceased. Now I wake up refreshed, anxious to contemplate God, read Christ’s teachings, craft my Good News To-Go! blog, and get ready for the day.

Now back to today’s failing… Why did I open that e-mail? Why did I stray from the routine that I know starts me off on the path where God wants me. I may get diverted later today but at least I start out closer to what Jesus calls “the childlike” to whom God will reveal Himself. Obviously today will be a challenge if I allow this poison to continue to flow through me.

Lord, please heal me. Remove this anger. Show me the way to get beyond it. Please help me and all who must deal with stressful situations in our business, and life in general, to feel Your love. Grant us peace, this day… please.

Advent Meditation: Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.

Only Say the Word – Good News for December 1

1 12 2008

Matthew 8: 5-11

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” 

He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” 

The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.  I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.” 

The Daily Path: What a powerful conversation to have with Christ on a regular basis and throughout the course of a stressful day: My Lord, only say the word and I shall be healed. 

Advent Meditation: Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.