Just a short post at a busy time. While I understand the impulse, and have to manage my own desire for it, I am praying about the panic buying in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
Our focus should always be on some kind of life oriented to others, not ourselves. During Lent, the need to practice this way of living becomes even more clear. What does it mean if we give up chocolate, social media, or alcohol, but buy a case of toilet paper? Whatever our Lenten practice is, how does panic buying bring us closer to God? I’m not asking about the desire to panic buy, but rather the act itself. The desire is no surprise, the act is where we encounter something deeper. And if we have done the panic buying, how will we proceed with both the material goods and the internal spiritual journey?
Sure about not being afraid, not so sure about the blogging though; I am still discerning. In the meantime, this is something I heartily agree with. Karl Barth apparently said this to his friend Eduard Thurneysen during a phone call in December 1968. Barth died later that same day.
This feels very true to me in a particular way right now. I am not afraid.
On Saturday I walked to church and listened to a podcast. The thing in the podcast that struck me the most was just how powerful a motivator fear can be. Having already read the mass readings, which address fear and other things, and I began to think about fear in our time. It is not all that different than fear in any other time; it just seems worse because we are bombarded with so much information.
(This reflection is on the readings for the day before Advent begins, the very last day of the liturgical year, and appears in Give Us This Day. Please see the end of the post for further details.)
Our world seems to run on the fuel of fear. Simply watching or reading the news can fill our tanks with enough anxiety-provoking material to keep us running for days. Work and family concerns, fretfulness over jobs and money, disquiet about health, and apprehension over other things can turn us into nervous wrecks. Constant worry is exhausting, and that exhaustion typically leads to more angst.
Jesus offers a clear warning that might be easy for anxious people to miss. Do we think we’re off the hook because we are not out “carousing” or getting drunk? Not so fast. It seems that the “anxieties of daily life” are on the watch list as well, and that is a net likely to catch many.
Have you ever considered entering a talent show? Not me… Oh no, I am far too afraid, and I am pretty sure that if I sang in front of anyone, they would all run, fleeing from the sound. Public speaking? That I can do with ease, thanks be to God, but acting or singing or dancing on a stage? Which part of no do you not understand?
I bring this up because there has been an itch that I could not quite scratch, since last Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew, the Parable of the Talents. You know, like the kind of itch in the middle part of you back, you can’t quite reach it.
What do you think about that Gospel? If reading blogs and Facebook offers any insight, it is tough Continue reading →
Pope Francis continues to amaze us, but I believe him to be a dangerous man. Many people, myself included, can’t quite take it all in. Is this for real? God forgive my doubt, but a part of me keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop… and I pray that it is not a red shoe. How I prefer his worn, black shoes; the shoes of a man who has actually walked.
He is a dangerous man, but I will get to that in a few minutes. This dangerous man has captured my heart indeed.
Today I walked my dog, praying this over and over in my head and heart, “Lord, I believe. Help my disbelief!” This is a twist on the Gospel of Mark, chapter 9, verses 23 and 24, which say:
Everything is possible to one who has faith.” Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
Faith. Belief. Such things do not come easily or cheaply. Oh, trust me – I do believe. But sometimes it is hard to truly, deeply believe. Like right now. It is eerily like falling in love; it feels great, but you know you will get hurt at some point.
That is when it hit me – we have to put our hearts out. We have to take the risk. That is what faith and belief demand from us. That is what Jesus asks of us, all the time.
Back to Pope Francis. Today he gave an audience to the media, in which he said and did really amazing things.
Lord, I believe. Help my disbelief.
Here is a snippet of video in which we hear the Holy Father speak about how and why he chose his name.
He is a dangerous man, indeed. And for that I am grateful. If Satan is the divider, Satan has had a great, great run. So how then is Pope Francis a dangerous man?
What could possibly be more dangerous than to have the Bishop of Rome who might unite us? Very little, if you ask me. And that is an amazing thing.
How we all like to run off to our little groups, like a bunch of bitter Pharisees plotting, sneering at “the other,” and trying to exclude. And how this Holy Father might be more like Jesus, kindly finding ways to speak to all of us.
Lord, I believe. Help my disbelief. Stay dangerous, unite us – please.
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