Sharing-2nd Sunday of Lent Homily

Hello Friends,

I am sharing a homily by Pastor Dick Dahl in my recent absence–he has given us a great message here–I will use it as a Lenten reflection for this week–enjoy! 

When I last spoke with you in November, I shared many thoughts from the Franciscan priest, Richard Rohr, who is Director of the Center for Contemplation and Action in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am continuing to share much of his thinking in this homily.

The dictionary describes the word “God” as a noun, but it should be as a verb.  Father Richard Rohr writes, “We’ve been worshipping an image of God that is not the God of Jesus. Today’s Gospel reveals the God of Jesus  when from a cloud the Father says of the man Jesus, “This is my Son, my beloved.”

A few hours before his imprisonment and death, Jesus promised that he and the Father would send the Spirit to us—to guide when we are confused, to console when we  are in darkness, to strengthen when we are overwhelmed, to make us one with the Father and Him. The essence of God is a triune relationship.

The Spirit draws us into the dynamic, ever-creating love of the Father and the Son. This intimate and immanent indwelling envelops us and, moreover, it pervades the entire universe. The Spirit reveals that all of creation reflects the relational nature of God. It makes perfect sense that the universe contain the relation-al imprint of the relational love of the Trinity that created it.

Scientists and contemplatives alike are confirming that the fundamental nature of reality is relational, from inner quantum reality to the furthest galaxies of the cosmos. The Trinitarian revelation starts with the nature of loving as the very nature of being!

People are hungry for connection. Two thirds of Millenials who say they identify with no religion nevertheless say they believe in God or some ultimate Source. They are forming new centers of social community in their attempt to meet that need. We need relationship with God and one another.

Like Abraham and his wife Sarah in the first reading from Genesis today, we also are called to take part in the journey which is our life. We have left the familiarity of our childhood into the present. We face an unknown future.

But what we know, by the indwelling Spirit, is that whatever our present circumstances, we are part of the Trinity’s forcefield, the divine dance, the relationship with Father, Son and Spirit that embraces us in relationship with each other and with the entire universe.

Father Rohr says that God’s mystery rests in mutuality.  A Trinitarian person lives in the mutual relationship that God is—the relationship that God has gratuitously drawn us into. The Trinity is a participative mystery.

Relationships are what Jesus spoke of by word and act. “Whenever you fed, gave water, clothing and comfort to the least of my brethren,” he said, “you gave it to me.” He called those who were despised by others—the tax collector, the prostitute, the leper, the Samaritan—to have a meal with him, to touch him, to experience his love, his respect, his understanding and acceptance.

The relational essence of our God draws us to look at our relationships, or lack of them, with the people caught in the web of our lives. As most of you know, I have a close relationship with people in the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship. Many of them present themselves as former Catholics and former Christians. I struggled in my relationship with one man in the group who despite, or perhaps because of, his Catholic education from elementary school through four years at a Jesuit university, repeatedly expresses his distain for organized religion. However, another member of the group who sees himself as agnostic, has been an instrument of the Holy Spirit for me by his pointing out to me the principle that has guided his life through fifty years as a social worker: Relationships are more important than what people say they believe. By valuing the friendship with the person I had had problems with, regardless of his beliefs, our relationship has persevered and grown.

I found the same to be true with a cousin of mine whose political beliefs offended me deeply and alienated me. Fortunately my agnostic friend’s words and the message of his life has helped me to value and nurture the relationship with my cousin over the beliefs that he expressed.  Words are important, but love is more important.

The Triune God is why we must not revert to clannish tribalism or nationalism. We have a divinely given relationship with every person in the world—no matter how they may seem to differ from us. We must not let differences frighten us nor allow us to see them as “other.” We are called to discover and celebrate the more important ways we are alike.

The Spirit draws us by the overwhelming love of the Father and the Son. Each time we inhale life-giving air, we can think of inhaling the loving embrace of our Trinitarian God. Each time we exhale, we can respond to that gift with our own grateful love.

Let this prayer by Father Rohr resonate in you:

God for us, we call you Father.

God alongside us, we call you Jesus.

God within us, we call you Holy Spirit.

You are the eternal mystery that enables, enfolds, and enlivens all things, Even us and even me.

Every name falls short of your goodness and greatness.

We can only see you in what is.

We ask for such perfect seeing—

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.

Amen. So be it.


Sharing – 1st Week of Lent

My Friends–we continue again this week with the wisdom of Fr. Ed Hays…

Kything Day–The Scottish word kything means to be spiritually present to another person. Today, experiment with the practice of being spiritually in communion with someone. As you connect with a friend, a family member or someone you know who is in need, do so by recalling memories of that person, perhaps an image, a common thought or emotion or a scent. In your kything prayer you might strive to picture that person in his or her environment.  Then add to your kything a blessing prayer for whatever needs that person might have on this day. On any day, whenever the thought of someone enters your mind, practice the prayer of kything.  Blessed are those who do not only go to Communion but live in Communion.

We need each other.  By consciously connecting yourself with those who share the same vision as yours, those with whom you are joined by love and friendship, is to be for them a source of graceful energy.  While invisible to the eye, even the eye of a microscope, love is as real a source of energy as electricity.  Perhaps someday we will have the technology to see love.  For now, we can  only see its powerful effects all around us. Even when we love others at a distance, we see those effects by eyes of faith, for love knows no limits or boundaries.

Blessings on your Lenten Week!

Pastor Kathy

Sharing – 3rd Week of Lent

More wisdom from Fr. Ed Hays—

The Feast Day of Your Conception–This week on March 25, we will celebrate the Conception of Jesus, whose birth will be celebrated nine months hence on Christmas.  Today is a feast to remember the day you were conceived in your mother’s womb.  As a symbolic gesture, count down nine months from the date of your birth and turn to that day on the calendar. As one of your Star-Date entries, inscribe it as Conception Day. When we come to that day, remember your father and mother prayerfully and with gratitude.  Then reflect on how, along with their love, the Holy Spirit was also involved as the Spirit of Love in the holy act of your conception.

If you believe the life begins at conception, then consider measuring your years from that date instead of your birth date. When asked your age, you can playfully give two numbers.

Or you can count six months from your birth date and inscribe that day on your calendar as your half-birthday. Consider throwing a half-a-party for yourself on that day. On your half-birthday you might reverse the usual birthday custom and give gifts to those you love to celebrate the occasion.

Life is a celebration, and the more personal feast days we enjoy the more life can be lived as a joy instead of a duty.

Sharing – Ash Wednesday

We are reminded today that “to dust we shall all return” and with that we begin the holy season of Lent. You will recall that our community will have the opportunity on the First Sunday of Lent to receive ashes.

Something new that I would like to do this Lent is to share a weekly reflection from a good man of the Church, Fr. Ed Hays, now gone home to God, but for over 50 years served as a priest in Kansas and for many of those years, as the director of the Shantivanam Prayer Community for the Laity in Easton, Kansas. Fr. Ed was a self-taught artist, a contemplative and one who always “pushed the envelope,” moved “outside the box” to give readers of his prolific writing a fresh, open and spirited idea of faith and religion. I hope these reflections will enrich your Lent.

Lenten Satellite Day

This is a Lenten celebration not to see if you are like a moon orbiting around a planet or some NASA object orbiting the earth, but to see if you are an original satellite. The word, satellite was first used for a person who attended, or was a follower of, some prince or person of great importance.  The satellite was a parasite, who praised the prince and curried favor for personal gain.

Today, pause and ponder whether you are a disciple-follower of Jesus or only a satellite. A true disciple is called not to flatter or fawn over the master with pious songs and prayers, but to follow the master.  As Jesus himself said, “It is not those who say, ‘Lord, Lord,’ who shall enter God’s domain but those who daily do the will of God” (Mt. 7: 21).

In the prayer of Jesus, we say with one breath, “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.”  To follow Jesus is to strive constantly to make God’s time-reign-kingdom come wherever you work, live or even visit.  No better definition for a disciple could be found than one who makes God’s time his or her time.  The prophets spoke of God’s reign as coming  at some distant time, and Jesus announced that this long-awaited time had come with him.  So it must be for all who dare call themselves his followers.  If our lives announce only the old time of injustice, inequality, and religious, racial and sexual division, regardless of how many times we have been baptized,  we should find another name for ourselves besides Christian.

A blessed Ash Wednesday! 

Peace and love, Pastor Kathy