Saturday, April 30, 2011

Presence, power, pleasure

Our society trivializes joy and pleasure. Whatever we can create is always short term and transitory.  I so love the depth and richness of the ancient writers' words in the Psalms. "Joy of your presence"- "the pleasure of living with you forever." Those words remind me that God is with me whether or not I recognize his presence and power.  His awesome promises are eternal regardless of my response or belief.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter people

St. Augustine writes, "we are Easter people and alleluia is our cry." I need to live the week from Palm Sunday to Easter not just once a year, but every day. I need to remember that nothing is insignificant given the sacrifice He made for us. You and I are in the Presence of the living Christ, and that makes all the difference to and in our lives. We are never alone, even when we feel "lonely."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

True Power

We know better how to deal with a murderer or a terrorist than we know how to accept the Prince of Peace who rides into our lives not on the power of white stallion but on the simplicity of a donkey. Christ chose the way of peace, of love, of forgiveness in a world far more violent and malevolent than ours. I need to remind myself more often that His Way is the way, the ultimate source of peace, love, justice, and mercy. And it is His Way that triumphs over ridicule, rejection, torture and death. Do I have that courage?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Path to Gratitude

I love what Henri Nouwen writes about our allowing God to transform our past.  When we let him, God does break into our lives to re-create hope and aliveness.

"Jesus' own suffering was brought upon him by the forces of darkness. Still he speaks about his suffering and death as his way to glory.
It is very hard to keep bringing all of our past under the light of gratitude.  There are so many things about which we feel guilt and shame, so many things we simply wish had never happened. But each time we have the courage to look at "the all of it" and to look at it as God looks at it, our guilt becomes a happy guilt and our shame a happy shame because they have brought us to a deeper recognition of God's mercy, a stronger conviction of God's guidance, and a more radical commitment to a life in God's service.

Once all of past is remembered in gratitude, we are free to be sent into the world to proclaim good news to others.  Just as Peter's denials didn't paralyze him but, once forgiven, became a new source of his faithfulness, so can all our failures and betrayals be transformed into gratitude and enable us to become messengers of hope."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ohope and the Bay of Plenty

Named by Captain Cook during his 1769/70 exploration of New Zealand, the Bay of Plenty still enjoys great abundance from the land and the sea. Over 80 percent of New Zealand's kiwi crop is grown here, along with apples and berries. Dairy, beef, and sheep are also important industries. Stretching nearly 160 miles from the Coromandel Peninsula to the west and Cape Runaway to the east, the Bay offers sandy beaches, intimate coves, verdant hillside--a remarkable kaleidoscope of color and texture.  Its east-west orientation presents never ending palette of sunrises and sunsets.