Skip to main content

Featured Post

11-25-19 - More Blessed Than Stressed

(You can listen to this reflection here. Sunday's gospel reading is here.)

Next Sunday we begin the holy season of Advent. Advent means “the approaching” – the approaching in-breaking realm of God, the approaching celebration of Christ’s incarnation, the ever-approaching promised final Coming of Christ in glory to usher in the New Age.

Before Sunday, though, we have a huge cultural celebration of Thanksgiving, which is not without its spiritual elements. And before that, we have the scramble to finish work, clean houses and buy food, if we’re hosting; or pack and prep if we’re traveling. In other words, this will be, for many, a stressful three days followed by a full and, God-willing, relaxing three days, after which we plunge into the holy season of Advent. Many different themes, and maybe not so much time for spiritual reflection. I will keep Water Daily flowing, but lightly, and less tied to Sunday’s readings. (I thank our British readers for bearing with us...)

Today let’s just focus on preparation and anticipation. We tend to prepare for things we either dread or look forward to – and Thanksgiving can have elements of both. Find a way to bring the Holy Spirit into your preparations this week. I believe God wants to indwell and transform our every-day lives, not only our formal worship experiences.

So… if you’re working harder than usual to cram five days’ work into two or three, may I suggest you set an alarm every hour or three. When it goes off, take three minutes away from your tasks to breathe, re-center and tell God what it is you’re working on, and where you’d like some help.

If you’re shopping and cooking, you might make a game of talking to Jesus in the store (maybe not out loud…) and in the kitchen, and remember why you’re participating in this ritual of food and family.

If you’re traveling, you might need extra grace and extra peace – so pack some along as you get things ready for your suitcase, as you clean up your house and commit yourself to the road. Ask the God of peace to fill you and make you an agent of peace in any stress or frenzy you may encounter in getting from A to B.

And if your big plan is to hit the Friday sales… think about it. Is that deal worth the time and angst it’s going to take? If you love it, go for it; if not, take another day to rest.. (And remember Small Business Saturday… buy local!)

For many, this is a week of blessings and stressings like few others in our calendar year. Let’s move through it as children of God, beloved and bounded in time and space, not trying to do more than we can or should. Gratitude flows from a balanced perspective on who we are, who we are not, and how we are blessed. We can make this a week more blessed than stressed.

To receive Water Daily by email each morning, subscribe hereSunday’s readings are  here.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

12-10-19 - Spiritual Leaders

(You can listen to this reflection here. Sunday's gospel reading is here.)
What do you think a holy man or woman should look like? What should be the markers of "success" for spiritual leaders? This is what Jesus asks the crowds about how they viewed John the Baptist. "What did you go out there to the desert to look at? Were you just spiritual tourists gawking at the latest guru? Did you think you were going to see a smooth-talking, well-dressed leader, get a little charge, and leave your life unchanged?"

Advent is a good time to examine our spiritual motivations, what is it we are truly yearn for, why we engage or disengage from spiritual community. It is easy to become disenchanted with church and clergy - or to expect too much. Today, let's do a little inventory. When we can name our expectations, we can better manage them.

What are your expectations of your spiritual community? When you are disappointed or disaffected, what is the cause? Do you communicate…

12-5-19 - Good Tree/Good Fruit

(You can listen to this reflection here. Sunday's gospel reading is here.)

John the Baptizer lays into those who wear their religion on their sleeves, but do not allow their hearts and behaviors to change. And his invitation to true repentance comes with a bite: “Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Later, Jesus uses the same metaphor, saying that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree good fruit. It seems that judgment awaits us, and we will be judged by the fruit our lives bear.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St. Nicholas, the fourth century Bishop of Myra in modern-day Turkey. Legends about the goodness and generosity of St. Nicholas abound, and over time became conflated with the legend of the "Bishop of the North Pole," Santa Claus. Santa is also known for gift-giving – with conditions: "He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice / gonna find out who’s …

12-11-19 - Greatest and Least

(You can listen to this reflection here. Sunday's gospel reading is here.)
We have spent quite a few days in this space thinking about John the Baptist – who he was, why he was the way he was, what impact he had. Many people thought he was the Messiah, or an incarnation of the prophet Elijah – until Herod imprisoned and later had him executed at the whim of his step-daughter. John truly was a holy man, and Jesus speaks of him as such:  “Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist.”

And then he says something even more extraordinary:  “…yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

What was that about valleys being lifted up and mountains brought low, the lowly being exalted and the “mighty cast down from their thrones?” Here is Jesus, articulating again that equalizing quality of the realm of God – that equalizing which was so challenging to people in his own day, and has remained so in the thousands of years since.

To say …