Thursday, September 24, 2020

Ordinary Time - September is Childhood Cancer Awareness

Journal entry September, 2011:
This is the Lord's Day! I went to St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church with Linda, Mike and Thomas this morning. Wearing his long white robe and a bandanna with stars, Thomas is an altar server today. He takes his service very seriously and finds deep 
satisfaction as evidenced by his expressions.

This is the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time. "Ordinary Time" is all the time during the liturgical year, excluding the season of Advent (Christmas through Epiphany) and Lent (Ash Wednesday through Pentecost). I always forget about this phrase but like the image evoked, because we all live most of our lives in ordinary time

After the reading of the Scriptures from the Old Testament and the New Testament, familiar words are spoken: The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God. However, before the reading from The Gospel the response is different: A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew. Glory to You, Lord. I like the reply of the people: Glory to You, Lord. 

As is custom, the Lord's Prayer is sung in community. The ending words were my soul's valediction: For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours, now and forever. During communion, these words from the song echoed over and over in my heart as my prayers of thanksgiving were laid on the altar: All my being, bless the Lord, remembering the goodness of God.  

The last song sung was one I had never heard but the words spoke to the core of this journey we must take. It does not feel like it, but we are walking in ordinary time, despite extraordinary circumstances. This journey is not unlike our faith journey, mostly lived out in ordinary time, always seeking an extraordinary Savior. Read the words to the song Enter the Journey, and follow the vision, carry the cross. 

  Enter the journey, come to the song. 
By God you are chosen, by name you are called 
To follow the vision, carry the cross. 
Enter the journey of faith as the family of God. (refrain)

Enter the journey, the way may be long. 
Enter the journey, yet we are made strong. 

God's Spirit will guide us, God's gifts will unfold. 
Enter the journey of hope! 

Enter the journey, though lost and unsure. 
Enter the journey, God's peace will be yours. 

And all who are thirsting will be filled with God's grace. 
Enter the journey of faith! 

Enter the journey, dark is the way. 
Enter the journey, do not be afraid. 

For God's great compassion will give you new sight. 
Enter the journey of light! 

Enter the journey, the old and the young. 
Enter the journey, the kingdom is won. 

By faith now united, as servants we come. 
Enter the journey of love! 

(by Mark Friedman and Janet Vogt)

Glory to You, Lord! ~dho

* Previously posted on September, 2011/Donna Oswalt

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Ache for God

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is
the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:26 (The Message)


I first read Marina Wiedekehr’s book A Tree full of Angels over 15 years ago. “Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary” grasped my thoughts, conscious and unconscious. She goes on to remind, “Glory comes streaming from the table of daily life.” Her writing of this book is designed to help us see “the Sacred in everyday life.” Wiedekehr, a Sister in the Benedictine community of St. Scholastica Monastery, passed away this spring, April 24, 2020, from a glioblastoma. She certainly had a way with helping the soul find God’s presence in the ordinary. - dho

 Macrina Wiederkehr writes in her book A Tree Full of Angels:

It is time, then, for us to embrace this frail flesh of ours with love. . . What was good enough for God to embrace must be good enough for us. Let us try to . . . stop hiding behind the mask of our frailty. . . The ache for God lives on in our depths. It gnaws at us and cries out to be named. If we walk back through our days, no doubt, we will come upon many frail and glorious moments - places where our poverty and our wealth touched each other. . .

The eye of God beholds so much more than we are able to see in our lives at any moment. Always our goodness and potential loom large under God's gaze. . .We would think it strange to read about a person who died in poverty while having great material wealth stashed away somewhere within reach. Yet how often this is the truth of our spiritual lives!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

God’s Goodness - September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Then Moses said, "Now show me your Glory." And the LORD said, "I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim My name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
Exodus 33:18-19 NIV

Nine years ago our family prayed its way through a journey of brain cancer, surgery and radiation; we asked God to heal, to strengthen, to comfort Thomas, my nephew then 9 years old. Our prayers and the countless prayers of family and friends and friends of friends also asked for encouragement and energy, for patience and peace, for calm and courage. Holy praises were offered to the Lord for joy in simple things, for small victories, and for laughter. We had not asked God like Moses, "Now show us Your Glory", but He did! God's great goodness passed in front of us! His Glory evidenced in moments and minutes and memories of His never-failing Presence during the journey.

The question of why suffering exists and who is healed or not healed will never be adequately explained or understood by earthly minds. Soon after the beginning, human weakness invited sin to stand between mankind and God. Only through Christ can we ever find a way back into a relationship with God. Even then, we will wrestle with uncertainty and chaos and questions. However, when Christ returns for His people, Certainty and Peace and Truth will reign. For now, we can find this possibility within the heavenly realms, in God, the Creator himself who has all authority. Not bound by time or distance or circumstance, God constantly remains omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. God's ways will always exceed my understanding.

Neither knowing why nor understanding His Ways, I can say for certain that we felt God's mercy and compassion, that we witnessed God's mercy and compassion, that we will continue to tell of God's mercy and compassion. As every petition would rise like incense to this Holy God, each one overflowed with thanksgiving for such undeserved, unmerited mercy and compassion. Truly the Goodness of God passed in front of us, too, during this difficult time. God's goodness and glory still surrounds us - even now in the ordinary, everyday moments of doubt or minutes of disappointment or memories of difficulty. We continue to marvel that God let His goodness pass in front of us. We choose to see God's infinite goodness embracing us each day, especially when we do not understand.~dho

**previously posted on Breathing Room For My Soul/Donna Oswalt 2015

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Praise Shouts!

I'm ready, God, so ready, ready from head to toe,

Ready to sing, ready to raise a tune: "Wake up, soul!" Psalm 57:7 The Message

A years months ago I spent the better part of a day touring Daufuskie Island, just off the coast of Hilton Head, SC. An island full of rich history and Gullah culture merging with renewal and preservation today, my thoughts were captured. We stopped and toured a church still used today, very small by any of the standards of today's churches. Out to the side was a small unpainted, wooded structure not bigger than an outdoor garden shed. It was not original but a replica. Above the door it read "Praise House."

The Gullah people used this little house as a house of prayer and praise. Apparently, the prayers started quiet and as inspiration led, the prayers would become more intense, eventually becoming 'Praise Shouts'! As I thought about that progression of the moving of the Spirit, I wondered how often is my soul moved to the point of Praise Shouts? And when this happens, do I just contain the joy or does my response raise a tune of praise to the Lord?

A sacrifice of praise ~
Psalm 57:9 msg, "I'm thanking you, God, out loud in the streets, singing Your praises in town and country."  Try praising God ~ in public! ~dho

**Previously posted on BreathingRoomForMySoul blog/Donna Oswalt/2010