Faith 9-16-19

LUKE 7:1-10

Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus is amazed at a Roman centurion’s faith: “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” How often the Bible compels us to meditate on the meaning of faith! We might say that the Scriptures rest upon faith, remain inspired at every turn by the spirit of faith.

Faith is an attitude of trust in the presence of God. Faith is openness to what God will reveal, do, and invite. It should be obvious that, in dealing with the infinite, all-powerful person who is God, we are never in control.

One of the most fundamental statements of faith is this: your life is not about you. You’re not in control. This is not your project. Rather, you are part of God’s great design. To believe this in your bones and act accordingly is to have faith. When we operate out of this transformed vision, amazing things can happen, for we have surrendered to “a power already at work in us that can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” Even a tiny bit of faith makes an extraordinary difference.

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We Remember 9-11-19

“In the midst of all the violence and corruption of the world
God invites us today to create new places of belonging,
places of sharing, of peace and of kindness,
places where no-one needs to defend himself or herself;
places where each one is loved and accepted with one’s own fragility, abilities and disabilities.
This is my vision for our churches:
that they become places of belonging, places of sharing.”
— Jean Vanier in Befriending the Stranger 

And, on this solemn day of memorial in the United States, remembering the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the many that perished that day, may we all pray and work for unity, understanding, love and peace. 
 

If You Want To Be Successful 8-14-19

If you want to be a successful painter, you will at first fail on numerous canvases. And if you want to be a successful mathematician, you will at first fail in solving the equations. If you want to be a successful writer, your manuscripts will be rejected endlessly until one of them isn’t. But there will never come a point when you stop failing, because that’s what creativity is about. What works can only be known against the backdrop of what doesn’t—and if you’re too afraid to ever risk establishing that backdrop, personally and professionally, then you’ll never know what success is like. In the Hebrew Bible, we have the beautiful images in Jeremiah, for example, in the potter’s house where he comes to understand that even as Israel screws everything up over and over again, God—like a potter with clay in hand—is patient and allows the remodeling to take place, allows us to try again, to become the beautiful creation intended from the beginning. If we cannot live because we fear failure, then we cannot be good Christians because it is a faith predicated on being often diametrically opposed to worldly success. If you want to be successful, you need to learn to fail well.

—from the book God Is Not Fair, and Other Reasons for Gratitude by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

Even On A Bad Day Life Is Good 8-11-19

I love this quote and can certainly relate. I remember living in San Francisco. I was going through chemo treatments while living with Mephistopheles in the flesh. My life sucked. I had cancer. I was enduring treatment with zero support. I couldn’t work. I was financially challenged. In short, my life sucked!!!

My priest encouraged me to do some volunteer work in the hopes it would help with the depression and sadness I was feeling at that time. I ended up volunteering at the shelter at our church. I’ll never forget the first day I went. I was feeling sorry for myself. Life sucked or so I thought. Our guests were all waiting in line outside to come in for a warm meal. That day I met some of the kindest people I’d ever met in my life. I had never met so many people with so much gratitude. All of them were homeless living on a sidewalk, a park etc. Geez, they had nothing other than a place to go to for a warm meal. Most of these people exuded so much joy and happiness. They supported one another and were so grateful for the help they were receiving.

That day was so humbling for me. I had cancer. Life sucked yet I had a place to live in a great part of the city. I had food to eat. Clothes to wear. The list goes on. I had cancer. My partner was an unsupportive and extremely mean person. I was facing my battle all alone yet I was in better shape than the guests that were at the shelter that day. I found myself so ashamed of myself. I realized just how blessed I was yet so ungrateful. I went to the back room that day and began to cry. Sister Lois came in as I was crying. She said the same words to me me written on this quote. I had so much to be grateful for yet until that day I hadn’t recognized just how blessed I was. That day changed my perspective forever.

We all go through hard times. Life sucks sometimes. However, no matter what we are going through there is always someone experiencing something worse. Count your blessings. Sometimes it’s hard to do but if we don’t how in the world can we expect a bigger blessing? I remember hearing someone say “every morning when my feet touch the floor I know it’s a great day!” Isn’t that the truth? I often find myself feeling sorry for myself and when I do, God sends me a little reminder that no matter the circumstances I am truly blessed. We all are.

I’ve Seen All Good People 7-29-19

I was on my way home with my youngest son from an art festival on Saturday. We were listening to music. A song by the band “YES” came on. My son shared one of his favorite songs was “I’ve Seen All Good People”. I had to agree it was my favorite also. When my kids were young I would play the beginning of the song over and over. I was surprised to hear my son share a story of when he was on a trip in Oakland.

Derek shared he was at a restaurant with friends. He heard this song playing and became distracted. The owner of the restaurant was at their table welcoming the group to his restaurant. He looked at my son and commented that clearly his mind was somewhere else. Derek told the owner that he could hear this song playing. It reminded him of hearing it repeatedly when he was young. He shared it was one of his favorites. The owner began to cry. He told Derek that it was his brothers favorite song too. His brother had passed away when he was a teenager. Derek was so moved by the story as was I when my son shared the story with me.

We played the song on the way home. I have to admit, we played the beginning over and over. I told my son I was really curious to know what the meaning of the song was. We looked it up on Wikipedia and Song Facts.

I’ve Seen All Good People” is a song performed by the English progressive rock band Yes. Written by Yes members Jon Anderson and Chris Squire, it was first included on 1971’s The Yes Album and has appeared on several later albums. The first part of the song, titled “Your Move“, was released as a single. It became a top 40 hit in the United States, which helped the group build momentum

The tune uses chess as a lyrical metaphor for navigating interpersonal relationships. It has received positive reviews from several critics and has been considered one of Yes’s best-known songs, with AllMusic‘s Mike DeGagne stating that “the harmonies are resilient from start to finish” and that the track “still stands as one of their most appealing” works. Music critic Robert Christgau has also singled it out for praise.

The first part of the song, “Your Move”, alludes to the game of chess as a metaphor for male–female relationships. Examples include the phrases “move me onto any black square”, “make the white queen run so fast”, and “the goal is for us all to capture only one”.

A reference to John Lennon’s work is in the lyric “send that instant karma to me”, with “Instant Karma!” being a single released by Lennon in 1970. Also, the sentence “All we are saying is give peace a chance” is heard in the organ part before switching to “All Good People”, referencing another Lennon song, “Give Peace a Chance“. More generally, Anderson has stated that the line “’cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time” was an attempt to say that he would “do anything that is required of me to reach God” and that he wants the listener to feel “in tune and in time with God.” Just before the three-minute mark of the song, at the final part of “Your Move”, the chorus of Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” can be heard in the background. – Wikipedia

This is an anti-war song. The term “I’ve seen all good people” is ALL the people, including the so-called enemy.

The line, “Don’t surround yourself with yourself” refers to self-righteous behavior; “Move on back two squares” is a chess term meaning to retreat and rethink your position. The lyrics also refer to the queen, which is the most versatile and powerful chess piece. It talks about how news is captured for use by the queen, which uses forces to take control and manipulate troops against the enemy. War is like a game of chess.

With the line, “Send an instant comment to me, initial it with loving care,” this song references “Instant Karma,” which was a song recorded by John Lennon a year earlier. Lennon was a huge influence on Yes, who covered The Beatles song “Every Little Thing” on their first album.

The lines: “Just remember that the gold is for us to capture all we want, anywhere, Yea, yea, yea” refers to the rich and powerful victimizing the weak and poor. The US was taken off the Gold standard by Richard Nixon August 15, 1971 the same year this was released. – Song Facts.

LYRICS

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day

So satisfied I’m on my way

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day

So satisfied I’m on my way

Take a straight and stronger course

To the corner of your life

Make the white queen run so fast

She hasn’t got time to make you a wife

‘Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time

And its news is captured

For the queen to use!

Move me on to any black square

Use me anytime you want

Just remember that the goal

Is for us all to capture all we want (Move me on to any black square)

Don’t surround yourself with yourself

Move on back two squares

Send an instant karma to me

Initial it with loving care (Don’t surround yourself)

‘Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time

And its news is captured

For the queen to use!

Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda

Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda (Don’t surround yourself with yourself)

Don’t surround yourself with yourself (Don’t surround yourself)

Move on back two squares

Send an instant karma to me (Send an instant karma to me)

Initial it with loving care (Don’t surround yourself)

‘Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time

And its news is captured

For the queen to use!

Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda (All we are saying)

Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda (Is give peace a chance)

Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda (All we are saying)

Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda (Is give peace a chance

‘Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time

And it’s news is captured

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day

So satisfied I’m on my way

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day

So satisfied I’m on my way

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day

So satisfied I’m on my way

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day

So satisfied I’m on my way

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day

So satisfied I’m on my way

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day

So satisfied I’m on my way

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day

So satisfied I’m on my way

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day

So satisfied I’m on my way

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day

So satisfied I’m on my way

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day

So satisfied I’m on my way

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day

So satisfied I’m on my way

After reading about the meaning of this song, I couldn’t help but love the song even more. In my opinion, we should all strive to be better. We should also strive to be closer to God. Besides the fact this song is anti-war song, it also encourages all of us to step back and reflect on our own selves opposed to judging others. I feel we have become a nation of so much fighting and pointing fingers. The lyrics also encourage us to strive for peace. Interestingly enough, I feel our current situation with our president is very similar to the Nixon era. There is absolutely no peace in this country.

I love how “YES” uses a game of chess as a metaphor to get their point across. I’m not sure why I’m sharing all this on my blog tonight. Possibly because I can really resonate with the meaning. I would love nothing more than for everyone to find a sense of peace not only in their own lives but with others. Who knows. All I know is I love this song. I love that I’m able to share that same love of a song with my son Derek. I love the beat. I love the lyrics and I love the meaning.

This tune is a classic. It was released in the 70’s. It was a hit then and in truth is still a hit in my eyes so many years later. I’d like to encourage you to listen to the song. Who knows, maybe you too might be touched and find yourself wishing for a little bit of peace too. Like the song, I’m sending a little good karma your way. Initialed with loving care and I hope you will do the same for me. ❤️❤️❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

Yogis Of Tibet 6-28-19

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Every day we can incorporate actions into our lives similar to that of the great yogis of Tibet.

The word “yogi” means “to realize the wisdom of pure awareness.” To do this, the yogis of Tibet practice Tibetan Buddhist meditation techniques. They have gained a level of mastery that makes it possible for them to practice in isolation for periods of one to three years. During this time, they focus their complete attention on connecting with spirit and gain an extraordinary level of control over their minds and bodies. We may not want to focus on one activity for one to three years, but there are principles that the yogis of Tibet live by that we can apply to our lives.

Like all yogis, we can make it a priority to connect with spirit. A few moments spent focusing our attention inward can allow us to see life with fresh eyes. We can also expand our view of the world by educating ourselves like the yogis do before they attain yogic mastery. Yogis study not only spiritual disciplines, but they also study science, philosophy, the arts, and medicine. Another way to emulate the yogis of Tibet is to focus our minds on positive thoughts that affirm the well-being of the planet. Yogis chant prayers for the well-being of the world even while doing tasks that don’t require their full concentration. It is through chanting, positive thoughts, and meditation that we learn to have compassion, feel empathy, and look for the good in every situation. We also become aware of our ability to create change in the world with our thoughts, actions, and intentions.

The yogis of Tibet have been called “supreme artists of life” for their ability to treat every situation like a spiritual endeavor. As we aspire to express the same art of patience, compassion, and peace in our lives, we too can radiate the tranquility, warmth, and joy attributed to these spiritual masters.

God Is Good All The Time 5-29-19

I thought I’d share what happened to me this evening. After my AA meeting, I stopped at a convenience store. As I got out of my car and began to walk in I heard someone say something to me. I looked to my left and there sat a woman on the bench outside. I looked at the woman and said “pardon me”. She asked how I was. I told her that I was doing fine and asked how she was. I’ll begin by describing this woman to you. She was heavy set, disheveled, a tad dirty and was missing many of her teeth. My heart sank when I saw her. Oddly I hadn’t even noticed her when I parked my car in front of the store. Nor did I notice her as I got out of my car.

She went on to tell me she had just left the hospital. Apparently she had an asthma attack. She told me her story and I just listened. My heart really went out to her. I told her that I hoped she would get better. Before I turned around to walk in the store, I noticed a Hispanic man walking toward the store. He opened the door for me. I couldn’t help but notice he was wearing a beautiful cross rosary around his neck. I got my things and walked up to the counter. The man was in line behind me. I asked the clerk if she knew if the woman outside was homeless. She wasn’t sure but said she comes around a lot. I told the clerk I felt sorry for that woman and wanted to buy her something to eat. The clerk was a little taken aback. I had several people behind me waiting to pay. I just explained that I wanted to buy the woman something to eat if she was homeless which is why I was inquiring. The clerk shared she didn’t really know but what she did know is often the woman would sit outside until she had enough money to buy a pack of cigarettes. I told the clerk I wasn’t willing to buy cigarettes but was happy to buy whatever food they had in their deli case. She handed me a pizza pocket. The man wearing the cross rosary said “Maam.maam” I turned around thinking he might be irritated because I was holding up the line. Instead he said “Maam that is a really nice thing for you to do. I wish I could help her too” he showed me the money he had in his hand. It was only enough to get fuel.

I paid the clerk however I was surprised that she didn’t even charge me for the pizza pocket. I took the pizza pocket and walked outside and handed it to the woman. She told me she was trying to figure out how she was going to eat this week. Wow. My heart sank again. I felt the tears build up. I simply said “well for now you don’t have to worry. You now have something to eat.” She was very grateful.

I’m sharing not for accolades, rather to share how God uses people to make a difference. He also can use one person to touch the lives of many. That homeless woman touched my heart. I felt inclined to buy her food. The man wearing the cross rosary was touched by my act of kindness. The clerks heart was open too. She didn’t charge me for the food. In short, each of our lives was touched by a woman who was sitting on a bench and had the courage to say hi despite her circumstances. I’m not sure what the miracle was but for me it was awesome to help someone but at the same time fill the hearts of others.