Friday, February 29, 2008

Blessed are the Peacemakers ........

I have volunteered to share a short reflection in on of my church groups regarding the Beatitude "Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called Children of God" from the good book of Matthew....chapter 5 verse here goes for all the world to see - keep in mind I am no theologian, just an everyday advanced maternal aged Catholic mom a work in progress.

When I think of PEACE, instantly the Prayer of St Francis, learned in grade school pops in my mind.....and I actually start humming the tune....darn that tune, its stuck in my mind now. So I am now singing.........but the tune is based on the words written by the original Franciscan himself....

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Wow, they should re-name the song Make Me a Channel of Your Peace to The Impossible Dream.....but I suppose that one song title is taken and copywrited.

In the prayer and song, we are asked to change the hearts of others... to lift them up, to give them forgiveness when we have been hurt, to comfort and give hope when all seems dim.
We are also asking that the attention and ministering be taken off of us and ***SHOCK*** that we are given the power to do the consoling, loving, and understanding of others. WHAT????? Isn't life today all about what I want and about me being right.....

When Jesus was telling those people Blessed are the Peacemakers, I think he was challenging us to a total mindset change. Its about MAKING peace, so much more than just loving or praying for peace - though these are nice qualities and its a good thing to pray for.... I guess at the time within the context of the Beatitudes audience, many just thought it could have referenced those trying to keep the peace with the Romans whose rule they lived under. I bet living in peace under those circumstances when you weren't one of the "in" crowd was very hard. Heck with the election going on in these times right now, its sometimes hard to live in peace with our friends and neighbors whose views often differ ours.

Jesus reminds us blessed are the peace MAKERS......these are the ones who are Children of God. The ones who MAKE peace. Its about more than just coexistence without getting violent or arguments. Who DOESN't like a little peace in their lives? I mean come on, how hard is it to say, "I am FOR peace". Aren't most people FOR it, but what is really hard about living this beatitude is getting off our butts and doing something about it.

From Wikipedia...
Peace can be a state of harmony or the absence of hostility. "Peace" is used to describe the cessation of violent conflict. Peace can mean a state of quiet or tranquility — an absence of disturbance or agitation. Peace can also describe a relationship between any people characterized by respect, justice, and goodwill. Peace can describe calm, serenity, and silence. This latter understanding of peace can also pertain to an individual's sense of himself or herself, as to be "at peace" with one's own mind.

To sum this up, those that are Blessed and are called children of God, don't just think peace is nice and quietly ask God for peace......they do what they can to preserve the peace in their lives AND spread it to the lives of others. They MAKE peace through conflict resolution with friends and family and coworkers; they not only promote respect, justice and goodwill and are bold about it; they aren't troublemakers or gossipers or people who promote discourse; they work to restore the peace when it has been disturbed; they recognize the need to share the peace in others lives and work at it......for God gave us His son who did all of these things and more for us.

Well that is how I see it tonight anyways......

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My thoughts on the first lady...not the Bush one, Eve

This week in bible study we talked about Eve and read the first 3 chapters of Genesis. Its been a VERY long time since I have delved into the OT - Old Testament. Andy and I had a discussion last night about it. He brought up that the bible doesn't mention the dinosaurs which could potentially in some people's minds say its a bunch of crap or that its just a really nice piece of fictional stories. I believe its true but not word for word....perhaps 1 day of creation was thousands and thousands of year, not 24 hours. I am not meaning to get into a theoligical discussion here about the literal interpretation of the bible.....going to focus on the story as written and my thoughts. Sure I may be copping out, but I don't have all night to blog.

God made the earth it was good. God made man...Adam and told him not to eat the forbidden fruit. He told Adam to take care of his creation the earth. He recognized that Adam needed someone to share his life with and gave him a partner Eve....made from a rib. This creation -woman from her partner, not from the earth like all the other creations - forever joins the two of them. Adam and Eve were equal and each important to eachother. God knows we are not here to be alone and that we need eachother obviously since he made a partner for Adam. Adam told Eve all about the Garden and that she wasn't to eat of the forbidden fruit. Enter the serpent....

The serpent feeds on Eve's pride about how the fruit will give her the wisdom of God and not death. Eve listened, thought about it and ate it...then she offered it to Adam and like an idiot he just eats it. Not that Eve was any better than Adam, but at least she thought about it. Heck she was tempted by Satan himself who played on her weakness. I bet she was thinking...."umm umm that looks so tasty and it will make me smart too". I am sure that tree smelled good and was just gorgeous and it was in the center of the garden - how could it be avoided. I wonder if Eve justified eating the fruit by saying...."well God told ADAM not to eat it, he NEVER said anything to me so I am sure its fine".

Our bible study leader pondered what would happen had they fessed up to it when caught. Instead of saying, "I am so sorry God, I really screwed up" a couple of kids they blamed others

Eve: Well the devil made me do it....

Adam: It was Eve who made me do it.

Sure there would have been consequences to pay, but I wonder if the punishment would have been as severe if they just had the cajones to say, it was me and I am sorry. How many times have I tried to push the blame on someone else....ok I admit it at LEAST once if not more.

On a personal level the story made me think about how I can justify something I don't need or something I know is not good. I can think about eating something for hours before giving in...hence the extra weight I always seem to carry around. I swear a beer or glass of wine can talk to me out loud when I am thinking, eh I don't really need those empty calories - "Oh Julie.....a glass of red wine if good for your heart, drink me - you need the relaxation!". I remember once I came from DSW with 3 pairs of black loafers....a dressier pair - slight heel, casual flat pair and a cool suede pair.....all were on sale, but really, did I NEED 3 pairs of black shoes.

It also made me think about that dang tree in the middle of the garden. Why is it was are drawn to the things we can't have or that are not good for us. And why are they in the middle of our lives or just downright unavoidable it seems........How many bad relationships do we endure when in our hearts we know its not the right one? How are we drawn to people and things that are not really good for us....friends who bring us down, celebrities who are NOT role models at all and are a complete mess..... How many people waste money on that big chance to win the lottery when having trouble paying bills or not investing for the future? Why do we seem to follow people or leaders because of who they are or the money they have.....even though their agenda is hidden and we don't know what REALLY lies in their hearts?

I just hope I can really think about my temptations and keep a better handle on things. God, please keep me away from that tree in the middle of my garden....

Rather than giving the time of day, if only it were as easy as saying GO AWAY to the serpents in our all of our lives.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Has It been a year already....

See this is the thing about being a have time for yourself last and you never seem to get around to doing things you want to do as the day is too short. So I see its almost been a year since I set up this blog and posted. Wow I am a slacker......My days are filled with taking care of Sarah Cate, I know B O R I N G to alot of people, but its my life. She is now 15months and really starting to get her own sassy personality...though she remains as sweet. I do have alot of fun hanging out with her and driving around in our mini like all the other moms in North Fulton/North Dekalb counties.

I seriously still miss adult interaction but am happy to say I have been going to a women's bible study - yippee free nursery, a Familia Group for moms, and Christ Renews his parish.....ok, so I am getting a little churchy again, but hey its good times! And nothing wrong on working with my spirit - I have am a work in progress and have lots of areas for improvement. My churchy activities keep me focused.

As for my blog entry absence.....OK, who am I kidding - its not just being a mom...I have always been horrible with sticking with something. I never could journal very well....oh sure it started out great, but as time went, I had less and less to say and less interest.

And with that I will leave you with this verse which is written down and has inspired me this week. Togetherness with others sharing God's word and Spirit causes some cool stuff to happen.

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.