Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Everyone Needs Help and Nobody Holds a patent on Kindness (Lectionary Reflections for Sept. 30, 2012)

Here are my reflections on the Lectionary Readings at Sunshine Cathedral for Sept. 30. I have been posting these reflections in the weekly newsletter (The Sun Burst), but space constraints this week didn't allow for it. So, i'm posting the reflections on this blog for this week. Best wishes - Durrell

Numbers 11.4-6, 11-14
1. It’s OK to want more, but we are unlikely to receive more (or appreciate it when/if we get it) if we don’t appreciate the good we have now.(4)
2. We often romanticize “the good old days” instead of remembering that we weren’t really happy then either. Wanting to go back to a glorified and largely fictional past only keeps us from enjoying the possibilities at hand and moving forward to the possibilities of the future. “The past is past and the future has infinite possibilities”
3. Are we ever tempted to blame misfortune on a divine puppet master pulling the strings rather than facing the challenges and moving through them? (11)
4. Mothering image for God. Moses is “not the mama” but God is. Still, a mother’s children are meant to grow up and deal with life as adults. God’s maternity is not the issue. Our being stuck in immaturity, however, is. (12-14)
5. We can’t do everything alone, nor should we. The “spirit” that has empowered and “called” us is bountiful enough to empower and call others to work with us. Sometimes to lead effectively means to share the burden of leadership and let others do their part (less micro-managing and more equipping of more leaders)

James 5.13-15
1. In trouble? Pray (for help). Things going well? Pray (a prayer of gratitude). Prayer isn’t about making things happen; it’s about communion with Spirit/Source/divine Substance (“God”). When things are difficult, Spirit can be a comfort, a soothing balm. When things are good, Spirit can help us appreciate the time of ease and achievement and the more we appreciate, the longer the good times may last, or at very least, the stronger the memory will be for us to conjure up during the next round of difficulties so that we can remind ourselves that things can get better. We can’t go back, but remembering the lessons of past failures and successes can help us move forward. (13)
2. Prayer, communion, union with the divine Source and the community helps us feel stronger, more hopeful, and therefore more whole. Medicine is better today than it was in James’ day, so prayer alone isn’t our only hope, but it’s a good addition to the healing course of action. And, we know the subconscious mind is very powerful. If prayer helps us believe in possibilities, the power of the subconscious will do what it can to validate that belief. And the power of the subconscious mind is considerable! But, no matter how much better physical conditions get, prayer can relieve stress and fear, and that in itself is an amazing healing. (14-15)

Mark 9.38-41
No one holds a patent on kindness. See someone healing in Jesus’ name, that is, in the caring, egalitarian way that he did? Someone is touching the untouchable, loving the unlovable, affirming the marginalized or forgotten, giving hope to those who were hopeless? Who cares if they are Catholic or Protestant, B’hai or Hindu, Atheist or a Voodoo priestess? Who cares if they are a nurse, a chiropractor, a pharmacist, a social worker, a Reiki practitioner, or a grandmother administering a home remedy? Who cares if they are a Christian Science practitioner, a Pentecostal Faith healer, a Wiccan priestess making an herbal tincture or a Buddhist acupuncturist practicing his healing art? If they are trying to help without hurting, nurturing rather than attacking, caring rather than ignoring the problem, aren’t they on the same side as all caring, compassionate, kind-hearted people? Anyone who shows kindness is doing a good thing! (We might even say, a holy thing). What would Jesus do? Try to help those in need. People doing that are certainly being Christ (or Buddha or Yogananda) to the world. If they are trying to help, and our aim is to help, we are all really on the same team.

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