Let’s face it—our world is divided. Everywhere. Divided. The U.S. is a virtual armed camp of right/left, conservative/liberal, this/that. Even the Catholic Church is a dived camp with a growing chorus to declare Pope Francis an anti-Pope. We’re talking Catholic Church (I am Catholic, BTW) that tracks its roots directly to Jesus. Divided. Angry. Certainly, not Jesus.
So, each of us can be a wedge, further dividing life. Or we can be the glue, trying to bring people together. It’s not always easy but I want to be the glue in bringing people together. Doing my little bit to help heal and stop divisions.
Jesus talked division, even about families divided against themselves. But the objective was coming together in a spirit—the Spirit—of love. After all, as he faced His death, Jesus left us with one command: “Love each other.” John 15:17
I have a news flash: We’re not following that command. Even a little bit. We’re following the devil’s command to hate each other. The venom coming out of mouths of politicians and priests (supposed holy men!) is appalling. They are the wedges, not the glue.
Yesterday, firefighters briefed France President Macron that they did not believe they could extinguish the fires at the Notre Dame Cathedral. Today, Notre Dame, although badly scared, stands. Most if not all of the relics and art were saved, including the magnificent windows. And business have already come out pledging millions to rebuild one of the most iconic sites in the world. Hope. God. It and He spring eternal!
There is no doubt that God was standing behind those brave firefighters helping them extinguish the flames. It’s a miracle that few may admit. But it is a miracle.
God is always there to smooth out the rough seas, to put out the flames, and to simply provide hope in your life. That’s the message of this Holy Week. Out of the bad, tragedy, and even death springs Resurrection and life. God. Jesus. Sprit.
My downbeat mood of yesterday has given way today to the glory of God.
I have been thinking all day about a post for this afternoon. Normally, something pops into my head and it just flows. Today was different. Then, the news of Notre Dame burning down hit my computer. My heart just sank. I feel like someone died. Someone, something did die. Two hundred years in the making. An iconic site in Paris. A house of God. And the fire can’t be stopped. Notre Dame will burn down to the ground.
I’m so lucky to have visited Notre Dame and actually to have gone to Mass there. It was such an amazing experience. And now it’s burning down to the ground.
There are just no words to express the loss!
As a Catholic, this Holy Week is a conflicting time of death and Resurrection. Jesus died an ugly death that left all His followers hopeless, alone, and devastated. But out of that death rose a Savior that changed the world forever. He brought life, hope, and a future.
I am hoping that out of this Notre Dame tragedy comes life, hope, and a future. Maybe the loss of Notre Dame will rally people to rebuild it. Maybe an increasing secular France will rally around a church—the house of God. Let’s hope. Let’s pray.
I’m not much into symbols but the burning of Notre Dame may be saying something. God is less a part of our lives than ever. That’s a major part of our problem. As I wrote recently, we’re like the Israelites roaming the desert for 40 years, constantly turning our back on God. The result wasn’t pretty then. All but two of the original group of Israelites made it out of the desert. The result isn’t pretty now.
Sorry for a downbeat post but this is a downbeat day. A symbol of so much is lost. Let’s hope out of death there is a Resurrection!
I’m even questioning the title of this post. But it’s as simple as that. God. We can have faith in God, and throw our trust with Him, or ignore God and trust in the world. So, very, very (VERY!) simple. After all, God means life to be simple. We’re the ones who complicate it.
I’m not given to religious mumbo-jumbo. I don’t have a halo (far from it!!!). And I don’t go about my day floating on a cloud. But I know from my life that when I stray from God bad things happen. When I focus on God even the bumps in life are smaller and easier to navigate.
I just wrote about this. The Israelites took their focus off of God and paid homage to false idols. Bad things happened. They couldn’t get out of the desert. Fast forward. Humans are less focused on God. Bad things are happening. We are lost in one world of a desert.
It’s simply all about God. There is no magic. There is no special prayer. There is just God—and His one commandment to love. Focus on God. He gave us an entire handbook on life (it’s called the Bible). Don’t go around professing religion. Just focus on God, tune out the siren song of the world, and live in love. It’s that simple—if you don’t complicate it.
I realized that towards the back of my tie rack that several are too wide. I’m not talking about “clown” wide but ties today are narrower. But one day they’ll be wide again and I’ll be saying that most of my ties are too skinny. That’s fashion—it’s unexplainable whim. Most of us follow the fashion and conform to what’s “in.” I’m just glad that God is consistent, constant, and not given to whim. We can’t count on fashion, and being “in,” but we can always count on God.
The longer I live the more I understand that life changes. Things and people don’t stay the same. Life moves on. But as life moves on God stays the same. He’s an anchor in our lives that keeps us steady and secure, especially when the seas of life get rough.
And in following the whims of fashion and the changes in life, Jesus has an amazing message for us on how to live…
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
It’s OK to follow fashion where it goes but here Jesus is talking about not conforming to the world but constantly “renewing” your thinking—in essence, detach yourself from the masses to really understand the will of God in your life. I think that’s especially important in this current, crazy world of ours.
Follow the fashion but don’t follow the crowd. Think for yourself, and think about God. What he thinks is “good and acceptable and perfect.” Spend some time thinking about this, then putting it into action.
I’m an upbeat, positive person. How can you believe in God the Father, our Savior Jesus, and our Advocate the Holy Spirit and not be upbeat and positive? But this world of ours is spinning out of control. Why? Because there is waning belief in God, Jesus, and Spirit. Just like the Israelites wandering aimlessly in the desert for all those years, leaving God in the dust as they worshiped idols, we are doing the same. And the outcome won’t be pretty. Sorry!
We had a faith-based shooting this week (and not on American soil). We have rich parents cheating/paying their children’s way into college. We have politicians (on American soil and even including our President) spewing discord and close to hatred. I could go on and on. The world is spinning out of control.
The more we turn our backs on God, the worse it will get. Again, read the story of the Israelites to see how this movie ends. We roam endlessly in the desert of life.
The only thing I know to do is up my faith in God. Listen to His commend (echoed by Jesus) to love one another. I start with all the simple stuff. I smiled a lot this week (at “strangers”). I helped people put up their luggage in the plane bins on my three flights this week. I gave to the homeless. I prayed for all, especially those people who it’s really tough to like, let alone “love.” I tried to do a lot of other things but will stop here. I’m no saint but I tried this week and will try next week.
Change happens one person at a time. I’m doing my best to change this world—from my world. I’m trying. And above all, I’m trying to keep God front and center in my life!
Trust me—I have little to no artistic talent. I can’t really draw. In college, I took an art class and fashioned myself as a modernist (translation: throw paint on a canvas and call if art). But I am an artist, and so are you! We make “art” every day if we just think about it. I came upon this observation, which says it all too well:
Most of us feel uncomfortable thinking of ourselves as artists, but we are. With every choice, every day, you are creating a unique work of art. Something that only you can do. Something beautiful and ephemeral. The reason you were born was to leave your own indelible mark on your personal world. Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance
I always say that each one of us can change the world every day if we just believe and put our fingers in our ears of doubt. The world is our canvas if we just try and use some creativity. We can inspire with our “art.”
Make some “art” today. Be creative. Think outside of your box. Stop listening to the devil’s doubt holding you back. Be an artist!