Thursday, April 30, 2009

Self Image of a 5 year old...

Last Sunday my 5 year old grandson decided he'd rather play with his belly than with the cars in his bag. He leaned back in the pew, pulled up his shirt and proceeded to squeeze and poke and make faces with his chubby little belly. While I, being Nana, reached over and pulled his shirt down, a few minutes later it was up again...isn't it funny how little it takes to occupy a pre-schooler sometimes?

And then the thought hit me, perhaps he has the perfect self image. He's forever telling us that he's strong and showing off his muscles but the bottom line is he is perfectly content with how he looks. So we're not born with doubt, we learn it.

It's seems everyone today has issues with some part (or perhaps all) of their body. Too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, not pretty enough, don't like my nose, my hair, my weight, my feet, my get the picture. Although we should all eat sensibly and get as much exercise as possible, body image is an obsession in society today. And that's not what God intended...He made us in His image...He tells us that our bodies are a temple but other than that, He's not too specific. God doesn't dictate beauty as being this height and this weight with this hair color and this skin tone with a certain type of nose and hands, He made us...end of story. Oh, He also says repeatedly in Genesis that He made this or that and "it was good" God believes in His creation but we constantly want to change it to fit the image that Hollywood dictates.

Don't know about you but I think I'm going to work on appreciating the wonder and beauty that is me as God made me and not listen to those who get paid to belittle me because I don't fit a certain criteria.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lord You have...

from the Northumbria Community

Lord You have always given, bread for the coming day;
though I am poor, today I believe.

Lord You have always given, strength for the coming day;
and though I am weak, today I believe.

Lord You have always given, peace for the coming day;
and though of anxious heart, today I believe.

Lord You have always kept, me safe in trials;
and now tried as I am, today I believe.

Lord You have always marked, the road for the coming day;
and though it may be hidden, today I believe.

Lord, you have always lightened this darkness of mine;
and though the night is here, today I believe.

Lord You have always spoken, when the time was ripe;
and though You be silent, today I believe.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Faith in America

I was reading a document from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life concerning the number of people who change denominations or leave all together. They also listed reasons why. I won't bore you with the details but suffice it to say that 56% of respondents currently belong to the same faith where they were raised.

One commenter summed up the feelings of many when she said "The name on the front of the church is less important than what they church believes and how they live that out". Many describe themselves not as Catholic, Methodist or Baptist but as Christian.

One statistic that caught my eye was the number of "unaffiliated" (don't attend church) who had objections to religious people or institutions. It's not that they don't believe in God, they have issues with the churches. How many in our community don't attend because of misconceptions about us? Since they do believe, it gives us an open door to reach through. We must ask ourselves, if a stranger comes in contact with us, will he see Christ amongst us?

Monday, April 27, 2009

A prayer

A wonderful prayer from The Brother Monks of Ireland:

Lord, give me the ability to persist through tedium, to survive without
the oxygen of recognition, praise and stroking to do some good things
every day which are only seen by God.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

World Malaria Day

Today is World Malaria Day. "Nothing but Nets" has a goal of sending 275,000 bed nets to Uganda, Kenya, Sudan and Tanzania. Sparta First is working to raise a "Mile of Pennies" to support these efforts. If we reach our goal, we will be responsible for 85 nets! Don't forget to drop your change in the jugs outside the sanctuary and visit the link on the left!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Asbo Jesus is a blog from the UK and even though some of the issues he lists don't apply to us in the US, we can certainly add some of our own.

Anger can motivate but it can also consume. It can motivate us to respond to perceived wrongs with passion but not unless let it go and respond calmly and rationaly. Lashing out in anger puts everyone on the defensive. Gentle actions will open the door to dialogue and pave the way for transformation. We must control and use our anger or it will surely use us.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Our Purpose...

Each of us has a purpose in life. Jesus prayed "As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world". (John 17:18)

Why is it so hard for us to understand that we are sent to fulfill God's tasks? We go through life as if we have to choose when, where, how and with whom to live. We act as if we were put here and have to decide how to entertain ourselves until we die.

When we begin living with the conviction that we were put here with a purpose and that God has a job for each of us, He will reveal what we were meant to do. Life lived for Him is the path to peace and fulfillment.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I'll warn you that the attached is actually a commercial for EDS it is!

Herding cats...working with youth, hmmm...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yom Hashoah

Stained glass window at Auschwitz

Today is Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

It has been over 60 years since the Holocaust. To the survivors, the Holocaust remains real and ever present, but for some others, it seems a part of ancient history.

In general Yom Hashoah has been observed with candelighting, remembrances, prayers and singing. Often, 6 candles are lighted to represent the 6 million who died. The fought, suffered and were murdered. This day is important to all. It is a reminder of what can happen to civilized people when bigotry, hatred and indifference reign.

Monday, April 20, 2009


There are many forms of poverty: economic poverty, physical poverty, emotional poverty, mental poverty, and spiritual poverty. As long as we relate primarily to each other's wealth, health, stability, intelligence, and soul strength, we cannot develop true community. Community is not a talent show in which we dazzle the world with our combined gifts. Community is the place where our poverty is acknowledged and accepted, not as something we have to learn to cope with as best as we can but as a true source of new life.

Living community in whatever form - family, parish, twelve-step program, or intentional community - challenges us to come together at the place of our poverty, believing that there we can reveal our richness.
Henri Nouwen

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What are you going to do?

"Get up, Pete! You're going to be late!" Every school day, Pete's mom begged him to get up. When he finally trudged to school, he did just enough to get by. There was one thing about school Pete enjoyed, though---being the class clown. All the attention was intoxicating. When everyone laughed at his pranks, Pete felt like he was on a natural high. Unfortunately he concentrated on little else. When the school year was over, no one was surprised when Pete graduated near the bottom of his class. It wasn't that he couldn't do the work, he just didn't try.

When June rolled around, Pete was still siting at home remembering graduation day. Pete's school is one of the best in the state and many of his friends earned scholarships to big schools. He still remembers feeling jealous when the crowd applauded after the principal announced each scholarship. "What are you going to do, Pete?" his friends kept asking. He's still trying to come up with an answer.

It will soon be graduation...don't wait until the last minute to, trade school or apprenticeship...what's your choice?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Recognizing Jesus

"Are we, at times, like the two dejected disciples on the road to Emmaus? They were so absorbed in their own woes, so forlorn in their mistaken conclusion that the One in whom they had placed their trust was dead, so shocked by the shame, scandal and scorn of Friday that they failed to recognize Jesus as He walked right alongside of them!"
Archbishop Timothy Dolan

It is human nature to "problem solve". We face issues in our lives and begin the process of working them out. This will usually include feeling sorry for ourselves. Self-pity always colors our results, usually in a bad way. Some will be motivated to find the best result while others will wallow in pity for a while until an answer becomes obvious. Notice I said "an answer" not necessarily "the answer". Just coming up with a solution may not be the best course. We need the right solution. Pity clouds our vision...turning our eyes to God and asking..."Father what should I learn from this", "how can I use this to serve You and others", "what is your solution" will always, always lead us down the right path. While He may not answer as quickly as you'd like, His answer will always be the "right" one!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More about talent...

On Tuesday I linked to this beautiful piece by a woman that would never be considered physically beautiful. Others have said it better than I...take a moment to read:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jesus in Lego's

This statue includes almost 30,000 Lego's and I must say is quite impressive. I heard yesterday that some thought it irreverent because of the media used to build it. It took the students a year and a half to build...when was the last time you spent that much time thinking of our Lord?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Many received a well deserved comeuppance while watching the attached performance.

We're told over and again not to judge a book by it's cover and yet we do. We are quick to point out that this one or that is too fat or not polished or plain. We are looking with our faulty human eyes. Thankfully there are those who stand up to the criticisms and put their God given talent on display...and take our breath away. Take time to watch such a moment:

(Did I mention I LOVE this song?)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Crown of Thorns Galaxy

An unusual large galaxy has been spotted by NASA's Hubble Space telescope. NGC 7049 sits in the southern constellation Indus and is the brightest of a cluster of galaxies. Hubble captured this image using it's Advanced Camera for Survey's which is primed to hunt galaxies and galaxy clusters in the remote and ancient universe. Given that we are just finishing the Easter season, I loved the image.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Jesus has been crucified and laid in the tomb...We recall the last things He said to those standing at the foot of His cross:

Father forgive them, for they know not what they do
(Luke 23:34)
Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise (Luke 23:43)
Woman, behold your son; behold your mother (John 19:26-27)
Eli Eli lama sabachthani? (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?) (Matthew 27:46/ Mark 15:34)
I thirst (John 19:28)
It is finished (John 19:30)
Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46)

Untold pages have been written concerning these sayings...He shows us His love and compassion in the midst of horrific pain and suffering...truly He is the Son of God.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mary and Jesus

Good Friday...

When onlookers sneered "He saved others; He cannot save Himself" they could not see that only because He had never thought of saving Himself could anyone be saved at all. And those who shouted "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross" could not see that it was because He was the Son of God that He would not come down.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Maundy Thursday...

Maundy comes from the Latin word "mandatum" meaning command. In John 13 we receive the words of Christ, "A new commandment I give unto you". Today we commemorate the Last Supper and receive the Eucharist. "Do this in remembrance of me".

After the supper, Jesus washes the feet of His disciples and prepares them to continue His work. Before His betrayal, he walks to the garden to pray and in agony asks "Father, let this cup pass from me...but not my will but Thine be done". He knows death is near and yet He continues toward it without flinching...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Holy Wednesday...

In many traditions, today is remembered as the day that Judas Iscariot first conspired with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus...for thirty pieces of silver. The Sanhedrin had decided that the only way to stop Jesus and his followers was to kill Him. Judas made the pact and watched for a time to betray Him.

And what was Jesus doing during this time? From Matthew 26:

6While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, 7a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

8When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. 9"This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."

10Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Ragman

A story for today...take a look...

Holy Week

It is Holy Week and this Sunday we celebrate the greatest of all Christian joys. Let us remember the words of St. Ignatius: "Pray for the gift of being able to feel sorrow with Jesus in sorrow, to be anguished with Jesus' anguish and to even experience tears and deep grief because of all the afflictions which Jesus endures for me."

Sunday, April 5, 2009

All you should be...

There's an old story about a young boy who thought that he was very ugly. This same boy fell in love with a girl that he thought was beautiful. Afraid that she'd have nothing to do with him, he had an artist design a special, very handsome mask. Wearing the mask, the boy introduced himself to the beautiful girl. They dated, fell in love and finally he asked her to marry him. Before she could say yes, he told her that he wanted to show her that she would know the real person behind the mask. With that, he took off the mask and she said "Yes? What is it that you wanted to show me?" You see, his face had become handsome. He had become the very thing he pretended to be.

If you act brave, you will become brave. If you act kind, you will become kind. If you act courageous, you will become courageous. No one is perfect all at once. But you can become all that God wants you to be.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


During the 1300's a woman named Julian of Norwich lived in England. She had a very special relationship with Jesus. Sometimes when she prayed she'd get very clear images of people suffering and crying. Of course these images saddened and frightened her. During these prayers she would ask God why there had to be so much pain and suffering in the world. Being the Creator of the Universe, He didn't dodge her questions but told her, "All shall be well".

Those four little words "All shall be well" are His assurance that not matter how horrible things may seem, everything is going to be all right. We do not have to be afraid. Even though it may seem the world is a total mess, the bad times will pass...and God's love will see us through.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Loss of Innocence...

Why is it as we age we find it hard to experience the joy in life? Is it because we see the sorrow and suffering in the world? Do we take it upon ourselves to grieve and perhaps fight for those less fortunate?

God calls us to do these things but I think He wants us to be able to fight the good fight but still maintain joy. After all, does He not call us to come to him as little children? When my children were very young I had the blessing to be able to be a stay at home mom for a few years. We listened to music often (on vinyl no less)...I can still see Kate dancing around the living room whenever she heard this song...

Dancing with joy and abandon...I bet God was smiling along with us...