Prisoners of Hope – An offering from Rev. Jackie Linden-Schade

Zechariah 9:9-12

In Zechariah’s time, as well as our own, the world was a scary place. Today we know what it is to be afraid of violence, to be fearful of an uncertain future, and to see so many on the margins of society.

Yet Zechariah called his people ‘prisoners of hope.’ He invited his people to return to their stronghold.

As people of the way, we Christians have a stronghold in Jesus Christ. The cross of Christ claims us and points us to a future beyond imagining. A humble Messiah, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and not a war horse, is coming to suffer and die.

At first glance, it seems like more of what we already know. But we will soon rediscover that suffering love transforms all of life. As Desmond Tutu once said “Don’t give up! Don’t get discouraged! I’ve read to the end of the book! We win!”

(c) 2018 Rev. Jackie Linden-Schade

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The Joy of Wasting Away – An offering from Brad Syverson

 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I used to think forgetfulness was funny.  As I turn 60, it’s not so funny anymore.   My toe nails have turned yellow. And my children think I should get hearing aids.   We are all growing old but that’s putting it politely.  We are mentally and physically wasting away.  So I take great joy in 2 Corinthians 4: 16.

We do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.

Growing old is required but growing in God’s love is optional.  Our eyesight lessens but our heart can see more clearly.  The absence of what wastes away makes clear our essence and what a joy to discover each day that God is our essence!

Be within our decay, O God.  Renew us inside.  And maybe you could see about those toe nails as well?

(c) 2018 Brad Syverson
Spiritual Director

My love shall never leave you: An offering from Eunice Cheshire

 For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you.

Isaiah 54: 9-10

“My love shall never leave you” – the words of a God of unmeasured, unconditional and never-ending love.  Perhaps because of its immensity, we struggle to wrap our arms around this Love and to take it in – we hesitate to trust it fully.  Yet if we can do so, it makes all the difference because it changes how we respond to God, to ourselves and to others.  Abbe Henri de Tourville (1842-1903) in a letter of spiritual direction advises: “Accustom yourself to the wonderful thought that God loves you with a tenderness, a generosity, and an intimacy which surpasses all your dreams.  Give yourself up with joy to a loving confidence in God and have courage to believe firmly that God’s action towards you is a masterpiece of partiality and love.  Rest tranquilly in this abiding conviction.”  Good advice still for today!

(c) 2018 Eunice Cheshire
HeartPaths Core Faculty
Spiritual Director and Supervisor

God is pleased with such a servant: An offering from Dr. Nancy Kate Dunkerley

Isaiah 53:10-12

Hard to understand that “it pleased” God that the good servant suffered, was crushed in pain. What? It sounds like God wanted the undeserved pain of one who serves! How can that be?

I try to see more… to see the love the servant has for everyone else, for all the others, the many who sin, whose relationship with God is broken (including me and many whom I love). That the servant’s love for God is great enough to restore all those others? That one person’s love can have such an effect on the many?! That one person can save so many?!!

Yes, surely God is pleased with such a servant.

And there are such servants among us. One was David Sherrard, 37, husband, father, police officer in Richardson TX. Killed in the line of duty, February 7, 2018.

May his soul and all similar faithful servants rest in peace. Surely God is pleased with them.

(c) Dr. Nancy Kate Dunkerley
HeartPaths Core Faculty
Spiritual Director and Supervisor

Little Children Come to Me – An offering from Eduardo Ugarte

Mk 10:13-16 Let the little children come to me.

This is a wonderful invitation that Jesus makes to all of us, be like a little child.  How can I be or become a child?  A child is simple, all trusting, without agendas, and no control is needed.  A child comes to its parents simply to ask a question, to ask for something it wants, perhaps to ask for a hug, for a kiss or for something to eat.  They trust/believe what the parents lovingly give or tell them.  Children are totally reliant on their parents to the point that their life depends on them.  We must remember that is child is totally dependent on its mother for nine months.  It is crucial to recognize our dependence for everything on our Father/Mother in heaven just as a child is to its parents.  We must become children to enter a loving relationship with the Father/Mother.

(c) 2018 Eduardo Ugarte

Spiritual Saltiness: An offering from Donnie Hawley

For everyone will be salted with fire. 
Salt is a good thing, but if salt has become insipid,
how can you season it again?
Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.

Mark 9:49-50

“Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.”

What does Jesus mean by this?  Those of us who cook know that too little salt makes food somewhat tasteless and it becomes insipid, while too much salt will ruin the food and it becomes inedible.  Salt is a seasoning and a preservative.

Is Jesus trying to tell us that the right amount of spiritual saltiness is needed?  In our relationship with God and others, if our spiritual saltiness is insipid, the peace we seek will also be insipid and our relationships will not be preserved.

On the other hand, if our spiritual saltiness is over bearing, God and others whom we want to be in relationship with will be put off by the brine and the crusty residue that brine leaves.

The question we have to ask ourselves is how do we develop this balance of spiritual saltiness that leads to peace?

(c) 2018 Donnie Hawley

Let go and trust: An offering from Eunice Cheshire

Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.

John 8: 46-47

It seems as social media and the internet expands, what we can really trust as truth diminishes.  However, of this we can be confident:  we can believe the truth of who Jesus is and what Jesus says and does.  And yet, so often we struggle to trust Jesus – to place our lives, circumstances and consequences solely in his hands.  Instead we impatiently take charge to try to make “something” happen – sometimes we are so impatient we will settle for “anything” we can make happen.  The closer we get to Palm Sunday our invitation may be to let go, to again trust Jesus’ truth and to join the procession of the followers to Jerusalem who trust and to put our lives in Jesus’ hands.

(c) 2018 Eunice Cheshire
HeartPaths Core Faculty
Spiritual Director and Supervisor