Lent 2015 … Day 21 … Being in the ‘mood’ for God

woman stressedThe person that we see standing or sitting in front of us, holds a myriad of experiences and feelings, however when we look at someone we can only judge how they are feeling by what they present to us.

The mind can play tricks on us, it controls our thoughts and processes, and some people even can hear voices. It can control our behaviour, our emotions, our relationships and yes even our faith.

It’s easy to think of a God who is loving, accepting and caring when we are receptive, yet how do we respond when we are not receptive, when we are gripped in the spiral of depression, stress, or anxiety?

As people, we are social beings, and whether we like it or not, how or what people think about us, can affect our behaviour. For example, if we are constantly being told “you look tired”, you will eventually start to feel tired, whether you are or not.

How we feel about ourselves, can directly affect our relationships with other people and also with God. How often have we said to ourselves” I am not in the mood for ‘them’ today” . Is it the ‘mood’, or is it the person?

Depending on how we feel, this can also depend on whether we are in the mood for God. Many people say that their faith is their Rock and a sturdy foundation, however what happens we feel that our faith is on shifting sands and we sense that instead of a sturdy foundation we are standing on precarious rocks?

For people who are stressed , anxious or depressed, Faith can be a source of anxiety for they feel they have to be in the mood for God, yet the revelation is that is does not matter to God if we are not in the mood for a one-to-one chat with Him, God is always ready and willing to love us …as we are , even if it means we are not in the mood for God.

Believing in God does not mean that we will have a trouble-free life or that we will not succumb to stress in our lives. It simply means that a life without faith and without a God of Love makes coping with stress an impossible and often debilitating task.

God ,

Help me

When I feel alone

When I feel sad,

When I feel anxious

When I feel afraid

Send your peace

A peace that is truly beyond my understanding

And lift my sadness and replace with hope

Amen

RD

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The fragrance of memory

Over the last few days I have undertaken pastoral visits for funerals.

I have always found it a privilege to conduct funerals, and on a visit, I always ask what memories they would like to share with me about the person who has died; about the character , personality and sense of humour. Sometimes we end up laughing, sometimes they are painful and tears come, and sometimes the memories can bring a warmth to the room as they talk fondly and lovingly about them.

Memories are like a scent, a fragrance, we encounter a fleeting smell, that ignites a memory, then it can be over as quickly as it came…… Yet it leaves a lingering aroma.

scenttriggersmemory1

Memories can lock us into a time a place.

The people who encounter Jesus, would have shared memories, about his character, his voice, his eyes, his touch and even his conversation.

We tend to forget that the gospel stories only give us a glimpse of Jesus. The Bible has only recorded accounts that the writers felt served a purpose to describe the nature and purpose of Jesus ministry, yet those memories still linger on, because those same Bible stories still speak to us today, for example, the story of the God Samaritan , the woman at the well , the Easter stories.

Memories are like fragrances, they can be heavy and oppressive, and also light and suble.

As we recall memories of situations and people, some painful and others joyous, may we be mindful that Jesus was also present, that memories enrich who we are , memories have shaped our sense of identity , memories have left a mark on life itself.

They can come anytime Lord,

they bring me to laughter or tears.

I can be washing up plates at the sink,

or looking at a beautiful view,

then my mind floods with pictures dancing in my mind.

Memories can be breathing spaces

where I can rest and remember

they can sustain me in my hour of despair

and bring a light into my life

Occasionally memories are painful

buried deep within many layers of my psyche

too frightened to come out of the darkness

Jesus and the disciples had many memories,

like me…… some painful and others joyful.

Lord whatever memories I may raise,

may I know that you are with me,

in my hurtful or joyful moments,

Holding me tenderly,

like a mother comforts a child

Amen

Baptism …Affirmation or acceptance?

It seems to me that when we think about our baptism, not many people can remember it or even celebrate it , particularly if one had a infant baptism. I have been  fortunate as I had an adult baptism in my 30’s, and can remember every moment of it, even down to my 10 year old daughter holding my towel for me as I emerged soaked from the baptistery. .

Does baptism affirm or accept us … I think its the latter. Social media has lots of ‘like’ buttons  ‘heart’ buttons and ‘follow’ buttons. We can connect to the world in very new and exciting ways, and enable us to be part of  community of people, who do not ‘know us’, yet the more likes, views  or followers we have, affirm our status in that network , however our inner selves can still feel lonely and rejected.

Acceptance is a gift that God gives us

. it means ‘i accept and you .. warts and all’

it means ‘i accept you even if you can accept yourself’

It means ‘I accept and love you just the way you are’

for you are wonderful in my sight.

PRAYER

May the blessing of God be yours.

May the Blessing of Jesus be yours.

May the blessing of the Spirit be yours.

    By this blessing, we are loved and beloved by God

    By this blessing, we are affirmed and accepted by God

    By this blessing, we live in the knowledge that God is         

     Around us and within us,

     from this time forth and evermore. Amen 

    © Ruth Dillon 2015