An Offering from Rosemary: Rest For My Soul

April 12, 2015
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“Wonderful, merciful Savior, precious Redeemer and Friend; who would have thought that a Lamb could rescue the souls of men”.

CA_2nd_08_064_ChrchMtn

This song by Selah resonate within me as I reflect on this Easter season.  An Easter season that found me caught up in the busyness of life.   A short trip, a work project and family matters took my time and attention and left me depleted and in need of rescue.

When I did find quiet moments, I found my Merciful Savior and Friend waiting with open arms.   As I sit beholding Him, the cares and concerns of the world drop away and I am “reset” by his loving embrace.

I wonder…”Why am I so quick to forget the healing and hope found there”?

The Easter season brings the hope of renewal.  Renewal available to me each new morning from the Lamb who rescues my soul and gives me His rest.  O Lord remind me again, to come….. “In the morning I will lift my voice, in the morning I will lift my prayer to you and eagerly wait”.  Wait for my Redeemer to renew me again.

(c) 2015 Rosemary Conoley

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An offering from Nancy Kate: Death allows some amazing reunions…

April 11, 2015
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He is risen… Easter LilyHe has conquered death for all… I still wait to know what all this means, but I get pieces of the meaning from time to time. Recently I got news of a friend’s death, and very soon I was talking with another friend about how death allows some amazing reunions. Like when my mother died. “Now she’s with Daddy and our brother.” And we all counted on that reunion being one without hidden agendas, without old grudges, without any of the secret things that get in the way of perfect reunions. Because of Jesus, death brings together more than it separates. I like this story.

(c) 2015 Nancy Kate Dunkerley

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An offering from Brian: Christ is risen!

April 10, 2015
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He is risen, indeed!

He is risen, indeed!jesus mafa stone rolled away

‘Christ is risen’ is a spiritual truth in my life, not because of any archaeological proof from a tomb in ancient Israel, but because when life seems to cave in, Christ’s light leads the way to new life!  I often wish that the path to new life did not have to include the way of sorrow or suffering, but it seems that it does.  The cross of death and the empty tomb of new life go together.  A seed has to die and fall in the ground, Jesus says.  All I can say is that whenever it feels like I am at the end, God makes a way. So I am a walking witness that Christ is risen; he is risen, indeed!

I invite you to pray over Matthew 28:1-7 today.

(c) 2015 The Rev. Brian Hardesty-Crouch

Director, HeartPaths DFW

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An offering from Lil: Resurrection is here and now…

April 8, 2015
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He is risen.  Christ conquers death again and again.  It is not a thing of the past.  It is the here and now.  It is the promise of a new world where the lion lies down with the lamb in peace. edward_hicks-peaceablekingdom

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust we are transformed by the Living Christ.

We are recreated by the Holy into new life.  But going back to the beginning of this journey, to Ash Wednesday, we have to know we are dust and be dust for this to happen.  Otherwise, our need to create our own identity will prevail.

May you carry the image of dust with you all year knowing the Living Christ is always transforming you and the world.

He is risen, indeed!

(c) 2015 The Rev. Lil Smith

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An offering from Diana: Early on Sunday Morning

April 7, 2015
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This season as I read the familiar accounts of the resurrection, my attention was drawn to the phrase, “Early on Sunday morning…” in each gospel.   I recalled a very special early morning many years ago when I understood the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection for the first time. Jesus did not appear to me as he did for Mary Magdalene that morning of his resurrection, but I am sure I was just as amazed and forever changed. It was a time when I was wrestling with some important questions about life and faith. I was staying at a house in the desert and woke up just as the sun was coming up over the hills. It was the most glorious sunrise I had ever seen. I felt a peace and a presence at the moment and a complete assurance of Jesus’ love.river sunrise

There is something about Jesus’ resurrection taking place early in the morning that is more than just a coincidence or a convenient moment.   The word “morning” in scripture seems to hold a particular significance. In Mark 1:35, we read that Jesus himself rose early in the morning to pray. A few other beautiful and encouraging verses:

His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning.  Lamentations 3:23

 Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning.  Psalms 30:5

 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.  Psalms 143:8

 Morning by morning he awakens me and opens my understanding to his will.  Isaiah 50:4

I am not a morning person, but in the stillness of the early morning, I sense those new mercies, the gift of joy can be found once again, I am filled with hope for the new day. Jesus waits for us each morning to give us a fresh, new vision for the day ahead as well as for our lives. His resurrection power continues. He is risen indeed!

 

(c) 2015 Diana Beaudry

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An offering from Eunice: This is the day the Lord has made!

April 6, 2015
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This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!  Psalm 118:24

The light coming from the empty tomb is for me a symbol of new life, the resurrected life, hope and joy. DSCN0771Today I want to forget problems, disappointment and worries – personal and national. I even want to put aside the ongoing “to do’ list and focus on joy. It is easy for me to see what is missing, what is undone instead of seeing my cup is more than half full. And yet as I reflect, I am aware that my real life experience is one that supports trust, positive outlooks and gratitude. Most of the negatives that I’ve seen as possible never happened. So this week I pray to keep my attention on the light of hope and joy.

(c) 2015 Eunice Cheshire

HeartPaths Faculty

Spiritual Director

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An offering from Lil: You shall be my people, and I will be your God

April 4, 2015
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Holy Saturday Ezekiel 36:24-28

24 I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. 28 Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

I hear your promises, O Holy One.

But I do not see them.holy-saturday

The stillness of death brushes my cheek.

The smell of death encircles me.

The taste of death is bitter.

Help me let go those parts of me that need to die.

Prepare my eyes to see the hope of the one who returns the sweetness to the world.

Prepare my ears to hear the timpani of new life.

Prepare my broken heart to be flooded with joy as the stone falls away.

I can wait, one more day.

For the promise of You gives me strength.

 

(c) 2015 The Rev. Lil Smith

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An offering from Amy: From the desert to the garden

April 3, 2015
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Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “whom are you looking for?” They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I am he…for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my name.”

John 18: 4-6a, 37

As my Lenten season jumps from the desert to the garden, Jesus’ boldness in declaring, “I am he,” piercesImage my soul. In this very moment, when he could run away in fear and self-preservation, he knew who and what he was about. In the desert he wrestled with and discovered his unity with God, reconciling his testimony to the truth with the mission that was expected of him by those who did not yet understand the presence of the kingdom of God. From the desert to the garden, when the moment of choice came, he couldn’t not be who God called him to be.

How often do I run away from declaring, “I am she” who loves the Lord, for the sake of my self-preservation? How often do I choose to protect my life of pride, my possessions, over living in unity with mercy and truth?

Let my selfish ambitions die that the full awareness of God’s love may flow throughout my life so that I can’t not declare, “I am she.” One day at a time.

(c) 2015 Amy Moore

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An offering from Therese: As He has loved us…

April 2, 2015
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John 13:34-35 (Contemporary English Version)

“… I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.”

 

Whenever I read the scripture above and apply it to my life, I shake my head in amazement. On the nightSimon_ushakov_last_supper_1685 before his execution, Jesus commands us to love one another as he has loved us. Are you kidding me??? How in the world can we love other people as fully and as unconditionally and as generously as Jesus loves? It seems like an impossible task. Not only that – he says that it is his command to us, not his suggestion or wish or hope for us. He commands us. I am daunted by this assignment and feel completely ill-equipped. The standard that he sets seems too high for me to ever reach. I am so intimidated that my impulse is to give up without even trying. (Probably not the response Jesus has in mind for me…)

As I continue to sit with this scripture, however, I hear Jesus’ gentle reminder that his capacity to love came from a lifetime surrendered to his Abba, living as the pure expression of divine love that was the hallmark of his ministry. The standard that he sets for me in the above scripture is not to love others perfectly, but rather to love others as fully as I am able to do in the midst of my own imperfect life. And also to be willing to allow Jesus’ perfect love to flow through me when I know that my own love is not enough.

Jesus commands us to keep choosing love, no matter what. And to allow that loving to continually transform us into his likeness, choice by choice. That I can do.

(c) 2015 Therese Adamiec

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