Faith in Daily Life

  • A Personal God

    blogpic.GodsgraceispersonalI was told a wonderful story by Dave, an attendee of a funeral at church the week before Christmas. We had just heard the same passage from John 14 that was read at his own mother’s funeral. At her service when Dave heard the verse, “in my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” his heart fluttered and he wondered why. Later that week, they had cleaned out his mother’s belongings and she had a box with a Bible verse for each day. “My wife and I were miserable,” Dave said. “We were drunk all the time and our life was terrible. I asked her to open the box and read one of the cards; guess which one it was? ‘In my Father’s house are many mansions!’ I thought maybe God was trying to tell me something. I started listening to sermon tapes in the car, and I realized God wanted to have a relationship with me. So, I got sober and it changed my life.”

    How is God personally communicating and reaching out to you? In the flurry of making (or avoiding) New Year’s resolutions, I wonder how our life would change if we simply paid attention to how God is showing up in our daily life—a resolution to slow down and ponder rather than to try harder to whip ourselves into shape. Jesuit priest, Fr. James Martinsaid God met him while he was watching PBS after terrible day. In an interview with Krista Tippett he said, “And that’s where God met me. Because that’s where I was.” In his novel, The Abbey, Fr. Martin writes, “In one person God might work through a close relationship, in another through a book, in another through prayer, in others through music, nature, dance, children, coworkers or art.”

    God meets us personally, where we are. My prayer for 2017 is that like Dave and Fr. Martin, I will have the eyes to notice and the heart open to being changed.

  • Cheryl's Holy Communion

    blogpic cheesepuffsRecently I went to visit Cheryl, who lives in a nursing home. She’s had a hard life and is much younger than most of the residents. On this particular day, Cheryl blessed me with wisdom I will never forget.

    We sat on her bed and I opened my portable “lunchbox” Holy Communion set so we could share in the Lord’s Supper. Cheryl had just gotten back from a group trip to Wal-Mart and was well stocked with two of her favorite items: Diet Dr. Pepper and cheese puffs. As I began to set up Communion, I realized I had forgotten to re-stock the kit; I had plenty of grape juice, but was completely out of Communion wafers. I asked Cheryl if she had any crackers or bread we could use instead. She reached for a bag and asked, “Can we use cheese puffs?” Why not? I thought; the wafer and juice become holy through the presence of the risen Jesus, not the elements themselves. Cheryl put two cheese puffs on the little plate, and then she said, “This will make all of the other cheese puffs I eat even more meaningful!”

    And meaningful it was—because she really captured the true essence of our “holy communion.” It’s not just that this particular meal made from grains and grapes is a Sacrament when joined with Jesus’ promise and his command to share it; the real point is that every morsel of food we eat is replete with the presence of God who created it, Jesus who redeems it, and the Spirit who dwells within it. Cheese puffs helped Cheryl make the connection from the Communion table to every table in a way that a Styrofoam-like wafer with a sip of juice may not. The next time I came for a visit, she asked if we could use Diet Dr. Pepper, so we did. Talk about being fed.

    [Written with permission from Cheryl]

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