#Snacks

Resolved to Build the Kingdom

At this time every year, I watch the “I Have a Dream” speech given by Martin Luther King at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963.  In fewer than 18 minutes Dr. King explains how the quest for justice and equality should always be sought, will always be worth pursuing and must never be gotten through violent means. Today when I watched it I realized how far we have come on some issues while how little has progressed on others. In this beautiful and fallen world, I am burdened by how grueling it is trying to create a just and peaceful society while witnessing how little energy it takes to tear down the good and spread fear, anger, and hate. Like Dr. King, I seek to establish Christ’s Kingdom of God here on Earth.  When I live in Christ’s life of abundance instead of my natural inclination towards fear and scarcity, this Eden is easy to pursue. I resolve that, with God’s help, I will daily renew my efforts to do my part to promote peace and justice.

by Andrew

He Had Resolution

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Day. Our theme for reflections in January is “resolutions” as we undertake the seemingly timeless tradition of “New Year/New Beginnings.” Since the word “resolution” is so common to our vocabulary this time of year, I thought I’d take a deeper look into its definition. I pulled up my trusty Microsoft Thesaurus and in reading over the list of synonyms I realized that the Reverend Martin Luther King embodied many of attributes of what to “resolve” or to make a “resolution” is: determination, steadfastness, tenacity, perseverance, resolve, promise, pledge or oath. These are all very appropriate descriptions of a man who changed the face of a nation by becoming the leader that was so desperately needed for a struggling sector of our population. “Resolution” can also be a “solution” or an “answer” and in many ways, he was just that in the tumultuous era of the ‘60’s fight for Civil Rights.

by JAM

Growing Pains

For years I had avoided purchasing a “smartphone.”  Not because I am a luddite, but in hopes of preserving an old-fashioned kind of privacy; the solitude that comes from being occasionally unavailable. Finally, younger heads prevailed (my adult children) and I was dragged into the twenty-first century.  Now I can text and skype and email with abandon like a normal human being. Also, I can check the latest political news. This is a problem. I am a complete political junky. Yesterday morning I resolved I will spend less time checking on my favorite political nemesis and more time contemplating the astounding grace that is offered to us in every blade of grass, every shaft of moonlight, every fellow human that we encounter on our journey.  Yesterday afternoon several family members and I visited an ancient sycamore tree growing near Aliso Creek. A bronze placard states that the tree is 500 years old. Awe-inspiring! We came home to the latest news from Washington. My resolution will not be easy.

by Nathaniel

Resolved to Pray

I made only one New Year’s resolution this year, to explore different ways to pray. My writing will encompass that exploration this month. With that in mind, I want to share  an acronym for prayer given in a homily recently.

ATRIP:  stands for:

A = Adoration: Start your prayer with Love for the Lord. Praise Him.

T = Thanksgiving: Whatever, in the moment, you are thankful for, share it with God.

R = Repentance: Asking forgiveness for unloving acts or thoughts against yourself, God, or others.

I = Intercessory Prayer: Pray for our world and those you know who need God’s help.

P = Petition: Lift up your own concerns, dreams, and desires to the Lord,

What I like about this kind of structure is that it gives me a framework in which to focus my prayer. Praying this way gives voice to loving God, gratitude, forgiveness of my own failings, the needs of my friends, family and the world, as well as my own concerns. I feel more at peace, hopeful, and complete when I use ATRIP for my prayer format.

by Gracie

 

 

Not Putting Away Christmas

I walk around my home this week after Epiphany and say to myself “Well, time to put away Christmas.” I pause and think, no I am never putting away Christmas. Maybe physically, take down the lights, tuck away the Nativity set and pack up all the decorations. But the true meaning of Christmas, that God chose to send his son into my life and your life, will never be packed up, taken down or tucked away except into a special place in my heart. This New Year will bring us a challenge once again to bring the light and love of Christmas into each and every day.  Can we add this resolution, to be receptive to encounter everyday epiphanies and see the sacred in everything? That will truly be a gift for 2018!  “Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” John Milton

by Cathy

Yelling For Joy

When I was young, I use to go off into the woods near where I lived and yell to my delight just because I could. There were ninety acres of redwoods and not a soul around.  My yells would sometimes echo back to me so I felt I was not alone.  I sometimes thought it was God talking back to me. This is something I would never do now, given the proximity of neighbors and feeling somewhat reserved about a grateful yell.  There was something freeing about a good ol’ yell out loud.  I felt release, merriment, and gratefulness all at the same time; a sacred space, of sorts, to hear my own voice when I felt I did not have one.  I have discovered my voice, yet again in a different light, in my adult years and that same feeling of delight and gratefulness overcomes me.  I resolve this year to continue to yell out my joy and share it with others.

by Liz

 

Another Epiphany

On Epiphany, we attended a wedding. This wedding had a deep, penetrating feel to it.  Most weddings do. But this one was different. This one had lemonade and sweet tea. It had tattoos and vaporizers. Most of the guests shared a bond of accomplishment and a sorrow for those not present. The bride and groom were proclaiming victory over evil. The best man gave a one wedding at a time toast. The judge left quietly out the back door, his judgment not needed anymore. It seems every life has some pain in it, every life challenges. Down deep were all the same. We all need each other. We all need some support. Our epiphany comes with the morning sunrise. It comes with the touch of a loved one. Every day of our glorious life, through the pain, comes a new start. It’s humbling to know that we’re all a part of something much bigger, much deeper than just breathe in and breathe out. Together we can ease the pain and pave a new day.

by Diego

Resolved to Live the Gospel

It seems like there has been a dearth of genuine Christian witness out in our cities. I’m not talking about street corner Bible thumpers condemning the “unsaved” or even other less bullying evangelization tactics.  I’m looking for the Jesus of the Bible showing up on the streets, in the offices, warehouses, docks, alleys, and byways of my daily life.  My heart seeks the breathing gospel that our beloved St. Francis speaks of; the unspoken one preached by loving action and kindness. As a man on the other side of middle age, I can’t say that I have always been a beacon of God’s grace and mercy.  I have faltered and been enticed by the glitter and shimmer of this world’s empty promises. I pray that God may take the ignoble parts of me, and in his perfect economy, allow me to preach His gospel quietly, with humor, kindness and humble wisdom.

by Andrew