The Prince of Peace and Our So-called Rightshttps://eirenicole.com/wp-content/uploads/Prince-of-Peace-and-Rights-scaled.jpg25601707NicoleNicolehttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/59c708336b44c55aa93e8059ae098e96?s=96&d=monsterid&r=pg
We just happen to be taking three days’ vacation in Glenwood Springs right now, but our two adult kids are home. The parking lot behind Lakewood’s Hyatt House is the Target pick-up location wherein we can be found far more frequently than I care to admit. It is a weighty thought experiment: that instead of delaying our Target pickup order until today, my daughter went Monday afternoon as she intended, and the shooter decided to turn his gun southward rather than northwesterly. Of course, this did not happen. I thank God that it didn’t. Yet, this kind of musing always forces me to meditate on what it is, exactly, that I believe about God’s direct providence. God wasn’t any less present at the Sol Tribe or Lucky 13 Tattoo Parlors than any other location along the shooter’s route, including the Target pickup lot. And that is precisely it, isn’t it—that God is present whenever and wherever we gather breath. And it is here that by pondering the what-ifs we gather also a sense of being present in the drama, present to the reality, entering the reality of the dead and their loved-ones. And participation in that space-time, in the spirit-to-Spirit-to-spirit communion of prayer then becomes actionable: Intercession. Powerful. Provident. Perennial.
It is also in this eternal space that all that divides us, the politicized or guilt-producing or straight up selfish, hateful attitudes have the potential to be suspended….
Just, Pleased With Mehttps://eirenicole.com/wp-content/uploads/JP1.jpg20501920NicoleNicolehttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/59c708336b44c55aa93e8059ae098e96?s=96&d=monsterid&r=pg
One of our basest, barest needs is that those whom we respect, whose gaze it matters to be subject of, are pleased with us. Not disappointed in us. Approve of us.
We go to great lengths to maintain some sort of control over the good-grace exchange, most of us caving to lying – to ourselves or to those to whom we give that power. Just to be found worthy of notice.
Am I worthy of your notice? Are you pleased with me? It matters to me.
Why is it, then, that it is so easy to dismiss another person as not worthy of my trust, or attention, even, merely because of his appearance or in which part of town she lives in? When we know how much it matters to us that others are pleased to be in our company, do we withhold?
Our God gives us our very breath, spirit, and calls us in righteousness! already righteous! and instead of declaring that God now owns us, says, “I am giving you to each other.” For what? To be a light, a beacon of God’s goodness, to open the eyes that do not yet recognize God, to release the prisoners…
God is pleased with us, and desires only that when we accept that unfathomable grace, we shine that grace onto everyone else. Everyone.
The God who created a teenaged young woman became a couple of cells that divided and divided again inside her uterus, grew into an itty bitty of a newborn, utterly dependent on this faithful child-woman. Jesus went to hell and back again so that everything was covered by God’s unfathomable Love and Grace. Then remained in Spirit to, again, dwell in each of us, as we dwell in God.
If Jesus has appeared to you – if you’ve experienced the consolations of Christ, the reality of God – you are called, actually it says “commanded” to testify to God’s forgiveness and grace, and to do so to everyone “without partiality.” How that looks – to testify of God’s goodness – will be different for each of us.
This is what we testify to: that God is well pleased with Jesus, the Beloved child – and because we are created by this God through this same, God is well pleased with me! And not because I am a descendent of David a citizen of Israel. Not because I’m a white American and somehow cornered the market on privileged status by accident of birth.
The heart of the matter: when we don’t recognize God’s image in everyone, consider some people less worthy of our attention (whether out of fear or disgust or apathy), we are racist – we categorize that person as a race other than human. Because there is only human.
So I challenge you to become learners. Not just of things you find interesting, or with which you are comfortable. But find authors and artists, listen to music, read histories that are produced by people of color.
I propose a mindfulness spiritual practice: Mindfulness of difference. Don’t ignore discomfort and distractions. First, notice. See it for what it is. Hold it and view it from different perspectives (what feelings am I having? Why such a strong reaction? What makes me fearful of it? Where is Jesus in this? etc.) And then, let it go. Again. See beauty in it. Breathe.
Baptism is a testimony that we have eternal life. That is, we have this fullness of life now. All of us do. So what is preventing us from living like this is true? Are we making God out to be a liar by giving into prejudices instead of living into the testimony that God’s love and life are for all people?
This is why we remember our baptism.
God is just and calls us to righteousness. And God is just pleased with me, and with you. Let us take these branches as a reminder to be learners, to practice mindfulness of difference, and allow the hand of God to lead us where justice and righteousness is ready to be made.
Fourth Sunday of Lent – Celebrate!NicoleNicolehttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/59c708336b44c55aa93e8059ae098e96?s=96&d=monsterid&r=pg
“All Things Right” ~But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. [Amos5:24] by, Nicole S Oliver SnyderI #celebrate the creative germ. How might I nourish the creative seed at my core today? #makeallthingsright #justiceandrighteousness Making All Things Right Minutest of the infinitesimal In gravity’s faint force, perceived, Yet bears…
Lenten Prayer Practice – Day Twenty-Sixhttps://eirenicole.com/wp-content/themes/crocal/images/empty/thumbnail.jpg150150NicoleNicolehttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/59c708336b44c55aa93e8059ae098e96?s=96&d=monsterid&r=pg
From where do I muster even the #will to do and be God’s good? Phl2.13 #dojustlyforgoodnesssake Holy Trinity, center me now that I may notice Your creative intention, nest in the broad, safe space of Your presence, and intentionally nurture another with the same. What word or phrase do I notice on which I may…
Lenten Prayer Practice – Day FifteenNicoleNicolehttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/59c708336b44c55aa93e8059ae098e96?s=96&d=monsterid&r=pg
About what do I need to #speak up? #courage #beavoiceforgoodnesssake Holy Trinity, center me now that I may notice Your creative intention, nest in the broad, safe space of Your presence, and intentionally nurture another with the same. What word or phrase do I notice on which I may center: Matt 17:1-5 Six days later,…
Love, the High Road of Justicehttps://eirenicole.com/wp-content/themes/crocal/images/empty/thumbnail.jpg150150NicoleNicolehttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/59c708336b44c55aa93e8059ae098e96?s=96&d=monsterid&r=pg
#Love is the key. #mlk #opendoors #rethingreality #ccu PC: Greer Snyder As I consider the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., I am reminded that prophets throughout history stand outside of time because they stand in a reality that is timeless: love. A love that is concerned for the well-being of all peoples. A love…
Yesterday, our family went to see Rogue One. We found it to be great storytelling and very well done. Perhaps better than last year’s major production. Generally, though, [spoiler alert!] I do not enjoy movies in which every character dies—especially, when I am not prepared for this outcome. Of course, I understood it to be…