Good morning, Mni-Women, and happy FRIDAY! Have I mentioned lately how much I love all of you and how proud I am of you? You're being so honest with your comments and it seems like you're growing not only in your understanding of what Jesus is about, but in actually putting that into practice. We're living a life with God, aren't we? What's not to love about that?
So shall we continue the journey?
Well, that's the thing. We don't seem to be going anywhere right now. This was supposed to be a road trip, but we're still hanging out with Jesus in Galilee. Some of us (you?) are starting to get restless to be on our way again. Others (you?) are becoming really comfy in this little house we're staying in and are thinking we might want to stay here.
Nobody asks Jesus when we're going to hit the road, though, because we do know one thing: he's in charge of this trip and he knows when to go and when to stay. And apparently we're staying for a little while longer.
He gathers us together again, this time on the porch of the little house. We all find a comfortable place to sit (there are hammocks and lounge chairs and cushions for the deck -- what will you choose?) so we can listen. But when Jesus starts talking, only our bodies are comfortable. Our minds -- not so much.
"All right, Mini-Women," he says, "If your hand or your foot gets in the way of God, chop it off and throw it away."
Some of us (you?) even say that out loud. Jesus smiles in that way he has that lets us know he loves us even if we don't get it right away.
"I'm using hyperbole," he says. "Anybody know --"
One of us (you?) waves a hand and says, "I do! It means you're exaggerating."
"To make a point," Jesus says. "And what do you think that point is? When I say 'If your eye distracts you from God, pull it out and throw it away,' what do you think I mean?'"
That's hard to answer right away because we're all thinking about how hard it would be to walk around with one eye socket empty.
Finally someone says, (maybe this is you?), "Does it mean get rid of anything in your life that gets between you and God?"
"Exactly," Jesus says. "And what do you think that might be?"
The porch gets quiet, that kind of deep silence that happens when people are searching themselves. What are YOU thinking? Maybe something like:
* a friend who uses bad language and puts that in your head so you're tempted to say ugly stuff too
* a TV show that shows kids being all disrespectful and snarky and makes you want to try that out with your parents
* a video game that you play for hours when you could be doing healthier things with some of those hours
* the commercials and catalogs that make you want ALL the things
* the coach or activity teacher who constantly puts you down until you feel like a total loser
* the all-the-time focus on your hair and your skin and your thinness (or NOT thinness) and your fingernails so you'll fit in or feel like you're all that (or even just okay)
Slowly, and timidly at first, we speak up about those things that get between us and a wonderful life with God. God is always with us, of course, Jesus reassures us, but why not know that WE are with GOD. That's the way to know how to live. That's the way to be loving to other people. That's the way to have inside joy even when bad things happen on the outside.
When we've all shared (though some of share with Jesus silently because we're still shy -- you maybe?) Jesus hikes himself up onto the porch railing and swings his legs and says, "Now, my Mini-Women, what will you do about that? How will you 'chop that off?' How will you 'pull it out?' How will you 'throw it away?'"
He tells us to really give it some thought, maybe write about it in our Talking To God Journals, before we share with each other in our comments . This is big stuff, he says. Stuff we need to begin to do before we continue on this journey, where we'll have to be focused on God.
"I warn you," he says, "giving up what you have to in order to know you're close to God may feel a little bit like chopping off your hand or plucking out your eye, at least on the inside. But remember that I'm here with you. If it's tough, come to me.(you?) If you think you can't do it, (you?) climb into my lap like little Maeryn. If you don't WANT to do it (you?) we can talk about that too. You don't have to do this alone."
So we all find places in the house and yard. Some of us journal. Some of us find Jesus and talk to him some more. Then slowly, one by one, we share in our comments. And as we see/hear what our fellow travelers say, we're comforted somehow. It's all out there where Jesus can heal it.
And we know we're not alone.