45 minutes to spare?

Philip Yancey has been a favorite author of mine for some time. I just love his spirituality – no judgment – he seems to have some special insights about God, albeit most times admitting that God is beyond our understanding.  I had the opportunity to hear him speak when he came to a nearby church a few weeks ago. He spoke about Newtown, pain, suffering, loss, and ‘where is God when is hurts’,  and many of the parents and first responders were there because Sandy Hook is just a few miles away.

I was thrilled to see that the church put his talks online.  If you have about 45 minutes, please watch this – you won’t regret it!

http://www.walnuthillcc.org/home/news/0000/00-00/missed-philip-yancey

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And a Little Child Shall Lead Them…

Some 2012 years ago a Child was born into the world and nothing was the same.  This little Child, born in secret, changed the world forever.  However you ‘define’ Him, no one can deny the impact that He had and continues to have.  Love has that effect, love transforms, love changes, nothing is ever the same after you have been loved.  So, of course everything changed when LOVE entered our world.

If only we could realize the power that we have.  Our gift of free will allows us to make a choice.  We can choose to walk towards that LOVE, or we can walk away into the darkness.  We make the choice.

The horrendous events in Sandy Hook are too painful for us to process.  I pray for those who do not embrace faith, because it is only in faith can we begin to feel any sort of peace or solace.  We remember the children, just as we remember the CHILD.

Let these little children lead us this Christmas…..may they bring us back to the TRUTH of Christmas…..may they bring us back to another CHILD born long ago on a dark night.  Of all the gifts you receive this Christmas, cherish the gift of your free will and choose LOVE.
Playing Child Church Bulletin Cover

Some lessons learned….

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Some lessons learned from the Sandy Hook Tragedy:

Life is short….never walk away without a smile or an “I love you”

Many people are suffering….do your best to offer a word of compassion, an expression of encouragement or simply an ear to listen

Never, ever leave God out of any circumstance, good or bad

Learn from the children…they always have something important to teach

Be gentle with yourself…so that you can be gentle with others

Leave the judgment to God for it is only God who can read hearts

Always trust that there is a bigger picture, a larger plan, a real purpose

Live the journey but keep the destination in your heart

Walk alongside others whenever you can…so that you both

have someone to lean on

Remember that we are ALL children….and, remember

WHO OUR ABBA IS….

Sadness in Sandy Hook

885I haven’t been posting lately…..this blog is both a blessing and sometimes, if I am honest, a burden.  I don’t even know if anyone is following anymore, but I felt the urge to write tonight because maybe it will help me to process this terrible tragedy that occurred just a few miles from my own home.

The last time I saw the field that the news crews are occupying 24 hours a day was when I was sitting on the sidelines watching my son play soccer there.  The last time I was in Newtown was to buy a delicious cake at a small market there in the center of town.  The last time I was at St. Rose Church was to visit my friend who works in the religious ed. office.  The last time I was in Sandy Hook was to dine at a quaint little restaurant there.  And….the last time I saw a second grade student who attends Sandy Hook Elementary School was this past Sunday when her mom told me that she really isn’t talking much, but has drawn some pictures of guns.

Yesterday I had to teach about 160 students in grades 4-6 and then about 60 8th graders later in the evening.  At first I thought that I wouldn’t address any of this, being conscious of the fact that each family deals with their children in their own way.  But then, I thought…..let the children speak….where other than Church should this be discussed?  I told my catechists that if it came up in the classroom to keep it brief, discuss free will and always bring it back to the faith.  We have no answers, never will in this lifetime, but as a community of love and faith, we can find some comfort and solace in the Lord who is in the midst of it all.

The younger ones didn’t want to really speak about it…..at the end of the classes we formed a large circle of ‘love’ and said a prayer to send to our friends in the next town over.  The 8th graders wanted to talk a bit more.  We discussed our own responsibilities and that in every action there is a choice – a choice to build up or to tear down.  Not one of our students asked why ‘God did this’ – I pray it is because they understand and trust that God doesn’t do this, I’d like to think it is!

So, where do we go from here?  Our Youth Minister who lives in Sandy Hook asked me today, “Don’t you think that this is being covered just a little bit differently than the other tragedies?  Don’t you think that there is more talk of faith?”  Oh, I pray that there is…..Jesus said, ‘Let the little children lead…’  Maybe we can let these children lead us back to our core, to the only thing that makes any sense in the midst of this horrific event.  We are the children of a great and loving God, a God who suffers with us, a God who is present to us, with us and in us.  A God who came to this earth out of this unconditional love so that we can be united in every way. A God who shares our grief, compassion, our tears and our  sorrow.

We know…..we read it in Scripture…….”Jesus Wept”