Friday, July 29, 2016

Someone who looks like me

I have grown up with white males holding places of leadership in my life as politicians, doctors, lawyers, professors, managers and priests.

I had two female managers in my first Accounting position when I was 26 years old. They saw my potential and provided me with encouragement and challenging projects to help me learn and grow in my field. During my tenure with them my husband and I had our first baby. I had a hard time getting back to work and one of the women mangers noticed it. She asked to speak with me in her office and shared her story of her return to work after having her son. She helped me develop a different perspective than I was holding. I cherish that time because I have not had female managers since. And my experience has been very different in that I do not feel the support and encouragement that they provided.

As women became doctors I shifted from the male doctors I had been seeing to female doctors. It is refreshing to talk with someone who knows what it is like to live as a female.

And last year I attended mass at St. John the Divine Cathedral in NYC where I experienced women priests serving mass and delivering the sermon. I never thought it was possible for a woman to become a priest. Her perspective shared through her sermon resonated with me in a way I had yet experienced. I found a local church with a woman priest. Being able to see someone who looks like me represent Christ is very joyful and elevates my worship.

We made a significant shift in history last night by nominating the first women as a candidate for the US presidency. She is very qualified for the position. And I am confident that she will do a great job for this country. Because she has to work even harder than any male president in order to prove to us that a qualified woman can run this country just as well as a qualified man.

I can imagine that it must be hard maybe even frightening for white males to adjust to the fact that they may have to share more of the leadership positions with someone who does not look like them. How can a woman possibly understand what is like to be a man?  They may be thinking that they have only experienced, like me, white males in positions of leadership. They may see Trump and Pence as a way to keep the status quo and keep someone who looks like them front and center. Anything else just doesn’t look or feel right. 

It has been eight years since we had a white male in the White House. It must be tiring for white males to live this way and they must be eager for it to end.

And the thought of another four years of not only not seeing a white male but a female must be very hard to comprehend and just can’t be because of the need to see someone who looks like me.

Now that I have experienced females in leadership positions, I too want to see someone who looks like me in the White House. And I hope more women will work to become leaders in all areas of our lives so that it becomes just as normal as is was for so many years of seeing white males.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Promote the dignity and freedom of every person

A sermon preached by the Rev. Beth Rauen Sciaino
at St. Bernard's Episcopal Church in Bernardsville, NJ,
on the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, June 19, 2016

Scripture: Galatians 3:23-29
Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.

Luke 8:26-39
Jesus and his disciples arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me" -- for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?" He said, "Legion"; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.
 
Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
 
When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you." So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
+++++++  
We hear this anointing story in all four of our gospels. This story of the woman anointing Jesus's feet or his head. In Mark and Matthew, the woman - a stranger or disciple? - anoints Jesus' head in a prophetic action. She anoints Jesus, the Messiah, which itself means the anointed one. In the other three gospels, this story is placed shortly before Jesus' execution. Jesus frames the woman's gift as a service, preparation for burial. In Luke, we find the story earlier in the gospels, linked to the parable about two debtors. Luke's choices about context emphasize the theme of hospitality. In Luke's version, Simon, a Pharisee has invited Jesus to dinner. Is Simon hostile, sympathetic, intrigued? We don't know.
 
When I first read the gospel for today I didn't want to deal with it. I'm not interested in debating the reality of demons. I'm not interested in going off on a tangent about the herd of swine. We seem to gravitate to the swine forgetting how unclean they were for a 1st century Jewish audience. We wonder, why did the pigs have to die? Despite my resistance to preaching on the gospel at the beginning of the week my eyes were opened to the layered messages of the story as I read various biblical commentaries and listened to lectionary podcasts. God is still speaking to us, particularly at this time in the life of our country. And as it turns out, God can speak to us through a story about demons and pigs. Especially when Jesus is in the mix.
 
Context always helps, and it's easy for us to miss the contextual clues Luke has placed in this story, since we are almost 2000 years out of sync with Jesus' world. Jesus travels to Gentile territory in this passage - he crosses the Sea of Galilee. The location mentioned, the country of the Gerasenes, would have evoked something in the minds of 1st century listeners. It's where a "Jewish revolt [was] brutally put down by the Roman Army." A thousand rebels were killed; the city and surrounding villages were destroyed.[1] In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus only does one healing in Gentile territory, and it's here.[2] In this place of shadows and pain, lost hope and destruction. Jesus travels by water for this healing, returning after the townspeople are afraid of his power to cast out a Legion of demons from man who has lost his identity to them. Legion of course is also a reference to Roman occupiers - a Legion was made up of 6,000 soldiers.[3] Consider being occupied by so many demons.
 
One of the commentators I read provides a helpful way for us to set aside our very different worldview, so that we can decrease the distance created by our different ways of understanding the world. This commentator writes, "all the 'demons' Jesus confronts have three things in common: they cause self-destructive behavior in the victim, the victim feels trapped in that condition, and they separate the victim from normal living in the family circle."[4] This sounds familiar to most of us, right? Addiction, abuse, abandonment, loss, grief, sorrow, oppression, mental illness, anxiety and more impact our lives and those of our neighbors.
 
But what is Jesus' reaction to the Legion of demons occupying this ostracized, dehumanized man? How does Jesus respond? I was thinking about all this in light of this past week. We began the week with a massacre of mostly Latino and African American people at an Orlando gay nightclub many of whom were gay or lesbian and ended it by observing the first anniversary of another massacre. That of nine Christians, ordained and lay, African American leaders, killed during bible study in their own church, Mother Emanuel in Charleston, SC. Children of God killed in a gay club on Latin night or in their church, places that brought them hope, joy, and connection, and fueled their activism for justice, peace, and love. In this election year, such tragedies of public safety get immediately pulled in political directions.
 
In response to the similarly horrendous killing of a British MP, Jo Cox, by someone citing the contentious Brexit vote, the UK suspended campaigning for both sides. They halted their shouting about staying in the European Union or exiting this political relationship. And raised concerns that such vitriol influenced the killer. In Britain, they're not as acclimated to gun violence as we are in America.
 
I attended two ordinations to the priesthood over the past two days. Lorraine Harris was ordained at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Camden on Friday night followed by Ann Urinoski (who is serving at St Mark's, Basking Ridge), ordained Saturday morning in the church she grew up in, Church of the Holy Cross in North Plainfield. Both preachers mentioned the days in which we are living, the losses to already oppressed communities be they LGBTQI or Latino and African American, and the need to stand up for justice and demand change in a world that is failing so many. I was particularly struck during the Litany for Ordinations yesterday, struck by the words of one of our chanted petitions that evokes our Baptismal Covenant:
 
For those in positions of public trust, especially Barack, our President, that they may serve justice and promote the dignity and freedom of every person.[5]
 
As you know, I'm pleased that our Christian community includes independents and Republicans and Democrats. I'm not trying to make a political statement regarding who I think should be the next president. But I trust that we can agree that in these troubled times our next president must be someone whose leadership, in foresight even more so than in hindsight, can help an intractably partisan Congress and country so that our leaders together will "serve justice and promote the dignity and freedom of every human being."
 
Because that's what Jesus does for this man. Who knows if he was first occupied by the demons and then ostracized to the unclean tombs, or if he was ostracized and then driven to the state in which Jesus encounters him by his exclusion and demonization, his solitary confinement. I don't know. As is the likely the case for the mass shooter in Orlando there are many facets at work. The media suggests that it's possible internalized oppression or self-hatred for his own sexual orientation is among them. Perhaps cultural prejudice occupying his own sense of identity and self-worth. But Jesus' response, had he encountered this troubled young man before this tragedy would not have been with a gun or with jail or more suspensions, but with love. A love that has the power to release and restore. One commentator quoted from biblical scholar Jeffrey John, "The miracle story is not just about a personal exorcism. It is about the promise of God's ability to defeat and re-order the disordered powers that afflict individuals and communities."[6] Disordered powers that afflict individuals and communities. Our world is full of disordered powers.
 
It's enough for Jesus to heal this one person, to travel a great distance across a sea to deliver him from all that disordered and disturbed him. The townspeople "found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind." And they are afraid. If Jesus has the power to release this man, restore this man, reorder the world in God's terms - how might Jesus change their lives? Their fear gets the better of them and they ask him to leave, not because of the pigs in the sea but because of the transformation of the man from subhuman to equally human. We see that sort of fear hold people back today as well, hold us back. We resist extending personhood to another person.
 
Jesus does one healing in Gentile territory in the Gospel of Luke. Just one. This one. This man becomes the first proclaimer and acclaimer in a Gentile region of God's transforming love. He shares the vision he has caught from Jesus, an embodied vision writ large on his own person.
 
The story continues. At the beginning of chapter 9, Jesus' twelve friends are sent out. Jesus "gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal." And then in chapter 10 Jesus sends out seventy others in pairs, to share God's peace, receive hospitality, cure the sick, and proclaim the kingdom.
 
So when we pray for those in positions of public trust, we are also praying for courage for ourselves. Because we are entrusted by Jesus who saves us from ourselves and others, by the Holy Spirit who guides us, and by God who created each person in God's image, "to serve justice and promote the dignity and freedom of every person."
 
We have work to do. We have to take off the oppressive cloak of fear and inaction, the chains that bind us to the tombs of the status quo, even as we shift into scary territory, territory in which we've lost count of how many lives have been cut short by gun violence. We heard from Paul in the Letter to the Galatians,
 
"As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; there is no longer white or black, Latino, Asian, or indigenous; there is no longer cisgender or transgender; there is no longer straight, gay or bisexual; there is no longer rich or poor, advantaged or oppressed; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise."
 
Clothed in Christ, heirs of Abraham's promise, it's time to act and transform the world in God's image, God's vision. As Lin-Manuel Miranda put it so eloquently in his acceptance sonnet at the Tonys, "And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.... Now fill the world with music, love, and pride."[7]  Amen.


Copyright © 2016 by Elizabeth Rauen Sciaino.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

False gods

Today we offer thoughts and prayers for those killed and wounded at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, their families, friends and loved ones. We pray especially for GLBT, those who question their sexual or gender identity, inter-sexed people, allies and friends. May God protect them and all people. May the ministers of the gospel respect and honor the image of God in which all persons are created.
         This week’s news put violence and terror in my mind. Our readings also bring to mind the man healed by Jesus of a legion destructive compulsions - they called them demons - and the power of Elijah to overcome false, illusory gods.
         Let me say a word about false gods. Carrie Doehring is a Presbyterian pastor in Canada and worked with trauma survivors. She saw very clearly how traumatic experiences can color what we think and feel about God. She found that severe trauma can deeply affect people’s gods - what she also calls God representations. In her study called Internal Desecration: Traumatization and Representations of God, “In the aftermath of violence, when the inner sanctum of being has been desecrated, we may be blessed with the presence of companions, who venture with us into the innermost sanctum, empowering us, so that we can take on the gods who reign there, cast them out, and consecrate again this holiest of places, God within us.
         False gods are interior representations of an absolute supposed good or reality that captivate the persons and take them far from themselves.
         Elijah’s ministry was to cast out of his people false gods, liberating them from an interior captivity.
         Jesus was a companion to the man living in isolation, locked in chains, captive to a legion of gods and liberated him so as to consecrate his inner sanctum so that he lives and finds freedom, becomes able to choose among different possibilities for his life, able listen to and accept others. No one thought it was possible to restore him to this right mind but he was - but they only recognized him as a terrible and violent man.
The largely Latino GLBT community took a terrible hit from a violent man in the Orlando shooting where the Pulse nightclub was known as a safe place. Some gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons are not safe in their family. For some, the local society rejects them. Latino communities are like non-Latino communities: some people are open to accepting them and some are not. There are religious communities that reject GLBT persons. Sexual identity is woven into the story of the man’s act of terror.
Wendy Farley - a theologian concerned about human sexuality - wrote, “It pierces me like a knife to know that some Christians insist that desire obscures the divine image: it renders lovers of Christ unable to minister, unable to parent, unable to share Communion, unable to be people of faith. The heart that is led to love and desire outside heterosexual marriage is understood to be uniquely unsuited to love and desire Christ.” She’s referring to theological beliefs that human desire in the area of human sexuality distort and effectively destroy human beings. In her mind human sexuality cannot deface the sacred in people, that we are made in the image of God. “We humans are free only to be what we are: bearers of the divine image.” (Gathering Those Driven Away, pp. 2-3)
We are made in the image and likeness of God and gay or straight we can praise and show God’s glory. It is also true that image can be desecrated. We didn’t have to be in New York on 9-11 to be changed and we don’t need to be in Orlando to be affected. Anyone can be affected even children hearing the news or the reports of parents or friends. What sort of god allows this to happen? People of all ages find all sorts of gods - or to be precise God representations. And representations of god have effect because the gods in us anticipate the life we live.  
Kenneth Pargament, a researcher in spirituality, (Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy: Understanding and Addressing the Sacred, p. 55f) tells about a woman named Cindy and her god representations. She looked back to when she was four or five, “I was sitting in a field behind our house and the sun was going down, and I just felt God had his arms around me.” From the perspective she gained years after that she described this memory as “a present, a gift, something to hold, to keep, because I think He knew...that I would need that to carry me through some of the hard times.”  Then she told about her mother and father. “Mother didn’t talk to any of us - my siblings or me - about religion and didn’t want us to go to church. My father was bitter and felt rejected by his church. He’d ridicule me when I went to church. I came to think that God was sitting up on a throne someplace, and all He ever really did was throw fire balls down on people...because my dad was like that.”  From pretty early she had two god representations - one was a gentle god in the light of a sunset who held her and made her feel safe; and another god who is threatening and didn’t make her feel safe at all.
While still young Cindy kept going to a church where she learned about sin. “The whole concept of sin really hit me between the eyes. And I felt very, very convicted of that, very guilty, and didn’t really know what I felt bad about. I was all upset and crying. It was the first time I realized about sin, and that I was a sinner, and that somehow I was separate from God. And that bothered me. I didn’t want separateness. I wanted to be close to Him.” At the same time she wasn’t close to either of her parents or any adults. “I didn’t have anybody to give me any kind of training. I didn’t have any idea of where to go for a church, and I thought that when I became a Christian, when I asked the Lord into my heart, that I just wouldn’t do anything wrong again...And so the first time I screwed up, I thought, ‘that’s it,’ I blew it, and had nobody to tell me any different. What happened after that was my life really took a downward spiral.”
Cindy married four times, had children, became addicted to drugs, left her children. Her god representations affected her and were tied up with her relationships with her family and other people. God was as empty and unkind as her mother and father were to her. Eventually Cindy found her way back from the desolate place she landed in and learned to talk about her experience.
This sort of journey is what Wendy Farley describes and tries to clarify and bring clear headedness to so that GLBT and others are not further cast out of their true inheritance as children of God, people made in the image of God but put down, rejected and desecrated by society and religion. Farley is hoping to do for a community of people what Jesus did for the Gerasene man: recovering and revealing the identity of people as children of God.
Our world is a terrible and wonderful place. It is indeed full of gods - dangerous and destructive gods, that drag and pull at us, captivating and ruining. Our true God is above that and deeper within us. God surpasses all boundaries: loves this creation, all people, Christians and non-Christians, atheists, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhists...Africans, Malaysians. Floridians and Nebraskans. Intellectuals and Cowboys. But God’s spirit is not a force compelling - God’s spirit is gentle, always kind and full of love.

Let us pray, “In the aftermath of violence, when the inner sanctum of being has been desecrated, may we and all wounded be blessed with the presence of companions, who venture into the innermost sanctum, empowering, in order to take on the cruel and distorting gods who reign there, cast them out, and consecrate again the holiest of places, God within us.
Sermon by Rev Mark Diebel Sunday June 19, 2016 Christ Church Greenville, NY. 
Permission granted to post.
Readings referred to in sermon:
http://prayer.forwardmovement.org/the_daily_readings.php?d=19&m=6&y=2016

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tattitude

Dear Readers,

The book I have been working on for the past 4 years is published and can be purchased here:

https://www.createspace.com/6139502



There is also a Facebook page to house pictures of the tattoos discussed in the book.
Tattoos are posted as received from the interviewees.

https://www.facebook.com/Tattitudestories/

Please post your tattoos and stories to build community.


+ Christ's peace and love to all!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Perceived differences

We are human beings.
We come into the world through birth.
We leave the world through death.
Our body or what I like to call our packaging is the same, fingers, toes, eyes, ears…...
We come in two flavors, female and  male. And our gay community enlightens us to the fact our flavor can be different despite how it presents.

We feel joy, sadness, excitement, pain, frustration, peace and more.
Our emotions are shared as we find in the field of emotional intelligence.
Even our experiences are similar.

So what is different between one human and another?

Fingerprints.
Fingerprints are unique like snowflakes.

Look at what snowflakes accomplish together!
They make it possible to ski, snowboard, create sculptors, or a cool sled ramp my siblings and I made when we were kids. They give us our drinking water after they melt.

And snowflakes can be dangerous when they come together to create slippery conditions on sidewalks and road ways. Or if there are too many of them gathering in one place all at the same time they can cause roofs to collapse.

Human beings do the same thing when we come together.

We have the ability to create positive helpful and fun things or dangerous destructive things.

I think it is our perception of our differences that get in the way of staying on the positive side of the equation.

Our unique fingerprint is our chance to leave a positive loving helpful mark on our world.
It gives us the unique opportunity to join with our human tribe in collaboration for the common good.

What is the common good?
I think it starts with everyone having food, safe and warm/cool shelter, clothing, education, health care, infant and elderly care, support for those who need it.

We have not accomplished this for too many of our human tribe.
Oh, how I want to change this fact. I just haven't figured out a way yet.
I have some ideas rattling in my head and I use this blog as a way to work through the rattling.

I know 'we the people' can create the common good for our human tribe by creating a grassroots movement. Just like the snowflakes, we can ignore our uniqueness to gather for the common good.














Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lenten Reflection/Calendar 2016

Beginning today, each of us is invited to write down ONE thing per day, that holds us back or makes us feel "less than" or causes us to "sin" or keeps us from realizing our full potential or keeps us from the love of God or that keeps us from recognizing and sharing God in our lives - some of the "ashes" of your life. 

Keep a running list, perhaps write it down after each Lenten activity provided below.

What do you need to recognize in yourself, about yourself, that perhaps you need to rise from? Or, what/who are the "small g" gods (not God) in your life that take up too much of  your time and effort and energy?

These are the things that keep us from being all that God created us to be.
These are the things that we hope to rise from when Easter comes.

As we discussed, we will "burn" each of our sheets of paper/lists before Easter/during Holy Week. We will symbolically rise from our personal ashes.

Every day of Lent, pray the following verse:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13
As you pray this verse, know that you pray it in unison with every other person who is also observing this Lenten calendar. We are united in our prayer.


Feb. 10            Ash Wednesday
                        “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
                        Action: Fast today


Feb. 11            “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.”  Proverbs 3:27
                        Action: Make some donation to a charity – listen to your heart to know what to do


Feb. 12            “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
                        Action: Pray all day for someone who has hurt you


Feb. 13            “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he/she is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
                        Action: Clean out a drawer of your choice




Feb. 14            “Six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath day of solemn rest.” Leviticus 23:3
Action: Do NO work today


Feb. 15            “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for God, not for men.”
                        Action: Do a favor for someone


Feb. 16            “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
                        Action: All day long, take notice of ALL that you are thankful for. LIVE gratefulness today, and make sure to thank everyone for what they do for you


Feb. 17            “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men/women.” Luke 2:14
                        Action: Pray for peace in the world. Fast from something you love today, and offer it for someone in the world who lives in great turmoil and fear


Feb. 18            “Our Father.” Matthew 6:9
                        Action: Recognize what’s in YOU that resembles God, your Parent


Feb. 19            “For man/woman does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4
                        Action: Fast from one meal today; pray for those who are hungry


Feb. 20            “Pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
                        Action: Pray for someone in the bible group, or church group, or friend


Feb. 21            “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
                        Action: Walk with God today for at least 30 minutes, whether in prayer, meditation or at a church service


Feb. 22            “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 3:2
                        Action: Pray. Think. Consider. Be honest, and confess something deep within your heart/soul to God



Feb. 23            “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Matthew 8:26
                        Action: Do something that challenges you


Feb. 24            “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105
Action: Open the bible to a section of your choice. Spend 10 minutes reading God’s word – just a verse - What does it say to you?

                                   
Feb. 25            “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
                        Action: If you are able, visit a loved one’s grave site


Feb. 26            “Therefore, even now, says the Lord, ‘Turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting.’” Joel 2:12
                        Action: Refrain from your favorite beverage today


Feb. 27            “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”
                        2 Timothy 1:7
                        Action: Clean out a cabinet


Feb. 28            “Praise God! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens!” Psalm 150:1
                        Action: Praise God and give God thanks today at a church service (sanctuary) or outside enjoying nature (His heavens)


Feb. 29            “For God so loved the world, that He have His only Son.” John 3:16
                        Action: Give something to someone whom you love (whether a word, a call, a card, a gift, etc)


March 1          “Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.” John 21:15
                        Action: Donate money, food or clothing to the needy


March 2          “No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve both God and Money.” Luke 16:13
                        Action: Examine your conscience/life: Whom do you serve, God or money?



March 3          “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16
                        Action: Do something for a child today


March 4          “Jesus sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Luke 9: 2
                        Action: Reach out to someone who is sick, whether by a card, a call, an email, or a visit


March 5          “I wanted to see what was worthwhile for people to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.” Ecclesiastes 2:3
                        Action: Meditation – What do you think is the most “worthwhile” thing that you do in your life? Pray that God gives you “your work” to do in this life


March 6          “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” Exodus 20:8
                        Action: Do something to make this day holy


March 7          “I saw the tears of the oppressed, and they have no comforter.” Eccl 4:1
                        Action: Refrain from entertainment social media (internet, Facebook, YouTube, etc). Pray for the oppressed in this world – pray for their comfort

                                               
March 8          “O fear the Lord, you His saints, for to those who know Him there is no want.”
                        Psalm 34:9
                        Action: Meditate on The Beatitudes, Matthew 5: 3-12


March 9          “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.” Hebrews 12: 1-2
                        Action: Look for an opportunity to do an act of kindness for someone, whether you know the person, or not


March 10        “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Pslam 51:10
                        Action: Clean your house, or some part of it, in preparation for Easter


March 11        “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
                        Action: Play your favorite music and spend some time releasing anxiety and renewing your mind


March 12        “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.” Matthew 6:16
                        Action: Refrain from eating one meal today


March 13        “Jesus asked, ‘Who do you say that I am?’” Matthew 16:15
                        Action: No television today. Instead, spend time in prayer, at church or elsewhere, and answer that question of who YOU say Jesus is


March 14        “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed.” Proverbs 19:17
                        Action: Make a donation to the poor


March 15        “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed…nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17: 20-21
                        Action: Start something or do something that you have always wanted to do, but fear stopped you – make a first step


March 16        “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us.” 1 John 1:9
                        Action: Make a confession of your sins – use prayer of your choice


March 17        “Do not accuse a man for no reason – when he has done you no harm.” Proverbs 3:30
                        Action: Reach out to someone whom you have wronged, whether literally or in prayer, and ask for forgiveness


March 18        “Do not set your heart on what you eat or drink; do not worry about it.” Luke 12: 29
                        Action: Fast from your favorite beverage today


March 19        “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him.” Matthew 1: 24
                        Action: Today is the Feast of St. Joseph - Pray for people who are unemployed



March 20        “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Luke 19:38
                        Action: Attend a Palm Sunday service


March 21        “He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Isaiah 53:3
                        Action: Reach out to console someone whom you know is sorrowful, sad, lonely or grieving


March 22        “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way. And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6
                        Action: No music, radio, etc.  today. Spend time in quiet solitude


March 23        “God is love.” 1 John 4:8
                        Action: Live the love of God today in every way you can



March 24        “This is My body which is given for you; do this in memory of Me.” Luke 22:19
                        Action: Attend a service tonight to commemorate Jesus’ Last Supper, our Eucharistic meal or read Luke 22: 7 – 38


March 25        “And with His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
                        Action: Fast today.  Visit a church or meditate on the cross, and wonder…


March 26        “At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid…they laid Jesus there.” John 19: 41-42
                        Action: Be quiet for at least 30 minutes today, and listen to the silence


March 27        Easter Sunday!
                        “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here…He has risen!”
                        Luke 24:5-6


“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I taught you.
And lo, I am with you always, even until the end of time.” Jesus

Matthew 28: 19-20


Permission granted to publish by Rev.Karen Rezach