Tuesday – March 3, 2020
“Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.”
A Word of Hope
How is your spiritual journey progressing? That is a question we will hear many times during the Lenten Season. Today, many individuals crowd out their spiritual journey as they constantly strive for more tangible wants. It is not “in style” to be overly concerned about the spiritual journey.
This is a mental attitude based on the philosophy of materialism. Tangible things are measurable; tangible things matter and achievement is measured by tangible goods. While this has been a threat to the spiritual journey for many centuries, today it is accepted by a much larger segment of humanity. The greed to obtain things as a sign of success and a bulwark against the fear of need is an all-consuming lifestyle. A life of materialism squeezes out the individual spiritual journey. In the extreme case, one ignores not just a spiritual component to human life, but also devalues God and any claim, which the Divine might have on the individual’s life. Such greed may yield popularity, power and wealth; however, into every such affected life, there will come times of deep personal loss, grief, illness and finally death. In those moments, tangible wealth achieves little solace.
Then, there are philosophical movements that couch their teachings as “religion” but are based on this greed for material things. Prosperity religions teach that God rewards good people (whatever that means) by showering wealth and happiness on them.
Fortunately, God does not act like the vending machine in a food canteen which dispenses prosperity, etc. on those who have the correct coins to drop into it. Misguided is any teaching that emphasizes materialism over the value of an intimate relationship with God as the ultimate purpose for human life.
May God guide your Lenten spiritual journey this year, that it will lead you to truly know the ultimate purpose of your life.,
Donald (Luke) Day
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Monday – March 2, 2020
Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
A Word of Hope
Today, March 2, his birthday, is Dr. Seuss Day, although several teachers I know will observe it as the first day of Dr. Seuss Week, also known as National Reading Week. Most of us have fond memories of having read his clever little rhyming stories when we were young, but the truly wise among us have never stopped reading them.
Theodore Geisel, born in 1904, who later became known to the world as Dr. Seuss, was much more than an American children’s author. He was a political cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator, screenwriter, and filmmaker, who won an Academy Award in 1947 for Best Documentary. His works often were about characters who reflected many aspects of Jesus, although his books never directly referred to the Christ. It’s easy to see the compassion of Jesus and his inclusive love in Horton the Elephant as he becomes the savior of Whoville. We also see God’s concern for Creation in another classic character: “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.”
Jesus was the greatest storyteller of his era. His parables were laced with irony. “Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.” –Seuss. Jesus, being a person of very few, but well-chosen words, also taught us how to tell a story. “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”- Seuss.
My favorite running theme in so many of the Dr. Seuss books is also my favorite attribute of the Christ, the Provider of Hope:
“You’re off to Great
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
May we eagerly anticipate the adventures that await us in life’s mountains and may we always carry that mustard seed of faith with us!
“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, yes indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)
…Kid, you’ll move mountains.” Oh, the Places You’ll Go! ― Dr. Seuss
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Friday – February 28, 2020
“…the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them and then they shall fast.”
A Word of Hope
Every year during our 40 days of Lent, we remember the familiar and inspiring story of Jesus’ 40 Day wilderness fast that established the season. Fasting during Lent was also interpreted by the Seventh Century church as Christ-ordained in the above scripture.
The earliest fasts severely limited all foods, but in the sixth century, Pope Gregory the Great began to ease off on the rigidness and wrote that “We abstain from flesh meat, and from all things that come from flesh, as milk, cheese, and eggs.” The early history of Lent suggests strongly that medieval people disliked the hardships of the fast. Animal products, such as eggs, were easy to identify, but the definition of “flesh meat” gave them quite a few loopholes owing to the allowance of fish as a food acceptable during fasts.
The Bible, as is often the case, was the source of a liberal amount of their justification. In Genesis 1.20-25, the fish and birds were created to populate the waters and the heavens on the fifth day, and creatures of the earth created on the sixth day, so our clever Medieval ancestors grouped sea birds with fish as okay for fasting-day foods. Puffins, gulls, albatrosses, and all other sea birds were legally eaten. Medieval “science” helped as well. The beaver was believed to be a composite animal, its scaly tail being the tail of a fish, so it was acceptable to eat the animal’s tail during Lent, but not the rest of the beaver. Sweetmeats (fruits and nuts preserved with sugar) were also eventually allowed since they were too small to be considered an actual meal.
But, of course, the Season of Lent has never been a 40-day unbroken fast anyway. Sundays during Lent were not fast days, but feast days, which makes having a Sunday doughnut a holy practice. In our era, we also understand that there are medical conditions that make fasting inadvisable for many of us, so I am grateful that the tradition of “taking something on” in place of “giving something up” for Lent is another viable option in our spring spiritual journey. There’s no limit to what we can do. Projects that improve the health and welfare of others are abundant here at the Cathedral of Hope and Lent is the perfect time to explore some possibilities.
May my personal Lenten wilderness retreat instruct me, benefit my neighbor and always be honoring to you.
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St Francis and St. Clare
Thursday – February 27, 2020
When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way.
A Word of Hope
Lately, I started to feel overwhelmed. A couple of months ago, I realized that I badly needed a change in my responsibilities at work. I am an Oncology Nurse Navigator, which means that I help patients at the time of a cancer diagnosis and during the time that they are going through treatment for their cancer, to make sure that barriers to treatment are minimized and to provide support as needed. My area of specialty at the time was Complex GI, which included pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, and esophageal cancer, among others. If you have had any experience with any of these types of cancer, you would know that these can have a poor prognosis. In my experience, many of these patients die within a rather short time frame. After years of navigating these patients, I was having a hard time staying positive for these patients, and I was very disappointed in myself.
I knew that I wasn’t doing the job that I wanted to do for these people. I had a brand-new boss, and I was afraid to tell her that I needed a change. I didn’t know how she would receive that news. My anxiety level was getting out of hand. I was 60 years old, and aware that I was lucky to have a decent job. Many people my age are forced out of their jobs to make way for younger, lower paid workers. I tried to struggle on, thinking that it was a bad idea to make waves by requesting a change. But finally, I realized that I was so unhappy that something had to change. I asked the new boss for a change in assignments, and let her know that I was having a tough time handling the poor prognoses of the patients on my case load. Her response was amazing. She thanked me for my candor. She promised that she would reassign me to a different case load, and let me know that it would take her a couple of months to make the arrangements for the reassignment. In the meantime, one of my colleagues who was a breast cancer navigator resigned her position to make a job move. While I was sad to see her go, I wondered if this might be the answer for me. A short time later, I was informed that I would be taking over her case load. Trusted colleagues have been training me over the last couple of weeks to take the new position.
In general, the patients I will be working with have much more positive prognoses than the patients I was working with before. I feel more hopeful about my job than I have in several years. I feel that I can work happily and effectively in this position until it is time for me to retire. I see the hand of God in how this all worked out, and am reminded of how many times in my life I have been aware that God was looking over me during the tough times.
Loving God, I want to always remember that You are at my side, especially during the toughest challenges in my life. When I become overwhelmed, let me stop and recognize that You are with me; there to help me shoulder my burden. Your presence calms and comforts me.
Cathedral of Hope Member
Wednesday – February 26, 2020
Mark 6:1-6 NRSV
He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.
A Word of Hope
Today is Ash Wednesday. From my Baptist upbringing in Houston, TX, my church and pastor did not do anything specific for Ash Wednesday nor Lent. My first exposure was coming to Cathedral of Hope and observing the liturgical activities during this season.
I decided for my first Lenten endeavor I would read the book by Iylanya Vanzant named “One Day My Soul Just Opened Up: 40 Days and 40 Nights Toward Spiritual Strength and Personal Growth.” It was spiritually enlightening and liberating as I journaled my thoughts and experiences. In subsequent years, I used the book “40-Day Journey with Maya Angelou” by Henry F. Finch and “40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer” by Ron Klug for my Lenten studies.
The scripture above talks about Jesus sharing wisdom and knowledge to people in his hometown. The crowds were amazed at his intellect and acuity. They remembered him as Mary and Joseph’s son – the carpenter. They remembered him only as a child, not a wise young person willing to share wisdom with all that wanted to hear him. They were unbelievers even as he stood in their midst healing the sick and spreading the Word of God to all that would listen. They responded like a carpenter, a person from their hometown, could not get wisdom and be acknowledged as the Son of God.
How many times have you encountered someone that went away to school – college or a trade school and you were amazed at the knowledge they shared when they came home? It happens a lot more than we will publicly acknowledge. We all have the opportunity to grow as God blesses those that are willing to invest in learning a new trade, the Bible, or even a new ministry. This Lenten season, you can use the next 40 days to enhance your skills, talents, or your mind, and be a witness for all that God can do with you and for you, as well as those you encounter.
Dear Creator of the Universe: Over the next 40 days may our belief and faith in you, God, grow, so that all who are willing to make an investment to study and learn with an open mind for themselves and others, so that all may know God’s grace, mercy and unconditional love through our presence. May it be so. Amen!
Reverend Winner Laws
Cathedral of Hope Staff
5910 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75235
Toll Free: 800-501-HOPE (4673)