Monday, August 05, 2013

Lest we be discouraged

"3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”"
Mark 14:4-9 NIV (italics and bold done by myself)
She did what she could
Mr. Husband reads from the Gospel in the evening and I listen,
sometimes listening and reading along.
And that line
She did what she could
heartened me so much ~ a tender reminder that
God expects of us not what we wish we could do,
not what we see another doing,
not what we dreamed of doing
but what we actually could do.
Sometimes even what we could do we mess up on.
Little things,
like in our dream of bringing the faith in to our homes
may be forgotten ~ like for the Feast of St. Peter and Paul,
I forgot I had a lovely icon of these beloved Saints
and failed to put it out for veneration on their day.
A small example.
We are very weak,
sometimes we have an 'off' day or we fall ill or
a multitude of other things topple on us
Maybe like the woman was criticized for not feeding the poor,
we need Christ's wisdom and protection
to see what we can do.
Perhaps you are a Mother of young children
and you are up to your eye balls in diapers, sick kids,
melt downs and exhaustion.
Perhaps you are single,
struggling to find work or life direction
or wishing you were not single.
Perhaps you are newly married and trying to avoid the
pitfalls that plague those who are
adjusting to being a wife.
Perhaps you are a Grandmother and working out new roles
for yourself.
Perhaps you are seeing your children grow up and your heart
aches with missing them.
Perhaps you are lonely or tired or feel like you failed
your Lord who you tried to love
and find your love weakened, your strength failing or your
heart discouraged.
I know all about this.
So what can you do?
Those who endure to the end shall be saved.
Here are some things I find helpful when I am struggling,
as I most often am,
save a crazy once in a blue moon when I feel better and
my mind is clear and the sun is shining bright with blue skies:
~Read a Psalm
~Light a candle or lampada
~Cross yourself
~Do small prayers
~Do your own heartfelt prayer
~Ask God to help you love others
Bigger but important things that I find helpful in the Orthodox church:
~Confession.  Going to confession can not only give us
a sense of relief at times but a new start.  It is a sacrament that
can help us as we struggle along.
~Go to vespers
~Go to liturgy
You may think these are just
normal things for an Orthodox Christian
but do not discount them.
She did what she could.
May Christ so find us worthy of this:
doing what we could,
what we actually can do.

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