Image result for life cycle of an apple

Today’s Bible reading

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my  own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.  You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. – John 8:42-44

More thoughts for meditation

Many people think “change” and “transition” are synonyms. But maybe not. Change is more situational and external—like the weather, while transition is more psychological and internal—like fruit ripening, perhaps. The weather is important for the ripening process, but transition from blossom to apple to seed is deeper, kicked off by a mysterious hormone, resulting in a shriveled ball that falls into the earth with the expectation of new life. Change happens to us all. For people seeking life in the Spirit, there is more to life than just fighting or avoiding external forces. We are all about transition: becoming, dying and being born again in hope.

Jesus puts his own transition into a sentence in the Gospel of John (today’s reading). “I was one place and now I am here. I was sent. That movement is all about the love of God, to us and from us.” He goes on to note, “I you were not subject to the father of lies, you would see that.”

We wish we could see our transition clearly while we were going through it! But quite often, we fondly remember the times in our lives when we ripened into an edible fruit, after we had complained the whole way through the process. Some of us missed most of our Sunday meetings this summer when it was raining—changes in the weather lock us up. Much more does transition frighten most of us. If we did not believe the lie of our own control, we might have an easier time hearing from God and coming to see what is going on with us.  We’d be able to say things like Jesus: “I have not come on my  own; God sent me.” 

This week, let’s listen even harder. Our church is in a major transition, as are many of us individually (what else should be happening?). We not only face weather, we face climate change! Our government is so full of liars it is hard to miss it! Let’s listen for the promise beyond our troubles that “all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to [God’s ] purpose” (Romans 8:28). We can discern how God is working to bring about good in all things. As we continue to have our hopes and dreams shaped by Jesus, we can come to see life through God’s hope for goodness for the world. Each of us on our own path can make choices to move with God in hope. Let’s listen in hope.

Suggestions for action

Pray: I came from you and now I am here. I am not on my own. Send me into goodness.

Some days this week, there will be a lot of suggestions. If you don’t have time right now, maybe the prayer was enough. You can come back later if it seems right to you.

Today’s exercise tries to tease out some themes that might be running through your mind and heart that relate to a transition you are in. The themes might be the thoughts you realize are from God or close to God when you are praying. Take your journal and answer the following questions. You could answer them according to a transition you are in: “I got fired, now what?” or “We are divorced, where next?” or “I finished school, what do I mean now?” Those are all kind of “weather-related,” aren’t they? You can also answer them without any external, maybe only internal, motivation. “I feel unhappy/disquieted/bored/angsty. What is happening?” Or “I need a change/I’m burned out/I’ve reached the end of this era. What shall I do?”

These questions might help you to begin discerning the good.

  • What are you and God talking about? What is activated? What keeps coming up? What are you avoiding?
  • What details seem important in order to know what the outcome is going to be?
  • Is there some kind of financial issue that is pushing a transition or inhibiting it?
  • If you were sent into some new expression of your life in faith what would it mean to your family and friends?
  • What image or images would describe your present emotional and spiritual relationship to what needs to be discerned? Can you draw a picture of how you feel?

FYI: Much of this week’s content is inspired by Dwight Judy’s book: Discerning Life Transitions: Listening Together in Spiritual Direction

Today is Hildegard of Bingen Day! Admire her contributions at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body!