This I Can Do!

Why must I go about mourning
with the enemy oppressing me?.

From Psalm 42:2

Once again, I allowed circumstances over which I have little or no control to upset me. A newscast fueled my frustration with the powers-that-be in this world of ours. “Do they really believe that this sort of posturing helps any of us?” I asked the television. A phone call from someone with a “church question” prompted me to voice my impatience regarding the many rules which fail to serve God’s people. “Is this what God wants?” I asked myself. Then I reviewed my to-do list which included far more than I could ever accomplish in a single day. “Now what?” I asked.

Before I edited my to-do list, a chirping chorus drew me to the window. Five robins had gathered at the foot of our bird house. They seemed to be hashing out just how to proceed in settling into this spring’s home. The robins ignored several squirrels who chased one another through the trees. They also ignored the rabbit who nibbled at seeds just a few feet away. Eventually, the robins seemed to have finalized their plan because they flew away, each in a different direction.

My feathered friends hinted a bit of wisdom regarding what I should do about the tasks at hand. I’ll always be concerned about the affairs of this world and I’ll pray fervently regarding them. I’ll even write letters to those who might listen. In the mean time, I will tend to the work at hand by setting aside the things over which I have no control. Then I’ll be free to embrace the opportunities to actually do something about the tasks close at hand. This I can do.

Loving God, thank you for directing my efforts through your creatures great and small.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Do What You Can

As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.

Psalm 42:2

Once again, I allowed circumstances over which I have little or no control to annoy me. A newscast fueled my frustration with the powers-that-be in this world of ours. “Do they really believe that this sort of posturing helps any of us?” I asked the television. A phone call from someone with a “church question” prompted me to voice my impatience regarding rules which fail to serve God’s people. “Is this what God wants?” I asked myself. Then I reviewed my to-do list which included far more than I could ever accomplish in a single day. “Now what?” I asked myself.

Before I edited my to-do list, a chirping chorus drew me to the window. Five robins had gathered at the foot of our birdhouse. They seemed to be hashing out just how to proceed in settling into their home. The robins ignored the squirrels who chased one another through the trees. They also ignored the rabbit who nibbled at seeds just a few feet away. Eventually, the robins seemed to have finalized their plan because they flew away, each in a different direction.

My feathered friends hinted at what I should do about the tasks at hand. I will always be concerned about the affairs of this world and I will pray fervently regarding them. I will also write letters to those who might listen. In the mean time, I will tend to the work at hand by setting aside the things over which I have no control and embracing the opportunities before me. This I can do.

Loving God, thank you for directing my efforts through your creatures great and small.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Just Do Your Best

The Church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. She was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit she grew in numbers.
Acts 9:31

When I read passages such as this, I can’t help thinking that the early church must have been an exciting place to be. Jesus’ teachings and miracles were fresh memories which eye witnesses shared with awestruck pride. The apostles had moved beyond their shame and fear over the events that lead to Calvary and the days afterward. Finally, they preached and worked wonders on their own all in Jesus’ name.

Still, when I consider the scriptures, I acknowledge the difficulties which arose within this fledgling faith community. When Paul brought Gentiles into the fold, there were those who expected these new believers to succumb to many Jewish rites which included circumcision. Paul immediately took up this cause with Peter. After consulting with other of the apostles, Peter responded that only what was necessary would be expected. These necessities included ones best attempt to live a moral life aligned with the teachings of Jesus and nothing more.

Today, Pope Francis approaches his flock with much the same issues. There are those who insist upon holding God’s people to every point of church law. Francis, on the other hand, argues with Paul that only what is necessary should be expected. In Francis’ view, this requires living a moral life aligned with the teachings of Jesus and with our own consciences as best we can. As you can see, this is nothing new.

Loving God, help us all to be a good stewards of your teaching. Help us not to hold others to standards which you would never impose and help us all to make an honest effort to be good.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved