Always At Home

May you be glad on the
same score and rejoice with me.

Philippians 2:18

The first leg of trip to Israel (pardon the pun) “flew” by without incident. Our layover provided another opportunity to get to know our fellow travelers. The security staff who oversaw our international boarding were kind and reassuring, perhaps in response to our cooperative adherence to the necessary protocol. In the midst of locating our seats and stowing our carry-on bag, I whispered a prayer of gratitude for the good people around me. After a quick meal, I nuzzled into my seat with another prayer, this time for a nap.

Sleep never came. Some excited passengers chatted the entire time. I wrote “excited” because their pitch and their comments indicated that they were especially happy about their impending return to their home in Tel Aviv. Because I knew what awaited our group there, I began to feel excited, too. Tired as I was, I pulled out our itinerary to scan the list of the special places we’d visit. Each one was now familiar to me. This trip would truly be a homecoming for me as well.

You and I experience homecomings more often that we are aware. We belong to families and neighborhoods, faith communities, social clubs, service organizations and sports teams. We have workplaces and favorite gathering places where we feel very much at home. As I consider them all, I see their common thread. Each one reminds me that I don’t live alone on this earth. Every place where I encounter my fellow humans gives me reason to feel at home. Over the coming days, the Holy Land would be home to me once again.

As I continue my journey through Lent, perhaps I can find ways to make those around me to feel at home as well, especially those who are lonely.

Loving God, thank you for our capacities to be at home with one another and with you.

©2020 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

In Jesus’ Footsteps…

He emptied himself
taking the form of a slave,
being born in our likeness.

Philippians 2:7

It is Palm Sunday Eve. I’m involved in Holy Week preparations at church. As a result, images of the first Holy Week swirl about in my mind. Though I’ve tried to set aside time to spend with God every day throughout Lent, Holy Week is a special opportunity for me to do this. I wasn’t in Jerusalem two thousand years ago and I don’t know what my response to Jesus would have been if I had been there. I am here now and today I’m certain of my response to Jesus, to his example and to his teachings. So it is that I focus on those images from so long ago…

While Jesus and the disciples prepared to enter Jerusalem, Caiaphas began to execute his plan. He would see to the demise of the Good Shepherd, the one who would leave his entire flock to find one lost sheep. Poor Caiaphas had missed everything of importance which Jesus had said regarding God’s mercy and inclusiveness and unconditional love. Poor Caiaphas was blinded and deafened by his own desire to maintain his stature and his power. Caiaphas missed Jesus’ assertion that each one of us, including Caiaphas, is worth anything and everything Jesus would endure during the week ahead.

This coming week, I plan to turn the tables on Jesus as well. Rather than waiting for my Good Shepherd to find me, I will find Jesus in his hour of need. I will walk with him every step of the way.

Loving God, Jesus emptied himself for love of you and for love of me. Amen.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved