How to Boil a Frog

Boiling a frog is not complicated because frogs are…well…stupid. The hardest part will be to find one, the rest is easy. Simply put enough water in the pot (not too hot or cold) so its little head won’t be submerged. Place the frog in the pot and set the flame on low.

That’s it! You don’t need to watch the pot, cover it with a lid, or tie an anchor to froggie’s feet. The frog will not move a muscle. In about twenty minutes you will have tender succulent frog for dinner. You’ll find great recipes online too. (By the way, it really does taste like chicken!)

frogs

 

Seriously. We are so like those frogs!

Or, if the frog analogy doesn’t work for you how about this one:

If you find yourself going through life day-after-mundane-day repeating the same routine to ad nauseum perhaps God is trying to get your attention.

It reminds me of Phil in the movie Groundhog Day.

groundhog-day

It’s a funny movie, but it also has a profound message for us. Phil becomes so desperate to be freed from the madness that he begins trying to kill himself every day only to wake up to repeat the day. He is destined to be stuck there until he “get’s life right”. Phil, unlike so many of us, is finally startled into the reality that he’s in a boiling pot (so to speak) that will soon cause his demise. His life then changes dramatically.

WOW!  Do you realize what a great segue this is to the miracle and magnificence of the Incarnation? No? Well, hang on…

We’re in mid-January. By now the decorations are down, trees shredded into mulch, ugly sweaters  returned or regifted, everything packed away for another year. Now we can focus on fixing all the stupid unhealthy things we did over the holidays: drank too much, ate too much, spent too much.

overindulge

What are you doing right now…okay, you’re reading this. But what were you doing before that, for…say… the thirty or so days leading up to Christmas? What about the weeks and months and years before that?

Wanna know what I was doing? I wasted much of Advent doing nothing that really mattered.

But, I did have an AHA moment thinking about Mary’s preparation to be God-bearer for the world. Consider that for a minute.

Do you think she lived her life like a typical teenage girl today? Polishing her nails at sleepovers; giggling about the little Jewish boy her girlfriend sat next to on the bus; texting and tweeting and posting selfies all the day long?

Do you believe for one minute that Gabriel just popped in on her at the eleventh hour and dropped that bomb, “Guess what Mary, oh favored one, do we have a surprise for you!”

Are you kidding me? Even though Mary may not have known what was coming, you can be sure that God, through the work of the Spirit, spent a great deal of time preparing her for that monumental calling. Her entire life was preparation for it.

Let’s go back a little further – to her parents. They likely had no clue either. But, we can be sure the Holy Spirit guided them to parent her well; to love her and train her as the Spirit molded her into holiness. That was their calling and they were well prepared for it.

The take away for me is that we are all called to holiness; called to use the gifts and talents he has already given us for his kingdom work. But it takes awareness on our part. (I would highly recommend Anthony DeMello’s book by the same name, Awareness, if you need a bit of help climbing out of that boiling pot.)

See the segue now?

I know so many people, and I’ll bet you do too, (perhaps even you yourself,) who just can’t believe God has a plan for them.

Over the years, I have encountered people who don’t believe me when I tell them my story. “Oh, really?! God told you to do that, huh?  Right!”

To be honest, I wouldn’t have believed it myself if God hadn’t gradually brought me to a place where I could trust him even if I had no earthly idea what he was up to. For years there were little promptings that proved to be pretty awesome. Then bigger ones that required more trust, and so on.

God was always present to me and always longing to guide me and grow me into the person he created and called me to be. It was me resisting; me not being present to him; me missing the mystery and majesty that surrounded me because I was just too busy to notice, or more likely, too afraid. So, instead I skipped along trying to drown out his voice, “Lalalalalalalala I can’t hear you!”

We are so enmeshed in things of this world we are missing out on our whole purpose for being here.

Your life has a purpose!

God had a reason for stepping down from his comfortable throne to come into this messy world, and then to die…

YOU!

At least that’s what you should have taken away from the Christmas celebration, the remembrance of the birth of Jesus…

People…you matter that much!

If you have come out on the other side of Christmas and find yourself back in your old routine – going through life day-after-mundane-unremarkable-day. Schlepping through the same routine to ad nauseum; if this is your “Groundhog Day”…STOP IT!

How about starting over. Right here. Right now.  How about starting with your perception of “church”. See if any of this rings true for you:

In some faith traditions we have what is called “Ordinary Time” – basically the times before and after Easter and Christmas. Sadly, there are way too many Christians out there called the C&E people who only attend church on Christmas and Easter and they’re probably not even sure why they go then.

Perhaps the word “ordinary” is the problem. “Hey, I live ordinary, monotonous, mundane every day of my life! Why on earth would I want to get up early, dress up, squeeze into a pew full of strangers and listen to irrelevant “stuff” that puts me back to sleep and causes me to snore and drool out the side of my mouth? Why?

Megachurches have tried to fill the gap with music and light shows that could rival “Jesus Christ Superstar”

superstar

The problem is, while we were swinging and swaying and belting out forty-five minutes of music (albeit beautiful music), Jesus left the building to get a good seat on the shuttle bus and no one noticed.

Is it really the church’s responsibility to turn “ordinary” into extraordinary? My own faith which has grown from non-existent to something beyond my imagining; my God-filled AHA moments; the breathtaking adventure God has me on did not develop (sorry) while I was sitting in the pew on most Sundays. Some yes, not most.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being a part of a church community. I love every aspect of Mass. It keeps me grounded and enhances my faith. When we receive the Eucharist we are reminded of Jesus’ words at the Last Supper: “take this bread and never forget what I did for you; never forget how much I love you! Never forget”.

But, there is more that must take place the other six days of the week. We are told by Christ to “never forget” and then, at the end of Mass we are told to “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” That’s what Jesus meant by “Follow Me”. That’s why he never said, “Worship Me”.

Don’t sleep walk through life, it’s too important, and frankly it’s way too awesome to miss!

I’m not going to tell you where or how to worship, or give you a formula or a check list to send you on your way to sainthood. But, I will tell you this: you cannot love and serve others (which is our greatest calling) until you are able to love yourself. And you can’t love yourself by means of any of the myriad of self-help books on the market. You can only do that by growing in the knowledge that you are deeply and passionately loved by the God who created you! And you can only do that by being relationship with him which requires your time.

You are his son/daughter with whom he is well-pleased (Matthew 17:5). Let that sink in.

You have to take the time to read God’s Word, pray, and…BIG AND…

LISTEN.

Geeeezzzzz, we’re so bad at listening.

Then, a year from now, on Christmas morning, I pray you will be sitting with me to witness in a new way what a profound mystery we behold there!

birth-baby-jesus-100

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s