DIVINE INTERVENTION

Divine InterventionJesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” John 13:7

 

I am not one to get sick, but about three years ago that changed. I knew something was wrong. I felt irritable (more than normal), jittery, and hungry, but I was losing weight. I had a ton of energy, but it was pent up and it wasn’t the good kind. It wasn’t terrible, but it just wasn’t me.

 

I finally listened to my body and went to the doctor. After a bunch of tests she indicated that I had Graves Disease, which is very treatable. However, the ultrasound images proved conclusively that I had thyroid cancer, and had several small nodules that needed to be surgically removed.

 

I had the surgery, and it appeared to be successful. The doctor said with rest I would be able to use my voice again in a day or two. After a week I still had no voice. It hurt to whisper, and it was impossible to do my job as a co-owner of a publishing company. My voice is my business: I talk to clients all day long, I speak at conferences, and I lead workshops, but I couldn’t do any of this in my current condition.

 

I went back to the surgeon for my weekly check-up. He was visibly concerned that my voice wasn’t back yet. He started out by saying that this rarely happens, but that he thinks that they may have permanently damaged my vocal cords when they removed the nodules.

 

I was devastated. I racked my brain trying to figure out what I was going to do if I couldn’t use my voice. I tried to find things that relaxed me. Although I went to school for art and design, I had stayed out of that side of our publishing business. But the very next day I started designing on the computer again. I practiced, I took online classes, and worked on my skills. After a couple of weeks I was designing for clients again, and I was happier and more fulfilled than I had been in years.

 

After six weeks, I went to bed one night not being able to utter more than a harsh whisper and woke up with my full voice back. I truly believe that it was divine intervention from God. The doctor was even stunned and called it a miracle.

 

This was not an experience I would ever care to repeat, but I learned a lot about myself during this time. I thought business had to be just business, but by using my God-given talents and adding creativity into the mix I am a much happier person.

 

O Blessed St. Blaise, you received from God the power to protect men from throat diseases and other maladies. Take away the illness that afflicts me, keep my throat healthy and perfect, so that I can talk correctly and be able to proclaim and sing praises to God. Amen

 

Ann Aubitz is the author of Katlyn Conquers the World and The Many Faces of Down Syndrome. Her writing buddy is her daughter with Down syndrome, Katlyn Aubitz. Ann owns FuzionPress/FuzionPrint in Burnsville, Minnesota, with her husband of twenty-six years.

PANDEMIC EMOJIS

Pandemic EmojisRejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

“The way emoji is being used to describe the pandemic is basically body language for the digital age,” Vyvan Evans, author of The Emoji Code: The Linguistics Behind Smiley Faces and Scaredy Cats, told CNN Business News. “We use language to convey ideas, but part of the meaning is missing” in short social media messages. An entire crop of new emojis has popped up during the Coronavirus pandemic. Smiley faces in masks remind us to cover our mouths and noses for the safety of ourselves and others. Shopping carts are used when we can’t find toilet paper. Hearts show love and concern while we are social distancing. There is even a Covid-19 emoji, the scary green ball with the spikey things, for our convenient use with expressions of fear and anger and just plain frustration with the current situation.

 

But the “praying hands” emoji was used 25% more in April 2020 than in August the previous year, according to Emojipedia, a group which tracks trends and frequency of emoji use on Twitter. Praying hands was the eighth most popular emoji that month, used to express profound thanks to workers on the front line of the epidemic. Praying hands also shows up when people share their concern for those they are unable to see person to person, and they may appear along with the shopping cart to indicate the good fortune of finding that toilet paper in the supermarket. (To date, I have not seen an emoji of a roll of toilet paper, but I’m sure it exists somewhere!)

 

The Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing, giving thanks in all circumstances” because this is God’s will for us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17). The meaning of the passage is about having a willingness to respond to impromptu reminders to raise a person or an issue in prayer any time. Does including the praying hands emoji in a text or Twitter message count as prayer? Paul tells the Romans that the Holy Spirit “groans” for us when we cannot find the words to pray. I expect the Spirit would approve of using an emoji in place of words.

 

Holy Spirit, guide us in our feeble efforts to offer prayers during this pandemic crisis. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger, to the delight of all who read her work and hear her speak. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com    MegCorrigan@comcast.net

CONSPIRACY THEORY BIBLICAL STYLE

Conspiracy Theories 1When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’  If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” Matthew 28:12-14

 

Webster defines “conspiracy theory” as “a theory that explains an event or situation as the result of a secret plan by usually powerful people or groups.” Whenever a dramatic situation occurs that could or does affect a large segment of the population, conspiracy theories abound. A famous one has been who killed President John F. Kennedy? It’s hard to imagine why people would put forth a conspiracy theory, especially when they know there is no truth to it.

 

According to the Alliance For Science, “Conspiracy theories…are spreading just as rapidly online as (the virus) does offline.” Some of the top ten are: Coronavirus is caused by 5G networks (it is biologically impossible for viruses to spread using the electromagnetic spectrum); COVID was intentionally created by Chinese scientists as a biowarfare weapon (genetic sequencing has proven that the SARS-CoV-2 virus has natural origins as a zoonotic virus originating in bats); and COVID-19 doesn’t actually exist, but is a plot by the globalist elite to take away our freedoms (for proof that it does exist, see death toll numbers worldwide, in the United States, and especially in New York City).

 

According to Psychology Today, people believe conspiracy theories because they desire answers. Believing makes them feel secure, like they are “in the know.” When Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to many people, the religious leaders paid the soldiers to say His “disciples came during the night and stole him away while (they) were asleep” (Matthew 28:13). That explanation—though false—might have covered the tracks of the ones who put Jesus to death—for a while. But history has shown that the story of Christ’s death and resurrection has survived and been believed by countless numbers of people since its occurrence. Jeremiah 23:16 states, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Do not listen to what the (false) prophets (say) to you…false hopes…from their own minds, not the mouth of the Lord.”

 

Lord, sustain us with truth and facts during this time of uncertainty. Amen

 

Both candid and humorous, insightful and ponderous, Meg Blaine Corrigan’s memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, takes the reader through her chaotic childhood with an alcoholic mother and enabling father to a violent assault that nearly ended her life. She populates her tale with vivid descriptions of her parents, other influential adults, the attacker, and her disastrous first marriage. But this story has a happy ending, when Meg finds solace in a God she didn’t think she’d ever believe in, when He gently helps her heal from her past lives and move into the best times of her life. Meg has also written a novel, Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, about said first marriage, as well as a Christian devotional, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, comprised of blogs from this site. Stay tuned for sequels to her last two books! All of her works may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

THE FACE OF CHRIST

The Face of ChristThey will receive blessing from the Lord….Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face, God of Jacob. Psalm 24:5-6

 

I went to the store in search of toilet paper, a hot commodity in these days of “sheltering in place” during the Coronavirus. Not a package on the shelf. “Come at about 7:30 in the morning, right when they unload the trucks,” the shelf stocker said. “It’s the only way you’ll get any, and you can only have one package at a time.” The young man spoke again. “The governor is speaking in a few minutes. He’s going to close down more businesses and extend the lock down.” I couldn’t help but notice the worry on his face. “Could you be laid off?” I asked as gently as possible. “I don’t think so,” he said, brightening. “I hope not ‘cause I don’t do well alone in my apartment.” Those words sat for a moment, then I ventured another question: “Do you have a companion animal?” “I don’t but my parents do…but I’m not supposed to go to their house because they are older.” The last word sounded like a disease. I pressed on. “Do you have people you can call besides your parents?” “Oh, yes!” he exclaimed. “I have a number to call through NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). They always have people we can talk to, especially when our meds don’t work.” I smiled. “Then you be sure to call the number when you need it,” I said. “And stay healthy!” We waved goodbye.

 

We are all just feeling out way through this crisis, grieving for the normal lives we had just a few weeks ago, wondering how long this will go on. The Greek word for “church” is ecclesia, which literally means, “going out.” The church can’t “go out” and show our faces right now, if we are to keep ourselves and others safe. But we can be the “face” of Christ with a phone call, an email, a text, an interactive social media communication, a card or a letter. Let’s get creative! We can all be better for each other in ways we never knew we could be.

 

Healing Lord, grant us a fervent passion to let those we encounter know that we care, however we are able to stay in touch with them now. Amen

 

Both candid and humorous, insightful and ponderous, Meg Blaine Corrigan’s memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, takes the reader through her chaotic childhood with an alcoholic mother and enabling father to a violent assault that nearly ended her life. She populates her tale with vivid descriptions of her parents, other influential adults, the attacker, and her disastrous first marriage. But this story has a happy ending, when Meg finds solace in a God she didn’t think she’d ever believe in, when He gently helps her heal from her past lives and move into the best times of her life. Meg has also written a novel, Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, about said first marriage, as well as a Christian devotional, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, comprised of blogs from this site. Stay tuned for sequels to her last two books! All of her works may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

ROLLING THE STONE AWAY

Christ's Tomb from the Inside (2)

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. Luke 24:1-3

 

Isolated. Marginalized. Disenfranchised. Vulnerable. Suffering. Dying. These are the people Christ came to heal and to lift up. These too are the ones suffering the most during the Corona-Virus pandemic. These people may now be us. In just a few short weeks, many of us in the industrialized world have gone from a life of comfort to finding ourselves isolated…marginalized…disenfranchised…vulnerable…suffering…and even dying. I’m not unaccustomed to sleepless nights, but now I don’t even know how to pray. “Can You please be with the whole world tonight, Lord?” I offer. It sounds so infantile. He’s “with the whole world” every night. I mentally run through my ever burgeoning prayer list: our family members on the front lines—health care providers, grocery and convenience store clerks—to people who refuse to believe this is happening and choose not to take measures to make themselves and others safe. I pray that conspiracy theories and political ambitions will find no fertile ground these days; let the truth of what’s happening prevail. I ask God to help all the helpers because we have all, suddenly, become somebody’ helper.

 

We are all the people Christ came to heal and lift up. This year, the stone covering Christ’s tomb is rolled away to reveal a new light, a new awareness, that tragedy can strike any of us, just when we least expect it. But Christ’s light is also revealing a new awakening for everyone: we are human because of other humans. Without each other, we are just a shell. If we don’t care for each other, we all lose.

 

The light of Christ’s open tomb is also revealing astounding changes: air quality has improved in many places without the crush of vehicles, and some warring factions have declared temporary ceasefires. These events give hope. And just as Christ lay in the tomb for a period before smashing the bonds of hell, so we must be hopeful and patient until this nightmare ends.

 

Jesus, You said “no” to death and “yes” to hope and light and love. Share with us Your gracious strength. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

MORAL FATIGUE

Moral FatigueHe withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. Luke 22:41-43

 

Holy Week is the most significant week in the Christian church. It’s skyrocketing highs and abysmal lows. Palm Sunday yesterday: Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, when only He knew the way the week would end. Many of Christ’s followers thought He had come to end the Roman oppression of the Jews; little did they know their ”King” would be arrested and put to death. No one suspected He would break those bonds and rise from the tomb to walk among them again—if only for a short time.

 

What does “Holy Week” mean to us during this pandemic? Rolling Stone Magazine published an article last week about our abrupt and surprising awareness of what “public health” means: we are suddenly, painfully aware of our potential part in spreading this deadly virus. “Whether it’s trying to decide if you should visit a sick family member, order delivery, take public transit, or take a trip to the grocery store,” the article states, “we now have to think through the potential implications of many of our totally normal, everyday actions and decisions in a way we never had to before, because of how they could affect others.” It’s “Moral Fatigue,” and it’s exhausting.

 

Surely Jesus’ “moral fatigue” was on full display in the Garden of Gethsemane. He literally came to earth to carry out a specific mission for God, yet here He asks to be let go of the responsibility of saving all mankind. How, then, can we be so selfish, to think that sitting at home on our couch and being bored is any imposition at all? Even losing our livelyhoods and our children’s school and day care and the privilege of going to a restaurant or a movie for a short period of time seems inconsequential to slowing this great, invisible enemy called COVID-19. And I’m reminded that, even though Christ begged the Father to “take this cup” from Him, He soon relented and said, “Yes, Father, Your will and not Mine.”

 

Healing Lord, You sent an angel to strengthen Your Son in His darkest hour. Send the angels to us in our calamity now. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger, to the delight of all who read her work and hear her speak. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com    MegCorrigan@comcast.net

WHAT DOES GOD WANT NOW?

Words We Need NowHe has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

 

Today, we are living in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. My husband and I are retired; the “social distancing” and “sheltering-in-place” have not been as disruptive to our daily lives as they have to the lives of our children and grandchildren and many others. We pray for several family members who are on the front lines of this crisis—medical care providers and others performing essential tasks. But just yesterday, my husband asked me, “What do you think God wants us to think about this pandemic? What does He want us to know now?” Some thoughts we voiced to each other were: “The whole world is in this together.” “Shared suffering requires us to be vulnerable, to let the suffering of others impact us in a personal way.” “God wants us to pay attention to what’s important in life.”

 

As we shared our thoughts and said some prayers for those closest to our hearts, I remembered the simple admonition from the prophet Micah: “What does God require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” These words did seem simple a couple of weeks ago. But as we are being asked not to interact with others in our communities, workplaces, shops, restaurants—how are we supposed to show justice and mercy to others?

 

I’ve heard it said that only two paths lead us to a personal relationship with God: the path of love and the path of suffering. If most of us are honest with ourselves, those paths may have been intertwined throughout our faith journey, because loving something or someone deeply almost always involves some pain. The concepts in Micah’s challenge, “justice” and “mercy,” both arise from some passion to help someone outside of ourselves. That passion cannot be pain-free; but it is love that carries us through the pain to do our best to provide the help needed.

 

Great God, hear our anguished prayers! Bless and sustain those on the front lines of this battle. Stir the rest of us to support them with prayers and words and deeds of encouragement as we are able. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger, to the delight of all who read her work and hear her speak. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com    MegCorrigan@comcast.net

 

A SPECIAL CHILD

fingers and toesTrust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

 

The birth of any child is cause for celebration, but my first glimpse of our new baby was also a cause for concern. Her body was limp, her skin blue, and her cry was low and raspy. I looked at my husband, Brian, with apprehension and fear, but he was quick to offer reassurance.

 

Our doctor showed up the next morning. His words were delivered in a terse, offhand manner: “Your baby was born with Down syndrome. Do you want to give her up for adoption?” What?

 

I swear my heart stopped beating. Brian already had two children from a previous marriage, and together we had one, so perhaps that’s why he managed to hold it together, at least for my sake. As for myself, I was stunned. I didn’t even know what questions to ask! The doctor certainly didn’t make it any easier when he merely handed me a brochure on the subject—and walked out of the room.

 

Along with the diagnosis of Down syndrome, Katlyn also had two dime-size holes in her heart. When I heard this news, I instantly foresaw her death. Surely, she would not survive, and I mentally prepared myself for her passing. I had even managed to convince myself that she would be better off with God, safer in heaven than she would be on earth. I went so far to suggest to Brian that we change the beautiful name we had chosen. I’m still not sure why I thought changing her name would make a difference, but I couldn’t stand the thought of our sweet Katlyn Elizabeth leaving us.

 

As I struggled with my disappointment and sadness, Brian was my pillar of strength. Then, out of nowhere, he cracked. On his way to the post office, he ended up dumping mail all over the road. Neighborhood children came to his rescue and helped him reload the truck. Hard as he had resisted, he’d reached his breaking point, too.

 

We faced a long, hard road—not just us, but our other children as well. But we knew God would guide us, and we were prepared to do whatever we could to not only prolong her life but to enrich it as well. Little did we know at the time that it would be Katlyn who would touch us so deeply and profoundly.

Now at twenty-four years old, Katlyn is a vivacious young adult with Down syndrome.  She is the author of My Friends the Penguins children’s book series and My Name is Princess Katlyn. Katlyn is also an actress, model, presenter, author, and all-around inspiration to all who meet her.

 

A mom of any child needs to learn to rest in God’s peace and trust her children to the Lord, but a special needs mom especially needs the strength of the Lord. From one mom’s heart to another, ask God for peace that only comes from Him. Pray that God will give you wisdom for those days you doubt His plan.

Ann Aubitz is the author of Katlyn Conquers the World and The Many Faces of Down Syndrome. Her writing buddy is her daughter with Down syndrome, Katlyn Aubitz. Ann owns FuzionPress/FuzionPrint in Burnsville, Minnesota, with her husband of twenty-six years.

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), March 21st, is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. The date for WDSD is the 21st day of the 3rd month, selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome. For more information about Down Syndrome and the day we celebrate these special world citizens, please see www.worlddownsyndromeday2.org .

FIRE AND RAIN

Fire and RainIn my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:2-3

 

A couple of nights ago, I was writing in our study, and I heard the familiar strains of James Taylor singing “I’ve Seen Fire and I’ve Seen Rain.” I followed the sound to our living room where my husband was watching a recent taping of Taylor performing the iconic song he wrote in 1968. According to Wikipedia.org, Taylor was twenty years old at the time, just returning from London where he had recorded his first album. The lyrics tell of him learning about the suicide of his childhood friend named Suzanne, while he himself was in a deep depression and heavily into drug use. Taylor entered a drug and mental health rehab program and completed the song while he was there. He has clearly stated over the years that his treatment program was a life saver.

 

I am about the same age as Taylor, and “Fire and Rain” had a profound effect on me. About the time it was released, I was working as a resident assistant in a dormitory at the University of Denver. A fellow “RA” took her own life in the dorm across from mine. I remember so clearly watching out my window when the paramedics came and could not gain entry to her apartment. By the time they got her door opened, it was too late. It was the first of very few of my peers who had died. I did not know Christ and I was suddenly terrified of the whole idea of death.

 

Fast forward several years to when I laid my life down for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What a difference knowing Him has made! I no longer fear death because I know that Jesus conquered that ugly foe for us. I do not know what James Taylor’s religious views are, but when he wrote, “I always thought I’d see you again” about his friend Suzanne, I hope he now knows that he will.

 

Precious Jesus, thank You for Your saving grace that assures us of eternal life. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has over thirty years’ experience working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, war veterans, and other trauma survivors.  Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

A NEW LENTEN FAST

Fasting-black-and-white-1Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Isaiah 58:6

 

In the Christian church, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends about six weeks, or forty days later, on Maundy Thursday, when Christ shared a last meal with His disciples before going to the cross. Lent is often associated with fasting, particularly Christ’s forty-day period of fasting and temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). Many Christians still observe some type of food fasting during Lent, perhaps giving up some special treat for the six-week period. Fewer folks will actually skip meals. I have given up chocolate many times, but I’ve eaten my share of sweets during Lent to make up for the loss of sugar in my diet. But Pope Francis has come up with some ideas for a different type of “fast” during the forty days following Ash Wednesday. Here is his list for this year:

 

Fast from hurting words and say kind words.

Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.

Fast from anger and be filled with patience.

Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.

Fast from worries and have trust in God.

Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.

Fast from pressures and be prayerful.

Fast from bitterness and fill you hearts with joy.

Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.

Fast from grudges and be reconciled.

Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.

 

I think Pope Francis is on to something, and his ideas might be harder to implement than giving up food items! Imagine if we each could stick to even half of his list of things from which to abstain! Wouldn’t this world be a better place for at least six weeks? And what if the items on the list became a habit rather than a short-term project? This is certainly something to think about! As Isaiah says in Chapter 58 of the book by his name, the fast God wants is for us “to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke.”  Let’s try Pope Francis’ idea of a meaningful fast this year!

 

Lord, we thank You for suffering through many trials on this earth, all for us! Amen

 

Alone on a Colorado mountain, Meg Corrigan faced the unthinkable, a situation that almost ended her life. Hear the details of her astounding rescue from the hands of a gun-wielding attacker and how she walked off that mountain. Hers is a story of tragedy turned holy, a journey of sorrow and healing, a powerful message of hope in the darkest hour. In her memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, Meg credits her resilience to the grace of God. She is also the author of Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, tales based on her years as a drummer in a Hawaiian show band; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, released this month. Meg is a retired college counselor, author, speaker, trainer and sexual assault survivor. She speaks to churches, civic groups, college students, mental health professionals and law enforcement personnel, as well as youth in juvenile facilities. Corrigan lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota with her husband, Patrick and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. She loves to coax seemingly dead plants out of the soil in her yard. The couple have four daughters, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net or www.MegCorrigan.com .