Daily Reflection
May 29th, 2000
Mary Kuhlman
English Department

Acts 16:11-15
Psalms 149:1-6, 9
John 15:26--16:4

How does today's ominous Gospel, in which Jesus warns his disciples that they will be persecuted for their faith in Him, connect with our lives at Christian Creighton, or in fortunate, lawful, and safe Omaha?  How do today's readings connect our legal holiday of griefs accepted, Memorial Day? 

Indeed, as we remember today those who died in our service, even here some of us may suffer scorn for their choices of issues to pursue and causes to support.  And we all know griefs -- if you have any parent, sibling, spouse, child or friend, you are hostage to mortal fortune.  

In our earlier years in Omaha, my husband's Aunt Helen always took freshly cut peonies to her husband's grave on Memorial Day.  Since her death, I cut peonies and decorate Helen and Jim's graves this weekend, as I remember her goodness to us.  My own parents and grandparents lie buried in Boston, and those of my husband in Cleveland and Lincoln and a distant Nebraska town, so I remember all of those other gravesites in my one Memorial Day visit to one Omaha cemetery.  Remembering all in visiting one, I am supported by the witness of the
other people who happen to be tending their graves at the same time, and by the evidentiary exhibits in the already thick scattering of grave decorations over green cemetery lawns. 

Other mourners, other decorations -- they are tangible testimony to sorrow and remembrance, making a case for the reality of grief accepted on a legal holiday that has religious weight for some of us.  They fit Jesus's instruction that about the Spirit will "testify" about Jesus and we also are to bear witness.  

Our reading from Acts suggests how the "testimony" of the Spirit may "open our hearts" to believe in and to bear witness to the Good News.  Paul travels to Philippi, where a successful business woman named Lydia gives him hospitality after "the Lord opened her heart" to Christian faith.  I'm thinking this is not merely about inviting people into my house (though I do enjoy having
visitors!)  I'm praying for an open heart to believe and to invite.  I pray that the testimony of the Holy Spirit about Jesus may open me to follow Lydia's example and ask the Pauls I may meet, those who have much to teach me, to enter "where I live" -- that is, the place in me where I learn and judge and believe and
want and care. 

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