Thursday, June 28, 2018

From Rising to Setting . . .be light!

Blessed Are You Who Bear The Light 

Blessed are you
who bear the light
in unbearable times,
who testify
to its endurance
amid the unendurable,
who bear witness
to its persistence
when everything seems
in shadow

and grief.

Blessed are you
in whom
the light lives,
in whom
the brightness blazes ___
your heart
a chapel,
an altar where
in the deepest night
can be seen
the fire that
shines forth in you
in unaccountable faith,
in stubborn hope,
in love that illumines
every broken thing
it finds.

(Author: Jan Richardson
From Circle of Grace) 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Time Turning . . .

Turning Points

taking us
where we would not

choose to go.

we pass a point
we will never pass again.

Turning points
interrupt us . . .
there must be some mistake!

Looking back we see them
for what they are:
bittersweet raw reality
breakthrough to beatitude
bedrock that gives us courage
to give ourselves away.

The less we struggle with turning points
the greater the strength
to return and turn again.

Source Unknown

Letting go ~ Letting God . . .

To let go does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off,
it’s the realization I can’t control another.

To let go is not to enable,
but allow learning from natural consequences.

To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means
the outcome is not in my hands.

To let go is not to try to change or blame another,
it’s to make the most of myself.

To let go is not to care for,
but to care about.

To let go is not to fix,
but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their destinies.

To let go is not to be protective,
it’s to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to deny,
but to accept.

To let go is not to nag, scold or argue,
but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.

To let go is not to criticize or regulate anybody,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is to fear less and love more

To let go and to let God, is to find peace!
Remember: The time to love is short.

“Letting Go Takes Love”, Author unknown


Quieting . . . the outer and inner noise!

A Quieting Prayer . . .

I weave a silence on my lips,
I weave a silence into my mind,
I weave a silence within my heart.
I close my ears to distractions,
I close my eyes to attentions,
I close my heart to temptations.
Calm me, O God, as you stilled the storm,
Still me, O God, keep me from harm.
Let all the tumult within me cease,
Enfold me, God, in your peace.
(Author Unknown ~ Celtic Tradition)


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

John ~ His name is Gracious!

The story is told that in Valladolid, Spain, where Christopher Columbus died in 1506, stands a monument commemorating the great discoverer.  Perhaps the most interesting feature of the memorial is a statue of a lion destroying one of the Latin words that had been part of Spain’s motto for centuries. Before Columbus made his voyages, the Spaniards thought they had reached the outer limits of earth.  Thus their motto was   “Ne Plus Ultra,” which means, “No More Beyond.”  The word being torn away by the lion is “Ne” or “No” thus it reads “Plus Ultra.”  Columbus had proven that there was indeed “more beyond.”

Today, we celebrate the feast of John the Baptist - (June 24), whose witness and voice called his hearers to a baptism of repentance and to recognize the “more beyond” in his prophetic message; the “more beyond” rules, regulations and religious customs,  the “more beyond” predictable practices, and certainly the “more beyond” an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth!

From the beginning of his life to the end, John the Baptist was a living witness to God’s unconventional and unpredictable ways of acting.  Elizabeth, his mother, was “more beyond” the age of childbearing when she conceived.  Her relatives and neighbors rejoiced at God’s intervention on her behalf, but they had very definite ideas about how things should go after that.  Religious convention prescribed how the rite of circumcision and naming were to proceed.   

Here in our Gospel, all of Elizabeth’s family and friends gathered around her for the purpose of circumcising the child.  But they also decided that her newborn child would be named Zechariah, Jr. after his father.  And then in this awkward moment, Elizabeth’s voice is heard in the wilderness of promise and possibility, and she says: “No, no, the child’s name will be John.”   Which translates, Yahweh is gracious. 

These people are faithful Jews, good people and lovers of God.  But at this moment, God is about to reveal a mystery that has never so much as entered their minds or hearts.  God was preparing to do something new.  Something  “more beyond” their imaginations.  God and not social convention was to give John his name.  Perhaps the miraculous and unusual circumstances surrounding John’s conception, birth, and naming are clues as to God’s plan for this child who will be a prophet – one chosen to be voice and heart, call and sign of the God whose design for the world is justice, compassion, forgiveness, love and peace.

So what is the Good News for us today?

Let us be open to risk the “more beyond” our comfort zones so that we, too, can be voice and heart, call and sign of the God who unsettles us.

Let us pray for all who are called in our time to be prophetic and speak words of challenge that people don’t want to hear.

And let us pray that John will intercede for our world today so that we, too, will choose to live “more beyond” violence, greed and power and truly live peace, be peace.   
(previously posted 2012)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Summer Blessing of Walking with God . . .

A Summer Blessing
(Author Unknown)

 May you walk with God
 This summer
 In whatever you do
 Wherever you go
 Walking with God means...
 Walking with honesty
 And with courage,
 Walking with love
 And respect
 And concern for the feelings of others
 May you talk to God
 This summer
 And every day and
 In every situation
 Talking with God means...
 Praying words of praise
 For the beauty of creation
 Saying prayers of thanks
 For friends and good times,
 Asking God's help
 In all your decisions
 Expressing sorrow
 When you have failed
 May you talk with God
 Every day

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Distractions? . . .

There’s a story in the Hindu tradition that runs something like this: God and a man are walking down a road. The man asks God: “What is the world like?” God answers: “I’d like to tell you, but my throat is parched. I need a cup of cold water. If you can go and get me a cup of cold water, I’ll tell you what the world is like.” The man heads off to the nearest house to ask for a cup of cold water. He knocks on the door and it is opened by a beautiful young woman. He asks for a cup of cold water. She answers: “I will gladly get it for you, but it’s just time for the noon meal, why don’t you come in first and eat.” He does.
Thirty years later, they’ve had five children, he’s a respected merchant, she’s a respected member of the community, they’re in their house one evening when a hurricane comes and uproots their house. The man cries out: “Help me, God!” And a voice comes from the center of the hurricane says: “Where’s my cup of cold water?”

This story is not so much a spiritual criticism as it is a fundamental lesson in anthropology and spirituality: To be a human being is to be perpetually distracted. We aren’t persons who live in habitual spiritual awareness who occasionally get distracted. We’re persons who live in habitual distraction who occasionally become spiritually aware. We tend be so preoccupied with the ordinary business of living that it takes a hurricane of some sort for God to break through.

Author Unknown

God's Gaze . . .

A prayer for prophets:
God of the Great Gaze,
We humans prefer satisfying un-truth
to the Truth that is usually unsatisfying.
Truth is always too big for us,
And we are so small and afraid.

So you send us prophets and truth speakers
to open our eyes and ears to your Big Picture.

Show us how to hear them, how to support them,
and how to interpret their wisdom.

Help us to trust that your prophetic voice
may also be communicated through our words and actions.     

May we practice a spirit of discernment
and a stance of humility,
so that your Truth be spoken, not our own.

We ask this in the name of Jesus the Prophet,
for we desire to share in your Great Gaze, Amen.

(author unknown)

"Eye of God"  - Picture from Space by the Hubbell

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Putting the Extra in the Ordinary!

We must learn to live each day, each hour, yes, each minute as a new beginning, as a unique opportunity to make everything new.” (Henri Nouwen)

Liturgically speaking, this time after Pentecost until Advent is considered the season of Ordinary Time. These are the numbered Sundays in the liturgical calendar with readings that reflect how we are to live out our faith in our everyday lives.  However, I’d like to take a little different twist on “ordinary time.”  Ordinary usually is defined as “common,”  “average,”  “uninteresting,” “unimpressive,” or “unremarkable.”  However, as I reflect on the ordinary times in which we presently live, there are many remarkable things happening in which we all, on this planet, are being invited to ponder, to pray about, and act upon in a healthy and just manner.

In his book, Deep Change, Robert Quinn writes that there is a difference between incremental change and deep change.  He states that incremental change is “usually limited in scope and is often reversible.”  Whereas, deep change “requires new ways of thinking and behaving.  It is change that is major in scope, discontinuous with the past and generally irreversible. . . it involves taking risks and means surrendering control.”  As he continues to contrast and compare the changes that happen on an organization and individual level, he cautions that “deep change is not something we need to do every day . . .but we need to do it more frequently than we have in the past.”

So let us step back into our inner selves, setting aside any distractions that may be pulling on our ordinary time, our ordinary thoughts, or our ordinary feelings.  Then with our extraordinary imaginations – call up all the ordinary issues of our time (across our planet) – that require extraordinary courage, integrity, hope, vision, faith, creativity, innovation, and compassion like never before.  Here are just a few to get started: poverty, health care, joblessness, trafficking of women, children and body parts, drug wars, abuse – physical, mental, spiritual, and psychological, global warming, immigration, homelessness, the rainforest, discrimination, lack of resources, obesity, famine, genocide, wars, global economy, water and food issues - to only name a few.

I make no judgments on these, but this “ordinary time” calls for all of us to do our part to risk being people of deep change - it is a time - "a unique opportunity to make everything new" – that is, to have a vision and to actualize it. 

These times are not ordinary – they are really  extraordinary times that call for extraordinary measures of faith, hope, courage, integrity and love.  So together let us call upon our “Everyday God to be strength and love in us as we live each new moment to begin again and again and again!

What incremental or deep change have you recently experienced?
Who are your mentors through this time?
Reflect on a time in your life you felt called to do more for others and to make a difference which called for risk on your part.
What are the learnings and wisdoms you hold after a choice you made to “surrender” your control and to open up with extraordinary faith, vision, hope, and courage during these ordinary times?
(Adapted ~ previous posting 2012)

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

A Jarring Experience! . . .

There was once a very religious man.  One day he heard the voice of God in his prayer inviting him to come to a certain mountain where he would be able to see the face of the Divine and experience God’s loving embrace.

The man came out of his prayer and could not contain himself. He thought of this day when he would see God face-to-face, and he just could not wait. But then he thought to himself, I have to offer God something in return for such a wonderful gift and to commemorate this once-in-a-lifetime occasion. 

He thought of gold, silver, precious stones – but nothing in the material world seemed to suffice. Finally, he decided to fill a jar with tiny pebbles. Each one of these pebbles would represent one of his prayers, sacrifices, or good works. When the jar was finally full of his little pebbles, he ran up the mountain. He got to the top and his heart was ready to explode in anticipation. But to his surprise, he could not see or feel anything divine.

He began to think that he was deluded, a victim of a divine prank. Holding his jar, he broke down and began to weep. Just then, he heard God’s voice once again, saying, “I am waiting to show myself to you and wanting so much to take you into my loving arms, but you have put an obstacle between us. If you want to see my divine face and experience my love, break that jar!”
Author Unknown