Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Monday, September 23, 2019

Challenge of the day

“The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?”
                                                              Dorothy Day

The challenge of the day!
To solve all the ills of the world?
To fix that person who is making me miserable?
To get my Stated Clerks to-do list completed? (its long)
To actually stick to my low sugar diet?
To get my sermon started?
To prepare for pain school?
To get in 10,000 steps?


The challenge of the day is to make that mindful journey inward
To that place at the center of who I am
To that place where the Sacred lurks
To that place which truly defines me

The challenge of the day is to connect
With the Sacred
With my created to be self

The challenge of the day is intimacy
With all that is Sacred within me
With that self that is true and authentic

The challenge of the day is to be re-created

As Paul put it in Romans (12)
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The challenge of the day is to start a revolution!
To be so changed by the Love that underlies all
That I respond differently to what I encounter the rest of this day

Respond differently to those people I encounter

For if I respond differently, they will respond (I believe, I hope)

And even if they don’t
I will have broken the pattern of anger, violence, retribution, alienation

If we are called to be anything by the Sacred
We are called to be reconcilers
We are called to help people get in touch with Sacred
In touch with themselves
In touch with one another

By my response to what comes my way
To who comes my way

I can create change
Even if only a tiny bit

And that is a start

Saturday, September 21, 2019

acceptable prayer

Maybe I was praying for him then, in my own way. Does God have a set way of prayer, a way that He expects each of us to follow? I doubt it. I believe some people-- lots of people-- pray through the witness of their lives, through the work they do, the friendships they have, the love they offer people and receive from people. Since when are words the only acceptable form of prayer?”
                                                    Dorothy Day

It is almost reflexive
When bad things happen we pray

There is a death
“Thoughts and prayers” we say

There is a terrible accident
“Thoughts and prayers”

A hurricane hits, or a tornado
“Thoughts and prayers”

Another mass shooting
“Thoughts and prayers”

And that is lovely
And meaningful

And it all helps
That love, sent winging on its way
To those in need

But perhaps the most powerful prayers
Also involve action

Not just words of love an concern
But acts of love

It is instructive that the book that follows the various stories of Jesus
(The Gospels)
Is not the thoughts and prayers of the disciples
But the ACTS of the disciples

Prayer and action
Or perhaps action moved and guided by prayer
is a powerful thing

There is a story about the kindergarten teacher
Who gave her class a "show and tell" assignment.
Each student was instructed to bring in an object to share with the class that represented their religion.

The first student got up in front of the class and said, "My name is Benjamin and I am Jewish and this is a Star of David." 

The second student got up in front of the class and said, "My name is Mary. I'm a Catholic and this is a Rosary." 

The third student got in up front of the class and said, "My name is Tommy. I am Presbyterian, and this is a casserole."

When there is a death prayers are important
So is presence
So are mutual tears
So is food

When there is a house fire, prayers are important
So are clothes, and furniture

When there is illness, prayers are important
So is a ride to the doctor,
Or a ride to the specialist, far, far, away
So is a visit
So is a shoulder to lean against

When the trials come
Sickness, famine, poverty, hate, violence, loneliness

It is time to prayer
Not only through our words
But through the witness of our lives

“Jesus loves you, here’s a toaster”  (Rob Bell)

Friday, September 20, 2019

go where it hurts

Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”
                                                   Henri J.M. Nouwen

Compassion asks us to go where it hurts!

It does indeed
Compassion can only arise
When we are willing to see the brokenness,
Fear, confusing, and anguish of others

If we cannot go into that place of misery
we cannot have empathy

if we cannot see the anguish of a mother or father
from Central America,
if we cannot enter into that place where we
feel what they feel, as the sit in the middle of violence and chaos
and look at their little child

we cannot have the compassion it takes to
welcome them when after miles of trial and danger,
they show up at our border

But here is the thing
We cannot have compassion for others
Unless we have compassion for ourselves

We cannot enter into the brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish of others
Unless we are wilingl to see, and enter into
Our own brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish

Unless we have been willing to forgive ourselves
It will be very difficult to forgive others

Mourned over our own losses
We will struggle to mourn with other in their loss
For we will still be wrapped up in our own unresolved loss

Unless we are willing to see how we are weak
It will be next to impossible to be with those who are struggling
For we will still be trying to hide our weakness

We cannot welcome the immigrant at our border
With open hearts and open arms
If we do not understand, and have compassion for
Our own fears about having enough
Our own fears about safety

If we have not entered into those fears
We will respond to those who come, seeking refuge
Out of reflexive fear
Rather than from a place of understanding

Compassion means full immersion into the condition of humanity
Including our own