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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, February 19, 2024

The Promise is Enough

It seems as if the “winter of our discontent”

will never turn into “glorious summer”

 

the darkness is so profound

late December early January darkness

that smothers and obliterates

 

leaving us lost and overwhelmed

 

this darkness rolls like storm clouds

obliterating the light

the fear deluges us, the lies

overwhelmed by pervasive hate

and foul greed

 

Evil ones promise shelter

But merely seed the clouds with more fear

More lies

 

We stand exposed

And face the storm

Small

So small

 

in these moments, bowed and cowed

I do not want to be small

I do not want to be a mustard seed, a touch of yeast

 

I want to be lightening and thunder

Earthquake and fire

I want to be a tsunami

That roars

 

But I am just me

One person

One voice

One heart

Small

 

With my little touch of faith

My little bit of love, and hope, and joy

Those meager resources I can share

With those whose lives I touch

 

But the promise is

That is enough


Tuesday, February 13, 2024

slow to anger, easy to calm

There are four kinds of temperament:

 

Easy to anger, easy to calm – the negative is canceled by the positive

Hard to anger, hard to calm – the positive is canceled by the negative

Hard to anger, easy to calm – such people are truly holy.

Easy to anger, hard to calm – such people are truly wicked

          V:14 Wisdom of the Jewish Sages (Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro)

_____________________________

 

It rises too quickly

This anger that eats at my soul

 

I like to believe it is righteous

This indignation

 

This ferocity that rises when I hear the lies

See the injustice, the racism

The fire that burns fiercely when I see suppression and oppression

When I watch people misinformed and mislead

And sucked into the abyss of fear

 

There is a place for anger

For the prognostications of the prophets

For the fierce burning God places upon the heart

For the agony that comes when we see

The rich plunder and see the poor abandoned

When we watch the powerful abuse their power

And see precious souls dehumanized and marginalized by racism, sexism, fascism

All the “isms” of the world

 

But we cannot live in anger

We cannot carry hate

Without becoming a force for harm

 

Even if we are on the side of righteousness

Unchecked anger becomes destructive

 

Anger distorts, even blinds

Anger becomes a powerful energy that leads to excess

To rigidity

To judgment

Exclusion

Even violence, a violence that emerges in many ways

 

We need calm

We need to find a quieter and gentler place

We need to find space in our heads, and even more

In our hearts

 

Where, as we breathe in and breathe out

We create room for love

And compassion

Generosity

Even forgiveness

 

Jesus got angry, but it took a lot

It took greed camping out in the place of holiness

But Jesus had a peace that passes all understanding

The calmness of watching betrayal

Of healing another, while being arrested

Of forgiving from the cross

 

He saw it all

He felt it all

The fire burned

But it did not consume

And he found that calm at the center of his soul

That allowed him to respond to the evil around him

Not with evil, but with love

 

Lord, this day

Help me to be slow to anger

And easy to calm

 

Help me to be holy


Saturday, February 10, 2024

Finding the words

If I can find the words in my mind

The words could explain, but the words won't come…

And I don't know what to say

          The Zombies, Chris White

__________________________________

 

It is like a silent scream

It builds inside me, filling me until I am stretched

 

Engorged

 

Unable to contain it all and yet

Caught with the unutterable

 

All around me, there is pain, anger, fear, distrust, hate

There are people trusting the deceitful,

living a lie

living without insight or understanding

 

pushing our world into the abyss

of climate change, division, and war

 

I pick it up and carry it

The slide into fascism

The racism

The inhumanity at the border

 

I pick it up and carry it

the pain of those I listen to and counsel

those who come to me with their own fear and pain

 

words spill out

there are always words

but they seem to get lost

 

I speak from the pulpit, and the words twist and vanish

Do they touch hearts?  Heal souls?

In counseling, I seek to say words that will unlock insight,

help people heal themselves (or their relationships)

but do I help?

 

Amid many words, I feel wordless

as if the words needed somehow

don’t come

 

not the right words

not

the kinds words

the healing words

the Spirit Words

 

those, perhaps, are stuck in my throat

in my heart

perhaps those Spirit Words are entangled

in my own inner chaos

 

I know I cannot “fix” the world

that it is not my job to heal people

they have to do that themselves

I am no Jonah, no Isaiah

Who can turn a city, and nation around

 

but I can speak words of love

of hope

of joy

 

I can speak words that open doors,

create space

raise questions

 

For today I will speak to God

I will shout to the skies

I will curse, perhaps

Lament

 

I will cry out for release

and will

try to find the words

to say to all I

I love you