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

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Once upon a time

All grace comes precisely from nowhere—from silence and emptiness, if you prefer—which is what makes it grace. It is both you and yet so much greater than you at the same time, which is probably why believers chose both uprushing fountains (John 7:38) and downrushing doves (Matthew 3:16) as metaphors for this universal and grounding experience of spiritual encounter. Sometimes it is an uprush and sometimes it is a downrush, but it is always from a silence that is larger than you, surrounds you, and finally names the deeper truth of the full moment that is you. I call such a way of knowing the contemplative way of knowing, as did much of the older tradition. (The word “prayer” has been so consistently trivialized to refer to something you do, instead of something that is done to you, with you, in you, and as you.) Then, like Mary, you are ready to give birth. You are ready for Christmas.
                                                                                                                                                Richard Rohr

the story is nothing if not odd
full as it is of the oh so common
of the little moments of daily life

of sheep grazing
and shepherds sleeping

of merchants selling
and people rushing through the streets
intent on getting to the butchers
before it closes

or perhaps simply intent on getting home
to whatever safety and warmth
poverty offered

but it is full of the uncommon common as well
of travelers arriving
of babies being born
(babies are born all the time, and it is always miraculous)
But of a baby being born who
Somehow moved from miracle to miracle

and then there is the just plain strange
angel choirs?  Really?
Pronouncements from angels who really should have known better?
People pulled from their routine
To witness the routine (yet another baby)

This whole tangled story comes from outside us
From something bigger
One might even say infinite
And comes from within us
From that which is simply part of who we are
That sacred reality we carry as those created
From the Sacred
In the image of the sacred

Deep calling to deep

Something important happened that night
Love was born
Something happens again and again
Love is born


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