Welcome

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, March 30, 2020

Resentment has no place


Resentment, Part Duex

Do we really want to be rid of our resentments, our anger, our fear? Many of us cling to our fears, doubts, self-loathing or hatred because there is a certain distorted security in familiar pain. It seems safer to embrace what we know than to let go of it for fear of the unknown.
                                                   (Narcotics Anonymous Book/page 33)
______________________________________________

it lies there
like Southern Smokehouse Bacon Burger,
your mother’s meatloaf,
or a dry fruitcake.

sitting there, in that deep inner place,
a foul presence
that contaminates our souls

rot, rot, rot
fester, fester, fester

that stuff we carry

that stuff that weakens our heart
clouds our minds
blurs our sight

and leads to
resentment
which leads dark things
like retribution, and cruelty

once upon a time
I was stabbed in the back
It was not that I was blameless in the situation,
but the options were there for openness
and healing

instead there were assumptions
and outright lies

this person was the first person I knew
who owned a minivan
a Dodge
minivan (the only kind there were at that time)

the impact of this person’s feelings, attitudes
and behavior
were profound

and even though the eventual outcomes was just
the facts were twisted
and the offense multiplied

and so for years
every time I saw a minivan
my heart pounded
a lump formed in my stomach
and bile rose

I was not free
I was burdened by the fact
That I could not let go
Could not even try to understand
What it was within this person
That caused them to do what they did

Eventually I got there
And was able to travel
Lighter

Not light

It is really difficult to travel light
Not to pick up
All the things that come our way

The hard comments
The misunderstood statements
The harmful behaviors
The dysfunction

We grab them and hoard them

And if we are not careful
They become our dragon’s hoard

And we wallow and revel in our hurt
and it becomes valuable to us
definition

it becomes who we are
it becomes comfortable
familiar

but it is not who we are
we are Sacred Children
designed for freedom
designed for compassion
and forgiveness
generosity
and love

and so as we sit
staring at the TV screen
hating the voice, the sight of one we abhor

as we see that person who has
“done us wrong”
sitting a few desks away
or a few pews away
or across the kitchen table

as we struggle with our resentment
we are not ourselves

it is resentment
and retribution that are the unnatural acts
that separate us from God
and from one another

As he left a life of imprisonment
and walked down the path to freedom
Nelson Mandela is reported to have said these words,

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.”

By contrast, the people of Israel
faced with the broad expanse of the desert
and freedom, and newness
are said to have proclaimed

“we want to go back to Egypt”

“Many of us cling to our fears, doubts, self-loathing or hatred
because there is a certain distorted security in familiar pain.”

And make no mistake
Letting go is scary
Forgiving is scary
Trusting is scary
Giving of yourself
Is terrifying

But God calls us to lay down our fear (be not afraid)
And step forth
Into freedom

Resentment has no place
on the journey
to the Kingdom

Sunday, March 29, 2020

new life starts in the dark


“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
                                                   Mary Oliver
_______________________________

Hello darkness
my old friend

in the early morning hours
when my chattering brain will not be silent

I sit and look at windows that
do not reveal the world outside
with its mountains soaring
crisply laundered with new fallen snow

but merely stare back
black holes

reflecting
back only a blurred image
of my questing gaze

we have a conflicted relationship
with the dark

sometimes it is comforting
sometimes it is where we hide
unwilling to be seen

but we stumble in the dark
and in the dark we find it hard to escape
our fears
our dark thoughts

and so mostly we would rather
chase it away

we turn on the porch lights
and we spring forward
and fall back

when trapped by darkness we strive toward the light

but there value in the darkness
it can be a gift

in the darkness we are unwrapped
and revealed
in the darkness we are vulnerable

it is no accident that our very being is roiled in the dark
thoughts racing
hearts pounding
souls aching

things happen in the dark
things begin in the dark

in the dark we are vulnerable and open
in that hidden
safe
frightening place

it was no accident that Nicodemus
came stumbling to Jesus in the dark
furtively
hiding
perhaps from himself
perhaps from others

but also ready
in the darkness, to be exposed
transformed
born again

in that place
where nothing we normally rely on means anything
in that place
where we cannot see one step in front of us
in that place
where we are hiding but revealed

in that place
we can let everything go
all our wisdom
all our perceived expertise,
our tight control of our lives
our power
our worldly status

even our tightly defined and controlled
image of God

in that place we can learn to be led
learn to be comforted
learn to be loved

in that place we can be born again
for new life starts in the dark
“Whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it starts in the dark.”  (Barbara Brown Taylor)



Friday, March 27, 2020

the stuff we carry


Resentment, Part Duex

Do we really want to be rid of our resentments, our anger, our fear? Many of us cling to our fears, doubts, self-loathing or hatred because there is a certain distorted security in familiar pain. It seems safer to embrace what we know than to let go of it for fear of the unknown.
                                                   (Narcotics Anonymous Book/page 33)
______________________________________________

it lies there
like Southern Smokehouse Bacon Burger,
your mother’s meatloaf,
or a dry fruitcake.

sitting there, in that deep inner place,
a foul presence
that contaminates our souls

rot, rot, rot
fester, fester, fester

that stuff we carry

that stuff that weakens our heart
clouds our minds
blurs our sight

and leads to
resentment
which leads dark things
like retribution, and cruelty

once upon a time
I was stabbed in the back
It was not that I was blameless in the situation,
but the options were there for openness
and healing

instead there were assumptions
and outright lies

this person was the first person I knew
who owned a minivan
a Dodge
minivan (the only kind there were at that time)

the impact of this person’s feelings, attitudes
and behavior
were profound

and even though the eventual outcomes was just
the facts were twisted
and the offense multiplied

and so for years
every time I saw a minivan
my heart pounded
a lump formed in my stomach
and bile rose

I was not free
I was burdened by the fact
That I could not let go
Could not even try to understand
What it was within this person
That caused them to do what they did

Eventually I got there
And was able to travel
Lighter

Not light

It is really difficult to travel light
Not to pick up
All the things that come our way

The hard comments
The misunderstood statements
The harmful behaviors
The dysfunction

We grab them and hoard them

And if we are not careful
They become our dragon’s hoard

And we wallow and revel in our hurt
and it becomes valuable to us
definition

it becomes who we are
it becomes comfortable
familiar

but it is not who we are
we are Sacred Children
designed for freedom
designed for compassion
and forgiveness
generosity
and love

and so as we sit
staring at the TV screen
hating the voice, the sight of one we abhor

as we see that person who has
“done us wrong”
sitting a few desks away
or a few pews away
or across the kitchen table

as we struggle with our resentment
we are not ourselves

it is resentment
and retribution that are the unnatural acts
that separate us from God
and from one another

As he left a life of imprisonment
and walked down the path to freedom
Nelson Mandela is reported to have said these words,

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.”

By contrast, the people of Israel
faced with the broad expanse of the desert
and freedom, and newness
are said to have proclaimed

“we want to go back to Egypt”

“Many of us cling to our fears, doubts, self-loathing or hatred
because there is a certain distorted security in familiar pain.”

And make no mistake
Letting go is scary
Forgiving is scary
Trusting is scary
Giving of yourself
Is terrifying

But God calls us to lay down our fear (be not afraid)
And step forth
Into freedom

Resentment has no place
on the journey
to the Kingdom

Thursday, March 26, 2020

new life starts in the dark


“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
                                                   Mary Oliver
_______________________________

Hello darkness
my old friend

in the early morning hours
when my chattering brain will not be silent

I sit and look at windows that
do not reveal the world outside
with its mountains soaring
crisply laundered with new fallen snow

but merely stare back
black holes

reflecting
back only a blurred image
of my questing gaze

we have a conflicted relationship
with the dark

sometimes it is comforting
sometimes it is where we hide
unwilling to be seen

but we stumble in the dark
and in the dark we find it hard to escape
our fears
our dark thoughts

and so mostly we would rather
chase it away

we turn on the porch lights
and we spring forward
and fall back

when trapped by darkness we strive toward the light

but there value in the darkness
it can be a gift

in the darkness we are unwrapped
and revealed
in the darkness we are vulnerable

it is no accident that our very being is roiled in the dark
thoughts racing
hearts pounding
souls aching

things happen in the dark
things begin in the dark

in the dark we are vulnerable and open
in that hidden
safe
frightening place

it was no accident that Nicodemus
came stumbling to Jesus in the dark
furtively
hiding
perhaps from himself
perhaps from others

but also ready
in the darkness, to be exposed
transformed
born again

in that place
where nothing we normally rely on means anything
in that place
where we cannot see one step in front of us
in that place
where we are hiding but revealed

in that place
we can let everything go
all our wisdom
all our perceived expertise,
our tight control of our lives
our power
our worldly status

even our tightly defined and controlled
image of God

in that place we can learn to be led
learn to be comforted
learn to be loved

in that place we can be born again
for new life starts in the dark
“Whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it starts in the dark.”  (Barbara Brown Taylor)



Tuesday, March 24, 2020

resentment gone bad


Do we really want to be rid of our resentments, our anger, our fear? Many of us cling to our fears, doubts, self-loathing or hatred because there is a certain distorted security in familiar pain. It seems safer to embrace what we know than to let go of it for fear of the unknown.
                                                   (Narcotics Anonymous Book/page 33)

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
                                                    Ann Landers
_______________________________________________________

if there was anything Jesus taught his disciples,
it was to travel light

as he sent them forth
to “proclaim the Kingdom”
to be good news he said

“Take nothing for your journey,”
Just a staff, and sandals

That is truly packing light

Perhaps he knew
with that Sacred wisdom
that if they had possessions they would be
protective and fearful

Perhaps he knew that if they carried too much
It would slow them down

Perhaps he wanted the vulnerable and needy
people dependent
so they would be humble and not smug

people able to both reach out and receive
are something special in this world
and rare

and it is those people who can truly
with divine vulnerability
share divine love

So “travel light” Jesus insisted
So “travel light” Jesus insists

We see the problem everyday
Those people heavy laden with their possessions
Who plot and plan
Who buy Senators and Representatives?

Who worry over the stock market
and do all they can to not only hug their wealth
to their hungry souls
but gather more, and more, and more
because for them there is never enough

We see people
Clamoring for a wall
Fearful that if needy people arrive
With only sandals
And makeshift water jug
And walking stick

They might have a little less

This fearfulness is no respecter of persons
From the richest to the poorest
It can permeate souls

Your soul
My soul
All souls

So Jesus said,
Travel light
Carry only what you really need
Rely on each other
Take care of each other
Give and receive
Create community

And the Kingdom will come

____________________________________

Of course it is not just material possession that hinder us
No, there is so much more
Resentment
Fear
Anger

So……

(to be continued)



Saturday, March 21, 2020

What God can do with dust


All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if you all had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners

or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial

did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?     
                     Kate Bowler  (Twitter, February 26)
__________________________________

Lent begins with ashes
With the burnt remnants of the divine image

Lent begins with regrets
And repentance

With the gross understanding that we are not what we should be
Not what we could be

we look in the mirror and feel like dirt, sometimes
we feel ragged and torn
and empty

and tired
oh so tired

of lies
of hate,
of anger,
and fear

so tired of raucous debates
and pretentious rallies

so worn down
by crashing markets
and the insidious creep of CORVID-19

we feel insubstantial
as if the next piece of bad news
the next crisis

will cause us to finally
become so fragmented
that we are as insubstantial as ashes

or dry dust

and yet
for all that
we hope

we hope against [all] hope
for we are filled with God
connected in the Spirit to Sacred
to Jesus

and “in him all things hold together” (Col. 1)

even us

we may be dust
we may have been shredded
by the vagaries of life

but we know what the Sacred can do with dust

this Power, this Love
that dwells inside us

it does marvelous things in us
and through us

as through Jesus it multiplied loaves and fishes
as it cast our demons
and healed the sick
and gave sight to the blind
and raised the dead to new life

so this Power/Love
takes the most fragmented
the most common elements

the most fragmented
the most common people

and makes them new

transforming
water into wine transforming
multiplication of loaves and fish transforming
calming the waters transforming
life out of death transforming

this Power/Love even took a cross
and made it a symbol of life

it can certainly take us
and make us Sacred Children

Ah, yes
There are days when we feel like dust
But we know what God can do
With dust







Friday, March 20, 2020

real leadership


Manipulative Leaders Create Distrust and selfishness
Transactional Leaders Create Mediocrity and complacency
Motivational Leaders Create Positivity and Action
Influential Leaders Create Growth and Empowerment
Servant-Leaders Create Authenticity and Explosive Growth
Transformational Leaders Create Change and Leave Legacies”
                                                               Farshad Asl
______________________________________________

Will live in a quid pro quo world
In a highly transactional world

I’ll do this, if you do that!

We see it everywhere
It is the only paradigm many of our leaders understand
I’ll vote for, or against this bill, if…
you will give me money (its just lobbying, not  bribe)
you will vote for me

It is the way too many relationships are run
I will give you nice things….
if you give me sex
I will not hit you….
if you do exactly what I say, and isolate yourself from all others

It is the some parents function
I will love you and be proud of you if…
you get good grades, or do well in sports, or….

It is the way companies work
I will let you keep your job if….
you work 60 hours a week and agree to be underpaid

you all know what I am talking about

you have probably been a victim of quid pro quo
you might have played this game with others

something bad happens
when everything becomes transaction

important things can be lost

generosity can be lost
kindness can be lost
forgiveness can be lost

Today I read as someone suggested
the pandemic might be a good thing

Why?

Because it would “cull” those people
who in a highly transaction world, don’t have worth

with a little luck, this person insisted
it would kill those who from a transaction position
have little to offer

You know, the disabled
The mentally ill
The people who are homeless
Those who need some sort of aid

The old
The infirm

If those people died, it was suggested,
we could use all the money we currently spend helping them
we could use those nursing homes for “something useful”,
to help those who are valuable
those with “more to offer”

Wow!  Just wow!

To hear someone actually say out loud
They think there are too many people, and the answer is "culling"
Just allowing the poor,
the homeless,
the terminally ill,
the elderly in rest homes,
the "drains on society" to die
or actively be removed…..

As to access to health care?
Well, "medical debt is your own problem –
if you can't afford to live, then don't."

So pandemic, bring it on
The fit will live
The unfit will die

No big deal
A benefit, really!

And it occurred to me, that as bad as this is
What may be worse, is that the religion that calls itself Christian
Has made God a quid pro quo
Transactional deity

“Follow my laws
Accept Jesus
Say the right formula
Believe the right thing about the Bible

And I will give you heaven

Don’t do what I ask, and you will be tormented for eternity”

Faith has become a transaction
not a love affair

I can’t help thinking about the words for love in the Bible
Two of them are conditional, transactional

Eros, the love that happens when there is “chemistry”
when hormones decide to dance
If you are beautiful and you turn me on, I will love you.

Phileo, the love that comes when one has common values
Interests, priorities

If you support my ideology, my political views
We can be friends

But then there is agape
God’s love

What is agape all about?
As I read it, agape is love without demand
Love without conditions

Agape doesn’t love the other because they have value
Agape love creates value in the one loved

Agape love is about
Acceptance
Kindness
Inclusion
Forgiveness
Generosity

It is all those things, lived out

If we want to know what agape love we need only look to Jesus
We need only read (listen to) Jesus’ words
We need only look at how he treated the poor and the outcasts,
The “little ones” of the world

Love your enemies
Do good to those who harm you
Give to the needy
Expect nothing in return

If we want to look at agape love
All we have to do is look at he cross

Where Love was given
Where it was clearly not deserved
Where forgiveness was offered to those who harmed
Where acceptance was given to those who had erred
Where peace and love (instead of retribution) were offered to those who killed

Where evil was overcome with good (love)

Jesus proved God is not transactional
God does not function according to quid pro quo
God is love
God loves
And God creates lovers

Which is of course
A different way of doing life
A better way of doing life
A much
Better
way

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

don't be an asshole for Jesus


Those who follow Jesus should attract the same people Jesus attracted and frustrate the same people Jesus frustrated.
                                                   Shane Claiborne, Twitter, Dec 18, 2015
_____________________________________


today
as most every day lately
has been defeating

don’t get me wrong
it is not that politicians are acting like assholes
I expect that

It is not that conservatives are being massively hypocritical
accusing their opponents of being
fundamentally
them
I expect that too

It is not that Trump continues to destroy our form of government
with his malignant narcissism
and his abuse of power

it is who he is

It is not the coronavirus
it is not corruption in high places
it is not yet another shooting
it is not the stock market tumbling
it is not my local LGBTQI community being treated poorly

it is the fact
that Jesus demanded we afflict the comfortable
and comfort the afflicted

and too many of us don’t

it is the fact that Jesus came to
show us the way
and we ignore him.

This week as we enter into Lent
The story of Adam and Eve is placed before us

Snake
Apple
Fake news
And all

The story is there
With its temptation
To “be like God”

They chose to go against the way of the Sacred
To grab hold of power
And use it

We know how that turned out

And the temptations of Jesus are placed before us

Same story
Same basic temptation
Different setting
Different outcome

No lush garden this time
Just rocks and dirt
Angels and wolves (He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him)
the holy and the wild

and he is tempted to grab power
to use power
to abuse power

to get his way
to thrill the adoring crowds
to reach his goal

to rule the earth

he has a choice
he chooses for all it radical impracticality
for all its danger

the way of sacrifice
and service
the way of acceptance
and forgiveness

the way of love
the way of the cross

it was all decided
there
during that 40 day
in the middle of the barren rocks

Temptation is about choice
A choice to go with the way of God, and now, the way of Jesus
Or go the way of the world. 

Sometimes we go the way of the world unabashedly
Grabbing power
Using power
Abusing power
Seeking wealth

Sometimes we go the way of the world,
while thinking, we are going the way of the sacred.
Seduced the way Adam and Eve were
By what looks and sounds good
But isn’t

And sometimes, we choose “the way”
Sometimes

Sometimes we choose service rather than domination
And generosity rather that accumulation

So here is the question the story of Jesus in the wilderness raises for me
How do we respond to the lure of power?
How do we respond to the lure of wealth?

Do we commune with angels
Or do we do succumb to the wolves,

Do we become people of kindness
or people of cruelty?

People of generosity
Or people who hug things to ourselves
Unable to share
Unable to see the needs and the pain of others?

The choice is ours


Monday, March 16, 2020

a messy God


"Let's hold hands
and get drunk
near the sun
And sing sweet songs
to God
Until He joins us
with a few notes
From His own
sublime lute and drum. "
                                Hafiz
____________________________

there is an old joke
about a couple sent to meet a ministerial candidate at the airport

they had no clue what he looked like
so they guessed

that the rumpled, gray
and dour man emerging from the plane
must be their person

“are you the pastoral candidate?”
they queried?

“No, it’s just my ulcer that makes me look this way”
  
Algernon Charles Swinburne caught this same reality
when he wrote
in one of his poems

“Thou has conquered O pale Galilean
And the world has grown grey with thy breath”

where does this come from
this morose and gloomy faith
that seems to create
shriveled souls
instead of fat souls?

this faith that seems to drain people
not only of joy
but of compassion
and welcome
generosity
and love?

perhaps the problem
is that too many have a stern
and unyielding God
who would rather burn “them” in eternal torment
that welcome the sinner to the table

perhaps the problem
is that we have created a God
of privilege, and exceptionalism
a biased God
who rains retribution on all but the elect

perhaps what we need is a God
who joins in the messy mix
who come into our midst
into our hearts
into our souls

and joins in the joyful party
singing a bit of karaoke

a God who is with us
and for us
where we are

ready to lift us up
and join in the dance of grace

Friday, March 13, 2020

keep moving


“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
                                                   Martin Luther King Jr.
_______________________________________

they sat together
two people
not so old
not so very young

holding hands
and staring
blankly
at the food in front of them

the restaurant was noisy
but not so noisy we could not hear
her gasp of breath

her sob

her partner concern etched
leaned toward her

and her voice cut through the murmur of voices
the sound of silverware
and the clatter of plates

“I just can’t do it anymore”
“I just can’t do life’

How many people
Have come to that place
Where they are no longer sure they can keep moving forward

some of them talk to me
as a pastor
some of them talk to me
as a mental health counselor

some of them have no one to talk to

or simply can’t

They aren’t flying
Or running
Or walking
Or even crawling

They are face down in the mud
Illness has come, and they have no insurance
A child has died of cancer
They care about justice, and see justice slowly die
They are concerned about the poor, but watch the rich plunder
They ache for the immigrants, and see them herded into camps


children lost
houses lost
health lost
love lost
hope lost
faith lost

the statistics are grim
with the rate of completed suicides
rising 30% since 2000
and 10% of that increase coming in the last three years

people are stunned by the greed
the corruption and dishonesty
they are frightened by looming authoritarianism
and the deterioration of the planet

climate change
mass shootings
injustice

it is all too much

and yet
the world needs those
with soft hearts
those who will feel the pain of the world

the world needs those who see
the ills of the world
and care

the world needs these precious souls
to keep moving forward

to keep caring
keep giving
keep feeling
keep loving
keep living

there are times
for all of us
when it is hard to even crawl

those times when battered
we feel like there is no hope
when it feel like the abusers in power
will keep abusing
and the corrupt will wallow in wealth

and it is then
that we must go to the Center
to that place where the breath of God
fills us
Spiritus
Pneuma

we most go in
centering
in prayer
in meditation
seeking God,
opening
waiting

for enough breath
to take another step
or to crawl
just a little further

when I go to the center
so often
the words of Isaiah echo
and comfort

“those that wait upon the Lord
 Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength
 Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength and…..

 They will soar on wings like eagles;
 they will run and not grow weary,
 they will walk and not be faint.”  (Isaiah 40)

Let us wait upon the Lord
and keep moving
and never, ever,

quit

keep moving


“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
                                                   Martin Luther King Jr.
_______________________________________

they sat together
two people
not so old
not so very young

holding hands
and staring
blankly
at the food in front of them

the restaurant was noisy
but not so noisy we could not hear
her gasp of breath

her sob

her partner concern etched
leaned toward her

and her voice cut through the murmur of voices
the sound of silverware
and the clatter of plates

“I just can’t do it anymore”
“I just can’t do life’

How many people
Have come to that place
Where they are no longer sure they can keep moving forward

some of them talk to me
as a pastor
some of them talk to me
as a mental health counselor

some of them have no one to talk to

or simply can’t

They aren’t flying
Or running
Or walking
Or even crawling

They are face down in the mud
Illness has come, and they have no insurance
A child has died of cancer
They care about justice, and see justice slowly die
They are concerned about the poor, but watch the rich plunder
They ache for the immigrants, and see them herded into camps


children lost
houses lost
health lost
love lost
hope lost
faith lost

the statistics are grim
with the rate of completed suicides
rising 30% since 2000
and 10% of that increase coming in the last three years

people are stunned by the greed
the corruption and dishonesty
they are frightened by looming authoritarianism
and the deterioration of the planet

climate change
mass shootings
injustice

it is all too much

and yet
the world needs those
with soft hearts
those who will feel the pain of the world

the world needs those who see
the ills of the world
and care

the world needs these precious souls
to keep moving forward

to keep caring
keep giving
keep feeling
keep loving
keep living

there are times
for all of us
when it is hard to even crawl

those times when battered
we feel like there is no hope
when it feel like the abusers in power
will keep abusing
and the corrupt will wallow in wealth

and it is then
that we must go to the Center
to that place where the breath of God
fills us
Spiritus
Pneuma

we most go in
centering
in prayer
in meditation
seeking God,
opening
waiting

for enough breath
to take another step
or to crawl
just a little further

when I go to the center
so often
the words of Isaiah echo
and comfort

“those that wait upon the Lord
 Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength
 Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength and…..

 They will soar on wings like eagles;
 they will run and not grow weary,
 they will walk and not be faint.”  (Isaiah 40)

Let us wait upon the Lord
and keep moving
and never, ever,

quit

keep moving


“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
                                                   Martin Luther King Jr.
_______________________________________

they sat together
two people
not so old
not so very young

holding hands
and staring
blankly
at the food in front of them

the restaurant was noisy
but not so noisy we could not hear
her gasp of breath

her sob

her partner concern etched
leaned toward her

and her voice cut through the murmur of voices
the sound of silverware
and the clatter of plates

“I just can’t do it anymore”
“I just can’t do life’

How many people
Have come to that place
Where they are no longer sure they can keep moving forward

some of them talk to me
as a pastor
some of them talk to me
as a mental health counselor

some of them have no one to talk to

or simply can’t

They aren’t flying
Or running
Or walking
Or even crawling

They are face down in the mud
Illness has come, and they have no insurance
A child has died of cancer
They care about justice, and see justice slowly die
They are concerned about the poor, but watch the rich plunder
They ache for the immigrants, and see them herded into camps


children lost
houses lost
health lost
love lost
hope lost
faith lost

the statistics are grim
with the rate of completed suicides
rising 30% since 2000
and 10% of that increase coming in the last three years

people are stunned by the greed
the corruption and dishonesty
they are frightened by looming authoritarianism
and the deterioration of the planet

climate change
mass shootings
injustice

it is all too much

and yet
the world needs those
with soft hearts
those who will feel the pain of the world

the world needs those who see
the ills of the world
and care

the world needs these precious souls
to keep moving forward

to keep caring
keep giving
keep feeling
keep loving
keep living

there are times
for all of us
when it is hard to even crawl

those times when battered
we feel like there is no hope
when it feel like the abusers in power
will keep abusing
and the corrupt will wallow in wealth

and it is then
that we must go to the Center
to that place where the breath of God
fills us
Spiritus
Pneuma

we most go in
centering
in prayer
in meditation
seeking God,
opening
waiting

for enough breath
to take another step
or to crawl
just a little further

when I go to the center
so often
the words of Isaiah echo
and comfort

“those that wait upon the Lord
 Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength
 Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength and…..

 They will soar on wings like eagles;
 they will run and not grow weary,
 they will walk and not be faint.”  (Isaiah 40)

Let us wait upon the Lord
and keep moving
and never, ever,

quit