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

Thursday, April 30, 2020

transmitting pain, or transmuting pain

“Relationships must be fostered as far as possible and maintained, and thus a morbid transference can be avoided.”
                                                               Carl Jung, Cornwall Seminar, Pages 1-5.

All of us experience the absurd, the tragic, the nonsensical, the unjust… if we cannot find some way to transmute our wounds into sacred wounds, we invariably become cynical, negative or bitter… if we do not transform this pain we will most assuredly transmit it, usually to those closest to us…
                                                              Richard Rohr

We are so focused on the transmission
of a virus

it has a name, Covid-19
we have some idea of what it can do
this enemy
that passes from person to person
state to state
nation to nation

we see the damage
we feel the damage

and yet there is a lot more floating around out there
than a virus

I had an exchange the other day
I will simply say, it did not go well
It ended with fragmentation,
and perhaps, the termination of some friendships

I was not the hero in this exchange
nor was the villain
neither were the others

there was just so much in the air
anger perhaps
or fear

and it struck me
afterward, just how much we carry, unawares
and how must we transmit, unawares
and the degree to which we project, unawares

chastened by that exchange I have found myself
focusing on awareness

and I have started to ask myself some critical questions
at least they seem important to me

Where did this come from?
This feeling, this thought?
Did it come from some place healthy, and valid
Or did it come from some place inside me where demons
Lurk and whisper?

Do I really need to say anything at all?
Is what I am about to say, or write,
Is this comment something that will actually help?
Will it actually contribute?

If need to say something,
how can I say it in a way that is not “loaded”?
Even if what I am saying is valid, and appropriate,
have I attached other things to that statement?
Anger, fear, ego?

If I were to hear or read my comment,
how would I take it?
What we be my “take home”?

What is happening is that I am learning a lot
I am talking/writing less
And I have having to make a lot of amends

What I hope, is that with all these “bugs” flying around
The one I catch, and the one I transmit
Is kindness

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

be kind

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

I managed to do it, somehow
In fighting for kindness, I became unkind

and in the end
nothing good happened
I acted like a jerk
and relationships were broken

and we need our relationships
we need each other
these are going to be difficult times

but this all brought home to me
how often intensity, and passion
even when that intensity and passion needed
and even when the cause is good

can cause us to stop being kind to one another
and sometimes
even cruel

I think of the pro-life movement
I get wanting to save babies
But I don’t get throwing living children
And the environment
Under the bus in the process

I think of my passion for taking care of the vulnerable
And about how
at times
perhaps often
I am unkind to others when talking about that issues

About the times my desire for kindness and generosity
Make me unkind and ungenerous

I keep thinking of the quote attribute to Henry James:

“Three things in human life are important:
the first is to be kind;
the second is to be kind;
and the third is to be kind”

for while it is important stand up for what is right
and it is necessary, at times, to enter into those
tough conversation

and while there may be room for debate,
even confrontation

there is also a need
a deep seated, profound need
for kindness

for when we are not kind
even though we may have the best of intentions
damage is done
the fabric of community is torn
relationships are destroyed

and sometimes
in the name of good
we become cruel

today I resolve
to be kind
to listen well
to answer softly
to seek understanding
and to act gently and with grace

there is enough cruelty in this world
we need a little kindness

Monday, April 27, 2020

mother love

Look how the Creator in the form of a mother
or a father can love the created, the child,
even more than themselves…

Could God care for the created more than God
cares for the Sacred self?

See what great love God has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
                                                   I John

As I wake on this Sunday morning
Nothing is normal

There is no gathering of my “beloved community” ahead
There no smiles to share
Or hugs to be given

The news is dire
The numbers of deaths accelerating
The economy staggering

The articles, grabbing hold of worst case stories
Are terrifying

And people are afraid… if not for themselves
Than for others
Those who are beloved
Those who are vulnerable

In this time of great uncertainty,
in this time of loss, and grief,
for the losses and grief are real,

in this time when nothing is normal
these words
of all words in the scriptures
echo in my head


my soul rebels at those words
for they seem so irrational
like empty piety

what do you mean, be not afraid?
this is frightening!
and I am tired,
and helpless

and yet still they come
those words
“be not afraid”

not because the threat is not real
not because the pain is not real
not because the loss is not, and will not be real
not because we have this under control, and it will just

but because that which created
that which sustains
that which is woven not only into creation
but into us
into these frail bodies, so vulnerable

that power
is Love

and we are loved
by Love
by our Sacred Mother/Father
even more than they love themselves

in a way we cannot even imagine

and so
even in our helplessness and confusion
even as we struggle with the unreality of this moment
which is so painfully real

let us rest in that love
and let us offer that love
and let us keep loving, no matter what

and above us
let us be not afraid

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Living Inside Out

When you can’t control what’s happening
Challenge yourself to control
The way you respond to what’s happening.
That’s where the power is.

Good things happen
Bad things happen

We wish it weren’t so
If we had our way there would be no tornadoes
ripping through the night
There would be no cancer
And Covid-19 would be a thing relegated to
A novel by Stephen King, or maybe Camus

But good things happen
And Bad things happen

People fall in love
Children are born
Joy wings it’s way through our lives
And then is gone

as harsher realities
are woven into the fabric of our days
the lost of a job
an illness
and even pandemics

we would like to think
that the reality
in whom we live and breathe, and have our being

would protect us from all of that
that if we love Sacred enough
live Sacred enough
pray to Sacred enough

all the power of the Universe
would be channeled to work in our favor

That God would intervene
And we would be spared


That does not seem to be how God works
We can’t send and extra gift to Paula White or Kenneth Copeland
And be spared

How many prayers have been sent
into the heavens
never to return?

And yet

We are not powerless

In the upper room, with the terror of the cross ahead
Jesus talked to his people

These were powerless people
Horrible things were unfolding, and there was nothing
Nothing, they could do

And yet he told them
Be not afraid

You have the Spirit
The comforter

You have in you, planted, there,
at the center of who you are
everything you need

And if you stay connected to that truth
(I am the vine, you are the branches)
You will overcome

It is not so much that life will change
It is not that Pilate will become suddenly benign
Or that the Sanhedrin will magically remember whose they are
It is not that the brutality of Friday will go away

It simply that you will be powered from within
And you will have the capacity
To react differently

To live in hope rather than fear
To live generously rather meanly
To live with compassion rather than with protective apathy
To live forgiveness rather than retribution
To live love rather hate

Turn to God
Turn to me
Turn inside
Pray, pray, pray

But what will be changed
Is you

It took a while
It didn’t happen that night
It didn’t happen that Friday
It didn’t happen until Pentecost

But eventually they got it!
And the world changed
It didn’t become less terrible
Less fearful

But it the world changed
Because wandering around the world
were people
filled with, and open to
Sacred Presence

People who were not afraid
(OK, maybe a little)
But hoped anyway
Had joy, anyway
Were generous, anyway
Were kind, anyway
Were forgiving, anyway
And loved

In this time
As it would be so easy to live in fear
We can be people who live in hope

We can be people who filled with God
Don’t hoard
Don’t isolate emotionally
Don’t sink into the darkness of depression
Don’t quit

We can be people who leave that package of toilet paper on the shelf
Who make that phone call to a friend
Who spread calm and hope
And who do what we can
For others

As Frederick Buechner says
“Here is the world, beautiful and terrible things will happen
 Don’t be afraid!”

Be love

Thursday, April 23, 2020

love endures

It is strangely silent O Lord
Our gathering places are empty
And the sound of commerce is gone from our streets

We watch helpless
as an unseen contagion stalks the land
and watch fearfully as pundits report the latest death toll
and report the latest numbers from Wall Street

our cars sit idle
our planes are grounded
our office buildings are empty

and we are assailed
by the dark weight of fear and loneliness
by the specter of poverty
and illness

Bewildered we rail against the injustice of it all
Angry we seek enemies to blame
Anxious we become fearful hoarders

But we can do so little
We are humbled by this adversary
Who has brought us to this place
Of silence

But we are not alone, O Lord
We are never alone
For you are with us, woven into the fabric
Of these frail and vulnerable bodies

Present in our aching hearts
And fearful souls

You, Love
Are incarnate in us
and we are lifted up
from this time of death and darkness

We know O Sacred One
that with you, new life starts in the dark…
that you will come to us in this our time of darkness
and birth us from above
with the power of your Presence

This is what you do, this is who you are
You place a song in our hearts
And words of kindness and comfort on our lips

You calm our minds
And warm our hearts
You fill our souls with your peace
And move us to acts of compassion and kindness

And so even as the darkness creeps
And fear tugs at our hearts
We trust, O Lord, in your unfailing love;
Even in this time of contagion our hearts rejoice
and we sing your praise

for your love endures

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

it will be faith

Catholic theologian James Allison describes faith not as intellectually ascending to a set of theological propositions, but he describes faith as relaxing. Relaxing in the love and presence of God in the way we relax in the presence of someone we are certain is fond of us.  When we are in the presence of someone we are certain is fond of us, we are funnier, more spontaneous, softer and less defended.  If I know for sure someone likes and loves me there is no reason to pretend anything. Allison says faith is relaxing.
                                                                        Nadia Bolz-Weber

These are anxious times
Covid-19 makes it inexorable march 
Across the globe

it is, in some ways
the end of the world as we know it

for we will be forever changed
by this event

not because of how many will get sick
or die
but because of what we will learn about ourselves

for good, or for ill

we have learned so much already

we have learned how fragile we are
we have learned that no matter how much money we have
no matter how sophisticated our technology
everything can be brought to full stop
by a virus

we have learned the impotence of power and wealth
and we have learned that you can’t gaslight or bullshit a virus

We have learned that fear and anxiety cause us to do
Crazy things
Like horde toilet paper
And kind things
Like watching after elderly neighbors

We have learned that some will panic
And some will deny

We have learned that some get shitty fast
And others get kind, fast

We have learned about social distancing
And live streaming

We have learned that we get sick together
When we deny and gather and infect

And we get well together
When as a community we do the needed things
The right things
And protect one another

I don’t know what the next months will bring

But what I do know is this
Faith will be important
for it will be faith that will allow me to sleep at night
(obviously something I did not do this night)

For faith will allow me to relax
to settle into the Sacred
and into love

It will be faith that will calm my heart
It will be faith that will keep me soft
And loving
And kind
And generous

It will be faith
That will get me through this time
With my empathy and compassion intact
With my mind and heart
And hands

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Spread Calm

We can all get really shitty really fast when we’re afraid. I get it. I’m using deep breaths along with my personal mantra: ” Try to be scared without being scary.” Feel free to borrow both - they can help….
Stay awkward, brave, and kind. Love each other. Spread calm.
                                                                        Brene Brown

I sit here
on a snowy March morning

the snow is a bit like a blanket
even protecting

because it is an angry world out there

it seems so beautiful and calm here
in the high country of northeast Oregon
where high valleys nestling under
the brooding gaze of high peaks

where stoplights
And Walmarts don’t exist

and yet even here
where we often see people at their best
we sometimes see people at their worst

yesterday noon
after a morning of connecting with
special folk
I was headed home with Sirius on the radio
And the sound of the Troggs echoing

When I was met along the way
by one of those aging, jacked up
little 4X pickups (Toyota)
of nondescript color

and out of the window stuck a
bare, wiry arm
rigid and emphatic
raised in a one fingered salute

I didn’t know the car
Perhaps they knew mine
Perhaps this person really didn’t like me
(I am a public figure, and outspoken
 and I suspect there are people who don’t like me,
 and I suspect I have done things at times to earn disdain,
 I am sadly human)

Or perhaps this was just a random
Act of hostility

But it seemed
like both a violation, and a symbol

It kind of felt like that one act
symbolizes America today

We are all just kind of roaring down the road
flipping off the world
as we pass by

we all get shitty really fast
when we are afraid
or angry

when events and leaders
stir the pot of enmity
that exists in all our souls

but it is in these times
as we fear Corvid-19
as we are told to distance
as events were cherish are cancelled
as we are forced into tough choices
as schools and churches close

it is in these time
that we need to find within ourselves
that spark of the divine

that Sacred Presence that transforms
and gives us the capacity
for kindness and generosity
for forgiveness and calm

That presence that allows us to do life
A different way
And enables us to look past ourselves
To others

And do the right thing
The healing thing
The protective thing

So as Brene Brown so beautifully says,
“Stay awkward, brave, and kind. Love each other. Spread calm.”

Peace to all of you!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

anxiety on steroids

“What we all dread most is a maze with no centre.”
                                G.K. Chesterton

“Dread is anxiety on steroids.”
                                Emily Nagoski, Burnout:

It was hard to get up this morning
Perhaps it was the darkness outside
At the hour of 5am

But I think it was
The darkness inside
That kept me momentarily frozen to the mattress

Perhaps it was dread

The air has been heavy lately
Permeated with all kinds
Of threats and disappointments

Vacations cancelled
Stock markets crashing
Schools closing
Viruses making our very society ill
Relationships stretched thin by political differences

All those anxieties
Morphing into dread
Transforming into anger
And even cruelty

It does indeed feel as if we are in
A maze with no center
On a journey with no end

I suspect it must have been much the same
For the people of Israel
Out there in the Sinai
Out there in that dry and barren land
Where there was no water

I suspect the constant dread wore at them
Until they were raw

Railing at their leaders
Eyeing each other with distrust
Splintering, fragmenting

“we want to go back to Egypt”

It gives me a glimmer of hope
That they found their way out of the mess
It gives me caution that they continually made new ones

The secret
To that slow journey out of the wilderness
Was not their own strength or brilliance

The secret was simply this
They learned to look toward the Sacred
They learned to trust that Sacred Presence
That dwelt among them
And led them forward
Pillar of fire
Pillar of cloud

I believe
left to their own devices they would have perished in that desert
They would ended up
Stuck in the desert, at best
Destroyed by their own fear and infighting
At the worst

But they learned to keep their eyes on the Sacred
And found their way home

Perhaps there is a lesson here for us
As we wander in this wasteland
Of greed, and strife
Of alienation and fear

In this time of dread
It is too easy
To slip into despair
And shut down

To go to anger
And look for someone to blame
And attack

It is too easy to be lured
By those who would lead us
To wrong solutions
To our own golden calves

I do believe
The maze has a center

But we only get there
If we keep our eyes on

We only get there through
Compassion not calculation
Through generosity, not greed and inequity
Through kindness, not cruelty
Through welcome, not exclusion

It comes down to this
We find our way out of dread
By focusing on all that is Sacred
By being spiritual
And then
As has often been said
Walking each other home

Saturday, April 18, 2020

In it together

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”
                                                               John Donne

Whenever there is chaos
Whenever there is crisis
We learn something about ourselves

Right now the Covid-19 is our great teacher

First it was “not a problem”
Then it was “their problem’
And now it is “our problem”

And so as the stock market crashes

As trips we dreamed of
And events we treasured
Are cancelled or postponed

As governments announce bans
And implement responses
However ineffective

We are challenged not only
by a virus
but by our own nature

there is not doubt about it
this pandemic
for that is what it is

has (and will) caused a lot of grief

It has caused disappointment too
and anger

it has brought out the best in us
and it has brought out the worst

we are seeing it all
from people hording toilet paper
to people railing because a music concert has been cancelled
to people quietly doing what is right

some people are responding with fear and resentment
and some are responding with grace, and compassion
and what can only be called community ethics

let us make no mistake about this
this crisis
while personal
is not merely personal

it is not “all about me”

yes, I had to cancel a trip to visit cherished
but vulnerable cousins

Yes, a meeting I was looking forward to
is not happening

Yes, I may end up cancelling
(at some level)

But beyond my personal frustration and pain
There is a greater pain

The pain of people without insurance
The pain of people who will no longer have a job
The pain of people who, living pay check to pay check won’t have a pay check

The pain of older people
Forced to “socially distance”

All of this is about
The community that is my church
The community that is my small rural county
The community that is my friends and neighbors
The community that is my nation
The community that is the world

Can I feel the pain of my community
Can I set aside my individual wants and needs
For the sake of my community?

Can I mourn the loss of March Madness
And Spring Training
And my visits
And the value of my 401Ks
And possibly the loss of a traditional lent and Easter

But feel a deeper pain for the loss of livelihood
suffered by the minimum wage works on the edges
of pro sports
and the hospitality industry
and the entertainment and travel industry

Can I think of those older people
Who may not get that cherished visit from their family
Or pastor?

And can I embrace the small things I can do
To keep my family safe
My church members safe
My friends safe
My community

If not safe
A little safer?

This is not “all about me”
Or my investments

It is about people

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Whatever became of sin?

Whatever Became of Sin?
          Karl Menninger

“The Seven Social Sins are:
Wealth without work.
Pleasure without conscience.
Knowledge without character.
Commerce without morality.
Science without humanity.
Worship without sacrifice.
Politics without principle.
                     From a sermon given by Frederick Lewis Donaldson
                     in Westminster Abbey, London, on March 20, 1925.”


It is funny how so often those shouting about
what they consider the evils of the world
capitalize the word

its not
sin, or
Sin, its

I can almost see them foaming at the mouth

I am certainly not going to suggest
that things are not “right with this world”

and I am not going to suggest that the image of God
is not “blurred” in most of us
blurred almost beyond recognition.

sin is certainly a powerful topic

it is so powerful in fact, that many people actually act,
in practical terms, as if the Bible begins in Genesis 3 (the fall)
rather than in Genesis 1 (the creation)

For some everything hinges around the choice made by
Adam and Eve to eat that damn apple
in their search to “be like God”
(which reflects, if nothing else, a lust for power)

People seem to forget that in the first two chapters
God creates
and men and women are created
“in the image of God”


We may be a mess folk
Be we carry divine DNA
We are created as Sacred Children

How can we forget that before there was
what many call “original sin”
there was “original blessing”

But let’s get back to sin
The Bible certainly talks about
And gets pretty specific about it (in some cases)

There are sins of commission, where people do
things they perhaps ought not do.
There are sins of omission, where people don’t do
what they really ought to do.

Sins come in all kinds of shapes and sizes
From getting a tattoo
To mixing fabric
To lying,
To murder

Some prohibitions are clearly meant
Simply to keep people safe
(don’t eat shellfish)

And some are clearly more profound
getting to the heart of what it means to be
in the image
ad imaginem

Its complicated

So let me make just a couple of observations

1.  We tend to focus on sins of commission not omission.  We get all excited about someone lying (for example), but don’t have the same passion over a lack of compassion.
2.  We define the sins of commission differently, depending.  What does it mean to steal?  To take someone’s wallet or purse?  Sometimes we see little thefts as huge, while ignoring corporate corruption, tax evasions by the very rich, which is where the big thefts are likely to be found. 
3.   Often we just choose to close our eyes to sins, failing to call out sin, and thus enabling it.  This is rank denial.  We choose to believe lies that are convenient, and sometimes not only excuse but idolize evil. 
3.  We are very subjective about sin.  The sins we yell about are the sins we don’t think we have.  They involve things we don’t understand or fear (often the same thing).  And we are subjective about the weight of sin.  There are some very profound sins, a greed for example, which we simply excuse.
4.  The people who are most adamant about the idea that “the Bible tells us what is a sin, and a sin is a sin” are often the most likely to have a small stable of sins they focus on, and a huge number of so called “sins” they totally ignore.
5.  We use sin not as a diagnostic but as a weapon
6.  We claim that “all are sinners”, even ourselves, but at some level we don’t really believe that.  Our own awareness of sin pales in comparison to our awareness of the sins of those we disagree with or fear.

This of course, could go on, and on, and on, and on.

But it is interesting to me that when asked about the Law, and the Commandments,
Jesus kept it pretty simply

Love God
And Love your neighbor as your self.

In the two passages where he talks about what we call “hell”,
the only thing he talks about is how we treat the vulnerable

Did we at least share crumbs of our wealth
Did we feed the hungry, clothe the poor, fight for justice?

So I guess it comes down to this
We have Divine DNA
We are designed to be people who loves as God loves
How God loves was revealed in Jesus
God loves all
God welcomes all

So sin is a failure to live the image
Which is a failure to love
Whatever that looks like
Whatever that means

“love one another
 for love comes from God”  (I John 4)

So quit screaming about SIN!
So quit counting the rules
So quit pointing fingers

And love

(OK, this is profoundly incomplete, but at least it starts the conversation)

Wednesday, April 15, 2020


It seems to be an ever repeated cycle

Something comes along that feels like a threat
Something that we do not fully understand

And we scramble and clamor for an answer
Not just an answer, be a cause
Not just a cause, but a cause outside ourselves
Not just a cause outside ourselves
But something or someone we can blame

We seek
an enemy

Someone we can blame
Someone one we can had

Someone on whom we can
Release the weight of our ignorance and insecurity

like the threatened animals we are
we huddle together
heads in
asses out

eyes closed
minds shut

ready to kick and repel

it happens every time there is a perceived threat
to our safety
to our way of life
to our norms

Economic recessions
The mere growth of diversity
The emergence of the LGBTQI community
And now COVID-19

Just this day a member of congress called it
The “Chinese virus”

Not just COVID-19
But a CHINESE virus
Because how handy it is to create blame
How lovely it is
as the virus threatens the stock market (the golden idol of America)
to be able to point a finger and say

“they did this”

Even though “they” took radical steps to contain the virus
And even though we in the US have not done nearly enough
To contain the virus

But now the enemies have been identified
And people of Asian descent her in America are being bullied
And minimized
And threatened

“go back to China”

In my own little corner of the world
Relatively unscathed as of yet
a white employee of a tribal casino is identified
with Covid-19

now story after story emerges
of tribal members being bullied
called names
treated with disrespect
told to “go back to the reservation”

I don’t think it is just a White thing,
But white Americans seem to have it down to an art
This delusion of superiority

The sad fact is it comes not from knowledge, but ignorance
And not from strength, but insecurity

And it makes us unkind
Sometimes cruel (think immigration camps and the separation of children from their parents)
It brings out our inner racist
Our inner bully

And it causes us to huddle closely together
Heads in
Ears closed
Eyes closed
Mouth open

Backs turned

there is an antidote

Hearts open
And filled with the lively presence of the Sacred
Which casts out fear
And drives us to people in need

Filled with the Spirit
Which opens our minds
Our ears
Our eyes
And our arms

This is not always safe
It is not always easy
It does not always turn out the way we think it should
(but what do we know?)

But it is the way
The truth
And the Life

Remember that guy named Jesus?
That guy that much of Christianity seems to have forgotten
As they wander in the retributive wilderness of some of the OT,
And pick up and cherish the worst parts of Paul?

Remember that one we have reburied
So that he can barely be seen
Underneath the religion we have created?

The one who said
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed..”

Yeah, that one

That one who welcomes all to the table
That one who came to touch all with love
That one who was about rescue, and restoration, and reconciliation
Not blame and shame

That one who did not think in terms of adjectives

But looked the person in front of him and saw

Child of God
Child of God
Child of God

Even in times of trial, we do not have to be enemies
Indeed in times of trial we cannot be enemies

We are brothers and sisters

And we must face the ills of the world

Whether the ill be
Corvid -19
Or poverty
Or greedy
Or authoritarianism

No matter what comes our way
We must work together
to feed the hungry
Clothe the need
Free the oppressed
Heal the sick

Because that is
The Jesus way

Were all come
From east and west
And north and south
And sit at the table, together

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The heart has reasons

“The heart has its reasons which reason knows not.”
                                         Blaise Pascal

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
                                         Mahatma Gandhi (attributed to)

What is on my heart today?

Not my brain
which chatters without ceasing
like a demented monkey

but my heart

if I stay in my head I will be overcome
with thoughts about the stock market
and my shrinking retirement accounts

if I stay in my head I will spend my day
analyzing polls
trying to figure out which wrinkled old white guy
is going to sit
in the seat of power

In my head are thoughts about tasks mundane
trips to the store
bills to be paid
emails to be send

but what do I find
if I still my mind
breath in
breath out

breath in
breath out


they are much different
these things that tug at my heart

they have faces

I see my old friend
now in a care center
fearful that her friends will not be allowed to visit (Covid-19)

I see an anxious father
hoping that his daughter’s transplanted kidney
continues to work well

I see a LGBTQI friend
whose face carries her fears
about lost protections
and increased hostility

I see the single mother
scrambling to make ends meet
as yet another support program is cut

I see the tired, resigned face of the immigrant
The empty eyes of a young black person
The twisted face of one governed by hate and prejudice

I also see my children
And my grandchildren
And friends I care deeply about

And I am glad, sometimes
And sad
Joyful, and concerned

At the heart level
There are only people

That is what I carry there
Those I love
Those for whom the Sacred has given me
Empathy, and compassion

So much of what I worry about this day
Does not
In the end
Count for much (in the final equation)

But those things that are on my heart
Those people
Those precious souls

They are what matters
They are what count

And so
I pray

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Hanging in the Garden

“Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one's thoughts.”
Elizabeth Elliot

“...sitting and waiting is one of the most miserable occupations known to man - not that it usually is known to men; women do it much more often.”
Diana Gabaldon

it was a day of waiting
that Sabbath Saturday

the day after the day
the death after the death

men and women who loved
and had seen the beloved
beaten and killed,


unable to visit the tomb
unable to pour out the oil of their grief
on the body that lay
cold and alone

men and women waiting
that long dark day
for the moment when the sun would rise
on their grief

and they could make the journey
to the garden

how did they wait?
did the men pace, and find thing to fix?
did the women gather together
comforting each other
through word, or touch?

Did they all grieve together
or were they separated
by distance
or fear
or social norms

we know nothing of that Sabbath
except that it must have been full of pain
the pain of loss
the pain of separation

that same pain felt by those who cannot be
with their dying one’s their dead ones
in this time of pandemic

we know only of the first day of the week
when they found their way
to that fresh tomb
sealed and guarded

why was it that the men found only an empty tomb
and the women
at least one woman
found Jesus?

was it because the men came,
and quickly left, troubled and confused,
while Mary (and perhaps other women too)

long enough to see

is this why the first Easter Sermon
was given by Mary Magdalene?

Ah, blessed are those
who mourn for they shall be comforted
Ah, blessed are those who wait upon the Lord
Ah, blessed are those who are willing to sit with the pain
And be broken open

Women and men alike
For theirs is the kingdom of God