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

Sunday, May 3, 2020

be not afraid

Lying in the darkness
in that empty space
where no distractions enter

I hear my heart beat
and the rush of blood pounding in my ears
I feel the air move in and out of my body
and wonder at this gift of breath

I breathe in
I breathe out

I feel every little pain in my body
the throbbing in the should
the twinge in the knee when I move just wrong

I hear the dog, restless
And the thump of the cat
playing on the porch
ready for breakfast

in the dark awareness comes
things that would go unnoticed in the light
when I am so distracted, come
and visit me

thoughts come
about the Covid-19
(am I sure my breathing is the same?)
about the day ahead
about that last post (was I kind enough)
about friends, and family
the economy

as I lay in the dark my head is lit
with the light of 100 TVs
all on different channels

it is chaotic at times
and disconcerting

and yet

in the dark I reflect
I face myself
I become aware
I feel
I evaluate

I learn
And there are so many lessons to be learned

In the darkness insight comes
And so to new ideas
New ways forward

New life, Barbara Brown Taylor suggests
begins in the dark

there are many kinds of darkness
right now there is a darkness we call Covid-19
and in that darkness we are learning

about our leaders
about our country
about ourselves

some of it is not very pretty
a willingness to sacrifice the vulnerable on the altar of wealth
a fearfulness that empties shelves of toilet paper

but there is beauty too
a priest giving up a ventilator for a young person, and dying
musicians playing (6 feet apart) in a street
people being kind, and generous

and in all the terror and hope
beauty and ugliness

another lesson is learned
God is here

In the dark of night
In the reality of Covid-19

God is here
and it is as we open to that presence
it is as we cling to Love
as branches cling to a vine

we become open and alive

it is then we find ourselves
becoming better not worse
becoming grateful givers, not fearful hoarders
becoming calm rather than panicked
becoming compassionate not hateful
becoming kind not cruel
becoming people of love

I keep thinking, as we enter into the final days of Lent
As we move toward the bipolar ups and downs
Of the journey to Jerusalem,
The attacks of the Pharisees
The raising of Lazarus
The triumphal entry
The righteous anger at the temple
The last supper
And then…..

I think about the confusion and chaos
And the final darkness…

And I remember those words of Jesus in the upper room
(John 13-17)

Be not afraid
The comforter will come
The guide will come
The helper will come
The Spirit will come

We are in an upper room moment
Gathered somewhat fearfully
In our various rooms
Some of us alone

Looking out the door into the darkness
of a future that may be full of dark things
difficult things

But still the words come
I am here
I will always be here
All you have to do is cling

Be not afraid

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