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



Thursday, May 27, 2021

The radicality of God

I heard a priest, one who lived the Gospel, preach the Gospel

The humble, the poor, were carried away

The prominent, the wealthy, were shocked

And I thought that such preaching of the Gospel would soon

          frighten away many of those now filling the church, and

          attract those now shunning it.

It occurred to me that it is a bad sign for a follower of Christ to

          be well thought of by conventional “Christians”

Rather, it would be better if we were singled out as crazy or radical

IT would be better if they pursued us, signed petitions against us,

          tried to get rid of us.

                     Michel Quoist, Prayers, p.106, Avon

______________________________________

 

when did we decide that being a follower of Jesus

meant living a decent little life?

 

when did we decide that it was a matter of small virtues

good habits

marginal generosity

little effort?

 

when did we decide that having power

and privilege

and money

were a sign of God’s approval?

 

have we even read the Gospels?

how has it escaped our notice that we have more in common

with those upright, uptight people who rejected Jesus

than the ragged motley crew

that followed Jesus?

 

I admit it Jesus

I am more like the rich young ruler

than like Peter, or James or John

 

I do not leave it all behind

I do not risk everything

to follow you

 

I parse my words

I step back from the radicality of the Gospel

for fear of what it will cost me

I hold on to my affluence

allowing what I give to hide what I withhold (Quoist)

 

I am willing to go only so far

 

help! O Sacred One

be wind and fire

move me, sear me

 

give me passion

give me hope

give me strength

 

help me to rise each morning eager

rather that bored an apathetic

help me to rise expectant!

knowing that this day, every day

is a Pentecost

 

a time to be blown out of my safety and complacency

into the world

 

where I give my all

all my heart

all my soul

all my mind

 

all

in the service of Love

 

help me

for even as these words leave my heart

and flow from my fingers

I know I will still hold back

 

I will still seek to be well thought of

Still cling to the things of the world

 

but still this day, as every day

I like Peter, who betrayed you

and Thomas who doubted

and Nicodemus who came in the dark

and Paul who carried a thorn

 

I am yours


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

when was the last time you sang

When was the last time time you sang?

(Question put to the sick by a Native American Medicine Man)

          Quoted by Mark Nepo in the Book of Awakening

_________________________

 

When was the last time you sang?

not a hymn,

or a song for a chorale

or choir

 

but sang

joyously, freely

just for the hell of it

because your soul was so full

of the joy of the Sacred

that you could not be silent?

 

When was the last time you laughed?

laughed at the absurdity of life

laughed for no reason

laughed until the tears ran down your face

and you snorted

ungracefully?

 

when was the last time you gave voice

to whatever was deep within you

 

when did you last cry

from the heart?

Freeing the torrents of anguish

the pain dammed behind the fa├žade

you present to the world?

 

On this mornings morning

as the world weeps around me and the clouds

bring the sky down to the earth

 

on this day as I read of horrors in Gaza

and the machinations of the far right

seeking to turn my country into a faux Christian dystopian state

as I watch the liars lie and lie and lie again

and the gullible believe

as I watch voter suppression

and basic rights taken away by fearful authoritarians

 

the clouds of evil

darken my soul

it all closes in until I cannot breathe,

cannot feel, and I walk, numb through each day

 

it has been far too long since I have truly smiled

since my heart has lept within my chest

with joy, or love our hope

 

there seems to be little there but existential dread!

 

Ah as we creep though this world

Tip toeing really

little, and shriveled and old of soul

we need to

sing

 

there is healing

in that giving voice

in the laughter

the song

the cry

the whisper

 

so

sing

even if it feels

that no one hears

 

for no song

no cry

no laugh

goes unheard

 

by the ear

of

Love


Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Two choices

it is not this simple, perhaps

but on this dark morning as the rain

finally falls on parched earth

 

and darkness lingers

as the clouds embrace the world with grayness

 

it seems painfully clear

 

we have two choices

domination or service

 

or to put it another way

we can choose power or service

 

from that initial choice

our world is shaped and built

 

domination is all about the win

all about power and coercion

and if things don’t go well,

about retribution

 

with domination is it all about

the “self”

and one getting what one wants, when on wants it

about controlling

and accumulating

 

(and here is the kicker)

WITH NO REGARD OF THE IMPACT ON OTHERS

 

but domination is deadly

domination creates wars

abuse

cruelty

injustice

inequity

 

domination erodes love

for while we must be filled with love

and we must “love” ourselves

true love must be shared

must be drive us to others and compel us to service

 

love is made to leave the home of our hearts

and fly towards other

and if is contained

it withers and dies

 

rot, rot, fester, fester

 

when we hug all to ourselves

we are not satisfied

why else to the very rich always want more money

and the very powerful always want more power?

 

Instead our self becomes a fetid, rancid pool

of want and need

and we live out our foulness

 

we see this every day

 

service is all about the love

about the expending, the giving away

the lifting up

 

service is not about eroding one’s self

giving one’s self away so completely that one is lost

(although there are moments for such sacrifice, ask Jesus)

 

but about making sure, that as we stumble on through this journey called life

that all have what they need to survive and flourish

 

service is about Kingdom living

about living in a way that would be suitable for the Kingdom of Love

service is about caring, and then sharing

service is about listening and understanding

service is about loving

 

it is about making sure all are housed

all are fed

call are clothed

all have healthcare

all have equal justice

all have opportunity

 

and being willing to give up some of one’s resources

(if one has enough)

to make this happen

 

it is to make sure all are valued

accepted

welcomed

included

safe

 

and being willing to give up privilege and power

to make that happen

 

domination created January 6th

domination has created the conflict in Israel

domination is at the heart of racism

domination is driving voter suppression

domination is behind politicians doing what benefits them

rather than what benefits “we the people”

domination is behind fake news,

which seeks to manipulate and yes, control

 

but it is not the way of Jesus

and we cannot pretend

it is

 

we must choose the way of service, of servanthood

 

as Paul so eloquently pleads in Philippians 2

(I wonder how right wing Christianity misses this passage)

 

“…if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

 

it seems there are two paths only


Monday, May 24, 2021

We have a choice

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

 

…everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. . . .

                     —Viktor Frankl

_______________________________

 

we have a choice

it seems

 

a choice as to how we are going to be in this world

 

yes, sometimes it feels as if our choices have been taken from us

as if life has us trapped, boxed in

to a place where there is

no exit

 

yes, external circumstances

powerful people

exert tremendous pressure

 

but no matter what is going on around us, what matters is what is going on

within us

 

what is percolating within our souls

 

and that is something over which we have some control

 

what will we nurture

there in our heart of hearts?

what will we cultivate

there in our mind?

what will be the fruit that emerges from our soul?

 

all the world around us can be chaos, and we can have peace within

all the world around us can be resentful, and we can nurture forgiveness

all the world round us can fight for domination, and we can cultivate  service

all world around us can hate, and we can embrace love

 

and then filled with peace, forgiveness, humility and love

and empowered by the One

who is peace forgiveness, humility and love

 

we can choose our response to the world around us

 

we do not have to lash out

we do not have to double down on hate

we do not have to act vindictively

 

we do not have to become the world around us

we can choose love in a time of evil

 

it is tempting not to do so

as we see a political party devolve into hate and obstructionism

as we see people drown in lies

as we see the greedy and abusive “win”

 

it is tempting to just jump into the

fetid mess and flail around

letting resentment and pain

ooze from our souls

 

but we must not respond

to hate with hate, fear with fear

anger with anger

 

we must go deep within our souls

to that place where Love dwells

and then

 

remembering the cross

that great proclamation that “hate stops here”

we can choose

love


Saturday, May 22, 2021

something of God

God comes to us disguised as our life.

                     Paula D’Arcy says, “

 

I kneel once more on the rough coconut matting, my hands over my eyes, and pray: “Oh, Lord, let me feel at one with myself. Let me perform a thousand daily tasks with love, but let every one spring from a greater central core of devotion and love.” Then it won’t really matter what I do and where I am. . .

 

We could fight war and all its excrescences by releasing, each day, the love that is shackled inside us, and giving it a chance to live. . . .

 

All that matters now is to be kind to each other with all the goodness that is in us. . . .

 

And there is only one way of preparing the new age, by living it even now in our hearts. .

 

I love people so terribly, because in every human being I love something of You [God]. . .

 

Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.

                     Etta Hillemun (from Auschwitz, as quoted by Richard Rohr)

________________________________________________

 

all that is love is Sacred

all that is Sacred is love

 

it is the nature of that present power

in which we live and breathe

and have out being

 

to be love

 

it is also its nature to be present

 

Sacred is incarnational

it is fleshed out in this world in which we live

in the mountain that looms above my home

and lifts my heart towards heaven

 

it is fleshed out in the animals that delight my soul

 

it is fleshed out in this body

in this peculiar life

and in the bodies and lives of those I love

and in the bodies and lives of those with whom I struggle

 

even as our bodies fail

even as our minds are ideologically impaired

even as we are immersed in conflict and chaos

 

there is something of God in us, waiting to get out

there is Love in us waiting to get out

 

and the Love in me wants to greet the love in you

no matter the barriers

no matter the abyss between our ideologies

no matter the dysfunction in my life, and in your life

 

there is something of God in me that wants to

connect with the “something of God” in you

 

there is something that wants to find

communion

commonality

compassion

connection

 

I want to give the love that is shackled within me

a chance to live

 

this is how we work toward peace

this is how we create healing and reconciliation

this is how we bind the wounds

this is how we end war

and usher in this kingdom

 

this is the way

the only way

love wins

 


Friday, May 21, 2021

come on people!!

she looks at me through eyes

dimmed by age

this woman bowed by age and life

 

her vague eyes reflect concern

and her voice trembles

 

this moment takes courage

 

we must get the young one’s back”

 

her heart is torn by empty pews

where in generations gone by

young families sat

 

where people with strong bodies

and clear eyes

would sit with restless brood

 

I feel her pain

as she shares how her child was offended

by my politics

my choice to speak out on Facebook

against a President he loved

 

I feel my own pain

as I think of others

equally disturbed and violated by the church

embracing a President they see as hate filled, and dishonest, and cruel

 

there it is

the pain

of disunity

of disparate values

of irreconcilable differences

of differing realities

 

trying to find a way

to worship, and learn and pray

together

we ache for togetherness

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! (Psalm133)

It is like precious oil dripping down

 

and yet this is so little unity

 

how we heal this wound?

how do we

in the midst of so my anger and bitterness

so much division

 

act as a Balm for all wounds (Etty Hillemun)

when we ourselves are suffering?

 

how do we reach out

to those we have alienated

and to those who have offended us?

While holding fast to the faith

as we understand it

 

this is beyond us

the love and humility needed

is, perhaps, too great

 

so come Holy Spirit

stir in each of us

the embers of faith

 

fire us up, clean us out

send us tumbling out of our entrenched places

into the street

into the riotous throng

 

come Holy Spirit

help us to hear each other

help us to understand

intoxicate us with Sacred love

 

draw us together in our differences

give us dreams

show us wonders

make our hearts glad as we are filled with the joy of your presence

 

let us be embraced by your love

let us choose your way of service and humility

let us join together in the breaking of bread and prayer

 

O God of love

we cannot do this

but You can

 

so come, Holy Spirit, come

 

 


Thursday, May 20, 2021

A balm for all wounds

“An eye for an eye, and the whole world would be blind.”

                     Kahlil Gibran

____________________________

 

it comes so quickly

that desire to get even

to “stick it to” the “other”

 

and so it is an old pattern

woven into the fabric of our cultures

 

retribution

 

and eye for an eye

a tooth for a tooth

a life for a life

 

we have institutionalized it

codified it

celebrated it

built monuments to it

 

retribution

 

and where has it gotten us?

 

we do not have to look far to see

it is there in the radiation fried bodies in Nagasaki and Hiroshima

in the killing fields of Cambodia

in the years of death and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan

 

it is there is the rockets of Hamas, arching toward residential neighborhoods in Israel

and in the brutal response of Israel in Gaza

 

it is there in the shattered bodies of Palestinian children

Israeli children

Iraqi children

Kurdish children

 

but still we persist

putting exorbitant amounts of money into the machinery of death

rather than into housing, and healthcare, bridges and roads

 

still we persist

turning even a God who says “I am Love”

into a god of judgment and punishment

 

how can we forget that moment

so many years ago

when the incarnate One

 

beaten and bloodied

nailed to a tree

 

instead of releasing

death and destruction from heaven

instead of responding to the violence with violence

the abusive use of power with power

the hate with hate

 

said

“forgive them”

 

how can we forget that when God had the chance

to join in the dance of retribution

God refused

 

and said

“this stops here?”

 

it is not easy to stop

to be the one who bears witness to love

 

and yet

is that not our calling?

 

to join with people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr.

Nelson Mandela and so many others

who have said

 

stop!

 

stop killing

stop abusing

stop hating

 

to join with people like Etty Hillesum

whose last entry in her journal

before she was killed in the hell that was Auschwitz

 

“we must be willing to act as a balm for all wounds”

 

yes

we must


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

bear witness

If I have a duty in this time it is to bear witness

                     Etty Hillesum

_____________________________

 

in times of darkness, there is a need for the light

when we are blinded by the light, there is a need for shadow

 

it is so easy to become overwhelmed

and allow the steady drumroll of chaos and fear

to occupy our minds

 

to allow the steady drip of hate and greed

to eat away at our souls

like acid rain

 

assailed we want

to burrow and hide

to close our eyes and our ears

to barricade our hearts

 

our silent scream

echoes

 

“please, make it all go away”

and our prayers become wishful thinking

 

overcome

we want to lash out

spraying vitriol wherever we go

attacking, minimizing, demeaning, dehumanizing

the other

 

the hardest thing in the world

it seems

 

is to stand firmly

on the rock that is Love

and bear witness

without hiding or without flailing

 

to stand with our fear and our anger both

and allow Love to transform them

so that we become

agents of reconciliation

 

we bear witness when we see past our own anger

and the anger of “the other”

and see the wounds

 

we bear witness when we see the lies

those we carry and those that are flung at us

like weapons

and hold fast to the truth

 

we bear witness when we let go of our desire to win

to dominate

to control

and embrace service

moving beyond our own toxic individualism

to work for the common good

 

these are indeed times that try our souls

the forces of evil are strong

the people of the lie ascendant

 

if we have a duty in this time

it is to bear witness

 

to love


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

On Prayer

pray for me they plea

pray for this one I love

 

and in my own heart prayers leak

out of my own fears

of possible cancer

of an aging body

of the shadows of fascism

 

it is almost as if we cannot help but pray

and if our own heart and mind

fail

 

something deep within us speaks forth

 

yet what is prayer?

 

a claiming of Sacred favor?

a plea?

a demand?

 

for me prayer is opening

opening all that I am to

all that there is

 

it is letting sacred flow in

and flow out

 

it be permeated with love

so that I am transformed, transfigured

healed by a presence

that changes me all the way

down to the cellular level

 

and more

 

and when we join together in prayer

praying for one another

it is like opening the floodgates of heaven

so that love and hope

peace and joy pour forth

 

and sometimes

that works wonders

the wonder of healing

or, perhaps, more often, the wonder of acceptance

and peace

 

and sometimes the prayers change

as the powerful presence

prompts our hearts

and prays for us

with sighs too deep for words

 

so let us pray


Monday, May 17, 2021

God's plan... more about how than what

Why can't we be humble

Like the good Lord said

He promised to exalt us

For love is the way

 

How men be so greedy

When there's so much left

All things are God given

And they all have been blessed

 

That's the way God planned it

That's the way God wants it to be, didn't He

Well, that's the way God planned it

That's the way God wants it to be, for you and me

                     Lyrics by Billy Preston

_____________________________________________________

 

Everything happens for a reason!

Nothing occurs by chance!

Its all part of God’s divine plan!

 

Is that the way it is, really?

When that good person gets cancer, that’s God?

When that evil person flourishes, that’s God too?

 

When that person get unexpectedly well,

that’s God?

When another person simply dies,

that’s God too?

 

It is a mystery

this God thing

this powerful presence thing

 

for that truly, is what it is all about

 

its not about an external God

who is “up there” or “out there”

 

arbitrarily, sporadically

jumping into the mess

 

its about a Sacred, Spiritual presence that permeates us all

and which variously

oozes from the inside out

into our daily lives

 

when we are open to this presence

when the Power rocks and rolls in our souls

things happen

 

when we are closed?

when we are self focused?

not so much

 

when we think God is ours alone?

not the way God planned it

 

when we think God is our excuse to dominate and coerce?

not the way God planned it

 

when we use God as a reason to judge and exclude

not the way God planned it

 

when we use God to support toxic individualism or tribalism

not the way God planned it

 

when we think God is a cosmic bellhop who brings us goodies?

not the way God planned it

 

all of us, connected to the ground of our being

all of us, permeated by love

all of us, with the fire of Sacred love roaring

and the wind of divine power blowing

 

all of us connected to the One

and thus connected to one another

 

living out LOVE

that’s the way God planned it

 

all of us, with the Spirit flowing into us

through us

out of us

between us

 

that’s the way God planned it

 

kindness is us letting Sacred Presence flow

so is generosity

forgiveness

 

and when we join together

and do it the way God planned it

wow

 

we can change lives

we can change nations

we can change the world

 

because that’s the way God planned it

(and that is why the Kingdom is near)


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Hearing the cries

The church would betray its own love for God and its fidelity to the Gospel, if it stopped being a defender of the rights of the poor, or a humanizer of every legitimate struggle to achieve a more just society… 

 

When the church hears the cry of the oppressed it cannot but denounce the social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises

                     Archbishop Oscar Romero      

_______________________________________________

 

Do you hear the cries of the oppressed?

Do you see the tears of those marginalized and minimized?

Those cast aside,

Excluded,

Holy Ghosted?*

 

Do we see the LGBTQI youth

homeless, rejected

by family and church?

 

the person, homeless and hopeless

while working 2 minimum wage jobs?

 

the refuge, tired and worn down

driven from their home by poverty, violence

corporate plunder

and climate change?

 

the person with mental illness

mutter her way down the street

lost to the voices in her head?

 

Do we see them?

Do we care?

Are we willing to move beyond thoughts and prayers

to that place of costly action,

following Jesus’ staggering steps to the cross?

 

Are we willing to let go,

as Jesus did, our rights, our need for power and affluence

our desire for ascendance?

 

are we willing to stand up

and speak out

saying

as Jesus said on the Cross,

“this stops here!”

 

Jesus came to preach good news to the poor

to fight for justice

to bring healing and reconciliation

 

how can we be followers,

how can we be the ongoing incarnation,

how can we be the “body of Christ”,

 

if we succumb to toxic individualism?

if we neglect the poor?

if we protect the status quo (because it benefits us)?

if we turn away the stranger?

if we embrace the way of abusive and violent domination?

If we dehumanize those who are different, or with who we disagree?

 

When the church chooses earthly power

political influence

domination and wealth

exclusion and retribution

 

it betrays its love of God and its fidelity to the Gospel

and blocks the transfiguration of the earth

the universal resurrection

the coming of a new heaven and a new earth

 

friends

we must hear the cries of the anguished

we must hear the cries of the angry

 

we must stand up and speak out

we must put our very selves on the line

 

we must be the ongoing incarnation

the sacrificial and redeeming

presence of Love


Saturday, May 15, 2021

15 Minutes of Fame

evil has its 15 minutes of fame

always

 

it has its moments of transcendence

when everything seems to be going its way

and it struts and bloviates

 

evil has it moments

as people, caught up in a lust for

domination

retribution

power

 

plan iniquity

who plot evil in the hallways of Congress

in the boardrooms of commerce

in the retreats of the rich

 

and then carry it out

because it is in their power to do it.

 

they suppress votes

they use their power to coerce and control

and to punish

 

they buy politicians (and become politicians)

they perpetrate fraud

and cast families on the street

they destroy the earth for profit

 

yes, evil has its 15 minutes of fame

and we cowed and battered

have our moments of despair

 

for it seems as if the dark malignancy of QAnon

as if those pushing the lies

as if hate and greed and racism and ignorance

as if those who “hate good and love evil”

will win

 

and yet

love

 

dare we believe that love is more powerful than hate

generosity more powerful than greed

kindness more powerful than retribution

 

we say it blithely

love always wins

 

does it?

 

I, like Paul “am convinced

that neither death nor life,

neither angels nor demons,

neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,

neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,

will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”

(Romans 8)

 

the path to this victory may be a painful one

a path of sacrifice

the ascendance of love does not come easily

 

if love is to win

we must be connected to Love

filled with Love

guided by Love

impelled by Love

compelled by Love

(come Holy Spirit, come)

 

but love can win

at times evil seems invincible (Gandhi)

 

at times the tyrants and would be tyrants

seem to be unbeatable

but they always fall

hard

 

evil may have its moments

but it will not prevail

if we do not give up, if we do not tire of doing good (Gal. 6)

if we keep telling the truth

keep giving

keep welcoming

if we keep loving

 

evil may have its 15 minutes of fame

but love has eternity

 

 


Friday, May 14, 2021

the need for truth

Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.

                     Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

____________________________________

 

in The Book

it all went wrong with a lie

 

one falsehood

took the original blessing

and destroyed it

 

and we moved from paradise

to the wasteland

 

proving perhaps

that if we listen to lies

if we build our lives on lies

we will always fall

 

and yet we persist

 

the lies are out there

powerful and pervasive

lies about exceptionalism

election fraud

masks

vaccines

 

you know them, I know them

they trickle into our ears

insistently

 

the lies are in us

our own delusions

our own little dishonesties about ourselves

and others

 

you know them, I know them

they are our precious defense

against truths that

are sometimes painful

 

it is a lot of work

to live a life built on a lie

 

we must close our eyes

close our minds

close our hearts

close our souls

 

no wonder we become hardened

no wonder

we cease to love

no wonder we become desperate

and stumble into ever more deplorable places

 

our beliefs, our words, our actions

becoming ever more extreme

as we try to maintain the lie

 

ah wretched creatures that we are

who will rescue us from the lies we are told

the lies we tell ourselves?

 

can we be rescued

before the earth, before our nation

becomes a wasteland?

 

thanks be to the one

who is the way, the truth and the life

thanks be to the one who taught us about love

 

thanks be to the one whose words

are truth

and for a truth that can set us free

 

the way is clear

the way is love

the way is compassion

the way is generosity

the way is welcome

 

as the lies come

as the voices of hate and fear chatter in our ears

hissing their falsehoods

 

may we hold fast to Love

as branches to the vine

 

may we let the life giving Spirit

flow into us

transforming us from the inside out

 

so that we are no longer

the people of the lie

 

but stand on the firm ground

of truth and love

 

salt

light

yeast

 

special agents of God

ready to participate in the ministry of reconciliation

and love

 


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

love hurts

It is a time to discover new stories about our God, who could not bear to stand apart from our suffering and joined us to live as we might live. . . .

 

Our God, who poured Herself into the creation of all that exists, is subject to risk, to being fractured and torn, just as we are. . . .

 

          Sally A. Howard, “Secure Dwelling and Positive Meaning in the Face of Trauma,”          “Trauma,” Oneing, vol. 9, no. 1 (CAC Publishing: 2021), 25–26, 27.

___________________________

 

it is the very nature of Sacred

to be incarnate

 

incarnation is self-revelation

incarnation is presence

incarnation is “standing with”

 

all creation is the incarnation

of that powerful presence we call

(for lack of a better way)

God

 

it is all the creativity, all the wonder

all the love

of the Sacred made real

 

Jesus was Sacred incarnate

And the Spirit too

 

God with us

 

and so too we human creatures

as Sacred children

carriers of divine DNA

are incarnation

 

into us too

into these fragile shells

Sacred has flowed and is embodied

 

there is power here

the power of Love

 

for God is, if nothing else

Love

 

and love hurts

 

we know that all too well

 

Ah, there is joy in love

and ecstasy too

 

but when we love we see,

we feel

and we see and feel it all

not just the joy, but also the pain

 

when we love we can be hurt

when we love we can feel the hurt of others

 

the more we love, the more we hurt

and God

God loves (God IS love)

really, really, loves

 

and so God hurts

yes, God feels pain when we violate the Sacred way

as we feel pain when our love is violated

Love is pained when we hate,

when we are caught up in lies

when we abuse power

or succumb to greed

 

but mostly God feels our pain

our fear, our emptiness

our anger, our longing

 

when we hurt, God hurts

and does what any lover does in such moments

 

comes alongside

with patience,

with comfort

with embrace

with love

 

God joins us in our pain

and through presence works with us

to help us move through the pain

to help us carry the pain

and

in the end,

transform and redeem

 

 


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

powerful presence

“Lets build a happy little cloud.

Lets build some happy little trees.”

                      Bob Ross

____________________________________

 

how do we talk about

that power

that presence

that Love

we call “God”

 

without getting anthropomorphic

 

even at the burning bush

as Moses felt the sand of the Sinai between his toes

and sought a name

he got a verb

 

“I am”

 

Not Zeus, or Jupiter

Not Baal or Odin

 

just  flickering flame

real

present

powerful

 

just wind

unseen but felt

 

something happens when we try to make this

powerful presence

concrete

man, woman, it doesn’t matter

 

we make God (see how hard it is not to anthropomorphize?)

smaller

 

and this is part of a more profound problem

our tendency not just to make God in our own image

but our tendency to claim and contain

that which cannot be claimed and contained

 

we make the mistake of thinking that this powerful presence

is “ours”

that this powerful presence can be manipulated

and that this power can be not only claimed for our benefit

but used against others

 

I am stumbling and bumbling here because

I a fighting against my own deeply held and nurtured views of

the Sacred

 

because I believe the Sacred does make a difference

and I believe our connection with this powerful presence does make a difference

 

I just am not so sure it works the way we think it does

 

hear me out

 

This powerful presence is in everything

This powerful presence is in everyone

This powerful presence, this divine DNA makes us who we are

 

and when we are awake to it

because it is Love

we are different

we are what we were created to be

those “in the image”

rather than those we have become

those who have “blurred” the image

 

This powerful presence makes things happen

and when those things happen, we sometimes call them miracles

 

yesterday in worship we heard of a medical supply person who, unscheduled

found one our beloved on the floor, blue, nearing death

and  call to 911 saved our friend’s life

 

a miracle?

 

we heard of a traumatized young woman suffering a severe panic attack

who just happened to be in a building with a mental health peer counselor

who was able to help her

 

miracle?

 

yes

miracles happen, as we are awake to this powerful presence

and this powerful presence somehow leads us to those in need

and moves us to act in the ways necessary

to heal and restore

 

physical healing?

 

this is harder

why would this power we call God save one person,

and let another die?

 

we can’t just deal with that issues by saying ‘its in the plan”

for why would the divine agency plan for one family to suffer pain and loss

and not another

 

as if “god” were some sort of demented and arbitrary chess player

 

to me it seems as if it all comes down to

the presence

the powerful presence

 

which it appears we can be open to, or not

and it comes down to this

presence

which is not only powerful

but loving

always

loving

 

impacting us

perhaps at a cellular level

perhaps mentally, emotionally

socially

 

changing how what we see

how we feel

how we function

 

it is about presence

driving us to people in need

helping us see the need

giving us the grace and love to respond to the need

 

that weird bond taking us to this person

the powerful presence taking us to this place and not that place

 

it is about a presence within that simply says “I am”

 

I am still working this out

and will always be working this out

but what I do know is this

 

it is not simple

 

there is a danger in denying agency to Sacred

there is perhaps a greater danger in seeing Sacred

as a cosmic bell hop who helps our football team win

helps us find the perfect ‘second home’

gives us a job (but denies another)

heals us (but abandons another)

 

alas

questions abound, abound

I want my cake, and I want to eat it too

 

I do not have the answers

only the question

 

but until then I will seek the powerful presence

the great “I am”

I will hope the bush burns within me heart

And I will do the best that I can

 

 

 


Saturday, May 8, 2021

coming home

many years ago they left

driven from Eden

from the land of Wandering Winding Waters

their homeland

 

greed and racism left no room for them

no longer welcome

they were driven onto a trail of tears

 

on this day

they returned

and once more their songs were raised into the sky

and the drums sounded

 

once more they saw the waters and the snow capped peaks

home again

 

and once again tears flowed

but this time tears springing up from full hearts

as land stolen was returned

and ending becoming a new beginning

 

a church closing but hope being born

how Gospel

 

ah how often people are far from home

driven their by forces beyond their control

driven from Eden

by those who would judge and exclude

by those who would dominate and control

 

by those who do not respect

their sacred DNA

 

indigenous people

poor people

immigrant people

mentally ill people

LGBTQI people

 

people

Sacred children

 

and yet

when hearts are open

and the Spirit moves

wind and fire

 

ah, we are prodigals all

we who sit on the land

wrapped in privilege

and those who long to return

from a long exile

those who have wandered, those who have been oppressed

 

there is always way back home

back to the homeland

back to the place where we are birthed and rooted

 

but only love can empower 

that return

only humility and a thirst for justice

 

only the understanding that all belong at

the table and deserve

to gather for the feast of Love

 

the homeland may be a scrap of land

it may be a place in the Great Spirit’s heart

 

but we know it when we see it

we feel it in our hearts and in our stomachs

and we want nothing more than to dwell there

and gather all others

 

to that place

of love and hospitality