I belong to you

         (Tune: Gift of Love)

Beloved, I belong to you.
You give me birth; you make me new,
your image formed, by Spirit stirred.
You are the Song; I am your Word.

Whatever pains I may endure,
I still belong. Your love is sure.
Since I am yours, your will I do.
I trust and give myself to you.

I am your coin to richly spend,
so spend me, God, as you intend.
You bless my end; you hold my worth;
send me to love throughout the earth.

Beloved, I belong to you.
Do with me what your love will do.
Bear me, and I, through ease or strife
will find in you eternal life.
 

   —October 18, 2017
 

In the silence

Google Groups is still shutting me out, so I'm changing to a new email system. In the meantime I have to add recipients to the list one at a time). Think about that.

God has not forgotten you,
lost track of you in this vast, cluttered universe,
lost interest with so many other people.

God is speaking to you,
in the most invisible whisper,
the faintest handwriting,

and sometimes, like a mother with a child inside her,
no message gets through,
nothing in the silence but God herself.
  

   —October 16, 2017

Burning house

I pray for all those affected by storms, by fires, by civil unrest, and by so many private calamities.

Hurricane roars over the horizon
and they grab the most beloved things,
pack everything into the car,
one last trip through the house,
and they're gone.

Soldiers enter the village, ravaging,
and the family leaves by the other road,
belongings in bundles on their heads.

Fire marches down the hill
with total disregard,
the eaves catch,
smoke drinks each room,
they reach for the treasures
and they're out.

The world's house
is always on fire,
God clearing out
with you under her arm.

- October 13, 20017

 

Whatever is true

Let these words of Paul guide you today:

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing the things
you have learned and received and heard and seen in me,
and the God of peace will be with you.
                  — Philippians 4.8-9

 

October 12, 2017

Technical Difficulties

For those who subscribe to Unfolding Light by email I have used Google Groups for a long time. But since Oct. 3 Google Groups has failed to accept my messages. I can write to people only one at a time. (There are 2,716 of you.) I guess some algorithm thinks my writing is junk. And apparently it doesn't think I'm going to improve: the failure seems to be permanent.

Until I get Google Groups fixed, or move to another platform, I can't distribute. I'm only here on this website and on Facebook. If you subscribe to receive these by email I'll add you to my list; you just won't start receiving messages right away.

I've spent hours trying to figure out the Google Groups failure (instead of writing). There's no reason, no explanation, no fix, and no help. An opaque puzzle. A box that can't be opened. It's been frustrating. I've learned a lot. Mostly about patience.

God help me to find you in silence,
to embrace you in mystery,
to know you in powerlessness,
to trust you in the darkness.
                       

   —October 11, 2017

A prayer in dark times

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.




God of mercy,
we cry, we cry to you.
Be with us in our darkness.
May your love prevail over all.
Shelter our broken hearts, hallow our grief,
put your arms around our sorrow.
Bear our losses with us, and receive our death.
Give us wisdom to bear both horror and hope,
to face our brokenness without blame,
and our fear without despair.
Give us grace to meet evil with goodness.
Give us courage to hold the fearful,
to heal the wounded, and to work for justice.
Give us the heart to be peacemakers in a troubled world.
God of mercy, give us mercy.
Sustain us with your love.
Raise us from our graves
and give us courage and mercy.

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Amen.

 

- October 3, 2017

 

Have this mind

         Praying Philippians 2.1-11
                  

God, grant me encouragement in Christ.
Give me the consolation of love,
the Spirit's sharing,
and compassion and sympathy.
Make my joy complete,
and my harmony with Christ.
Help me do nothing from selfish ambition or deceit,
but in humility regard people with honor
and look to the interests of others.

Let the mind of Christ be in me:
no to attain status
but to empty myself
and take the place of a servant,
trusting your presence in my humanity.
May I become obedient in self-giving.
May Christ rule my life in grace.
May my humility, love and service
be your glory.


I pour myself out
and find you in me.
                       

   —September 29, 2017

You've declared

         “By what authority are you doing these things,
         and who gave you this authority?”

                  —Matthew 21.23

You're not afraid to wear your team's jersey,
or a wedding ring, or to announce to the masses
your alma mater or your favorite designer.

The scribes didn't have the guts
to know where their guts came from,
to let the light from within shine, let it shine.

But you, you dare. You let your loyalty be known.
You stand for healing, for justice and reconciliation.
You stand for resurrection. You've declared.

You wear it boldly. Others will hide it, blend in,
undecided. They're afraid, running under stolen identity.
But there's no doubt with you. Strangers can tell.

Not by a cross or a logo; it's not a brand.
You bear the authority of the Loving One
in your presence, your vulnerability, your love.

Having the mind of the One who became a servant,
your uniform of mercy is unmistakable.
We know what side you're on.
           

   —September 28, 2017

Inner and outer

         The first son said, ‘I will not’;
         but later he changed his mind and went.
         The second said, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go.
         Which of the two did the will of his father?

                  —Matthew 21.28-31

They are not two, of course. I am both.

God, help me root deeply in you,
and let the sap of your grace flow through me,
that my outer self may grow organically
out of my inner self, the two selves one,
my actions in humble harmony with my inner truth.
Free me from pretense and the fear of appearances.
May my prayers give form to words and deeds,
my flesh obey my spirit,
both flowing from your love.

Amen.                        

   —September 27, 2017

Is God among us or not?

         The Israelites quarreled and tested God, saying,
         "Is God among us or not?"
                  
—Exodus 17.7

The One you question
does not cast a shadow.
Does not look upon you.
Does not walk beside you.
The Present One
breathes in you,
looks out at this world through you,
becomes in full becoming within you.
The One is not a character,
on or off the stage,
not the hero or the playwright,
but the story, in whom you play a part,
the Oneness, to whom you belong.

Are you among your hands and organs or not?
Are you among your cares and loves or not?
Ah, so it is.

Don't ask if but how.
Don't look here or there;
look in your looking.
You journey is the palm of God.
Your struggle the story of God,
your darkest valley the crack in God's heart.

You aren't small;
you just belong to more than you thought.

When you care, God is.
When you yearn, God is.
Even now, this moment, in your pondering
God is moving toward you, from within.
In your hoping God is loving.
In this world, its spinning glory,
it is we who are among God.
                        

   —September 26, 2017

Manna - II

         Those who gathered much had nothing over,
         and those who gathered little had no shortage;
         they gathered as much as each of them needed.
         Some left part of it until morning,
         and it bred worms and became foul.
         Morning by morning they gathered it,
         as much as each needed;
         but when the sun grew hot, it melted.
                  —
from Exodus 16.18-21


God's vision of justice
is that everyone has what they need.

Manna in the wilderness,
the widow's jar of meal,
laborers in the vineyard,
feeding the five thousand,
God's forgiveness upon each heart:
each is given what they need.

It is gift,
that you can't earn or possess.

Your excess rots in your hands.
What you have beyond your need
you have taken from your neighbor.
It poisons you.

Starve your greed
and feed on justice.
Until all have what they need
even God is hungry.
            

   —September 22, 2017
 

One parable in ten takes

         “Is your eye evil because I am generous?”
                  —Matthew 20.15

Jesus tells a story in which workers labor one, three, six, nine or twelve hours— but the employer pays them all the same amount, a usual day's wage. Those who worked longer feel short-changed, and are not happy.

What do you think this story is about?

1. Gratitude: God gives all of us all the grace we need regardless of our sense of “deserving.”

2. Encouragement: Whatever gift you have to give is valuable to God.

3. Wisdom: Don't compare yourself with other people.

4. Confession: Notice how often we want for ourselves what we don't want for others.

5. Self-awareness: Your desire to be superior can warp your appreciation of other people's contribution.

6. Justice: Nobody needs less than what they need.

7. God's freedom: God doesn't follow human rules or expectations.

8. Presence: You can focus on what you don't have or on what you do have. Your choice.

9. Humility: If you hear this story and think,”Hey, that's not fair!” it's likely because you identify with the ones who worked all day. Why do you do that? Don't you feel you've been given more than you've earned? How does this story feel if you imagine yourself as one who worked one hour?

10. Wonder: A scripture passage's meaning isn't always singular, simple or obvious.

Pick one thought that speaks to you and meditate on it.
       

   —September 21, 2017

Manna

In the morning there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that God has given you to eat.“
                  —Exodus 16.13-15

What gets you through the desert?
What gets you through?
What gets you through the chemo,
the healing from abuse, the bad marriage,
what gets you through
the job that tries to kill you,
the dark alley of the shadow of death,
the rotten places, the placeless places,
the evil you fear, the evil you've done,
your daily inadequacy,
what gets you through?

Some will call it courage or stamina,
luck or faith or reaching down deep.
But you know it's not you, not yours.
It's given. To you. For you.
From the Holy One.

The thread you follow,
the source you drink from,
the encouraging voice,
the Divine desire that you thrive,
the gift amid the desolation,
you find it anywhere—
the usual, the impossible,
the unwelcome.
You learn to recognize it.
You learn to receive it.

For that grace that gets you through
you learn to say thank you.

You learn to count on it,
and be surprised,
every morning.
Every morning.

     

   —September, 2017

Turning

Trees are beginning to turn.

They turn toward me.

They walk with me,
along the turning road.

Teach me, friends,
the grace
of turning.





_______________
Weather Report

Release,
as the winds of grace
lift from you
the burdens
of all you possess.
Changing winds
will shift what you think you need;
expect heavy things
to precipitate out of your life.
 

   —September 18, 2017
 

Forgiveness meditation

Settle and breathe deeply. ...

Rest in the peace of God. ...

Bring to mind a person you haven't forgiven. ...

The two of you stand together.

Jesus comes and looks at the two of you
with great kindness in his eyes.

He embraces the other.
Perhaps there are words,
though likely you can't hear them.
Perhaps there are tears.
He holds them for a long time. ...

They release the embrace, look at each other
and smile. ...

Jesus turns to you
with great kindness in his eyes.
He embraces you.
Perhaps there are words.
(What might they be?)
He holds you a long time. ...

He releases you and looks at you
and smiles. ...

You look at the person you want to forgive.
What is in your heart? ...

Tell them. …

Jesus blesses you and leaves you
with your new heart.

  
                        

   —September 15, 2017