Abraham's questions

            Abraham went and took the ram
            and offered it up as a burnt offering
            instead of his son.

                           —Genesis 22.13

 

            1. Letting go

God promises Abraham offspring, waits till he's 100 years old to finally give him one son, then asks him to sacrifice that son. That's a pretty big ask. We need to face the question Abraham did: What do you want more: God, or the things you want from God? Even if those things are very good, they're not God. What are the blessings you hang onto tighter than you hang onto God? Can you let go? Will you?

                        ...”You can have all the world, give me Jesus...”

            2. Trusting

God is personified in this story. God doesn't really make specific “promises” of certain delayed outcomes (like having offspring—or being married or surviving disease...) then “keep” them. God also doesn't ask us to do one thing, planning all along to have us do something else. God is love, and love doesn't make deals or play tricks. God does not withhold blessings, though it often takes them time to unfold, and it takes us time to see them. Like the sun “promises” to shine by always shining, God “promises” to care for us and provide for us by always doing so. Do you trust that? Will you trust that even at the risk of losing a great deal?

                        ...”There's no better way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey..”

            3. Changing
 

A God who asks Abraham to kill his own son just to show his loyalty sounds like a really sick Mob boss. But when this story first arose, maybe 3500 years ago, child sacrifice was quite common. “Abraham” isn't an individual; he's the community. This is the story of how the ancient Hebrews outgrew child sacrifice. God never did want them to sacrifice children, but it took a long time for them to see that and find a better way: just sacrifice animals, not people. This is a story about how religion changes. How has God changed your religion? How might it still be changing?

                        … “Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me...”


                                        —June 27, 2017

Drink deeply

Drink deeply of this life, my friend.
Don't sip to make it last
in fear of running out.
The waiter keeps coming by,
refilling our glasses.
Drink deeply of who you are,
the magnificent happening of you.
Drain the glass.
Take big swigs of this day,
swish it around in your mouth a little,
even the hard or boring parts,
you are alive, and it's good.
Each moment drink it in.
Drink deeply of the grace God gives you,
the blessing, the presence, the love,
refilling your glass before it's half empty.
Taste it. Savor it. Have some more.
Even if you do it as a game,
to make the waiter reappear again and again,
drink it in.
Look at you, filing yourself up
with God.



                           —June 26, 2017

With God

            Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
            Yet not one of them will fall to the ground
            without God.

                           —Matthew 10.29

God does not go around pulling birds out of the air.
God is not a guy sitting at a control panel.
God does not “plan” your victory or defeat,
cancer, your accident, the moment of your death.
Things do not happen “for a reason.”
Stuff happens. Birds are free.
So are germs, and hurricanes, and idiots.

Love is God,
the pure energy of being, setting us free,
with us in every moment and movement of our freedom.

Jesus didn't say
sparrows don't fall without a plan,
he said they don't fall without God.

God's plan is not a mechanical routine.
God's plan is that you are free,
and that you thrive and love.
God's plan is that whatever happens
God is with you with love and grace.

Stop trying to figure out God's plan
and pay attention to God's presence.

After all that's what you want:
not luck
but to be with God.



                           —June 23, 2017

Hagar

            So Abraham rose early in the morning,
            and took bread and a skin of water,
            and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder,
            along with her child, and sent her away.
            And she departed, and wandered about
            in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.

                           —Genesis 21.14

Name her.
Hagar, the outcast,
rejected by your own ego,
victim of your own lust and fear,
consequence of your many mistakes,
sent away by your guilt.

In the wilderness of your heart she wanders.

But listen:
God will care for her, rescue her,
feed her child, who will thrive.
God is with her.

Who is she,
wandering in the wilderness of your heart?

                           •

Who is she, abandoned
in the Beer-Sheba of our cities,
despairing under the tree of our headlines?
Who is she whom we choose to be our Hagar,
our outcast, she who is made invisible,
she whom we thought we could do away with,
could make foreign, make strange,
turn into an other,
but who is truly ours?

                           •

How do we take her back?
Where do we find that land
big enough for us both?
How are we healed of our own cruelty,
sending her, of our own heart,
away, always away?
Where do we find those open arms
that await us,
that teach us to open our arms?



                           —June 22, 2017

Solstice

In the Northern Hemisphere
it's the longest day,
though the heat of summer
won't peak for a couple months.
Consequences are usually delayed.
Insight always trails after revelation.

In the Southern Hemisphere
it's the longest night,
which is always a promise
that the light is coming back.
Everything has bounds.
Darkness opens itself to the light.

In both hemispheres
it's good to remember,
easy to forget:
no season is forever.
Yours isn't the only reality.
Each moment, and the whole life you live
is part of something greater.


___________________
Weather Report

Solstice.
Be where you are;
you won't be for long.





                           —June 21, 2017

Drown

            We have been buried with Christ by baptism into death,
            so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of God,
            so we too might walk in newness of life.

                           —Romans 6.4


The rain stopped long ago; skies are blue.
But on the morning path the breeze
shakes down showers
the trees have been holding onto.
I will gladly drown in this blessing.

            •

Awakening this morning in bed,
as my conscious mind opened up
it filled with what day this is, who I am,
what I intend and fear.
As I sit in prayer I let it all drain out again,
to be mindful of God instead.

            •

In my morning shower I rinse off
lots of stuff that's not really me.

            •

My work today is to drown in God,
to return to that blessed death
I have touched at times,
to remember my baptism and be glad
that I have passed away
and there is only God remaining,
and live in that newness.

            •


___________________
Weather Report

Floods,
which hopefully will sweep you away,
your life a mess of mud and grace,
as you find yourself in a new place.


                           —June 20, 2017

 

Sparrow

            Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
            Yet not one of them will fall to the ground
            apart from God.

                           —Matthew 10.29

Little one, most ordinary,
without bright plumage
or heroic migration or beautiful song,
I see you. I delight in you.
The sky you fly through is my heart.
The ground you pick at is my hand.
The seed you savor is my flesh and blood.
I love you not for your appurtenances,
but for your soul.
I know you from inside:
I am the Love that draws you into being,
and you are my love,
flown around the sky to return to me.
I have chosen to appear
as a sparrow among sparrows.
Yes, there are others. I am in them also.
With a sparrow's eye for detail
I know you. I go with you.
You will fly, and you will fall.
But you do not fly or fall apart from me.
Your flying and your falling is mine.
It is I.
Go, little one. In every moment
it is I.

        

                           —June 19, 2017

While we were sinners

         Look at God's love for us:
         while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
                  —Romans 5.8

Jesus didn't go get himself killed
so he'd be punished for our sin instead of us.
Our sin is our inability to trust God.
In our distrust we try to make and keep life for ourselves,
and hurt others in the process.
In love God is willing to stand in the path of our violence
with forgiveness.
God's love changes us, setting us free
from our distrust and violence.
Jesus embodies that love, even though we kill him,
offering it before we're willing to accept it.

Let God love you.
Forget all notions of your deserving.
Just allow yourself to be God's Beloved:
a sinner, yes, but beloved. Deeply loved.
That's all you need.
Let yourself be loved,
and let the love take over.

 


―June 16, 2017

Apostle

         Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples
         and gave them authority over unclean spirits,
         to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness.

         … These twelve he sent out....
                  —Matthew 10.1

                  The word apostle means “sent.”


We are not given a mandate to judge
or an obligation to convert.
We are not required to argue religion.
We are given power to heal.

We need not muster up the strength.
We are given authority.
Christ is in us to heal.

May I be a healer today;
may I set free those who are bound
by spirits that diminish life.
May I cast out fear with love,
cast out greed with wisdom,
cast out anxiety with calm,
cast out anger and bitterness with deep listening,
cast out hate with forgiveness.

May I bear your spirit of peace,
the authority of blessing,
the power of love.
May I be a healer today.

 


―June 15, 2017

On turnng sixty-four

            Will you still need me, will you still feed me
            when I'm sixty-four?
                        —The Beatles   

God, thank you for another year of this life:
for the journey, the continual unfolding;
for your unfailing companionship in every step;
for the Spirit that leads me on,
and the flesh that bears me as it can;
for wisdom that grows;
for love that endures;
for the long adventure of letting go;
for who you have enabled me to be,
and for who I am becoming.
I pray for the coming year,
that I will be more deeply present,
more gratefully trusting,
more fully willing to be led.
Grant me another year of wonder.
As a birthday present for you,
born anew in me each day,
I give you myself,
to enjoy and use according to your delight.
  


                           —June 14, 2017

Harvest

            The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;
            therefore ask the overseer of the harvest
            to send out laborers into the harvest.

                           —Matthew 9.37-38


Maybe the harvest is not bringing people to Christ
but gathering the fruits of the Spirit
God has sown in you
for the sake of the world.

Maybe it's not an act of taking,
but receiving.

The harvest is plentiful
but few are the people who have gathered,
who have received the gifts, the grace,
the love growing in your heart,
and feasted on those fruits
to be strengthened to go out
and heal the wounded,
and be good news for the broken of the world.

The field stretches to the horizon.
There are more trees in this orchard
than stars in heaven.

What grace have you not yet harvested?
Go into that good harvest.
Here is a basket for your labors. Go.



                           —June 13, 2017

Offering

            
Beloved,
this moment I offer myself to you,
fully present for your sake,

and pledge to offer myself—
every encounter, every challenge,
every dull moment
an opportunity—

trusting
that every moment this day
you offer yourself to me.

Eyes, hands and hearts open,
we meet each other,
lovers coming together,
and we are glad.



        

                           —June 12, 2017

 

My whole story

For the whole story of my life I thank you, God:
for the Creation you've planted me in,
for the gifts and blessings and bright moments,
for those who have loved and led me, thank you.
For the whole winding path: each step
is part of the story, and you have been with me.
Thank you for the struggles and the times I was lost,
for those were times when I learned to be a pilgrim.
Thank you for the hurts and dark places,
for they're part of how I've come to know your love,
and know my need for you.
Thank you for my gifts and all I have to offer,
even those I haven't named or discovered yet.
Thank you for my wounds and weaknesses,
for in them I am more like Christ;
they evoke your grace and call out the gifts of others.
Thank you for my rough places, by which I discover
how my jagged piece fits in your jigsaw grace.
And for all that is to come,
that I will experience and that will unfold in me,
I give you thanks and ask your blessing.
Not that you must be implored but I must open myself,
I ask your help. For the challenges to come
(some are welcome and at least one I dread)
be my courage, my wisdom and my strength,
my patience, my healing and my compassion.
My whole story is the story of your love.
I thank you for your blessing;
I ask for your help;
I trust your grace;
I rejoice in your goodness.



                           —June 9, 2017

Three In One prayer

In awe of my Being
I sit.
I breathe.
I am You.
Eternal and infinite in this time,
this flesh, this place,
I am.

In awe of my Belonging
I receive.
I receive from You.
I receive Your forgiveness, healing and delight.
I receive myself.
I am myself in all Creation,
cell in your Body,
member of Your family,
sibling in holiness.
You come to me.
You speak to me.

In awe of my Becoming
I surrender.
I let your light unfold in me,
in the mystery of my becoming,
in my many gifts.
In compassion for all people, all living beings,
I give myself to the world.
My giving is my becoming.

In you I become.
In you I belong.
In you I AM.


                       ─ June 8, 2017

In plain sight

The Beloved can think of nothing more beautiful
         than her children running toward her
so she stands a bit away
         so we will come to her.
But she is not waiting in faraway places:
          no, it is in people whom we least suspect.
In the stranger, even the person we dislike ―
         Ah! There she is.

She gives us this gift
         for our own delight.
The Beloved has hidden us
         in one another,
waiting for us to see
         and come together, astonished.


                       ─ June 7, 2017

Holy Trinity

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and peace to you.


            The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
            the love of God,
            and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

                        2 Corinthians 13.13


God is not a guy.
God is the energy of fire, the movement of wind,
the flow of breathing, the unfolding of creating,
the the loving of Love, the being of Being.

Love is God: the Lover, the Beloved,
and the Love that flows between.
This is the Holy Trinity.

God is the Source of all energy, and the energy itself;
and that energy made matter among us,
Word made flesh;
and God is that love in us, burning, singing, loving.

God is One, yet not a single thing,
nor a loving couple—with no way in for us—
but community.
God is the many, the All.

When you love you join them;
you are part of the Eternal.
Look how tenderly they love each other.
Look how there is room for us.
You are the fourth person of the Holy Trinity.
Find yourself there.

            The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
            the love of God,
            and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

         


                           —June 6, 2017

 

Vulnerable

When terror strikes,
random, cruel hearted
in our own places,
it shakes us.
We feel unsafe. We crave security.
The Dreaded could happen any day.
And so we rejoin our family.
We rejoin the vulnerable,
who never had the illusion of security,
who labor in danger,
who live at risk every day,
who are targeted,
and have no protectors.
They hold their funerals
and they live their lives.
They are our lives.
We are one body, one spirit.
We can't walk away.
No matter how safe we can be
we can't walk away.
We have to be there for each other
in the unprotected places.
That's why we're here,
not to walk away safe
but to be here for each other.


                           —June 5, 2017

I belong

I walk in woods,
look up into leaf-spangled sky,
pass among new ferns opening their psalm books,
pray with birds' chants and incantations,
choose my way among rocks and mud.
Early light clings to the side of a tree
like a bird.
Bugs bug me.
Everything belongs.

This is the world I belong to,
the mud I am from.

Before I resist those who would kill it for money,
haul its body off in well paid rail cars,
before I worry,
I belong.

With every breath it becomes me.
With every step it receives me,
holds me in gravity's love.
With every step we marry.

The great tide of earth's history
moves through me.
I am the chalice of the universe.
I am one of you,
the body of God.
All of you are the rest of me.
I am yours.
I disappear.
I become the Milky Way.

Now I will get to work.


                           —June 2, 2017

River in you

            “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me,
                        and let the one who believes in me drink.
            As the scripture has said,
                        ‘Out of the believer’s heart
                        shall flow rivers of living water.’”

                                       —John 7.37-38

Christ, I drink deeply of you.
I drink of the clear water
flowing from your heart,
waters of Creation,
Spirit brooding,
welling up from eternal depths.
I take you into myself.
I drink deeply, and savor.

And behold,
up from the earth of me
flows a river,
the river of Christ,
flowing with healing waters,
powerful, life-giving waters,
river of the waters of life,
bright as crystal,
gushing up to eternal life,
flowing for the healing of the nations,
flowing out from me.

Christ, you are the river;
I am the riverbank.
I drink deep.
I let it flow.



                           —June 1, 2017

A dream

Colors swirl around in you,
blues and greens, mostly,
like rivers, like flames, or a planet,
thick and vibrant.
To you they are beautiful.
To someone they are survival.

Outside a child walks by, crying.
Not your child.
You don't have to respond.
The colors need framing.
Crying, and walking.



                           —May 31, 2017