Become a bird

First, when you were wanting,
it was beautiful.
Now you are attached,
and it's necessary.
This will have you wasting your life,
tying and untying knots.

You can become a bird
without a path
but a sure knowledge of home.

The sky spreads its arms wide.

 

   —November 9, 2017

Like the Realm of God

How is this like the Realm of God?

Bridesmaids await the groom.
Some run out of oil.
The others decline to share.
Right when the groom comes
the unprepared ones run off to buy oil.
The others enter the hall without them.
When they return, the groom rejects them.

Bridesmaids who aren't prepared,
others who refuse to share,
those who run away right when they're needed,
those who are happy to desert them,
and a groom who refuses to admit his friends:
none of these people are behaving well. None.

How is this like the realm of God?
A voice in your heart recoils, says,
“This could all be different!”

There. That is like the realm of God.
 

   —November 8, 2017

Being there

         Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom....
                  —Matthew 25.1

Jesus tells a story: bridesmaids await a groom who is delayed. Some run out of oil. The others won't give up their oil, so those who are short go out to buy more. When the groom comes, they're off at the hardware store. They return to the party too late to be admitted.

We think the maidens are “foolish” because they didn't plan for the groom's long delay (as if that's a spiritual issue). And we suppose they had no choice but to dash off to get oil, and, sadly, they miss the groom. But is that really the point? Were they really just the lighting crew? Does it occur to them (or us) that maybe they could just run out of oil, and the groom will be glad to see them because he'd rather have their company than their flashlights? Their purpose is to meet the groom—but right when he needs them most, they're off taking care of their own worries. They aren't there for him.

But they're not alone. Everybody in the story fails to be there for each other. The “wise” maidens could have shared. It wouldn't have killed them. But they make their sisters go shopping at midnight— and are happy to go to the party without them. They're not willing to be there for the others.

And the groom—in what way is he not a jerk? He won't let his friends come to the party—because they're late? After he himself has made them wait all fracking night?? And on top of that he insults them, saying, “I don't know you!” He vaporizes his friendship over tardiness? Wow. What a prince of selfishness.

So what's Jesus up to in this story? I think he's setting us up. We're so anxious to “get” the story, to believe something pious about it, to judge between wise and foolish, we miss the actual relationships—like the maidens out buying moral-of-the-story oil instead of just being there. Life is about relationships, not lamps. It really doesn't matter what we think, or how much “oil in our lamps” we have, or how well others meet our expectations. What matters is that we're there for each other.

Pray that you might run out of oil, having given it away to be there for someone in need. Trust the Bridegroom will be happy for you to be there.

   —November 7, 2017

Sutherland Springs Beatitudes

Blessed are they who are devastated,
         for theirs is the realm of heaven.

Blessed are they who grieve for this country,
         for they shall be comforted.

Blessed they who are nonviolent,
         for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who long for a culture of peace
         for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are they who seek healing, not revenge,
         for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are they who desire only blessing for all,
         for they shall see God.

Blessed are they who work for the healing of the world,
         for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who meet opposition
         in their work for peace and justice,
         for theirs is the realm of heaven.
Blessed are you when people dismiss and insult you.
         Rejoice, and be glad:
         great is your reward in the heart of all things,
for in just this way
         they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

   —November 6, 2017
 

My children

God kneels
on the street

Silence
It's been like this

ten thousand years
Still kneeling

weeping
hand outstretched

My children
No judgment, no ire

Whole-making music
under our broken song

If only the others
could hear

Deep silence
Gentle weeping

My children
                        

   —November 1, 2017

Love poem to God

     
         You shall love the Holy One your God
         with all your heart
         and with all your soul and with all your mind.

                  —Matthew 22.37


Beautiful One,
even walking toward you
I am falling.
Even as I sit beside you
something in my gut drops,
lets go
         inside you.

I think about you in night moments
with desire that isn't craving.
I look for you everywhere.
I see your arms around me
until I see them.
I feel your breath on me
         inside me.

I am told to fear, to worship,
to believe, to save my soul,
but that's not love.
I forget my soul
         for you.

I'm wounded by your sadness,
revived by your hope.
I want happiness for you.
Ah, what I would do for you!
I want for you all beauty,
all joy, all wholeness,
for you, beloved,
                           for you.                       

   —October 27, 2017
 

Your neighbor as your self

         Love your neighbor as yourself.
                  —Matthew 22.39

Neighbor,
stranger,
you are my self,
the rest of me,
my dark other,
my thrown shadow,,
of God,
beloved
         if only I will see.

How I treat you
is how I treat
my own hidden self,
unspeaking,
longing,
waiting for me to set free
         my own blessing.

Mirror,
neighbor,
my only wish
is that you
receive love;
deeply
         receive love.

 

   —October 26, 2017

Only love

From my attempts
to be right,
to protect myself,
to win,
to survive—
anything other than to love,

you save me
only
by loving me.

Beloved,
be my heart.
 

   —October 25, 2017

It's easy to forget

It's easy to forget
on a dirt road pothole day,

easy to mistake
in the gray, tattered dishrag of life,

easy to miss
with news wailing,

easy to disbelieve
when you fall to your knees
not in prayer but something
much worse,

that here in the dull and rough
God is dreaming
a glorious thing

and we
still becoming
can find it.

   —October 24, 2017

Angels

Even among those of us
most needful
or on the edge
the angels of God
don't really judge
whether we are good or bad,
they are not sent on any mission,

they just really like
to be with us.   

   —October 23, 2017

Don't look for God

         Moses said, “Show me your glory.”
         And God said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you.
         I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious,
         and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.
         But,” God said, “you cannot see my face.”

                  —Exodus 33.18-20

Don't look for God;
the weird picture in your head will only mislead you.
Look for goodness.

Train your eyes for goodness,
for the way God shows mercy
on people and in ways you didn't expect.

Keep your eyes out for beauty,
for kindness, for the flower of humanity
that springs up through the asphalt of this world.

Look for goodness
and even in your looking
you will fill your eyes with God.


October 20, 2017

Show me


Moses complained, “Look, God. You said, 'Bring up this people'; but you haven't told me who's going to help pull this off. You said you're on my side. Well, if you're on my side, show me how this is going to work so I know you're on my side.” God said, “Don't worry. I'll be with you, and give you rest.” But Moses acted like he didn't even hear. “If you won't go with us, then don't make us go. How will we know you're on our side if you don't go with us?” And God said, “Moses. Chill. I will do what you want. I'm there for you.” Moses still said, “Show me.” God was quiet for a second.
                  —Exodus 33.12-18, sort of


God, show me the way.
         Don't worry. I'm here.

Show me the proof.
         Don't panic. I'll be with you.

Show me the outcome.
         Don't go there. I'm already with you.

How will I know?
         You won't. I will.

I can't see! I don't know!
         Yes, that's it.


         I am the dark side of the moon.
         There's nothing to see.

         You don't need to see tomorrow.
         You need to see today.


         I am the mother and you are the child
         in my womb. You don't need to see.

         You don't need to see.
         You just need me.

         You don't need to see. Close your eyes.
         I am here.


―October 19, 2017

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.

(Matthew 22.21)

   —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