All fat is the Lord's

         Then the priest shall turn these into smoke
         on the altar as a food offering by fire
         for a pleasing odor.
         All fat is the Lord’s.

               —Leviticus 3.16

God, is the fat and my love of the fat.
Here is my chocolate.
Here is my too much party (here, look!),
my I want to have fun,
my this one's for me.
Here is my hunger and my greed.
And here is a little toast to you,
in passing recollection that all this is yours.
(And by the way thank you for all of this.)
Here is my self as the center of the world,
my entitlement as assumed normal,
my appetite as Universal Constant.
Here is my want, my therefore I must need,
and, yes, here is my not what you want.
Here it is. See it? Watch it in action
as I feast, as I have at it.
Take it, all of it. I'm piling it up here for you.
Have it, hold it, and climb into it
the way you do.

In forty days you can give it back to me,
changed, fixed on a different abundance,
and finally really alive.

   —February 13, 2018


Over the great plain of the snowy yard
the sun rises warm and orange
like salmon on a porcelain plate
as if to say "Feast upon this day."

Mid day, each tree prayerfully stilled,
the sun leans over the frozen marsh,
touches every crystal
with tiny, sparkling fingers
as if to say, “You make beauty
with your eyes.”

Evening, at the far end of the field
the sun rolls over on one side
on its white pillow of snow,
pulls the great orange cloud over its head
and is silent, as if to say,
“You will be given rest.”

Midnight, only the moon is awake,
watching over you,
smiling its famous half smile
is if to say, “Splendor unfolds
without your knowing.”

   —February 12, 2018

Rusty lantern

         God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
         has shone in our hearts.

               —2 Corinthians 4.6

I am a rusty lantern,
with its little corroded cap,
its bad latch,
its smudged, cracked glass,
its mottled handle bent to one side—
a plain old busted lantern.

None of this matters,
but the light that burns in it,
the candle of God.
I don't put the light there,
it's already there,
shining since the beginning of time.
I only marvel,
and walk around with that light in me,
silent, calm, reaching farther than I can know.
It shines,
and I wonder.

   —February 8, 2018


A couple days ago I was splashing
in the Pacific ocean.
Now I'm shoveling snow.

I talked with a woman who had lost a husband,
another who had lost a son.
And a couple renewing their 40 year old vows.

My friends in Australia have the opposite time of day,
the opposite season from me.
We are all on the same little island.

Every life has its seasons. Live the one you're in.
You can't live another person's story,
but you can listen, and find them in it.

And in every story, every season, every life,
like water in the sea and in the snow,
there's God in it. Listen.

   —February 8, 2018

Terrifying transfiguration

         He was transfigured before them, and...
         they were terrified.

               —Mark 9.3, 6

Don't be fooled by the neon friendliness,
like a “burgers and shakes” sign.
Don't fall for the allure of great figures,
Moses and Elijah and Elvis assuring you
you're on the road to the stars.
Don't be waylaid by your cleverness
to have brought a box,
a very theological box, to put this all in.
Let's be honest: it's terrifying
to stand too close to a speeding train,
to get near to the power of God,
the light that can change you
into your own unknown,
the mystery that will surely consume you,
the love that will crack your life open
till the light all spills out
and you're drawn to the cross,
kicking and screaming and grateful.
Maybe Jesus himself was a little freaked
at first to be turned into pure light.
As with any great force, if you're not scared
you're not paying attention.
Pay attention. Bow down, and listen.

   —February 7, 2018

Waking up

Sometimes you feel like you've overslept,
waking up to life late,
that you've missed out on something all these years.

But God has no “late.” Only “now.”

This is the day God chooses
to give you a sense of urgency about today.

Regret is the sleep, the not being here.
Come back. Wake up again.

Do it again, every day.


Weather Report

today, like no other.
A large mass of dense, rotating regret
has formed off the coast,
driven by a front of fear,
but it will never make landfall.
No forecast will hold, only
eyes, wide open and ready.

   —February 6, 2018

Ocean prasie

Morning walk by the ocean.
These waves have been singing their praise
all night long without me.
They have been praising thus
for millions of years.
All earth has been praising you.
I join them with my song of silence.
What else am I called to do,
a spindly two-legged on this wide beach,
but join the chorus,
wave after wave of my life
throwing up hands in joy,
falling down in praise?

   —February 5, 2018

Seek only

Beloved, enter the pilgrimage
         of stillness.

Seek only
         what cannot be taken from you.

         what is already not yours.  

Hold on
         to what will not let you go.

Give yourself
         where there is no return.

Vanish continually
         to behold what eternally appears.

         and become who you already are.

   —February 2, 2018

A prayer for mindfulness

Merciful One,
give me grace to be mindful today
of your constant, loving presence.
Give me wisdom to listen for your voice.
Open my heart to your glory in everything,
your light in everyone,
even those who do not see it.
Remind me everyone I meet is struggling.
Help me to see with clear eyes,
without judging or reacting.
Help me to be patient with weakness
and forgiving of myself and others.
Nudge me to learn from every mistake,
to be courageous in the face of fear,
to seize every chance to show love.
Ever-present Love, keep me mindful this day
of your mysterious grace,
your goodness and mercy that shadow me
all of my day and through the night.

   —February 1, 2018

Blood moon

The moon slips into a red robe.
So much is hidden from me.

Light moves,
changes everything.

Wonder unfolds,
with or without me.

I don't have to but I can
be awake and watching.

   —January 31, 2018


         In the morning, while it was still very dark,
         he got up and went out to a deserted place,
         and there he prayed.
         And Simon and his companions hunted for him.

               —Mark 1.35-36

Find your deserted place,
dark and empty,
far from words:
not just solitude,
but soul-itude,
where you are
the I AM within you.

Pour yourself out of yourself
until you are empty.
Abandon what you think;
let the stone be stone, the light light,
wall and window and mountain
be themselves,
and so with you.
Leave behind all you identify with,
all you hang onto to know yourself,
so there is only God,
and God's emptiness you enter,
a night sky full of love.

No one can say where you are, or who.
You are in God.

Beloved, stay there as long as you can,
until you can't be anywhere else.

 —January 30, 2018

Big bang

On those days
I feel I'm sucking up sunlight

I retreat into your darkness,
into the before-me,
into the very big bang of you

where you are just about to say
“Let there be light,”
forgiving and forgiving and forgiving.

   —January 29, 2018


God, I do not know what burdens people carry,
what demons they wrestle with silently,
what triumph it may for them to appear normal,
to be decent, to show up.
Give me compassion for each person,
aware that spirits haunt us all.
Give me grace to bless and not to judge,
to heal and not to hurt,
even those who invite hurting.
Free me from my own demons,
my ego and its demands on myself and others.
I do not know another's inner story,
its landscape, its dark places, its villains.
I don't know; I don't need to know.
I only know your tremendous love
even for me, and equally for them.
Help me remember.

   —January 25, 2018

Unclean spirit

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

         Just then there was in their synagogue
         a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out,
         “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
         Have you come to destroy us?
         I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”
         Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”
         And the unclean spirit, convulsing him
         and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.
         They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another,
         “What is this? A new teaching—with authority!

               —Mark 1.23-27

I like the ancient wisdom that distinguishes
between the person and the spirit that inhabits them.
You are not the unholy spirit you have inherited.
You are still you.

An “unclean” spirit is one outside religious law.
Don't you have in you the residue of some infractions?
Imagine this: it's not evil. It's shame.
But it's not you.

Your shame recognizes the Holy One,
who has indeed come to destroy it.
It will not leave you without making you cry out.
But it will leave.

Imagine this: Jesus has power over your shame,
authority over what diminishes or misleads you,
power to cast it out, to restore you to yourself,
to set you free.

   —January 24, 2018


We notice the obvious ones,
the graffiti, the tall buildings with names,
the signed letters.

But the wolf can tell what creatures,
innocently scampering by,
left their scent.

As you walk down the street
you trail blessings and resentments,
you radiate your own strange energy.

The dye on your soul runs,
touches everything.
Choose. It matters.

   —January 23, 2018

Do you believe

Some folks are sure there's no God there—
the one, of course, who never was.
Abandon proof of what you know to be imaginary.

Instead: Have you ever known love?
Have you ever felt the wash of a stream
flowing through you from the impossible?

Have you felt a surge of self-giving
not of your own making,
toward a neighbor, a lover, a child?

Has water ever flowed unexpectedly?
Have you ever followed a silent Voice,
from a dry rock drunk deeply?

Don't argue over someone else's fantasy.
Believe, not in the treasure in someone else's field
but the gem you stumble on in your own.

What mystery allures, believe in that.
What deep root sustains, believe in that.
What births love in this world, believe in that.

You may doubt you have been provided for—
but are you here? Are you breathing? Are you—
your hands, your thoughts—not a work of wonder?

Ignore the idea that has nothing to do with you.
Turn to the One who draws you into wondering,
who gives you this thirst, who is this asking.

Drink plenty from this deep-welled strangeness.
Throw your life into the fire of love
and whatever catches fire, follow that,

and believe in the fire.

   —January 22, 2018

Psalm 62 meditation

          For God alone my soul waits in silence
                —Psalm 62.1

O Love, I silence my soul and its thoughts,
         empty of all but my desire for you.

For you alone I wait.
         All other desires I release.

All my other desires push me around;
         you alone give me life.

A steady voice deep within me calls out for you;
         I hear it calling.

There is no success or deserving;
         no rank or degree of righteousness:

there is only reaching out for you,
         and learning to trust.

You are the power of love.
         I am your vessel.

   —January 19, 2018


         “Follow me.”
               —Jesus. [Mark 1.16-20]

you are not sending me off;
you are calling me to stay close to you,
you who go before me in my own life.

You are not asking me to do something strange,
but inviting me to be my true self,
to be who I am created to be.

You are not sending me to a foreign place;
you are calling me home.
The compass in my heart
already points to you.

Every moment you are going ahead of me;
you are right here.
Give me grace every moment to follow you
into this very moment.

   —January 18, 2018