Deny yourself...

         Deny yourself
                  and take up your cross
                           and follow me
                                                      —Mark 8.34


Abandon the illusion you're a self-contained individual.
         Be a part of this wounded world,
                  and find yourself with Christ.

Set aside your own desires,
         give yourself fully for others;
                  be the hands and heart of Jesus.

Renounce self-protection,
         accept your brokenness,
                  and reach out for love.

Let go of your own plans.
         Join in the healing of the world.
                  You will not be alone.

Follow your soul, not your ego.
         Follow it right into people's suffering.
                  Follow it right into the heart of God.

Pour yourself out;
         let the world pour in;
                  then you are one with the Beloved.

   —February 23, 2018

Repent and believe

         The time is fulfilled, and the realm of God has come near;
         repent, and believe in the good news.
                  —Mark 1.15

...In other words...

Turn and look: the glory is all around you.

Let go and trust: the promise is already kept.

Open your mind and see a new world unfolding.

God is re-ordering the world. Align yourself with a New Way.

This is God's world. Trust it. Stop being so isolationist and belong.

Surrender and give yourself in love. A new realm of compassion awaits you.

Come back and fall in love again. The Beloved is crazy for you.

Renounce your prejudice. Give your heart away. Join the new world of justice.

You live in God's empire. Change your loyalty and re-orient your compass.

Open your eyes. See what is happening. God is creating the world all over.

Step out of your fantasies. Return to the present moment. God is in it.

This moment is holy. Surrender your anxieties and trust the mystery.

God is here. Let your life continually changed by goodness.
 

   —February 22, 2018

Do you love God?

Do you love God?
Not watch out for God, like your boss,
not worship God like a god,
but desire God, like a lover?
Do you forget things because you're in love?
Do you want what's best for God?
Do you think of God at odd moments,
look for God everywhere,
plot how to bump into them?
Do you love being with God,
just hanging out, hearing her voice?
What do you love about God,
his sense of humor?
Their blessed shapeshifting?
Do you care about what happens to God?
About what it's like from their point of view?
Do you think God is just
the most beautiful thing in the world?
What kinds of things do you do for God?
Special favors?... little surprises?...
constant acts of faithful love and devotion?
Do you play jokes on them? Have a pet name?
Do you do stuff together?
Is God, like, totally inside your head?
Do you want God?
Do you want God for God, not just for you?
Do you love God?

February 21, 2018

The difference

The difference between me and Jesus
is the number of people
I wouldn't trade places with
                                for love.


Jesus, come trade places
with my fear, and bring along
                                your love.


 

                  —February 20, 2017

Take up the cross

         If any want to become my followers,
         let them deny themselves
         and take up their cross
         and follow me.
                  — Mark 1.34
               
Crucified One,
give me grace to enter the wound of the world,
to accompany those who suffer,
to willingly suffer for others' sake,
not for the purpose that I meet you there,
which gives me joy,
but that I meet them there—
not that they may be a means to my joy,
but that I be a means to theirs.
Help me trust that you are with me on the cross
not for my sake but for theirs.
Let your love in me overwhelm my fear
and transform my selfishness.
Give me true self-giving love,
which is the only joy.
Amen.

   —February 19, 2018

Temptations

         Jesus was in the wilderness forty days,
        tempted by Satan;
         and he was with the wild beasts;
         and the angels waited on him.
                           — Mark 1.13
               
What are your temptations?
Not sex and chocolate, OK?
Not beauty, not pleasure.

I mean the things that ruin you,
things that get in your way,
that lead you away from deep life.

What gets in the way of your perfect love?
What distorts your wisdom and vision?
What inhibits your kindness and courage?

Now. Remember when you fell in love?
You didn't work at it, did you? It was a gift.
You bring the gift with you to the desert.

You'll never vanquish your temptations.
You just have to remember the gift:
you already love God more than those things.
 

   —February 16, 2018

Wild beasts

         Jesus was in the wilderness forty days,
         tempted by Satan;
         and he was with the wild beasts;
         and the angels waited on him.
                  — Mark 1.13
               
They are in me—
wolves of appetite,
snakes of deceit,
scorpions of anger and will,
vultures of regret,
the lion of my unworthiness
that stalks me unseen.
In this wilderness
I will be with them.
We will see each other.
We will talk.
We will learn to live with each other,
each with our foods and habits,
and none about to go extinct.
They will remain wild,
but I will learn their ways
and become more humbly savvy,
no longer afraid,
never their victim,
free to walk about.
For God, too, is a wild beast.

   —February 15, 2018

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

Splendor

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

Seasons

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

Immediacy
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.

Release
         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.

Die
         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.
Amen.

   —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

Solitude

         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
undeserving


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