Open

O Holy Trinity,
you who are beyond all,
and at the heart of everything,
and living in me,
I open myself to you.

You are the Lover
and the Beloved
and the Love flowing between.
I am yours,
and part of you.

O, Thou Mystery,
I give you my wonder.
All I seek to understand
I set aside,
only to be present in you.

O Beloved Presence,
I confess my need.
You are kind,
saving me
from what is brittle.

O Flowing Grace,
your compassion for all beings
is already in me.
I release my small desires
and open myself,
a clear and wiling vessel
for your infinite beauty, patience,
love, courage, and delight.

   —May 25, 2018

 

Spirit of adoption

         You did not receive a spirit of slavery
         to fall back into fear,

         but you have received a spirit of adoption.
               —Romans 8.15

You have a Word to speak,
         a song to sing,
         word of yourself, song of God.

The stage awaits you.
         What are you afraid of?

They won't like your word?
         So? Their likes, hidden from you,
         are already different from yours.

You aren't a slave to their likes.
         You only imagine those chains.

You fear they won't like you.
         You'll be all alone, unloved.

Child, you are already adopted:
         chosen, belonging, beloved.

What can they do to that?

Remember whose you are
         and
         sing.

   —May 24, 2018

 

Newborn again

         No one can see the Realm of God
         without being born again from above.

               —John 3.3

Womb-nestled, bathed in God,
wrapped in heart-throb, heart-warmed
in umbilical darkness.

Waiting without knowing for the unknown,
unaware of boundarylessness,
enslumbered, unimagining.

Then, unwilled, thrust and kneaded,
potter-thrown and pushed by pulsing music,
through a grave-thin valley shriven.

Drawn by darkness into light,
uttered out into the world,
choiceless, falling into the air.

So much ceased or left behind, or cut,
the warm and safe, contained,
the unknown known of who you were.

Borne, bare and blinking into brightness,
into arms, into hope, into a life
reaching out in all directions.

Needy, nursed, and crying, held,
a stranger, named, a pain and a delight,
set free and still belonging.

New and tender, weak, at risk,
unknowing, small, and wondering,
the only wisdom learning.

Beginning, now, and now again,
each breath, a birth of love,
and God alone your mother,

each of you the center of the other's life,
both changed, both rapt, and bound,
your calling now to be, and hers to love.

Held in her arms through every wind.
Borne on her back,
and carried where she wills.

   —May 23, 2018

 

Send me

         Then I heard the voice of the Holy One saying,
         “Who shall I send, and who will go for us?”
         And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

               —Isaiah 6.8

I am an unclean person, living among the unclean.
Our complicity in oppression and injustice is deep.
Our privilege is an entrenched addiction.
No angel can cauterize my racism with a single burn.
No single vision can open my eyes all the way.
But I can be led. I can grow. I can risk for God.
I can let the Spirit light my fuse and send me out
to witness, to speak out, to proclaim justice.

My resistance to public witness is my resistance to the Spirit.
That's the limit of my faith, the edge of how far I'm willing
to be guided by the Spirit, to experience God,
to be vulnerable for the sake of the vulnerable, to be born again.
Out on the street, speaking your mercy, at the limit of my power,
there is where I will be born again, a new person,
a dependent infant in your strong and loving arms.

Your Spirit burns in me, and either it burns me up,
or it sends me out with light and warmth to the people.
Yes, I am unworthy. Yes, I am unprepared.
Yes, I am a little afraid. But send me.
Touch me with your fire, and send me.

   —May 22, 2018

Cups of water

We who live by compassion
are so small in this world.
It seems sometimes as if
we face a forest fire
of fear and violence
with little paper cups of love.

They appear like magic tricks
in trembling hands,
not much, just little cups,
but we offer them,
the great baptismal, birthing flow
in little cups, mere drops
of God
that flood the world,
that never run out.
 

May 21, 2018

Sighs too deep

         We do not know how to pray as we ought,
         but the Spirit prays in us with sighs
         too deep for words.

               —Romans 8.26


Deeper than my words,
deeper than my knowing,
Spirit, pray in me.

I open the door of my heart for you.
I hold the arms of my spirit open for you.
Welcome. Spirit, pray in me.

I only hold the space.
I do not hear your prayers,
your sighs too deep for my hearing.

I do not know how to pray.
I only know how to be still,
Spirit, as you pray in me.

   —May 18, 2018

Paraclete

         I will send you an Advocate from God,
         the Spirit of truth who comes from God,
         who will testify on my behalf.

               —John 15.26

When we say God is our judge
we really imagine God as prosecutor, judge and jury.
But Jesus says he will send us the Spirit,
usually translated “Advocate” or “Comforter.”
The word John uses is paraclete.
Paraclete is a Greek word meaning "one called along side of."
Originally it meant a "legal assistant.”

God is on our side.
God is not the judge or prosecutor or jury:
God is our defense attorney.

When you judge yourself, God doesn't.
God believes in you, and is on your side.
As you face the challenges of your day
trust that God defends you.

The truth the Spirit begins with
is the love of God and your belovedness.
Even if Jesus is no longer here to speak for you,
the Spirit will testify on behalf of Jesus
in your defense.

The Spirit says: “You can do this.
I've got your back.”

   —May 17, 2018

 

Tongues

         They began to speak in other languages,
         as the Spirit gave them ability.

               —Acts 2.4

I send these posts out daily through an email server.
Turns out it has a monthly message maximum.
Once I hit it, I try saying something, but the words don't get out.
I hit “send,” but it doesn't go.
So nothing went out for a week.

I wonder if God ever feels like I did?
What if God wants to express love but we're not transmitting it?
What if God is still doing Pentecost?
What if God wants to say something through you?
Is it getting spoken? Is it getting sent?
What if you are the Word God is trying to get out?
What if you are the language in which God expresses love?
What if there are ways, even beyond your own knowing,
that others hear God's good news through your life?

Listen deeply.
Speak boldly.
You are the blank page of the letter,
and God is the writer.

         You are a letter of Christ...
         written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God,
         not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
                  
—2 Corinthians 3.3

   —May 16, 2018

 



 

Something true

Something is true,
more true than most,
more to the root:
the love that founds you,
the joy that finds you
the peace that frees you
in the being beneath your doing.
It is the sun of the sunrise of you,
the song
that gives the singing of your life.
Let it be the music you dance to,
the drumbeat of your journey.
Let it be the path you're on.
Let it be the one heart that believes
what is worth believing,
the one ear that hears
what is true in others.
It married you long ago.
Renew your vows and stay faithful.
If you lose it,
stop and listen.
Go with it, always with it.
Trust it deeper than any thing else,
except maybe the voice that utters it.

May 9, 2018

 

 

Open the windows

Love, open me to this day.
This is a day.
I need no words or categories─
rain or sun, clouds or wind─
only to see it, to feel it.
I want only to be open to this day, this moment.
I release all desire and attachment
to it being otherwise, to being elsewhere.
Open the windows of my heart
and throw back the curtains
to let this day in.
To notice and receive.
To be in this day,
shields down,
eyes open,
hands ready to be yours.
Love, open me.
Amen.

―May 8, 2018

 

 

Holding Oliver

I remember as a young father
holding little Daniel,
only months out of the swimming darkness,
late nights, early mornings,
feeling like a pitcher poured out,
incredulous that he was not as sleepy as I,
holding him as he wrestled with the dark
and stayed awake, I wrestling with the dark
and not staying awake, staggering
up and down the hallway, or half-slumbering
in the wooden rocker, waiting for rest
for both of us,
wondering if I'd live through it.

Awakening me before dawn,
playing at nothing,

his son holds me against the strange dark,
holds me, soothing:
Don't worry Grandpop,
you will die,
and I will go on.

―May 7, 2018


 

Miracle

Every moment a miracle is placed in your hands.
It may be a flowering tree
you are free to notice or not,
or a sink of dishes,
it may be someone's feelings,
or a newborn child,
or simply the unfolding of this moment.
Every moment there is another.

It is a revelation from God.
Attend, be amazed, give care,
and give thanks.


Granddaughter Maggie
came into the world yesterday.
She hasn't been placed in my hands,
but the moment has.

May 4, 

Patience

Patience is not merely waiting;
it's peace.
This moment is part of the story.

Hope is not merely wishing;
it's trust.
The unseen is as real as the seen,

On this gracefully turning planet
the sun is already rising.





Breath prayer:

Now … the miracle

-- May 3, 2018

Expectant

We are awaiting the birth of a grandchild.
We expect it's a girl. That's all we know.
But we already love her.
Already anticipate her, want her,
want the best for her,
hope for her what she can't yet imagine.
She can't see us, know us, suspect us.
But here we are, and our delight is real.

She hasn't been born yet,
but she's real. She's alive.

She's here. Just hidden.
But growing, listening.

You are here, even the part of you
about to be born again,
still becoming, still unseen.
And there is One you can't see
or know or understand, who delights in you,
wants you, wants the best for you,
hopes for you what you can't imagine.

Every one of us is so loved,
our arrival, even as we become,
so anticipated, by a God
so expectant.

   —May 2, 2018

Not too late

No, you're not too late.
Just as you walk in
the trees are clearing their throats.
The day is rising,
the gentle breeze lifting
in you, bearing you up,
a migrating bird
among startled clouds,
among stars singing.
Even the stone seems changed.
Not a dream but wakefulness
stepping into the new day,
this blossom opening,
is just beginning to tell the story—

   —May 1, 2018

 

Encore

In a gracious and generous performance
the Creator says “Light”
and there is light,
with its multitude of beauty
spilling out in all its ways,
echoing in its million variations
through all existence,
and it is a day.
The angels cheer and weep
and applaud wildly,
and the Creator takes a bow.
The angels cry “Encore!”
So the Creator smiles,
thinks of something new,
and plays another one...




__________________
Weather Report

Spontaneous,
as what appears on the radar as inevitable
is created in the moment.
Intermittent showers of newness,
with gusts of surprise.

   —April 30, 2018

Three spring haikus

On a slender twig,
after washing, spring opens
our tiny green eyes.






In the rain-deepened
brook moving calmly I see
myself reflected.





A simple bird song
shines in the woods. Ah, listen.
God, too, is praying.

 

   —April 27, 2018

Get in the chariot

         Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch...
               —Acts 8.27

In Acts 8.26-40 God sends Philip along a desert road, where he encounters someone least like himself: a foreigner who has been sexually mutilated, serving as a high government official. The Ethiopian eunuch is of a different race, ethnicity and language from Philip. He is sexually different, and of a different social class. The eunuch is reading scripture and has a question. Philip engages him in conversation The eunuch invites Philip to get in his chariot and sit beside him. Philip does, and in the ensuing conversation the eunuch asks to be baptized, which Philip does. Then he magically disappears and the two go their separate ways.

We are most naturally attracted to people just like us, but the gospel sends us out to join the journey of people who are different. Way different. To really proclaim the grace that transcends boundaries of deserving, privilege and control, we have to transcend our own boundaries. We have to share the journeys of others, especially those who are not like us. (One way racism persists is that white folks don't befriend people of color.) It's in the boundary-crossing that we experience the grace that is beyond our ability, control or deserving.

So we stop and talk to the homeless person on the street, or the laborer cleaning the hallway. We befriend someone who is incarcerated, or gender non-conforming, or an undocumented immigrant, or of a different religion, or who has a mental illness—or just someone who's left out. We don't just wave at them on the way by. We get in the chariot and sit beside them. We engage them in relationship. We journey with them. We see beneath the stereotypes (including these I just listed) and see the person who like the eunuch has questions, cares about things, and seeks God. Then it is they who minister to us. They enrich our world. That's where grace happens. Even miracles.

Who are those people who are different who God might be sending you to? What are the differences you hide behind? Who are the unlikely ones who God is asking you to accept, and journey with? Run alongside. Get in the chariot.

   —April 26, 2018

Prune me

         "I am the true vine, and my Abba God is the vinegrower.
         God removes every branch in me that bears no fruit.
         Every branch that bears fruit

       God prunes to make it bear more fruit.”
                        —John 15.1-2

Loving God, Vinegrower of Life,
I bring to mind with gratitude those ways you bear fruit in me,
where your grace blossoms into blessing.
Receive my thanks.

. . .

Wise vinedresser, show me what in me does not bear fruit,
what impedes the flow of your grace in me:
fears and resentments, desires, habits and attachments
that do not bear the fruit of your love,
dead branches that no longer serve you.
Help me see.

. . .

God of mercy, prune me with your grace.
Help me release all that does not bear fruit,
and let go of what diminishes your love in me.
Help me repent.

. . .

God of peace, help me trust your spirit flowing in me,
blossoming forth with your glory,
bearing the fruit of your presence.
Help me love.

. . .

Amen.

   —April 25, 2018

Love, not fear

          There is no fear in love,
          but perfect love casts out fear.
                —1 John 4.18


I bathe in the river of your love.
It washes away all fear
of being judged, inadequate or punished.

I let your river flow through me,
not my love but yours,
flowing to all the world, even the unlovable.

In your love I am not afraid
to love, to risk,
to be carried away by the river.

In love I will coerce no one
or make them afraid,
but only set them free.

Give we wisdom to notice
when I am afraid
and to choose love instead.

In your perfect love I am not afraid.
I am grateful.
I am free.

   —April 24, 2018