To Hear, to speak

Samuel heard the call
to speak the Word for God.
He head to learn to listen,
and learned that to hear
is to speak. And he spoke.

Dr. Martin heard the call
and spoke the Word.

Don't listen for God
if you're not ready to speak,
to speak for truth and justice,
for love and mercy.
With God, to hear is to speak.

This is why we fast and pray.
It's not polite to listen
with your mouth full.
 

   —January 12, 2018

Meditation on Psalm 139

Holy One, Root of Being,
         you are not distant, but within me.
You are the core of my self;
         you are the stem and I am the flower.
You are the love from which I radiate.
         You are heart and nerve, and I am your flesh.
You know my pain; you walk each step;
         you understand my mistakes from the inside.
You are the treasure within me
         I have not yest discovered.
You are Presence itself: here, in this moment
         and at the bottom of the sea:
happy, I am within you;
         depressed, I am still in your heart.
I can't hide from you, who live in my unconscious.
         My awareness is the tip of your iceberg.
I flow from you like light from a flame;
         you create me in each breath.
I do not understand this mystery
         I simply celebrate your grace.
I open my eyes to see;
         I open my heart to receive you.
My life is praise. I sing
         with humility, gratitude and joy.
 

   —January 11, 2018

Calling

         “Samuel! Samuel”!
               —1 Samuel 3.4

God,
so many voices call to me.
I turn so many ways.
They are not you.

Help me hear your true voice,
the clear, calm voice
at the center of every cry,
the quiet, steady voice
that knows my name,
the mystery that speaks
in ways only my deepest heart hears.

Help me hear the silence
within the noise
and turn to listen.

Speak, Holy One,
for I am listening.
 

   —January 10, 2018

Smitten

         “I saw you under the fig tree”
               —John 1.48

Dear One,
the Beloved has seen you, unseen,
and fallen in love at first sight.

Drunk already with your loveliness,
they see in you what you can't.
The rose has no idea.

They watch for you when you're not looking,
plan as one consumed
how to happen upon you.

Your name drips from your Lover's lips
like wine they are still tasting,
as if the first kiss has already been granted.

The Smitten One sees your life together,
but ever the humble suitor,
waits for you to ask.

Perhaps a musician from the orchestra
has told you what makes the music so sweet:
the longing is within you.
 

   —January 9, 2018

Breath

Spirit breathes in you.
Does not take life from you,
doesn't judge or measure,
simply gives you breath.

No matter your journey or struggles,
no matter your pride or shame,
the imaginary account you keep,
your wounds and the gaping holes in you—
Spirit breathes in you.
Each breath is God's unfolding in you.

You may never hear the Voice,
or be sure you are following rightly,
never feel the Feeling,
or have whatever it takes to do
whatever you think you have to do;
you still breathe.
Spirit is still in you, making life.

Even when you die
it might take Spirit a long time
to draw that breath out of you.

   —December 8, 2018

Beloved

         Just as he was coming up out of the water,
                  he saw the heavens torn apart
                  and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.
         And a voice came from heaven,
                  "You are my Son, the Beloved;
                  with you I am well pleased."
                        —Mark 1.10-11


Beloved,
offspring of the delight of God,
spawn of light,
Bathe yourself in this grace.
You are God's, in whom God delights.
Oh, yes, you're screwed up.
You're more screwed up than you think.
But you are God's,
and God's delight.
Immerse yourself
in the river water of this womb.
Go into the deep.
Let this be your balm, your healing,
your salvation.
Your only sin is your inability to trust this
in your bones.
Soak in it. Practice believing it.
Walk through this new year in faith,
dripping with heaven.
 

   —December 5, 2018

Herod

         Magi from the East came to Jerusalem, asking,
         “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?
         For we observed his star at its rising,
         and have come to pay him homage.”
         When King Herod heard this, he was frightened.

               —Matthew 2.1-3

Herod is afraid.
This is the root of his strutting, his meanness,
his cruelty to children, the poor and wayfarers,
his disdain of anyone who doesn't adore him.
He is afraid. This is the well of his bluster,
the spring of his violence and hatred.
In his fear he will insult his critics,
threaten his neighbors and and assault the weak.
In desperate fear he will strain for every illusion
of his grandeur, his excellence, his power.
He is most afraid of light,
so he will sow darkness and veil the truth.
He is most afraid of love,
so he will grow a calloused heart,
and tremble at true gentleness.
He is most afraid of grace,
so he will send his army to slaughter.
But he has already lost. This is why he is afraid.
He is no match for love and light and grace.
His evil has already failed.
His victims are already resurrected.
We are not afraid.
 

   —December 4, 2018

Inward magi

         “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?
         For we observed his star at its rising,
         and have come to pay him homage.”
               
   —Matthew 2.2

Seers
who seek the divine Presence,
who look at earth and sky
and see what we miss,
who have traversed
dark woods and foreign deserts,
passed impassable mountains,
crossed uncrossable streams:
Do not stop. Keep seeking.
Among your treasures
treasure and do not give away
your wonder.

         

Conscious Ones,
who choose what others ignore,
who endure the scorn of cynical men,
who know whom to ask, or not,
who bring light into darkness,
and the dark into the light:
Where in the city of me
is the Divine Child,
who rules even you?
Don't be afraid to love.
Bow to the Small One,
the Tender One.
Attain your greatest height
on you knees.

         

Wise Ones,
who find your way,
a new way there and a new way home,
who know in your giving
what you have been given:
Do not betray the Child.
Even under the fist of power
do not surrender the fragile gift.
Another way will be given to you.
Even in the shadow of doom
do not give up on joy.
 

   —January 3, 2018

Hope

         Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth,
         for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.

                        —Revelation 21.1

         Then you will see and be radiant.
                          — Isaiah 60.5

I enter this new year with hope.
Yes, there is reason to be discouraged.
Of course we wish for the overthrow
of evil, greed and violence.
But our hope is not wishing:
hope is confidence
that God's future is already present.
The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness can't overcome it.
The spirt of love can't be snuffed out
by politicians and their hubris;
the life force can't be stopped
by corporations and their kept legislators.
God is alive and at work in this world.
Smart, thoughtful, compassionate, courageous people
are rising up, find ing their voice, taking their place.
We have seen tyranny and cruelty before,
but we will never see the darkness win out.
Love always has more to say.
God is creating, always creating, and if we look
we will see signs of it all around us,
and its light will fill us and we will be radiant,
ourselves signs of the very hope that sustains us.
Yes, I have hope—joy and delight, even—
for God is here, and God's world is still becoming.
 

   —January 2, 2018

A New Year's blessing

My hope and prayer and confidence
is that in this new year:
God will be lovingly present for you,
and you will more and more deeply trust
God's delight in you.
Christ will lead you every step of the new year.
The Spirit's gifts will unfold in you in new ways.
I rejoice that in this new year
beauty will surround you; grace will enfold you;
love will embrace and uphold you;
joy will bless you, and hope sustain you.
May you receive healing and wisdom;
may your creativity flower and your courage grow;
and in your hands may justice and mercy flourish.
I rejoice that these gifts await you in the hew year,
and pray that you receive them with delight.
I give thanks for the gift of sharing together
the journey of this new year.
God bless us all.
 

   —January 1, 2018

Enlarge our hopes

         Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;
                  this man was righteous and devout,
                  looking forward to the consolation of Israel.
         There was also a prophet, Anna …
                  looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

                        —Luke 2.25, 38

The Divine Presence seeps into us
like the quietness that settles on the trees
in the snowy dark.

Geese on the pond
pause in their migration,
a gathering of hopes.

Anna and Simeon see
what others don't; they are looking
for something larger.

O Patient One, you have changed
what we are waiting for,
and how.

Enlarge our hopes and our horizons;
give us both the courage of deeper longings
and the peace of deeper trust.
 

   —December 28, 2017

My eyes have seen your salvation

The the forces of evil rise,
chaos running in their veins.
The armies of injustice and their corporations
are arrayed in power and might.
They are already in the a streets and alleys,
their wardens and traffickers at work,
their war machines hulking in the dark.

The Eternal One announces their doom.
Heaven's blacksmiths set to their dark labor
hammering through the night on swords and shields.
The forges spume.

But God walks past them all
out into the darkness.
The One who creates stars,
who spreads the earth out like a blanket,
the One who Sees,
stands and gazes at the devil's troops
and smiles.
“Peace.
I've got this.”

A newborn baby cries.
 

   —December 27, 2017

Baby's breath

He breathes his tiny delicate breaths,
little ghosts in the night air,
little angels unfurling their wings,
blessings with the power to raise Lazarus,
words that will hang in the air,
pillars of fire and cloud—
but so small, so fine,
so easily dismissed,
wafting into the blackness,
into the night wind you breathe.
 

   —December 26, 2017

Christmas Day

Rejoice in this mystery
that in love God chooses to be close to us,
to be with us even our deepest darkness.
God is present for us.
Let this be your light.

May wonder and gratitude
be Christ's gift to you
this holy day.
 

   —December 25, 2017

True light

         In the beginning was the Word,
                  and the Word was In God's presence,
                  and the Word was God.
         All things came into being through the Living Word;
                  nothing has come into being except through the Word.
         What has come into being in the Living Word was life,
                  and the life was the light of all people.

         The light shines in the darkness,
                  and the darkness can not overcome it.
         The true light, which enlightens everyone,
                  was coming into the world.

                                 —John 1.1-5, 9

God begins with a musical idea,
and then sings it.
The song shines in the darkness.
Everything in this universe is God's song.
It's a love song.

In Jesus we can hear the melody,
clear, sweet and strong,
like a mother's lullaby, holding her troubled child,
a strange melody, in a new key,
but one that resonates deep in our souls,
because we too are God's singing.

Listen for God singing the world into being.
Look for the light shining in the music.
Notice this cosmic song, this act of Creation,
rising in you, unfolding, radiating,
shining in the darkness.

The true light that enlightens everyone
is coming into the world.
 

   —December 22, 2017

Hope

          Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Holy One,
                  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior....
         For God has shown strength with her arm;
                  she has scattered the proud in their illusions.
         She has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
                  and lifted up the lowly;
         she has filled the hungry with good things,
                 and sent the rich away empty.”
                        —Luke 1.46-47, 51-53

These are dark times.
Mary has no reason to rejoice in the present tense,
as if God has already accomplished this turnover.
The mighty are still in power, reveling in debauchery,
robbing the poor, looting instead of leading,
crushing the wanderer, destroying the temple.
The Emperor has not yet even begun to buckle.
Why does Mary sing God “has” shown strength?
Is her faith just wishful thinking? Abject delusion?
Is hope just crazy fantasy?

Today is the solstice: in this hemisphere
winter is about to set in; the cold is yet to come.
But the earth has already turned.
The season is already doomed.

From the beginning God has established the power
not of death but of resurrection,
given love all the power
and hollowed out the might of the oppressors.
It's too late already for the Emperor and his rage.
The true power in this universe
is not in the fearful hands of the mighty,
but the humble hearts of the loving.

Mary has already said Yes. Her sisters have said Yes.
The earth has turned.
A million peasant girls are out there,
ten million, a hundred million,
bearing the Divine, resisting, persisting, rising
like the dawn on the solstice.
The Emperor cannot stop this.
People of love and truth, people of humble courage,
bear the Holy Spirit into this world,
the Word made flesh, the Body of Christ, eternal,
crucified and risen, and coming again.

The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness can't overcome it.
Hope is not deluded. Hope is knowing
what the despairing Emperor cannot even imagine.

         By the tender mercy of our God
                  the dawn from on high will break upon us,
         to give light to those who sit in darkness
                  and in the shadow of death,
                  to guide our feet into the way of peace.

                           —Luke 1.78-79
 

   —December 21, 2017

Here am I

         Here am I, the servant of the Holy One;
         let it be with me according to your word.

               —Luke 1.38


God, I can't imagine your desire for me,
your hope in me, your promise growing in me.
I do not know what you are leading me into,
but your Word is grace and love,
and something in me leans in and says Yes.
Give me courage to be yours
even when I can't see ahead or understand.
Give me devotion to whatever of you
is unfolding in me.
Each moment, even in the press of the day,
give me grace to say to you always:

Here am I, your servant, O Holy One.
May it be for me according to your word.

Here am I, your servant, O Holy One.
May it be for me according to your word.

 

   —December 20, 2017