Becoming More Educated and Changing Myself.

Ever since I heard about and saw coverage of the killing of George Floyd, my mind has been swirling with disbelief, yet again, and my heart so very sad, yet again.  While I have taken some small baby steps of responsive action on my own, I will continue to pray and will try to become much better educated as to how I need to do much more, and as to how I am part of the problem of racism.  One of my steps is to become better educated.  Along those lines, here is a link to some resources on my Church’s website via the Black Lives Matter organization.  May we all do our parts, including becoming better educated.

Melody

Psalm 23 – A different slant, same powerful message of hope

Today our pastor did a sermon on the proverbial favorite 23rd Psalm.  He shared the following version which was accredited to Rev. Eugene Peterson.  It spoke to me, and maybe it will to you.  Blessings, Melody

God, my shepherd!
    I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
    you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
    you let me catch my breath
    and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through
    Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
    when you walk at my side. 

Your trusty shepherd’s crook
  l secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner
    right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
    my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me
    every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
    for the rest of my life.

Palm Sunday Calmness – a reading

Below is a reading from the Henri Nouwen Society on this Palm Sunday.  Perhaps it will offer a touch of calmness during these challenging and uncertain times as we begin Holy Week.

Blessings to all, Melody

Eradicate Blame

We spend a lot of energy wondering who can be blamed for our own or other people’s tragedies – our parents, ourselves, the immigrants, the Jews, the gays, the blacks, the fundamentalists, the Catholics….

But Jesus doesn’t allow us to solve our own or other people’s problems through blame. The challenge he poses is to discern in the midst of our darkness the light of God. In Jesus’ vision everything, even the greatest tragedy, can become an occasion in which God’s works can be revealed.

How radically new my life would be if I were willing to move beyond blame to proclaiming the works of God…. All human beings have their tragedies…. We seldom have much control over them. But do we choose to live them as occasions to blame, or as occasions to see God at work?

Prayer For Today

My God and my refuge, strip away my habit of blaming – either others or myself – for any big or little tragedies in my life. Challenge me to move beyond the “blame game” and to understand that these misfortunes and setbacks are not under my control. Teach me instead to live through these events and see them as fruitful opportunities for faith and love.

Amen.

 

From the mouths of babes …

A dear friend sent me some pearls of wisdom, from which I wanted to share a few priceless reminders.  Enjoy!!

Melody

GREAT TRUTHS THAT LITTLE CHILDREN HAVE LEARNED:
1) No matter how hard you try, you can’t baptize cats.
2) When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don’t let her brush your hair.
3) If your sister hits you, don’t hit her back. They always catch the second person.
4) Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.
5 ) You can’t trust dogs to watch your food.
6) Don’t sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
7) Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.
8) You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
9) Don’t wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.
10) The best place to be when you’re sad is Grandma’s lap.

Divine Love on this Super Bowl Sunday

Today’s daily meditation from the Henri Nouwen Society on this Super Bowl Sunday had nothing to do with football.  Instead, it had everything to do with God’s divine love, and it spoke to me.  Perhaps it will to you as well.  Melody

God Pitched His Tent Among Us

When St. John says that fear is driven out by perfect love, he points to a love that comes from God, a divine love. He does not speak about human affection, psychological compatibility, mutual attraction, or deep interpersonal feelings. All of that has its value and beauty, but the perfect love about which St. John speaks embraces and transcends all feelings, emotions, and passions. The perfect love that drives out all fear is the divine love in which we are invited to participate. The home, the intimate place, the place of true belonging, is, therefore, not a place made by human hands. It is fashioned for us by God, who came to pitch his tent among us, invite us to his place, and prepare a room for us in his own house.

Continue

Today at church our pastor shared a beautiful and inspiring poem by the amazing, and much missed, Maya Angelou.  It is called ‘Continue‘.  Perhaps the poem will speak to you.  May we all continue, each in our own individual ways, as we begin a new year and new decade.

Melody

Continue

My wish for you

Is that you continue

Continue

To be who and how you

are

To astonish a mean world

With your acts of kindness

Continue

To allow humor to lighten the burden

Of your tender heart

Continue

In a society dark with cruelty

To let the people hear the grandeur

Of God in the peals of your laughter

Continue

To let your eloquence

Elevate the people to heights

The had only imagined

Continue

To remind the people that

Each is as good as the other

And that no one is beneath

Nor above you

Continue

To remember your own young years

And look with favor upon the lost

And the least and the lonely

Continue

To put the mantle of your protection

Around the bodies of

The young and defenseless

Continue

To take the hand of the despised

And diseased and walk proudly with them

In the high street

Some might see you and

Be encouraged to do likewise

Continue

To plant a public kiss of concern

On the check of the sick

And the aged and infirm

And count that as a

Natural action to be expected

Continue

To let gratitude be the pillow

Upon which you kneel to

Say your nightly prayers

And let faith be the bridge

You build to overcome evil

And welcome good

Continue

To ignore no vision

Which comes to enlarge your range

And increase your spirit

Continue

To dare to love deeply

And risk everything

For the good thing

Continue

To float

Happily in the sea of infinite substance

Which set aside riches for you

Before you had a name

Continue

And by doing so

You and your work

Will be able to to continue

Eternally

Waiting

On this first Sunday of Advent, may we be alert while waiting.  Perhaps this meditation, which crossed my desk today from the Center for Action and Contemplation, will be helpful.

Melody

 

Darkness

Waiting and Unknowing
Sunday, December 1, 2019
First Sunday of Advent

Advent [meaning “coming”], to the Church Fathers, was the right naming of the season when light and life are fading. They urged the faithful to set aside four weeks to fast, give, and pray—all ways to strip down, to let the bared soul recall what it knows beneath its fear of the dark, to know what Jesus called “the one thing necessary”: that there is One who is the source of all life, One who comes to be with us and in us, even, especially, in darkness and death. One who brings a new beginning. —Gayle Boss [1]

I hope it isn’t difficult to understand why I’m beginning the Advent season reflecting on darkness. [2] I’m not trying to be a spoilsport, but once Thanksgiving is over, we in the United States are rushed headlong into the Christmas season. Yet Advent was once (and still can be) a time of waiting, a time of hoping without knowing, a time of emptying so that we can be filled by the divine Presence. Though you may be wrapping gifts, planning special meals, and spending time with family and friends, I hope you will also take time to allow the Advent darkness to do its work as well.

Not knowing or uncertainty is a kind of darkness that many people find unbearable. Those who demand certitude out of life will insist on it even if it doesn’t fit the facts. Logic and truth have nothing to do with it. If you require certitude, you will surround yourself with your own conclusions and dismiss or ignore any evidence to the contrary.

The very meaning of faith stands in stark contrast to this mindset. We have to live in exquisite, terrible humility before reality. In this space, God gives us a spirit of questing, a desire for understanding. In some ways it is like learning to “see in the dark.” We can’t be certain of what’s in front of us, but with some time and patience, our eyes adjust, and we can make the next right move.

The Gospel doesn’t promise us complete clarity. If God wanted us to have irrefutable proof, the incarnation of Jesus would have been delayed until technology and science could confirm it.

Scriptures do not offer rational certitude. They offer us something much better, an entirely different way of knowing: an intimate relationship, a dark journey, a path where we must discover for ourselves that grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness are absolutely necessary for survival in an uncertain world. You only need enough clarity to know how to live without certitude! Yes, we really are saved by faith. People who live in this way never stop growing, are not easily defeated, are wise and compassionate, and frankly, are fun to live with. They have a quiet and confident joy. Infantile religion insists on certainty every step of the way and thus is not very happy.

 

 

Gateway to Presence:
If you want to go deeper with today’s meditation, take note of what word or phrase stands out to you. Come back to that word or phrase throughout the day, being present to its impact and invitation. 

 

[1] Gayle Boss, All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings, illus. by David G. Klein (Paraclete Press: 2016), xi-xii.

[2] For those readers unfamiliar with the Christian liturgical calendar, Advent is the period of four Sundays before Christmas. It is intended to be a time of preparation, through prayer and reflection, on the coming of Christ at the Nativity (Christmas), in worship and community today, and at the end times.

Adapted from Richard Rohr with Mike Morrell, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016), 100-101; and

Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2009), 120.

Image credit: Helen Keller, no. 8 (detail), 1904, Whitman Studio, The Helen Keller Foundation; colorist, Jared Enos.

 

A Prayer

This past Sunday, I read the following prayer by Clarence Jordan, founder of Koinonia Farm.  The prayer, called the Prayer of Jesus, touched me.  Perhaps it will touch you.  Many Thanksgiving and holiday blessings just around the corner.

Melody

Holy One, may your name be taken seriously.

May your movement spread.

Sustaining bread, grant us each day.

And free us from our sins, even as we release everyone indebted to us.

And don’t let us get all tangled up.  Amen.