A friend made me recently think about the notion of using our gifts as blessings via the image below. May you today, and every day, use your gifts as offered blessings. Shine on! Melody
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.
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
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
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.
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
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.
A dear friend sent me some pearls of wisdom, from which I wanted to share a few priceless reminders. Enjoy!!
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.
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
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.
My wish for you
Is that you continue
To be who and how you
To astonish a mean world
With your acts of kindness
To allow humor to lighten the burden
Of your tender heart
In a society dark with cruelty
To let the people hear the grandeur
Of God in the peals of your laughter
To let your eloquence
Elevate the people to heights
The had only imagined
To remind the people that
Each is as good as the other
And that no one is beneath
Nor above you
To remember your own young years
And look with favor upon the lost
And the least and the lonely
To put the mantle of your protection
Around the bodies of
The young and defenseless
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
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
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
To ignore no vision
Which comes to enlarge your range
And increase your spirit
To dare to love deeply
And risk everything
For the good thing
Happily in the sea of infinite substance
Which set aside riches for you
Before you had a name
And by doing so
You and your work
Will be able to to continue
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.
Waiting and Unknowing
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 
I hope it isn’t difficult to understand why I’m beginning the Advent season reflecting on darkness.  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.
 Gayle Boss, All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings, illus. by David G. Klein (Paraclete Press: 2016), xi-xii.
 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.
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.
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.
Recently I came across a Four Tasks of Mourning blog based on a grief and publication by William Worden. Maybe the information will be helpful to you as it was to me.