Friday, February 20, 2015

Thoughts on Lent

Thoughts on Lent (via City Church of San Francisco):

Lent is an old English word that means springtime. It was a way of speaking about a season before Easter, and over the centuries Christians have used this time of year before Easter to say, "I need springtime in my soul". It's a way to stop the cycle of spiritual status quo and to engage more fully with God and deal with those things in our lives that are out of conformity with Him. When we do that we actually find life in a story bigger than just our own. Whether you are only beginning to explore the claims of Jesus, or have been a Christian for quite some time, Lent creates space for us to reflect on the Story of Jesus and consider entering that story more deeply.

In his Pensees, Blaise Pascal put it this way, "Being unable to cure death and wretchedness people have decided in order to be happy not to think about such things." Lent counters this propensity and provides us a season as a community to take on the deep counterintuitive wisdom of Scripture. The way up is down, and the way to find joy is to honestly deal with our brokenness. As Jesus put it "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it." Lent invites us to join Christ on the way of the Cross, a spiritual journey that begins with Ash Wednesday and ends in Easter celebration.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Psalm 23 by Calvin Seerveld

The Lord God is my shepherd too. I lack nothing.
In quiet spots of soft green grass the Lord lets me settle down in peace.
My shepherd leads me out to flowing waters giving rest.
The Lord bring me back to myself.
The Lord leads me in the tracks of doing what is right for the sake of God's holy name.

Even if I have to walk through the Valley of the shadows of Death,
I will fear no evil because you are with me.
Your shepherd crook and your strong club reassure me.
You set a table for me with a meal right in front of my enemies!
You annoint my head copiously with oil.
My drinking cup is overflowing!

It's true!
Your covenantal mercy and what's creaturely good shall follow me up
all the days of my life,
and someday I shall dwell in the house of the Lord God
for as long as there are days...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Christ Has No Body

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Teresa of Avila

Friday, April 11, 2014

Purification

At the start of spring I open a trench
in the ground. I put into it
the winter’s accumulation of paper,
pages I do not want to read
again, useless words, fragments,
errors. And I put into it
the contents of the outhouse:
light of the sun, growth of the ground,
finished with one of their journeys.
To the sky, to the wind, then,
and to the faithful trees, I confess
my sins: that I have not been happy
enough, considering my good luck;
have listened to too much noise;
have been inattentive to wonders;
have lusted after praise.
And then upon the gathered refuse
of mind and body, I close the trench,
folding shut again the dark,
the deathless earth. Beneath that seal
the old escapes into the new.

-Wendell Berry

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

In the Silent Night

Lo, in the silent night
A child to God is born
And all is brought again
That ere was lost or lorn.

Could but thy soul, O man
Become a silent night!
God would be born in thee
And set all things aright.

-15th Century Verse

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Waken in Me a Sense of Joy

A prayer and blessing for my daughter who turned 15 this week:

O extravagant God,
in this ripening, red-tinged autumn,
waken in me a sense of joy,
in just being alive,
joy for nothing in general
except everything in particular;
joy in sun and rain
mating with earth to birth a harvest;
joy in soft light
through shyly disrobing trees;
joy in the acolyte moon
setting halos around possessing clouds;
joy in the beating of a thousand wings
mysteriously knowing which way is warm;
joy in wagging tails and kids' smiles
and in this spunky old city;
joy in the taste of bread and wine,
the smell of dawn,
a touch,
a song,
a presence;
joy in having what I cannot live without--
other people to hold and cry and laugh with;
joy in love,
in you;
and in all that first and last
is grace.

~from Guerrillas of Grace by Ted Loder

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Your Neighbor

The hardest spiritual work in the world is to love the neighbor as the self–to encounter another human being not as someone you can use, change, fix, help, save, enroll, convince or control, but simply as someone who can spring you from the prison of yourself, if you will allow it.

Barbara Brown Taylor