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

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Original Plan

The gospel is not that there is still more to come in the future. It’s not about going to heaven when we die, or about being forgiven now and awaiting freedom later. It’s not about experiencing the sacred in the midst of the secular. Neither is it a new teaching or a new moral code. It is the promised ‘power of God for salvation’ (Romans 1:16)–a power that frees us from all that opposed God and God’s will and all that alienates us from ourselves and each other. This power frees us to live according to God’s original plan, where selfless sharing, justice, mutuality, respect, trust, forgiveness and joyful community become realized.

Charles Moore

Friday, January 04, 2013

When the Work of Christmas Really Begins


When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,

The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.

Howard Thurman


Monday, December 24, 2012

The Day of God's Coming

It is very remarkable that we face the thought that God is coming so calmly, whereas previously peoples trembled at the day of God, whereas the world fell into trembling when Jesus Christ walked over the earth. That is why we find it so strange when we see the marks of God in the world so often together with the marks of human suffering.... We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God's coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God's coming should arouse in us.

We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for everyone who has a conscience.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer