trying to understand…

11 01 2020

tunnel

Who are we God?

Are we so lost?

Where lies become truth and divisiveness is lifted as unity;

where our leaders unsheathe fear daily.

 

And we justify…

We rationalize…

Contorting facts until

they match our truth.

 

Where one professes his Christianity –

a follower of the one, Jesus the Christ –

yet vehemently attacks the personhood of others daily.

Jesus…you did this?

 

Where one claims to be the chosen one…

placing himself equal with One who lived among us without stain.

one, a mortal, seeing no self-faults…no need for forgiveness.

Followed religiously by those who preached there is only One.

 

Others still, cower beneath the wielding of fear and hate –

selling their souls for the lust of power, prestige and approval;

taking the form of what they fear;

callousness their elixir…insecurity occupying their soul.

 

I am just trying to understand…

Who God is; our faith; what is gospel; who we say we are –

they are true in each moment?

Not to be  – can’t be – dissected from our living?

 

Why is there a need for such division among us?

My faith taught me God desires us to be community.

And why do believers follow this one so zealously instead of the One?

This one who reads Christmas greetings of unity – then attacks, divides,

and sows distrust.

 

A faith sojourner’s voice still rings within my preschool heart:

Mrs. Jackson…

“Be kind one to another”… “God loves everyone”…“We are all God’s children.”

Do we not know the greatest power – Love – already within?

 

And I am no saint for sure.

Needing daily awareness to tame my ego;

daily courage to choose Love over fear

(failure a frequent companion I must admit).

 

I have a part, I know, in applying a healing balm;

Speaking unity into divisiveness – within myself and into our world;

needing the touch of grace, forgiveness, and Love constantly.

So I write this as a beginning – trying to understand…

Railroad Tunnel

 





We are one

31 01 2017

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We are one.

From childhood, my faith has taught me so.

Is this not true?

 

Everyone belonging to an all-embracing Truth –

A Truth human expression cannot contain?

Isn’t this Truth true in spite of my faith?

 

We are one.

Why do these three words raise defensive walls?

Why do they scare us so?

 

Fear mixed with pride – our ego’s addictive elixir;

an opportunist ego’s playground –

serving it to preserve power;

injecting it to manipulate;

a way to sustain control…

 

but not The Way.

 

Still, we chase the god of “better than”

devising decrees of divisiveness ;

forging “us versus them” perimeters –

it’s easier not knowing another’s story;

defining others with broad strokes –

it’s more convenient painting with a bigger brush I suppose;

manipulating foundational concepts to create fabricated walls.

Why are we afraid of what is different? of what is other?

 

Then do we not believe what we claim within our faith?

What we say is Truth?

 

We are one.

This is celebration worthy!

 

We are one.

Created by the Creator;

created within Mystery;

created from Love to love;

created uniquely… out of Hope;

created from the One;

created as one.

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Today . . .

9 11 2016

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Today –

when it feels like diversity wanes;

when it seems like divisiveness reigns . . .

 

Today –

when there is a Grand Canyon schism between joy and sadness;

when anger and rage lace our language . . .

 

Today –

when systems enmesh us;

when relationships are broken;

when fear simmers beneath our soul . . .

 

 

Rain falls and nourishes the earth.

Light seeps through clouds and mist.

Meadow seeds sustains a sparrow just feet away.

Music that soothed my soul yesterday, soothes it today.

And the Truth that created us from the One, is the Truth that holds us as one.

 

To breathe in Love;

to breathe out Love;

to be embraced by Love;

to embrace with Love –

this is our invitation.

It has been.

It is at this very moment.

It will be tomorrow.

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“Slow down boys . . .”

5 11 2016

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“Slow down boys” . . .

a life lesson from father to sons;

from one whose dying, now fully embraced.

 

Darkness and death open us this way –

to Truth’s presence;

to Truth’s embrace;

to Truth’s perspective;

to edit Truth no more.

 

“Slowness” – Truth’s way – calls to our soul;

inviting us away from a veiled, matrix  life –

deliverance from busy minds;

exoneration from “living up to”;

liberation from judging ourselves;

curative for the cancer named shame;

cleansed from the addiction of trying to control what is uncontrollable;

awakened from a schedule-induced coma;

unshackled from haunting failures;

free from fear.

 

Truth’s way inviting us into freedom –

freedom to embrace who we know we are;

freedom to nourish who we know we are becoming;

freedom to lean into the mystery of what we don’t know;

freedom to cherish paradox and uncertainty – fearlessly;

freedom to welcome failure as a daughter of wholeness;

freedom to wait – not sprinting past Spirit;

freedom to just be in the Presence of Slowing…

 

We can only be right here, right now.

It is all that we are given.

So be right here, right now…

fully living;

wholly living;

with pain and joy;

with grief and blessing;

with angst and peace;

with dancing and stillness;

with paradox and certainty;

with Love –

always with Love.

 

Slow down…

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“Ride these monsters down…”

31 10 2012

 

 

 

“Halloween, a day associated with goblins and ghouls –

monsters all about.

For many the monsters are all too real –

monsters that haunt our past;

dwell in our present;

threaten our future.

They grasp our feet and ankles, desiring to pull us under…to take us down.

 

Maybe, though, that’s the way of it –

to dive down into what seeks to take us;

Maybe it’s the counter intuitive spirit

that sees the sliver of light in the darkness.

 

So, heed Annie Dillard’s words, “ride these monsters down” –

Your’s…mine…that haunt, dwell, and threaten.

Name them and jump on their backs – holding on tight.

Muster courage, gather community, give into hope,

and dive deep into fear until it no longer holds you…

until its power melts away.

 

Could the Truth be that the One we seek is found down –

 not always up?

Could the Truth be that the One who seeks us jumps on the monster’s back with us?

 

Light does shine in the darkness;

 

So, ride these monsters all the way down…

 

(Annie Dillard line from Teaching a Stone to Talk)





On the Edge…

27 07 2012

 

 

 

 

 

On the edge . . .

between falling and getting back up;

between losing and discovery;

between hope and despair;

between joy and grief;

between light and darkness;

between holding on and letting go;

between the status quo and exploration;

between play and depression;

between noise and silence;

between hearing and listening;

between the masks we wear and

the beauty of who we really are;

between choices . . .

 

May we have the courage to seek Truth within these “between” times.

May we have the grace to listen to Truth when it is given.

May we risk stepping into Truth’s sacred space — just a step at a time.

And may we know that we are not alone on this journey . . .

 

 





I wonder if she’d mind…

20 06 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inviting, the canopy of leaves and branches outside my window . . .

I wonder if Miss Maple would mind my sitting next to her today?

leaning against her trunk,

absorbing life into the fibers of who I am?

 

I wonder if she’d mind my lying within her sanctuary –-

soaking in sun and shade . . .

bathing my tired soul?

 

And if I dwell here today,

I wonder if she will whisper life’s most important secrets?

 

Wind rustles leaves . . .

I hear the conversation begin

 

Listen! It is not often one gets to hear such truth spoken . . .





Horizons – On the Edge

25 08 2011

I woke at 5:40 a.m. – another early morning at the beach. My body wanted to stay in bed – my spirit dragged me to the window. Like opening a gift that contained the thing you want most in the world, I pulled back the shades to reveal the rays of the pre-dawn sun barely illuminating the horizon – a deep blue sky above; darkness still swimming across the waters below; but that thin place in between – a deep, warm red-orange glow lining the horizon. I grabbed my tripod and camera, and soon found myself wading in sand.

 

With feet and tripod dug into sand, I looked over the Atlantic, snapping pictures, standing in awe – then somewhere in between the two, Light began to illuminate what was within. From the distant horizon in my soul, Truth exposed a spiritual desert within. I couldn’t seem to find my center – the Center. Somehow the Center would need to find me. Instead of standing there on the beach, my soul felt like fleeing to the mountains – my sanctuary…to nestle into coves and hollows; to lean against foothills; to rest in the shade of mountain peaks; to stroll along high ridges; to soar from lofty vistas.

 

Yet, there I was, on the edge of a vast ocean: openness; uncovered, nothing to nestle into; nothing offering midday shade; no lofty terrain to soar from; nothing to lean into except breaking waves. Open and exposed…just me, an empty lifeguard chair, and the burning horizon illuminating whom I really was; illuminating the truth as to where I really was – no place to hide from me.

 

But it was okay. Underneath the restlessness…within my soul’s desire to take sanctuary in higher elevations…in the midst of feeling lost – there was a peace. There was an opportunity here – an opportunity to be found. A transformation was in motion (and still is).  As I stood at the ocean’s edge, struggling to comprehend its vastness, I was brought to the edge of trust.

 

I have to trust that the waters continue beyond the ever-brightening horizon…that they continue beyond the reach of my eyesight. Isn’t this the way of faith? Some things I can see…but I can only see so far. I can only know what I know up to this very moment. Because of my limitations, I cannot know it all. It comes to the point where the known meets the unknown…when I cannot step into the future with full certainty. Here, at the edge, I have a choice – I can choose what is safe, what I know, what has already been lived; or I can choose to risk and step toward what is before me, toward the unknown, toward the horizon God holds for me. I can choose to step into what I do not know for certain – letting go of pre-conceived notions…using fear’s fuel as energy to propel me toward adventure…letting go of who I think I will become and trusting that God is creating me to be more than I can image. This is an opportunity to go deeper…deeper within ourselves…deeper into others…deeper into God – stepping up to edge of and then into what we fully do not understand or know. With faith we trust the Spirit goes before us preparing the way…preparing us.

 

As I stood gazing over the beautiful painted horizon, I was reminded of a quote by Andre Gide:

 

We cannot discover new oceans

 

unless we have the courage to lose sight of
the shore.

 





Story Within Us

8 05 2011

Our Youth led worship at Woodbrook Baptist Church on Mother’s Day. They chose as the worship theme, The Biblical Story – God with us Genesis to Revelation and beyond. What a wonderful job they did as they read, spoke, sang, prayed, and danced – what beautiful individuals they are! Following are words I spoke at the end of the service:

Today is about story – creation, the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), Esther, Pslams, Daniel, Jesus with children, Jesus with an outcast, the Spirit rushing in like wind, letters from long ago, and living into the Mystery of what is to be . And in the last hour we have experienced story through the spoken word, through lyrics, through instruments and through movement. We’ve experienced it in meditation and through prayer…through Spirit and Truth.

The benediction today is taken from Revelation…the end of our biblical text. After Audrey pronounces these words of blessing and guidance it would be easy to believe…it would be easy to close the text and say that we are finished – finished with worship…finished hearing the Story. But this is not true…the story is never finished, for we are never finished – we are in process…working out our salvation…God’s prayer continually flowing through us. Whether we are aware of it or not…whether we believe it or not…God’s story continues within us…in our story that we live daily. The Spirit that blew through those on that day so long ago in Jerusalem…blows through us…dwells with and in us…longing to help us live into the greatest story. Our part is to be open and aware, day-by-day…moment-by-moment, to the unfolding God-narrative within us, and all around us.

Do you see?

The creative power found in Genesis is our story too – we are created in the image of God.

The responsibility planted in the Shema is planted in us as well – there are precious children at our feet…wonderful youth walking beside us.

The deep God-courage of Esther is available to us – we too are challenged to stand fast within the winds of wrong.

The honesty of deep emotions and hard questions expressed by the psalmist to God, are the same deep emotions and questions that rise within us – what conversation do you long to have with God?

The faith of Daniel in the face of insurmountable odds is a seed within us as well – lion dens do you have to walk into.

The life Jesus lived invites us daily to live a counter-cultural life – speaking to the outcast; touching the untouchable; loving radically; uttering words of healing; planting peace; pointing out injustices and living Truth – Jesus says to us, “Follow me.”

The same Spirit that saw potential hovering over the face of the deep…that stirred hearts 2000 years ago…that moved Paul, Martin Luther, Harriett Tubman, Richard Fuller, Annie Armstrong, Clyde Atkins, Martin Luther King, Jr. Sonya Park…is also the Spirit that stirs within you – be still and know God.

Just as was done through the letters of Paul and Timothy, the opportunities to speak of our faith…to encourage others and to be encourage…to build relationships…is a daily invitation.

And the adventure continues…God continually revealing God’s self…calling us, loving us, pulling us forward – can you hear the echoes of God speaking your name? Can you feeling the deep longings of your heart?

So as you leave this sanctuary today…the biblical story continues…for our story continues – where will you take it? Where will it take you?