Grace and Peace to you.
Today I am leaving for a three week vacation. Amazingly, the world will carry on without me. You will be fine without me. The sun will burn, the tides will rise and fall, children will grow, the nations will rage, without me. I will not lift a finger.
But here’s the mystery. Though I will not be there, the fate of my friends, the blessing of my community, the ministry of the church I serve, the well-being of the trees where I have walked every morning and even the orbit of the moon will all depend on me. They would all be changed if I were not to be. It’s not that by my effort I sustain them, but that I am created as a part of their whole. It is not my doing but my being that blesses all creation. Even while I’m on vacation.
And the same is true of you. Your very being is a blessing for this world, though the world will not know it. Your particular presence—not your skill or effort, but your soul—is essential to the world as God desires it.
The flower in the field, the mountain on the horizon give you a gift simply by being there. God looks at you, and is delighted. Even when, like the beautiful child you are, you are asleep. Enter that sabbath place where your being, and everything’s, is all there is.
___________________________ Weather Report
A day of belonging
as the universe enfolds you;
a low-pressure area
of merely being created
will push aside a high pressure region
with its hailstorm of accomplishments,
such light that emanates from within.
The Beloved has stolen your soul
and run off with her—
how audacious, how unfair!—
and married her in secret,
without your permission,
without your even knowing.
And what does God give you
as a wedding present?
Put it on and wear it.
I do my best to walk in peaceful calm,
and I have vowed to do no harm, no harm.
But living with these shadows in this world,
the wail of trampled voices, cries of blood,
the suffering imposed by greed and fear,
at times down in the heavy depths there burns
a weight, there seethes a flame, there stirs and heaves
a great dark rage that I can’t bear alone,
and so I hand the red hot iron to Christ,
who with insistent, mighty, ringing blows
beats it on his anvil, throwing sparks.
And I have vowed to do no harm, no harm,
though much may be upturned by such a plow.
We love to pretend we’re Big People
who have managed well our fate.
But we are weak, frightened children,
saved by unearned generosity
or not saved at all.
Fearful of our tenderness,
believing most deeply in our on-our-own-ness,
we lash out against our shadows
stumbling across our border, our little ones
running for their lives.
They ought to master their destiny like us.
They ought to be abandoned like us.
This is no country for the meek,
You think you know the sprouts
in the garden of your life:
which are the heirloom vegetables
and which the cursed weeds.
You tromp through,
plucking all sorts of green things
from the seedbed of certainty.
I have seen impatient people
yank the loveliest of herbs
because they thought they knew.
But you don’t know.
You don’t know what nameless weeds
will bless and blossom,
bear unimagined fruit,
even among their thorns,
in a harvest beyond your reckoning.
You do not know whose weedy life
is, in the other world,
burgeoning with God’s glory.
Do not judge.
You are not the Gardener.
The fruits of heaven grow
on the shabbiest stalks.
Only later will you see the work
of the One Who Sows,
the One Who Gathers.
I’m a fool for the moon,
can’t keep myself
from rushing to the window.
I’m a patsy for wild geese flying,
stop and stare like it’s the popemobile.
I’m a pushover for little glints of sun,
slips of children’s songs, chocolate,
deep blue green, lichen.
What is it about lichen, anyway,
that gets me so?
Don’t know. I’m a fool,
and I don’t mind
being flat on my face a lot,
weak-kneed before the world
pretty much all the time.
And the greatest wonder of all,
most deeply bewildering?
The Glorious One,
on scabbed knees, the fool,
staring wildly at me.
Their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
Open my inner eye to see your presence.
Thinking him to be the gardener, she asked,
“Where have you taken him?”
Help me see you in all people.
Jesus stood on the beach, but they did not know it was Jesus.
Help me trust in your presence,
even when I do not feel it.
Truly, God was in this place and I,
I did not know it.
You have walked with me
even when I did not know it.
Grant me gratitude and trust.
May I wonder at your presence
and walk in faith.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love
remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!
God does not see you according to your performance,
according to how well you’ve done.
God sees you with pure love,
with perfect compassion.
Throw away the dirty rags of your sin.
Dry the tears of your shame.
There is only delight.
There is only blessing.
Behold that love.
Receive that compassion.
Rest in that embrace.
Let it become you.
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
has set you free from the law of sin and of death….
God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do….
The just requirement of the law is fulfilled in us,
who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
—from Romans 8.2-4
God’s law is not a set of demands.
Demands could never make us love.
Concern about our righteousness
only makes us more self-centered.
God’s law is love, which lives in us,
and so makes us the fulfillment of God’s love.
We are free from “having to” do anything
to be fully, deeply loved and connected.
So we walk in that Love, that Spirit.
We let go of our anxieties
about the survival of our isolated self,
and let ourselves be included
in the infinite Life of God.
We rest in God’s love.
We let it transform us breath by breath.
We behold that love for and in everyone.
We let that love guide us.
We live in the Spirit.
A sower went out to sow.
Some seeds fell on the path…
and the birds came and ate them up.
Other seeds fell on rocky ground…
and they withered away.
Other seeds fell among thorns…
and the thorns grew up and choked them.
Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain—
some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
God is the sower and you are the soil.
The Word finds its fertile places,
and grows in you.
God is the sower and you are the seed.
You are given to the world.
Though it may seem fruitless,
there will be a rich harvest.
You are the sower and love is the seed.
Though it seems wasted,
love will bear fruit.