Have this mind

         Praying Philippians 2.1-11
                  

God, grant me encouragement in Christ.
Give me the consolation of love,
the Spirit’s sharing,
and compassion and sympathy.
Make my joy complete,
and my harmony with Christ.
Help me do nothing from selfish ambition or deceit,
but in humility regard people with honor
and look to the interests of others.

Let the mind of Christ be in me:
no to attain status
but to empty myself
and take the place of a servant,
trusting your presence in my humanity.
May I become obedient in self-giving.
May Christ rule my life in grace.
May my humility, love and service
be your glory.

I pour myself out
and find you in me.
                       

   —September 29, 2017

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You’ve declared

         “By what authority are you doing these things,
         and who gave you this authority?”

                  —Matthew 21.23

You’re not afraid to wear your team’s jersey,
or a wedding ring, or to announce to the masses
your alma mater or your favorite designer.

The scribes didn’t have the guts
to know where their guts came from,
to let the light from within shine, let it shine.

But you, you dare. You let your loyalty be known.
You stand for healing, for justice and reconciliation.
You stand for resurrection. You’ve declared.

You wear it boldly. Others will hide it, blend in,
undecided. They’re afraid, running under stolen identity.
But there’s no doubt with you. Strangers can tell.

Not by a cross or a logo; it’s not a brand.
You bear the authority of the Loving One
in your presence, your vulnerability, your love.

Having the mind of the One who became a servant,
your uniform of mercy is unmistakable.
We know what side you’re on.
           

   —September 28, 2017

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Inner and outer

         The first son said, ‘I will not’;
         but later he changed his mind and went.
         The second said, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go.
         Which of the two did the will of his father?

                  —Matthew 21.28-31

They are not two, of course. I am both.

God, help me root deeply in you,
and let the sap of your grace flow through me,
that my outer self may grow organically
out of my inner self, the two selves one,
my actions in humble harmony with my inner truth.
Free me from pretense and the fear of appearances.
May my prayers give form to words and deeds,
my flesh obey my spirit,
both flowing from your love.

Amen.                        

   —September 27, 2017

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Is God among us or not?

         The Israelites quarreled and tested God, saying,
         “Is God among us or not?”
                  
—Exodus 17.7

The One you question
does not cast a shadow.
Does not look upon you.
Does not walk beside you.
The Present One
breathes in you,
looks out at this world through you,
becomes in full becoming within you.
The One is not a character,
on or off the stage,
not the hero or the playwright,
but the story, in whom you play a part,
the Oneness, to whom you belong.

Are you among your hands and organs or not?
Are you among your cares and loves or not?
Ah, so it is.

Don’t ask if but how.
Don’t look here or there;
look in your looking.
You journey is the palm of God.
Your struggle the story of God,
your darkest valley the crack in God’s heart.

You aren’t small;
you just belong to more than you thought.

When you care, God is.
When you yearn, God is.
Even now, this moment, in your pondering
God is moving toward you, from within.
In your hoping God is loving.
In this world, its spinning glory,
it is we who are among God.
                        

   —September 26, 2017

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Theology


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Theology is our attempt
to punctuate Mystery

an analysis of the handwriting
of the Beloved’s letter

a drawing
of the back side of light as it receds

Of course there is no such thing
We make it up

and spend the rest of our lives
following an imaginary map

Nevertheless we’re all walking around
with light shining in our eyes

         •

Every once in a while you just close them
and smile
                        

   —September 25, 2017
 

 

 

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Manna – II

         Those who gathered much had nothing over,
         and those who gathered little had no shortage;
         they gathered as much as each of them needed.
         Some left part of it until morning,
         and it bred worms and became foul.
         Morning by morning they gathered it,
         as much as each needed;
         but when the sun grew hot, it melted.
                  —
from Exodus 16.18-21

God’s vision of justice
is that everyone has what they need.

Manna in the wilderness,
the widow’s jar of meal,
laborers in the vineyard,
feeding the five thousand,
God’s forgiveness upon each heart:
each is given what they need.

It is gift,
that you can’t earn or possess.

Your excess rots in your hands.
What you have beyond your need
you have taken from your neighbor.
It poisons you.

Starve your greed
and feed on justice.
Until all have what they need
even God is hungry.
            

   —September 22, 2017
 

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One parable in ten takes

         “Is your eye evil because I am generous?”
                  —Matthew 20.15

Jesus tells a story in which workers labor one, three, six, nine or twelve hours— but the employer pays them all the same amount, a usual day’s wage. Those who worked longer feel short-changed, and are not happy.

What do you think this story is about?

1. Gratitude: God gives all of us all the grace we need regardless of our sense of “deserving.”

2. Encouragement: Whatever gift you have to give is valuable to God.

3. Wisdom: Don’t compare yourself with other people.

4. Confession: Notice how often we want for ourselves what we don’t want for others.

5. Self-awareness: Your desire to be superior can warp your appreciation of other people’s contribution.

6. Justice: Nobody needs less than what they need.

7. God’s freedom: God doesn’t follow human rules or expectations.

8. Presence: You can focus on what you don’t have or on what you do have. Your choice.

9. Humility: If you hear this story and think,”Hey, that’s not fair!” it’s likely because you identify with the ones who worked all day. Why do you do that? Don’t you feel you’ve been given more than you’ve earned? How does this story feel if you imagine yourself as one who worked one hour?

10. Wonder: A scripture passage’s meaning isn’t always singular, simple or obvious.

Pick one thought that speaks to you and meditate on it.
       

   —September 21, 2017

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Manna

In the morning there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that God has given you to eat.“
                  —Exodus 16.13-15

What gets you through the desert?
What gets you through?
What gets you through the chemo,
the healing from abuse, the bad marriage,
what gets you through
the job that tries to kill you,
the dark alley of the shadow of death,
the rotten places, the placeless places,
the evil you fear, the evil you’ve done,
your daily inadequacy,
what gets you through?

Some will call it courage or stamina,
luck or faith or reaching down deep.
But you know it’s not you, not yours.
It’s given. To you. For you.
From the Holy One.

The thread you follow,
the source you drink from,
the encouraging voice,
the Divine desire that you thrive,
the gift amid the desolation,
you find it anywhere—
the usual, the impossible,
the unwelcome.
You learn to recognize it.
You learn to receive it.

For that grace that gets you through
you learn to say thank you.

You learn to count on it,
and be surprised,
every morning.
Every morning.

     

   —September, 2017

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Simpler


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I lay down the backpack,
quit the journey to the far place.

I set aside the pick and shovel,
the coded treasure map.

I renounce the person I want to become,
abdicate mastery of my fate.
I rest my fears, desires and intentions.

Even the angel within me,
wings tightly wrapped, rests.

Already a holy vessel,
I rest with the Presence I hold.
I rest in this:

You, I AM,

in me,

becoming,

and I allowing.
 

                        

   —September 19, 2017
 

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Turning

Trees are beginning to turn.

They turn toward me.

They walk with me,
along the turning road.

Teach me, friends,
the grace
of turning.

_______________
Weather Report

Release,
as the winds of grace
lift from you
the burdens
of all you possess.
Changing winds
will shift what you think you need;
expect heavy things
to precipitate out of your life.
 

   —September 18, 2017
 

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