Buried talent

         “I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground.”
                  —Matthew 25.25

God, what coin of you
         is buried in me?
What gifts have you given me
         that I have interred,
         rolled a stone over?
What skill or passion, grace or yearning,
         have I hidden away in fear?
What is the breath of your Spirit in me
         that I neglect?

What is the fear that binds me?
         What am I afraid of?

Is it real?

What if I were to spend myself for you,
         to put your treasure in me to use?
         What would that be like?

Would you, the Giver of My Life,
         not be pleased?

         lend me your shovel.

   —November 16, 2017

Categorized as Reflections

Prable of the talents


         To one the merchant gave five talents, to another two,
         to another one, to each according to their ability.

                  —Matthew 25.15

Maybe this is a story about investing
your God-given gifts in the world,
no matter how small, for the sake of God’s desires.

And since a talent is like a million dollars,
there is no such thing
as a small amount in this story.

Maybe it’s about the power of fear,
power that makes us hide our gifts,
thinking them small, though they aren’t,

and about how a story may be about generosity and joy
until fear enters the picture, when the tale suddenly turns
to lies and selfishness and punishment.

Maybe it’s about how fear makes us judge others,
like the fearful servant saying awful things
about the merchant who just gave away 8 million bucks.

Maybe it’s about how we fret about our “stuff,”
and whether it’s enough, and what may be demanded of us,
forgetting it’s not ours. It’s God’s.

Maybe it’s about how the rich get richer
and expect people on the bottom
to comply, to play along, to feed the machine.

Maybe it’s about parables, and how
the more you open yourself to them the more you receive,
but you have to give the meaning away to get it,

and if you try to get it right,
and bury the meaning safe and sound,
you will be weeping and gnashing your teeth

because the meaning is not yours
but if you share the riches
the joy will be.

   —November 15, 2017

Categorized as Reflections

One talent


Sunrise and its gold,
a single kiss,

the sea that never tires
throwing its beauty at you,

trees scattering jewels,
stars saying their prayers

by candlelight
in their little houses—

such loveliness,
such precious coins.

You can’t say what they’re worth,
there is no measuring them

any more than the one you are,
little star among millions,

generous, infinite Talent

mere single radiant

   —November 14, 2017

Categorized as Reflections


Why long
for that other place

suffused with with music
and beauty,

that God-soaked world,
when we haven’t begun

and hardly know how
to endure



   —November 13, 2017

Categorized as Reflections



I sit and pray,
yearning to see
and I ponder
earnest thoughts,

while outside the window
an autumn tree sings lauds,
its leaves intoning light,
sun streaming through them.

Can any thoughts,
earnest creeds,
devout prayers
mean more

than this,
hold my heart
more firmly,
matter more




   —November 10, 2017

Categorized as Reflections

Become a bird

First, when you were wanting,
it was beautiful.
Now you are attached,
and it’s necessary.
This will have you wasting your life,
tying and untying knots.

You can become a bird
without a path
but a sure knowledge of home.

The sky spreads its arms wide.


   —November 9, 2017

Like the Realm of God

How is this like the Realm of God?

Bridesmaids await the groom.
Some run out of oil.
The others decline to share.
Right when the groom comes
the unprepared ones run off to buy oil.
The others enter the hall without them.
When they return, the groom rejects them.

Bridesmaids who aren’t prepared,
others who refuse to share,
those who run away right when they’re needed,
those who are happy to desert them,
and a groom who refuses to admit his friends:
none of these people are behaving well. None.

How is this like the realm of God?
A voice in your heart recoils, says,
“This could all be different!”

There. That is like the realm of God.

   —November 8, 2017

Being there

         Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom….
                  —Matthew 25.1

Jesus tells a story: bridesmaids await a groom who is delayed. Some run out of oil. The others won’t give up their oil, so those who are short go out to buy more. When the groom comes, they’re off at the hardware store. They return to the party too late to be admitted.

We think the maidens are “foolish” because they didn’t plan for the groom’s long delay (as if that’s a spiritual issue). And we suppose they had no choice but to dash off to get oil, and, sadly, they miss the groom. But is that really the point? Were they really just the lighting crew? Does it occur to them (or us) that maybe they could just run out of oil, and the groom will be glad to see them because he’d rather have their company than their flashlights? Their purpose is to meet the groom—but right when he needs them most, they’re off taking care of their own worries. They aren’t there for him.

But they’re not alone. Everybody in the story fails to be there for each other. The “wise” maidens could have shared. It wouldn’t have killed them. But they make their sisters go shopping at midnight— and are happy to go to the party without them. They’re not willing to be there for the others.

And the groom—in what way is he not a jerk? He won’t let his friends come to the party—because they’re late? After he himself has made them wait all fracking night?? And on top of that he insults them, saying, “I don’t know you!” He vaporizes his friendship over tardiness? Wow. What a prince of selfishness.

So what’s Jesus up to in this story? I think he’s setting us up. We’re so anxious to “get” the story, to believe something pious about it, to judge between wise and foolish, we miss the actual relationships—like the maidens out buying moral-of-the-story oil instead of just being there. Life is about relationships, not lamps. It really doesn’t matter what we think, or how much “oil in our lamps” we have, or how well others meet our expectations. What matters is that we’re there for each other.

Pray that you might run out of oil, having given it away to be there for someone in need. Trust the Bridegroom will be happy for you to be there.

   —November 7, 2017

Sutherland Springs Beatitudes

Blessed are they who are devastated,
         for theirs is the realm of heaven.

Blessed are they who grieve for this country,
         for they shall be comforted.

Blessed they who are nonviolent,
         for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who long for a culture of peace
         for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are they who seek healing, not revenge,
         for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are they who desire only blessing for all,
         for they shall see God.

Blessed are they who work for the healing of the world,
         for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who meet opposition
         in their work for peace and justice,
         for theirs is the realm of heaven.
Blessed are you when people dismiss and insult you.
         Rejoice, and be glad:
         great is your reward in the heart of all things,
for in just this way
         they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

   —November 6, 2017

See what love


         See what love God has given us,
         that God claims us as children.

                  —1 John 3.1

Let this be.
Relax the weird resistance we all suffer.
She holds you, infant, in her arms,
gazes with eyes of galaxies at you,
smiles the sunrise at you.
There’s nothing you can do, infant,
to stir or still her love,
no way you can be the adult here.

Remember this
in all your heroic battles,
your miraculous becomings.
You are the living image
of the Lovely One.

God is the sun of love within you.
Vessel of divine delight,
you bear this magnificence into the world.
This can’t be changed or diminished.
Let this be your confidence, your hope,
your courage.

   —November 3, 2017

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