Falling and rising


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         This child is destined
                  for the falling and the rising of many in Israel,
         and to be a sign that will be opposed
                  so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed.
                           — Luke 2.34-35

Not “the rise and fall,”
like empires that come and go,
but “falling and rising.”
Death and resurrection.

Not an idol worshiped
but a sign opposed.
Not an inspiring thought
but my own revealed.

God, transform my inner thoughts
and give me courage,
accompanied by the divine child
to die and be raised,

to enter this path of hard choices
with love and grace,
to enter this new year
ready to become a new person.
 

   —December 29, 2017

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Enlarge our hopes

         Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;
                  this man was righteous and devout,
                  looking forward to the consolation of Israel.
         There was also a prophet, Anna …
                  looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

                        —Luke 2.25, 38

The Divine Presence seeps into us
like the quietness that settles on the trees
in the snowy dark.

Geese on the pond
pause in their migration,
a gathering of hopes.

Anna and Simeon see
what others don’t; they are looking
for something larger.

O Patient One, you have changed
what we are waiting for,
and how.

Enlarge our hopes and our horizons;
give us both the courage of deeper longings
and the peace of deeper trust.
 

   —December 28, 2017

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My eyes have seen your salvation

The the forces of evil rise,
chaos running in their veins.
The armies of injustice and their corporations
are arrayed in power and might.
They are already in the a streets and alleys,
their wardens and traffickers at work,
their war machines hulking in the dark.

The Eternal One announces their doom.
Heaven’s blacksmiths set to their dark labor
hammering through the night on swords and shields.
The forges spume.

But God walks past them all
out into the darkness.
The One who creates stars,
who spreads the earth out like a blanket,
the One who Sees,
stands and gazes at the devil’s troops
and smiles.
“Peace.
I’ve got this.”

A newborn baby cries.
 

   —December 27, 2017

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Baby’s breath

He breathes his tiny delicate breaths,
little ghosts in the night air,
little angels unfurling their wings,
blessings with the power to raise Lazarus,
words that will hang in the air,
pillars of fire and cloud—
but so small, so fine,
so easily dismissed,
wafting into the blackness,
into the night wind you breathe.
 

   —December 26, 2017

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Christmas Day

Rejoice in this mystery
that in love God chooses to be close to us,
to be with us even our deepest darkness.
God is present for us.
Let this be your light.

May wonder and gratitude
be Christ’s gift to you
this holy day.
 

   —December 25, 2017

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True light

         In the beginning was the Word,
                  and the Word was In God’s presence,
                  and the Word was God.
         All things came into being through the Living Word;
                  nothing has come into being except through the Word.
         What has come into being in the Living Word was life,
                  and the life was the light of all people.

         The light shines in the darkness,
                  and the darkness can not overcome it.
         The true light, which enlightens everyone,
                  was coming into the world.

                                 —John 1.1-5, 9

God begins with a musical idea,
and then sings it.
The song shines in the darkness.
Everything in this universe is God’s song.
It’s a love song.

In Jesus we can hear the melody,
clear, sweet and strong,
like a mother’s lullaby, holding her troubled child,
a strange melody, in a new key,
but one that resonates deep in our souls,
because we too are God’s singing.

Listen for God singing the world into being.
Look for the light shining in the music.
Notice this cosmic song, this act of Creation,
rising in you, unfolding, radiating,
shining in the darkness.

The true light that enlightens everyone
is coming into the world.
 

   —December 22, 2017

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Hope

          Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Holy One,
                  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior….
         For God has shown strength with her arm;
                  she has scattered the proud in their illusions.
         She has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
                  and lifted up the lowly;
         she has filled the hungry with good things,
                 and sent the rich away empty.”
                        —Luke 1.46-47, 51-53

These are dark times.
Mary has no reason to rejoice in the present tense,
as if God has already accomplished this turnover.
The mighty are still in power, reveling in debauchery,
robbing the poor, looting instead of leading,
crushing the wanderer, destroying the temple.
The Emperor has not yet even begun to buckle.
Why does Mary sing God “has” shown strength?
Is her faith just wishful thinking? Abject delusion?
Is hope just crazy fantasy?

Today is the solstice: in this hemisphere
winter is about to set in; the cold is yet to come.
But the earth has already turned.
The season is already doomed.

From the beginning God has established the power
not of death but of resurrection,
given love all the power
and hollowed out the might of the oppressors.
It’s too late already for the Emperor and his rage.
The true power in this universe
is not in the fearful hands of the mighty,
but the humble hearts of the loving.

Mary has already said Yes. Her sisters have said Yes.
The earth has turned.
A million peasant girls are out there,
ten million, a hundred million,
bearing the Divine, resisting, persisting, rising
like the dawn on the solstice.
The Emperor cannot stop this.
People of love and truth, people of humble courage,
bear the Holy Spirit into this world,
the Word made flesh, the Body of Christ, eternal,
crucified and risen, and coming again.

The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness can’t overcome it.
Hope is not deluded. Hope is knowing
what the despairing Emperor cannot even imagine.

         By the tender mercy of our God
                  the dawn from on high will break upon us,
         to give light to those who sit in darkness
                  and in the shadow of death,
                  to guide our feet into the way of peace.

                           —Luke 1.78-79
 

   —December 21, 2017

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Here am I

         Here am I, the servant of the Holy One;
         let it be with me according to your word.

               —Luke 1.38

God, I can’t imagine your desire for me,
your hope in me, your promise growing in me.
I do not know what you are leading me into,
but your Word is grace and love,
and something in me leans in and says Yes.
Give me courage to be yours
even when I can’t see ahead or understand.
Give me devotion to whatever of you
is unfolding in me.
Each moment, even in the press of the day,
give me grace to say to you always:

Here am I, your servant, O Holy One.
May it be for me according to your word.

Here am I, your servant, O Holy One.
May it be for me according to your word.

 

   —December 20, 2017

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Bear the child


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          You will conceive in your womb and bear a child.
                     —Luke 1.31

It is not my effort, nor another’s word,
but your presence in me that sanctifies me.
Yet you ask me to choose.
Am I willing for a great thing to unfold in me?
Am I ready to let go of my excuse of inadequacy?
Will I bear the great changes,
the weight of a life that is not mine but Yours?
Am I willing to be inconvenienced,
thrown off balance, discomforted?
Will I nourish the Holy One within me?
Will I choose even against my own self interest
for the sake of the Divine within me?
Will I chose what is good for the Child
even if it is hard or painful?
Can I be mindful always
that You are within me, growing, fragile, holy,
bearing light and life?

Let this be my hope:
not seeing you, but knowing you are within me,
bearing you into this world.

   —December 19, 2017

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Annunciation

          Gabriel said, “You will conceive in your womb
          and bear a son…and he will be great…”

Already the Word is spoken
deep in your soul.
Already the light dawns within you,
light of heaven, vast and outflowing,
the Loving One loving in you,
God, growing in you,
holy, earthly, miraculously plain.
Let it be.

          Mary said to the angel, “How can this be? I am only a girl!”
          The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
          and the power of the Most High will overshadow you”

                         —Luke 1.31-35

It is yours, but not you.
It is within you, but from beyond.
This light is not yours to deny.
This blossoming is not yours to resist.

Let the Spirit come upon you,
the power of the Most High overshadow you.
Be still, and let it be.
You don’t have to understand.
Just say yes.
 

   —December 18, 2017

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