That beast

We fear it’s always dissatisfied
with any but the finest,
so we feed it everything we love,

when actually it most desires
our trash, and when we throw it that,
it puts its head down and sleeps.

   —February 28, 2018

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Offering

         “Stop making God’s house a marketplace!”
               —John 2.16

On your way into the temple
the priest greets you kindly, then robs you—
overpowers you and steals your offering
and everything you could possibly give to God,
takes even the slightest reason for God to love you,
pickpockets all your prayers,
demands your deeds,
seizes your righteousness by sword,
wrestles from you even the shred of morality
that separates you from a serial killer,
strips you naked— and then says gently,
“Now, go offer all you have
to the one who loves you.”

   —February 28, 2018

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Hidden

         The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.
         But who can detect their errors?
         Clear me from hidden faults.
                  —Psalm 19.7,12

               
The fracture runs deep beneath my garden.
A wounded man lives deep inside the apple tree,
murmuring its strange fruits.
I leave my tangled guts to their own ways.
I do not realize the knot is killing me.

The saints are no better,
they just stand still long enough
to climb out of the mirror.

There is this gift:
I can rise in darkness and sit until daylight.
I enter a light not my own
and see what I had not seen.
For this dreadful vision I give thanks,
and for courage to keep my eyes open.

And for this, that in that darkness
that remains dark to me, a light shines
unseen, and it is dark no more.

The pilgrim walks carefully,
clear that they don’t know
what they’ve been entirely forgiven for.
 

   —February 26, 2018

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Deny yourself…

         Deny yourself
                  and take up your cross
                           and follow me
                                                      —Mark 8.34

Abandon the illusion you’re a self-contained individual.
         Be a part of this wounded world,
                  and find yourself with Christ.

Set aside your own desires,
         give yourself fully for others;
                  be the hands and heart of Jesus.

Renounce self-protection,
         accept your brokenness,
                  and reach out for love.

Let go of your own plans.
         Join in the healing of the world.
                  You will not be alone.

Follow your soul, not your ego.
         Follow it right into people’s suffering.
                  Follow it right into the heart of God.

Pour yourself out;
         let the world pour in;
                  then you are one with the Beloved.

   —February 23, 2018

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Repent and believe

         The time is fulfilled, and the realm of God has come near;
         repent, and believe in the good news.
                  —Mark 1.15

…In other words…

Turn and look: the glory is all around you.

Let go and trust: the promise is already kept.

Open your mind and see a new world unfolding.

God is re-ordering the world. Align yourself with a New Way.

This is God’s world. Trust it. Stop being so isolationist and belong.

Surrender and give yourself in love. A new realm of compassion awaits you.

Come back and fall in love again. The Beloved is crazy for you.

Renounce your prejudice. Give your heart away. Join the new world of justice.

You live in God’s empire. Change your loyalty and re-orient your compass.

Open your eyes. See what is happening. God is creating the world all over.

Step out of your fantasies. Return to the present moment. God is in it.

This moment is holy. Surrender your anxieties and trust the mystery.

God is here. Let your life continually changed by goodness.
 

   —February 22, 2018

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Do you love God?

Do you love God?
Not watch out for God, like your boss,
not worship God like a god,
but desire God, like a lover?
Do you forget things because you’re in love?
Do you want what’s best for God?
Do you think of God at odd moments,
look for God everywhere,
plot how to bump into them?
Do you love being with God,
just hanging out, hearing her voice?
What do you love about God,
his sense of humor?
Their blessed shapeshifting?
Do you care about what happens to God?
About what it’s like from their point of view?
Do you think God is just
the most beautiful thing in the world?
What kinds of things do you do for God?
Special favors?… little surprises?…
constant acts of faithful love and devotion?
Do you play jokes on them? Have a pet name?
Do you do stuff together?
Is God, like, totally inside your head?
Do you want God?
Do you want God for God, not just for you?
Do you love God?

February 21, 2018

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The difference

The difference between me and Jesus
is the number of people
I wouldn’t trade places with
                                for love.

Jesus, come trade places
with my fear, and bring along
                                your love.

 

                  —February 20, 2017

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Take up the cross

         If any want to become my followers,
         let them deny themselves
         and take up their cross
         and follow me.
                  — Mark 1.34
               
Crucified One,
give me grace to enter the wound of the world,
to accompany those who suffer,
to willingly suffer for others’ sake,
not for the purpose that I meet you there,
which gives me joy,
but that I meet them there—
not that they may be a means to my joy,
but that I be a means to theirs.
Help me trust that you are with me on the cross
not for my sake but for theirs.
Let your love in me overwhelm my fear
and transform my selfishness.
Give me true self-giving love,
which is the only joy.
Amen.

   —February 19, 2018

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Temptations

         Jesus was in the wilderness forty days,
        tempted by Satan;
         and he was with the wild beasts;
         and the angels waited on him.
                           — Mark 1.13
               
What are your temptations?
Not sex and chocolate, OK?
Not beauty, not pleasure.

I mean the things that ruin you,
things that get in your way,
that lead you away from deep life.

What gets in the way of your perfect love?
What distorts your wisdom and vision?
What inhibits your kindness and courage?

Now. Remember when you fell in love?
You didn’t work at it, did you? It was a gift.
You bring the gift with you to the desert.

You’ll never vanquish your temptations.
You just have to remember the gift:
you already love God more than those things.
 

   —February 16, 2018

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Wild beasts

         Jesus was in the wilderness forty days,
         tempted by Satan;
         and he was with the wild beasts;
         and the angels waited on him.
                  — Mark 1.13
               
They are in me—
wolves of appetite,
snakes of deceit,
scorpions of anger and will,
vultures of regret,
the lion of my unworthiness
that stalks me unseen.
In this wilderness
I will be with them.
We will see each other.
We will talk.
We will learn to live with each other,
each with our foods and habits,
and none about to go extinct.
They will remain wild,
but I will learn their ways
and become more humbly savvy,
no longer afraid,
never their victim,
free to walk about.
For God, too, is a wild beast.

   —February 15, 2018

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