My feral faith

Sometimes my feral faith
goes creeping through the shadows,
among the vines and brambles
shunning house and town,
scrupulously avoiding you.
I practice absence like a monk,
a yeti of the spirit.
Proud of my independence,
my furtive invisibility to you.

But You are the wilderness, aren’t you?
You are my hunger,
you are my silence,
you are my absence,
you are the padding of my feet on the forest floor,
aren’t you?

   —November 8, 2018

A prayer for the days to come

Eternal God,
         give us wisdom
         to see the big picture.

Creating God,
         give us imagination
         to live differently.

Patient God,
         give us perseverance
         for the long haul.

Suffering God,
         give us courage
         to work for justice.

Gentle God,
         give us humility and trust
         to practice non-violence.

Hopeful God,
         give us confidence
         in the power of love.

Crucified God,
         give us faith to reach out
         to you who are always rising.

Loving God,
         give us your grace
         for the days to come.

   —November 7, 2018

Copper penny

         A poor widow came and put in
         two small copper coins, which are worth a penny.

                        —Mark 12.42

Your copper penny is enough.
Your one vote. Your one prayer.
Your one little good deed.
Any gift given with love
is filled with God
and so with infinite power.

In faith, give the copper penny.
Trust each one.
And give many.

Imagine a life full of such miracles.

_________________

         A prayer for election day

God of love, as we vote today
may your love and courage and hope prevail,
and after the votes are counted,
may your love and courage and hope prevail.

   —November 6, 2018

Choice

         Jesus said, “Beware of the scribes… who devour widows’ houses…
         … This poor widow has put in more
                  than all those who are contributing to the treasury.
         For all of them have contributed out of their abundance;
                  but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had,
                  all she had to live on.
         … Do you see these great buildings?
                  Not one stone will be left here upon another;
                  all will be thrown down.”

                        —Mark 12.38-13-2

Preachers like to use the story of the widow’s mite
as a tale of generosity:
“See, you should give everything to the church!”

Yes… but. Notice how the story is situated.
It’s not just about the widow.
It’s about the powerful who abuse the poor.
And Jesus’ judgment of power structures:
“It’s all coming down.”

The story is about the contrast
between generosity and greed,
between love and fear,
and which side God is on.

It’s about the choice you must always make.
Tomorrow those of you in the US will go out and vote.
You will choose between love and fear.
(And yes, non-voters, to stay silent
is to continue the widow’s oppression.)

All of us will go out and make choices today.
The choice will always be between love and fear.
Generosity or greed. Welcome or refusal.
Sharing or selfishness. Reconciliation or blame.

Jesus calls us to judge ourselves.
The contrast is stark.
Do you live by love or fear? Choose.

Then put in everything you have,
all you have to live on.

   —November 5, 2018

Lazarus

         “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man
         have kept this man from dying?”

                  —John 11.37

No.
Even the “Son of God”
can’t save his most beloved friend
from death and suffering.

When Mary confronts him
he has nothing to say.
He weeps.
Brokenhearted,
he stands with the grieving in grief.
This is where he has come,
and why.

Your wisdom will not arise
from near misses,
but in the deepest failures,
your healing
not from near the wound
but deep within it,
your salvation not beside the cross
but on it.

Decline the narrow escape.
Thomas says,
“Let us go and die with him.”
Let him lead you through the shadowed valley,
the full descent, the utter loss,
to the place too late.

Only there, defeated and helpless,
without excuse or recourse,
fully wrapped in the cloths of death,
do we hear the radiant voice:
“Come out!”

―November 2, 2018

All Saints Day

This All Saints’ Day,
sing praise for the unnamed, the unknown saints,
the quiet faithful who kept the flame alive,
mothers who gave life,
grandmothers who said prayers,
fathers who taught their sons
the courage of gentleness.
Thank God for all who have worked for justice,
who have offered healing and hope,
who have practiced generosity and courage,
who have kept the candle burning.
Praise God for all those who have suffered,
who have borne the light when it was hard,
the victimized and exploited,
who yet remained God’s Beloved.
And thank God for those who did nothing special at all,
who were simply the children of God,
made holy by God’s love in them,
made saints by being created in God’s image,
who shone by being themselves,
who honored the light of God within them,
living their lives instead of others’ demands.
Praise God for that flame in you,
burning right now, steady and bright,
giving light to those who follow.
Give thanks, and pass on the light.

   —November 1, 2018