in the storm of my daily life
be my calm.
In the drought of my despair
be the rain of hope.
In the earthquake of my emotions
be my steady ground.
In the forest fires of my fear
be my safe place.
In the flood of anger around me
be my high ground.
In all of life’s uncertainties
you are my sure and certain thing.
I thank you. I trust you.
I give myself to you.
as rapidly changing conditions
and the breakdown of a weak front
produce high pressure anxiety areas,
with strong winds of expectation.
By the rivers of Babylon—
there we sat down and there we wept
when we remembered Zion.
Mourning the world
we had hoped to live in,
we do not surrender our sorrow
but give thanks for it,
knowing our grief is the soil
where seeds of deep joy are rooted.
We release our dreams
to the Love that hopes all things,
trusting the mystery of grace
shall make all things well.
We are just ordinary workers;
we have done only what we ought to have done.’”
I watch them preparing the new neighborhood:
laying sewers, then storm drains,
then water lines, then electricity.
Layers of sand and gravel, packed,
beneath what will be pavement.
They labor hard to do it well.
One says, “We bury our best work.”
Today I am thankful for ordinary laborers
who work unseen to make things right:
plumbers, orderlies, clerks, maids, parents—
and for the great infrastructure of grace:
those who practice kindness, forgiveness
and generosity unnoticed, who silently bless,
and all the unseen prayers that hold this world together.
If you had faith the size of a mustard seed…
God, I do not ask for great faith
Give me the smallest faith.
Give me a mustard seed of trust.
Let creep into my heart the tiniest ant of compassion.
May microbes of gratitude do their work in me.
Let the smallest atom of your joy thrum in me.
Murmur only your briefest syllable to me.
Let me be the faintest star in your beautiful night,
a single note in your earthly chorus.
Just a hint of you is all I need,
for merely a cell of you is all I am.
By your infinite grace that is enough.
You are the artist,
your wise fingers working my clay
into a vessel, simple and perfect.
I surrender to your touch,
the pressure of your hands,
the guiding of your eye,
and I am at peace.
You fill me with exquisite wine,
grown in beauty, crushed in pain,
given in deepest generosity.
I open myself to your grace,
your presence filling me,
your beauty to my brim,
and I am at peace.
You are the thirsty gourmet
connoisseur of souls,
whose thirst is life.
I let you raise me to your lips,
your lips hidden in this world,
and you empty me, eyes closed,
and I am at peace.
You are bored,
stuck doing something dull and meaningless.
You are sure you are wasting your time.
But secretly, even now,
with each breath
the Beloved is creating you,
new and astounding,
and has nothing better to do in all the universe
than to be with you and adore you,
not for what you are doing,
but simply that you are.
Don’t forget what you’re doing,
and don’t forget what God is doing, either.
with decreasing chances of entertainment,
as everything fascinating
happens elsewhere, out of sight,
deep within you.
Out walking this morning, why shouldn’t I
be deeply touched, and gratefully sigh
when a tiny, unsuspecting fly
happily flies right into my eye,
thinking it beautiful, open sky?
The rich man also died and was buried.
In Hades, where he was being tormented,
he looked up and saw Abraham far away
with Lazarus by his side
Everything in scripture, including the words of Jesus,
is deeply symbolic language.
Images of heaven and hell are about
the moral universe, not the physical one.
But for you literalists, listen up:
Jesus mentions only twice what you think of as hell,
an afterlife of punishment for bad behavior:
the rich man and Lazarus, and the great judgment (Matt. 25).
Both times, notice how you end up in hell:
by ignoring the poor.
It’s not your beliefs, or your sex life, or anything else;
it’s how you treat the poor.
Why? Because God is poor, and to love God you must love the poor.
Because when you hide behind the gate of your privilege
(fearful of your own poverty of spirit)
you cut yourself off from God’s grace.
Because love is purest going to those who can’t repay;
anything else isn’t really love.
Because God is in everyone;
when you distance yourself from the unsavory
you are far from God.
Heaven is where everybody is.
Hell is where only some people are.
On the Equinox we trade
one hemisphere for another,
north and south, spring and fall.
In this moment all is both light and dark,
hope and despair, good and evil.
This world, and all of life,
is an equinox,
grace lurking in every shadow,
blessing in every fall,
healing in every wound.
Judgment is confounded.
The cross prefigures every resurrection.
Day or night, fear not.
Go ahead, into the light or the dark.
The Beloved is there,
ready for you.
as the mass of the present moment,
pushed by the entire universe,
Expect rapidly changing conditions
with the steady rain and/or sunshine of grace
There was a rich man …
and at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus…
—Luke 16.19, 20
Admit it: society thinks of the well-to-do as “somebody,”
treating them with respect and honor,
while we treat the destitute with scorn and judgment;
we think of them as a “nobody.”
In Jesus’ a story of a rich man and a poor man
notice how he reverses that.
The rich man is not named;
other than his riches he’s nobody in particular.
But the poor man is somebody. He has a name: Lazarus.
When Lazarus dies he is carried by angels
to the bosom of Abraham.
When the the rich man dies… well, he dies. He’s buried.
Period. No further ado.
The poor, the abandoned, the nameless—they are somebody.
The guy at the intersection with the ragged cardboard sign,
the refugee with everything in a plastic bag,
the old woman in the wheelchair at the nursing home,
the addict wasting away in the upstairs room,
the inmate languishing in prison,
they have a name, a story. They’re somebody.
(So is the rich man,
but he has forfeited his identity for his riches.)
They’re not fixtures, objects, symbols of something.
They’re somebody. Look at them and see. See them.
Maybe you can help them, maybe not.
But you can see them.