Sunday, October 22, 2017

In Our Distress

Meditation: angelus est nomen officii

In my extremity, I called out to the Lord;
I cried out in the congregation in my distress.
I was answered with love;
I was restored and removed to a better place;
With the love of the Lord with me, how can I be cut down?

Place your trust in the Lord;
Seek the Almighty where he waits upon his beloved;
Though your enemies surround you;
Though you find yourself at fault and unworthy;
Though you see no escape, there is help and hope for you;
The Lord is our strength and right arm;
His servants listen for the cry of the oppressed;
They wait upon the word of the Lord.

The Lord is our salvation and our help;
Though we may be chastised,
we are not condemned;
Though we find ourselves in distress;
even at the end of our lives and beyond;
We are enfolded and comforted;
In the Lord we find our true labor;
In the Lord we truly find ourselves.

-distantly after Ps 118

Thursday, December 22, 2016

At The Naming of a Hindu Child

Meditation:  We share the Word

Since it has pleased the Almighty to bestow upon N1 and N2
the gift of a child, N3, let us now give thanks:

Heavenly Father, you have blessed us with your presence in  this world.
We thank you for the life of this child, N3, entrusted to our care.
Help us to remember that we are all your children, and so to
love and nurture him, that he may attain to that full stature
intended for him in your eternal wisdom.

Lord, you have taught us that whoever receives a little child
in your name receives you.  We give you thanks for the blessing
you have bestowed upon N1 and N2 in giving them a child. Confirm
their joy by a lively sense of your presence with them, and give them
calm strength and patient wisdom as they seek to bring this child to
love all that is true and noble, just and pure, lovable and gracious,
excellent and admirable, following the example of all who are blessed.

- Modified from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Thanksgiving for a Child

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Other Parts of Our Hearts

Meditation:  We must listen for God speaking through each other

The problem is:
In order to speak to you;
For you to understand;
It seems like I must speak as an adult.

But for me to tell you the truth;
For us to truly communicate;
For your heart to hear me;
I must speak as a child.

And it may very well be
that there are no words at all
that express what we feel.

In which case
I ask that you imagine
the tears in my eyes
and the way my face crumples
and bends.

the other parts of our hearts
are hidden

Today we can only
try and hope
to remember.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Who Is It?

Meditation:  Bring your sins to God's throne, and you will receive the peace of God.

Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?
Who is this that cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers?
Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?
Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?
-This that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength?
Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass?
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us:
this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Songs 8,
Jeremiah 46,
Songs 3,
Isaiah 63,
Lamentations 3,
Isaiah 25

Friday, March 25, 2011

In the Path of the Cat

This day was grey;
A thin layer of snow lay over the sidewalks and flagstones of the little city. 
I printed it as I walked along;
Feeling the slightly raw cold of the late Lenten winter.
Not many snows left in it, I suppose;
But rain, oh yes, there would be rain.
Looking down I saw that other feet, little feet had come this way. 
Critter feet, cat feet, planted carefully;
Back feet falling in the same prints as the front feet;
Darkly pressing through to the sidewalk, with no details showing. 
The snow was damp, and I imagine those little feet were wet;
Yet they wandered from side to side on the sidewalk, with curiosity;
Investigating a postal box on one side, peering down an alley on the other.
Until finally they started to be filled, more and more with snow.  
The snow must have been falling as the cat walked, and he, or she,
Had been walking in the opposite direction from the direction I was walking.
I wondered by how much we had missed each other,
Me going, and the cat coming;
Did the cat pause, and watch me as I set out?
Eyeing me as I adjusted my bag over my shoulder and zipped my coat?
Or was the cat well past, with only me aware of our passing;
Inches away from each other in space, but more distant in time?
The cat’s journey was certainly a series of moments lived for themselves;
Whiskers a-tingle, damp feet getting the occasional shake,
Eyeing a bird, pausing to let a car slide by….
But for me it was more contemplative.  
What was the cat doing where the prints moved just so? 
Was this near the beginning or the end of its journey?
Ah, look how it moved!   
Like with us, the cat’s life is lived forwards,
But can only be contemplated properly in reverse.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On The Inside of St. Patrick's Breastplate

Meditation:  My Shepherd Is The Lord

Christ be with you, Christ within you,
Christ behind you, Christ before you,
Christ beside you, Christ to win you,
Christ to comfort and restore you.
Christ beneath you, Christ above you,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love you,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Finding Joy -or- A Light In Dark Places


Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Isaiah 26:19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

John 14:23 Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

 For many, these are hard times.  Times when we find it hard to do the next thing, hard to move ahead, when we perhaps wish that there was just some way to give up.  Times when we remember joyful times and wish for them again, when we miss our loved ones who are gone from us, when we feel we cannot move on.

If someone could show us a way back to joy from these hard, sad, dark places, would we not seize it and follow it, like a lover follows his or her beloved, like a bee follows the scent of nectar, like a bird or squirrel following a trail of seeds?

I have the way, but it means giving something up.  Here it is, in six steps.  Think of it as a half-price twelve-step program:   
  1. Give Up
  2. Smile
  3. Love
  4. Make Do
  5. Help Others
  6. Start Over

Give Up:  Give up your hurts and pains, your feelings of being subject to injustice and cruelty, your need to nurse your injuries, your sense that your rights and entitlements have been crushed.  Forgive whomever you need to, and put these wrongs out of your mind.  They are not helping you.  Give them up, new and old.  Many more hurts will come, and you will have to give them up in turn. 

Smile:  Because you are in God’s hands, and because it will give you courage, and encourage those who are with you.  This is a battle, and if we fight it with courage, we are assured of our victory.  Smile for courage, for yourself and others.

Love:  Because when you love, you invite God into your life, and love reminds you of how much you care for others. Remember, our care for each other is a good part of why we are here.  Love each other, and remember to love those who are difficult to love.  Remember that you have been unlovable yourself at times, and others have loved you anyway.  Honor that love by multiplying it.

Make Do:  Decide what you really need, and make do with that, and try and be smart with your time and abilities.  Find the best way forward you can for now, and keep your eyes open for the next practical and healthy opportunity.  ‘Make Do’ means no wallowing in self-pity, no giving in to despair.  It means you step forward and say ‘Here I Am’ and ‘What Can I Do Now.’

Help Others:  No matter how little you have, you can help others.  Sometimes helping is as little as a smile, or an ‘I Care’ said (or written) with feeling, or a listening ear - sometimes it is much, much more.  Everyone can give.  Figure out how much giving you can reasonably do, and do it.  Make time to touch other people’s lives.  Seek out those in need, and make a difference.  Do this faithfully, carefully, lovingly, practically, and with a smile, and you will find joy in your heart.  This is the joy of Christ.  Cherish it.

Start Over:  Start over in a better place, emotionally and spiritually.  Reset your needs, and your attitudes.  Let go of desires for things that are high-maintenance and expensive, and latch onto the practical and reasonable.  And in that spirit, start over at the beginning of this list, happily, prayerfully, thoughtfully, and with care for yourself and others.  

And if you do these things, you will be truly blessed.

   With Love,