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The Common

23 Feb

It’s plain. It lacks forceful colors and shape.
You can see the same scene in all directions.
Common. Unimaginative.
And those critiques are true for one who flips the pages of
the travel magazine, for someone who has never
heard the sound of sand crunching under foot,
never smelled the desert after a rain,
never walked among the living things and
heard them speak to the wind.
This is the sanctuary of the Sacred.
Tread lightly. Perhaps the song of the Cactus Wren
will transform the moment into Holy Mystery
and you will see in the soft lines of the distant
mountains an invitation into a state of Gratitude.
It’s the long view.
Two men walked into the desert, stopped for a moment
to take in the scenery, and said in turn:
“God, this is an awful place!”
and “God, this place is full of awe!”
Only eyes of the Spirit can see beyond the obvious.

The Day Begins

20 Feb

Cold tiles
warm feet
shock
stand
equilibrium
orientation
focus

Lamp
light switch
brilliance
squint
refocus
fuzzy world
soft edges
alarm clock numbers
illegible
search
desk
night stand
bookshelf
dresser

Ah! Glasses

connection
clarity
put on Christ Romans 4
blind but now I see John 9
the day begins
each the same
always new
ready for Wonder.

You Are Awesome!

19 Feb

And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise!
Today is Awesome Friday,
celebrated in your honor
around the world.
The rest of us are thankful that you are you,
and that you’re part of our lives.
Don’t let this go to your head…
just your heart.
Awesome!

Glorious Day Approaching

18 Feb
Your glory rises with the brilliance of the sun,
streams of mercy, rays of compassion, the warmth of
holy Love. You fill the earth with Presence that
rushes over us like sea waves.

I stand with my arms upraised, hands and fingers
stretching to touch and be touched. Here I
wait. This is the morning of Mystery and Wonder.
This is the gift of your grace. This
is the beginning of a new day,
and I rejoice and am glad in it.

Amen

Wounded Friend

16 Feb

He sits close to the glass partition, not to pose but to ponder
all the strange creatures passing by. He will never fly again,
the wound was too severe. But can he know that the wounded
still carry the beauty of their creation? Fallen from the sky
to fly no more, he stands as a monument to the magnificent.
O beautiful friend, I grieve your fate, but I sit on the dusty
pathway, close to the glass that separates us, and give
thanks for this chance meeting.
You transform the moment,
Wounded Friend.

Be You!

14 Feb

“This is the day the Lord has made,
let us rejoice and be glad in it…”
Rejoice! Be glad!
Be grateful!
Be You!

The Words We Use

12 Feb

What it takes a lifetime to build can be destroyed in minutes. Take care with the words we use and the decisions we make. Let all our words be grounded in The Way of Jesus. WWJD?

Note To Myself

10 Feb

It’s not what I can’t do today,
It’s what I can do.

Boredom is simply an invitation
to create.

Find five specific things today for
which to be thankful.

Walking in the correct shoes is comfortable
in the wrong shoes, painful
Watch the attitude.

When I dress this morning
I will put on
my glasses
my shoes
and all the rest in between
and I will put on Christ
intentionally, humbly
gratefully.

Nothing I do today will change the world
but what I do today will
reinforce or reject
who I am.

Ink Cartridges

7 Feb

Sometimes it’s right in front of you, and you don’t see it. An answer to the problem, the car keys you’ve been searching for, your glasses, the TV remote. Right there and you looked past it or through it. Frustration builds, and, of course, that causes your pupils to close down into little angry laser beams. And there it was all the time.

I re-learned that lesson early this morning when I sat down to write. What to say? A topic that would be interesting, maybe even helpful. An hour later I was still looking for just the right idea or topic or subject or emphasis. Frustration is a tough opponent at 4 a.m. I pondered, prayed, sat in the Lotus position until my right leg went to sleep.

And, then, there it was. Or better said, there they were. On the desk, exactly in front of me, waving at me, calling my name. Seven empty printer ink cartridges waiting to be re-filled. Dry as a bone. No doubt feeling useless. The seed of an idea began to grow. The gift of a thought. You can write the rest of this, can’t you.

I am an admitted follower of The Way, the first name given to the work and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. The Way. When Jesus said “Follow me” he meant it. Follow me, do what I do and don’t lose sight of me. I’ll be right there with you, just stay on The Way. But this morning by 4:10 and with no clear thought to weave into a meditation, I sat down on a rock along The Way to think about my problem. Concern turned into anxiousness which turned into frustration which turned into…and then I heard a voice: Hey. Hey! What are you doing? I looked back and I couldn’t see you. Come on, there’s work to be done. Lots of emptiness ahead. People who need to hear what I have to say, and I want you to be there. Right there beside me.

Lots of emptiness ahead. Empty people needing to be filled with good news, filled with new life. Seven empty ink cartridges staring at me. Empty. Refill. Fullness of life. I’ve got it! Thanks to you…but when I looked up, he was striding away. Suddently the rock was very uncomfortable. Wait! I don’t want to lose sight of you!

Here, friend. Take these seven cartridges. You write the rest of this. I’ve got to go. Wait up, Jesus. Here I come.

Relationships

3 Feb

There is no shortage of articles and books about how to establish and maintain good relationships. So much of our happiness and meaning is related directly to how we get along with other people. I don’t have to remind you, I’m sure, that relationships based on lies, deceit, or pure self-interest don’t last very long and the bitter after-taste is often in broken lives and deep scars.

I’m thinking of this because just the other day I listened to someone comment on the sixth chapter of Mark’s Gospel, focusing particularly on verses one through six. These verses tell the story of Jesus going back to his hometown, speaking in the local synagogue, and encountering harsh criticism about his activities and his authority to teach. Grumblers asked “who does he think he is? Isn’t this the carpenter? Mary’s son…” Their skepticism led Jesus to speak an often quoted line: “Prophets are honored everywhere except in their own hometowns, among their relatives, and in their own households.” The text pulls no punches: “They (the townspeople) were repulsed by him…”

There was no relationship between Jesus and the local folks, at least not a good one. And it occurs to me that Mark is making just that point in telling this little story. If I have no relationship with fine art, then the works of the masters have no meaning for me. No relationship with sports and athletics, no interest in sitting through an agonizing nine innings. Without a relationship with gardening and growing things, I could care less about the landscape. And so it is with faith. No wonder the text says that Jesus was not able to do any miracles in the neighborhood. Nobody believed he could, expected them to happen, or really cared one way or the other.

Faith is based on the concept of relationship. To be told all your life that God is love and faith is good for you, but to never establish a relationship with God does not produce faith. Or, to be what is often called a “nominal” Christian, that’s someone who warms a pew every Sunday but never moves beyond that to establish a relationship with the Spirit, is to settle for a first-grade faith in a complex world. The barometer of a strong, healthy faith measures the quality of the relationship, not attendance, not contributions, and not the number of classes one attends. And so I remind myself that on those occasions when my faith feels weak, when the spiritual well runs dry, it’s time to tend the relationship. And that means, at least for me, re-establishing the conversation, getting outside myself in order to invest in others, and re-evaluating personal priorities.

Love isn’t love unless there is an object of your love. Friendship doesn’t exist if you don’t have a single friend. And faith isn’t rich and power-giving and comforting if there is no relationship with The Other.

Just something to think about.