Yearning…

“I believe that humanity’s yearning–all of it, the wailing and the wishing, the eagerness and the edginess–is somehow, in the mind of a loving God, bound together into a single reaching for the light.”

–Tom Ehrich

Extraordinary love

Don’t think that love, to be true, has to be extraordinary.

What is necessary is to continue to love. How does a lamp burn, if it is not by the continuous feeding of little drops of oil? When there is no oil, there is no light and the bridegroom will say: “I do not know you”.

Dear friends, what are our drops of oil in our lamps? They are the small things from every day life: the joy, the generosity, the little good things, the humility and the patience. A simple thought for someone else. Our way to be silent, to listen, to forgive, to speak and to act. That are the real drops of oil that make our lamps burn vividly our whole life.

Don’t look for Jesus far away, He is not there. He is in you, take care of your lamp and you will see Him.

– Mother Teresa

Let All Things Now Living

Words: Katherine K. Davis, b1892
Music: “The Ash Grove”, a traditional Welsh melody.

Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving
To God the creator triumphantly raise.
Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us,
Who still guides us on to the end of our days.

God’s banners are o’er us, His light goes before us,
A pillar of fire shining forth in the night.
Till shadows have vanished and darkness is banished
As forward we travel from light into light.
His law he enforces, the stars in their courses
And sun in its orbit obediently shine;
The hills and the mountains, the rivers and fountains,
The deeps of the ocean proclaim him divine.
We too should be voicing our love and rejoicing;
With glad adoration a Song let us raise

Till all things now living unite in thanksgiving:
“To God in the highest, Hosanna and praise!”

A Holy Table

Make this a holy table, O God.

A table where food, conversation and laughter are shared in abundance;

A table where all are fed, body and spirit;

A table where we welcome all as they are, not as we wish they would be;

A table where the memory of those who are not here is full and alive;

A table where old grudges don’t seem so important, and old hurts are soothed by mutual affection;

A table of joy;

A table of gratitude;

An experience of your grace.

Amen.

— A prayer from a Presbyterian Church

It costs so much to be a human being

It costs so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the enlightenment or the courage to pay the price…. One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace the world like a lover. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.

– To Be A Full Human Being, by Morris West, The Shoes of the Fisherman

Friendship

In friendship we are joined honor and charm, truth and joy, sweetness and good-will, affection and action. And all these take their beginning from Christ, advance through Christ, and are perfected in Christ.
– Aelred of Rievaulx

Where I’m From

I am from orange groves
and old Florida,
from a house my parents built
in a field my grandfather gave them.
Black-eyed Susans grew there in the spring,
so thick we played hide and seek
simply by kneeling among them.

I am from a town
with more cows than people,
from Judy and from Joe,
from generations that have grown up
in one place.

I am from peanut butter and
honey sandwiches every morning,
from my grandmothers’ kitchens,
from Thanksgiving feasts in the
community park,
from Christmas Eves in the
white painted church
among the pine trees.

I am from the dictionary we kept
by the dinner table
where we ate words like food,
from hours and days in libraries,
from miles of books.

I am from the path they have made.
I am from solitude and silence,
from the monks and mystics who lived
between the choir and the cell,
from the scribes bent over their books,
from parchment and paint,
from ancient ink and from gold
that turned pages into lamps,
into light.

I am from women less quiet,
women of the shout and the stomp,
testifying wherever they could make
their voices heard.

I am from Miriam and Mary and Magdalena
and from women unknown and unnamed,
women who carried their prayers
not in books
but in their blood
and in their bones,
women who passed down the sacred stories
from body to body.

I am from them,
listening for their voices,
aching to hear,
to tell, to cry out,
to make a way for those
yet to come.
– George Ella Lyon, Appalachian poet

Different Destinations

We travel the streets heading to our different destinations too many times unaware of the many conveniences and blessings that help us make the trip. Like blinking and breathing, we never take a second thought to it, we just blindly go on our busy way. But we should be taking a second thought, and a third, fourth, and fifth, for there are many that do not have the same means that we do to get where they are going. They may not have a car,a home, or even a pair of shoes to protect their feet.

Recently, my church had a shoe drive for the homeless. We gathered together many shoes from different members of the congregation to provide for the homeless of Houston. I could not help but think about the saying “walk 10 miles in someone else’s shoes”. My grandmother had a plaque that hung from her living room wall that had that saying, and it always stuck with me. We are always so quick to judge others without truly understanding their circumstance or background. We would be giving our shoes and they would be walking 10 miles in our shoes, literally, yet we needed to be spiritually walking in theirs. I just could not get that out of my heart and mind after that. All I can really do is appreciate the many blessings that I do have in my life, and hope that when there is someone in need, I will be able to fill the shoes for what is needed in their life.

– Carrie Burtt

A Thanksgiving Blessing

May an abundance of gratitude burst forth
as you reflect upon what you have received.

May thanksgiving overflow in your heart,
and often be proclaimed in your prayer.

May you gather around the table of your heart
the ardent faithfulness, kindness, and goodness
of each person who is true to you.

May the harvest of your good actions
bring forth plentiful fruit each day.

May you discover a cache of hidden wisdom
among the people and events
that have brought you distress and sorrow.

May your basket of blessings surprise you
with its rich diversity of gifts
and its opportunities for growth.

May all that nourishes and resources your life
bring you daily satisfaction and renewed hope.

May you slow your hurried pace of life
so you can be aware of, and enjoy,
what you too easily take for granted.

May you always be open, willing,
and ready to share your blessings with others.

May you never forget the Generous One
who loves you lavishly and unconditionally.

– Joyce Rupp

Gratefulness

“Gratefulness and simple living go hand in hand. When we are grateful, we appreciate life’s free gifts: friendship and solitude; movement and rest; Nature’s bounty and her spare winter introversion; our own alternating sonata movements of joy, sorrow, and joy’s resurgence. Through this appreciation, we find contentment.”
gratefulness.org