HERE I AM, SEND ME

My spirit cannot gain a quiet moment,
It cannot hear your voice out in the world
Amongst the mighty torrent that surrounds it
From morning radio blare to traffic roar.
Too many images bombard my tired eyes
And holiness is lost
Within the tragic sights
Of murder, war, and cruelty on nightly news.

A breath of quiet calls me to the wilderness
To heal my inward ears and eyes;
To give my soul and spirit rest
In open desert and oasis shade.
I pitch my tent beneath the spacious skies
And count the heavenly bodies bright above.
Each star pronounces healing to my troubled sighs
Through the Creator’s vast and wondrous love.

Here in the wilderness, my restless anguish is released.
My soul and body, mind and spirit
Open to renewal, like flowers in the sun;
I am freed to see and hear the truth again.
I prepare to walk into the world once more
To offer myself in God’s service,
To give myself in Christ’s love.
Here I am, receive me; here I am, send me.
© Judith Lawrence, 2009

FENCES

“If you put fences around people, you get sheep. Give people the room they need.”

— William L. McKnight, McKnight Foundation founder and former 3M CEO

WE ARE ALIKE

We are alike
We love
We care
We love beauty
We care for others
We are alike

Our hearts beat
Our blood flows
We can be hurt
We can cry
We are alike

We make friends
We like to share
We like to talk
We like to take food together
We are alike

We can walk
We can walk together
We can help each other
We can help others
We get joy from helping
We are alike

We can give
We can give to the needy
We can share knowledge
We can see justice done
We can comfort the sorrowful
We are alike

Our love can flow
Can flow out from us
Together it can be
It can be a river
A cataract
A torrent
A flood
An ocean
Covering all the earth
Filling every hollow
Rushing into every closed room and cell
Washing out every dark hole and sewer
Flooding the caverns and canyons of the earth with liquid light
We are alike
And together we can do wondrous things

Let us begin

– posted at Signs, Dreams and Visions

CLEAR COMMUNICATION

Clear communication is important when daring to invite, welcome, and assure people of God’s unshakable love . . . and of your own. Some dismiss this text as rules for “speaking in tongues” Pentecostal communities. But it calls the church to clear, impactful communication . . . always.

Traditional church language has become an unknown tongue in a world in which 80 percent of 20-year-olds in America have never been to church, temple or synagogue. Expressions like “doxology” and “the Lord’s Prayer” are foreign to most unchurched guests. And yet we think nothing of speaking this foreign language to guests — something polite people aim to never do. I write this from a train station in Cardiff, hearing instructions in both Welsh and English.

Not knowing when to stand or sit, when to read the bulletin or screen, and trying to sing words without music or instruction, make even the “smartest” guest feel stupid and like an outsider in both traditional and contemporary worshiping communities. Is it any wonder some guests do not return? Why give up a Sunday morning and go to a place that makes you feel inadequate, unwanted, outside, and confused — and perhaps never greeted. What do our actions communicate about God and church?

Giving advice to younger clergy on the 50th anniversary of his ordination, an elderly retired minister said, “Every time you stand to break open God’s word, remember that someone’s life may depend on what you say or do not say. Prepare well and be clear.”

Worship and communion do not end with the benediction or parting blessing — they begin there. Let us take God’s Presence, Spirit, and Jesus’ embodiment into the world and be clear. Someone’s life today may depend on it — perhaps without you knowing.

Gracious God, we are blind to many of our assumptions. Open our eyes and ears. Forgive us, please. Help us embody Your extravagant Love and Grace with people we encounter today, including those closest to us. May the Holy Spirit touch the ears of the hearers when we fail and forget. Amen.
– source unknown

I BET GOD

If He
let go of my hand, I would
weep so loudly,
I would petition with all my might, I would cause
so much trouble
that I bet God would come to His senses
and never do that
again.

– Meister Eckhart

FRIENDSHIP

And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and the sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

~ Kahlil Gibran The Prophet, On Friendship

THE PRAYER OF THE LITTLE BIRD

Dear God,
I don’t know how to pray by myself
very well,
But will You please
protect my little nest from wind and rain?
Put a great deal of dew on the flowers, many
seeds in my way.
Make Your blue very high,
Your branches lissome;
let Your kind light stay late in the sky
and set my heart brimming
with such music that I must sing, sing, sing. . .
Please Lord.
Amen.

– from Prayers From the Ark by Carmen Bemos De Gasztold, translated from original French into English by Rumer Godden

HAVING NOTHING

Having Nothing
By Abbot Nicholas

Do you ask too much of God?

Know that:
When God’s prize is downfalling, you
may find a rising.

When God’s favour is silence, you may
catch a melody.

When God’s blessing is suffering, you
may sense deep peace.

So:
The heart of darkness is new light.
The heart of despair is fresh hope.
The heart of death is eternal life.

Only those who have nothing
can accept everything.

Source – The Desert: An Anthology for Lent by John Moses

WITHIN THE WOUNDS

Somewhere within the wounds
There is a language deeper than words
Deeper than wells
Deeper than woods

Somewhere within the wounds
There is the fragrance
Of love, of gift,
A heart of sacredness
An altar of the lamb

Somewhere within the wounds
Is where Christ is
And where I,
In my unworthiness,
Am.

Somewhere within the wounds
Petals unfurl
As the flower of His sacred passion
Is loosed onto the world.

– source unknown

PUSSY WILLOWS

Pussy Willows
Hope of Spring
The tips
Of the willow twigs
Have gone all furry
But the weatherman says snow.
Whose prediction
Will you believe?
A crocus
Bursts through
the dry brown leaves
Releasing a flash
Of yellow sun
Held in trust
Through frozen months.
But the sky
Slate gray
Presses down
About to burst.
Are you an optimist?
A first flake
Spins lazily down
A scout for
The waiting army
Of white.
Can you find green
In a corner
Of your heart
And nurture it
Shelter it
Bring it into the world
Do you have as much Hope
As a Pussy Willow?

– Well of Peace, A Spiritual Journey