They say that the word for ‘sin’ can be translated as ‘missing the mark.’
But what do you call it when you make a direct hit – on the wrong mark?
What do you call it when you strive for ‘rightness,’ rather than relationship?
What happens when I delude myself into thinking that the way to God,
Is right living, right acting, right believing?
Somehow I miss the insight that the road to rightness takes me far away
From the God who is right here, aching to embrace me, just as I am.
The bullseye of my faith is not doctrinal correctness, but love.
Or, perhaps, it is not a bullseye at all, but a sacred center.
What if I’m not supposed to strike it from afar,
But to lean back into its enfolding?
What if I have been taking aim with a bow made for strict accuracy,
With straight arrows of good intent,
When archery, itself, is not what I am here to learn?
What if I’ve not so much been missing the mark, as missing the point?
[photo by Emily Moe per cc 2.0]
The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name — liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names — liberty and tyranny.
— Abraham Lincoln
The tyranny of self, of course, leads to the tyranny of others.
When self rules – at least the self that wants it all –
There is no freedom.
Once again the mystery –
Giving is receiving.
An open hand liberates.
[photo by Thomas Hawk per cc 2.0]
One of the realities of summer
One day it is a blossom
The next a fingerling
The next, almost too big.
Ask me if I’m growing squash
And I’ll likely say yes.
But, really, it grows on its own.
My part is minimal.
The rest is miracle.
Sun, water, dirt, seed –
Become an edible delight.
I can barely keep up.
I am grateful for these quiet miracles.
And the fact they don’t depend on me.
[photo by Joan per cc 2.0]
A list of things that will pass:
- The soft sighs of a sleeping child
- Spring’s cool mornings
- Flowers that wake after a rain
- The ache of yesterday’s exercise
- The strength of my resolve
- The urgent demands of this day
- The current political mess
- The opportunity on my doorstep
- This, this, this, too.
A list of things that will not change:
- God’s love in all of this
At last, I can breathe again. Nothing is too precious or too painful to be outside the realm of the embrace of love. I am grateful.
[photo is my own … already she has changed]
[Thanks to Brene Brown for her work on foreboding joy.]
When someone sits me down
And tries to tell me what I must believe
I think I see Flat Stanley, standing beside the pew.
It is as if he’d been smashed between the pages of a book –
Only the correct translation, of course –
And now, with things all decent and in order,
We can get on with the rest of our lives.
We can just slip him out when it’s handy.
And put him back when he gets in the way.
[image modified from photos by Temple Moore Trail (pews) and PRO Tito Perez (flat Stanley) per cc 2.0]
Isn’t it interesting how I keep getting things reversed?
I’m supposed to be made in the image of God …
But somehow I’ve found a way to make a god that looks like me.
… perhaps ‘interesting’ is not the right word ….
[photo by TheoJunior per cc 2.0]
To touch the wind
To carry the ocean in a cup
To lift a star from heaven and hold it close
To hold within my soul a whisper of God’s presence
All, so far beyond me
… and yet, my heart does yearn.
The very idea of God
I cannot grasp or define or describe
Words are too small, too constraining
God will not be pigeonholed.
Aslan is no tame lion.
… and yet, the wonder will not let me go.
How I think of God
Makes a difference in the shape of my soul.
If, I think first of ‘God hates sin,’
I find myself the hated one.
If, instead, am formed by ‘God is love…’
… well …
I cannot tell you what it means
For the creator to kiss my face.
I cannot tell you how it feels to be so held
That I come into being.
Could it be … perhaps … oh, my …
… that I am the very idea of God.
[image cropped from photo by Petras Gaggles per cc 2.0]