Fig leaves

Romans 7: 4-6; Genesis 3: 7&21; Romans 8: 38-39

Don’t you know, my beloved,
That you can no longer live under that law?
The way the world used to work,
Works no longer – even for you.
You have begun to see the cracks in that system.
And what you fear has begun to happen.
It cannot hold together for much longer.

The privilege that protected you –
That put you first in line,
Or led those in authority
To look the other way
When you stole what was not yours –
That privilege hangs in tatters round your frame.
And you are naked beneath it.

You cannot re-arrange it enough
To cover your shame.

Nor should you.

Give it up.
Give it to me.
Now that you realize that you are naked,
You can also see that the fig leaves
Are not working.
They will never work.

Hide from me no longer.
The ‘fall’ you fear is not a fall from me,
But from the false version of yourself
That dared to claim completeness
Apart from me,
Apart from everyone, from everything, else.

It is that very delusion of separateness,
That keeps you lonely.
That idea that you must somehow be enough
By yourself, in yourself,
That idea is what keeps you keeps you stuck
In the empty, hollow place within your soul.

But
You are not alone.
And there is nothing you can do to change that.
It is not your fig leaves that will keep you safe.
See, I have clothed you in my love.
It fits you like your very skin.

And nothing can separate you from that love –
Not death,
Not life,
Not elections,
Not the hate another spews at you,
Nor the despising you paint upon yourself,
Not your worry, nor your abject fear,
Not a pandemic, nor economic crash,
Neither angels nor demons,
Neither the present nor the future,
Not any power … high or low,
Nor anything else in all creation,
Can separate you from the love of God.

Nothing can separate you.
You are no longer separate.
That delusion has been shattered.
And, in its place, the very vision
Of the beloved community.
You, me, and all.
All together.
All wrapped in the love of God.

May it be so.

It is so.

Amen.

[photo by Scazon per cc 2.0 courtesy of flickr]

The vector

fractal 2.jpg

This day, let me be
A vector for kindness,
A conduit of grace,
An instigator of joy.

Let me pass on
The infectious love
That flows from your heart
Into all the world.

This day, let me turn my fear
Into a grateful and gracious dance.
Let me learn that your touch
Is the touch that heals.

When my soul begins to itch with impatience,
Let me feel the movement of your grace
And join a flow that can unite us all
Even at a distance.

There is a quantum entanglement
That runs throughout the universe
And you … and I … are caught, as one,
In that choreography of deepest love.

 

[image by Nick Spratt per cc 2.0]

the space between the words (3)

whispered wisdomSometimes, in reading other’s words, a phrase rings so very true that it expands my soul and feeds my journey. For me, these are among the ‘thin places’ that the Celts acknowledged – places where the space between the mundane and the holy is whisper thin.

I hope they will brush your soul with grace, and, perhaps, stir us all to action, as well.

Here’s an addition to this collection, added 1/31/20:

Monk.jpg

“It is a lie—any talk of God
that does not
comfort
you.”
– Meister Eckhart [translated by Daniel Ladinsky in Love Poems from God. Image from photo by Marta Nogueira, per cc 2.0

 

added 1/19/20:

“I’m talking about a strong, demanding love. For I have seen too much hate. I’ve seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. I’ve seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen MLK.jpgand too many White Citizens Councilors in the South to want to hate, myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love.” – MLK, [quoted in The Pause newsletter 1 19 20 by OnBeing. photo by Paulo O per cc 2.0]

Matt Fitzgerald.png

“Let beauty be beauty, don’t worship it. Let your family be your family, don’t expect everything from them. Let work be work, don’t let it define you. Let our nation be our nation, not something to kill for.

Let life be what it is: a beautiful gift full of trouble, days of joy and contradiction, expiring in our hands. Life isn’t everything. We shouldn’t try to wring eternity from existence.”  – Matt Fitzgerald [as posted here]

Image of Franz Kafka

Art, like prayer, is a hand outstretched in the darkness, seeking for some touch of grace which will transform it into a hand that bestows gifts, Franz Kafka – [as quoted here by Maria Popova – photo by per cc 2.0]

Hannah BonnerTears were not weakness when falling from her eyes, they were what courage looks like when it takes a minute to breathe.” [Hannah Bonner-photo and quote used with permission]

Frederick Buechner

One of the blunders religious people are particularly fond of making is the attempt to be more spiritual than God.” – Frederick Buechner; photo by Carl Van Vechten [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

photo of Richard RohrJesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity (it did not need changing)! Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God.” – Richard Rohr – [Image cropped from photo by Festival of Faiths per cc 2.0]

[From time to time I will add to this collection, placing the new phrase at the top of the list.]  [photo at the top of the post by Pearl Pirie per cc 2.0]

dust

dusty hands 2.jpg

Imagine, for a moment, if you will,
That your hands are dusted with grace;
So that everything you touch today
Receives a secret blessing.

Imagine the delicate shawl you spread
Across the shoulders of a friend
When you embrace in greeting.
Secretly, you fortify them for their day.

Imagine, when you gently touch the face
Of the child that comes to you for comfort,
That the care you show is a deeper balm
Than the band-aid you place upon her knee.

Imagine that the flowers in your garden
Receive an extra dose of light
Because you touch them
And admire their delicate beauty.

Imagine, when you touch a doorknob,
That a dusting of grace remains,
So that all who enter or exit there,
Find grace upon their hands, as well.

Imagine that you are given,
Just for this one day,
The chance to grace each encounter,
Bringing just a bit more life to life.

Imagine that this might just be true.
Smile at the grace you are given.
Smile at the blessing you can pass along.
Smile at the gritty, ubiquitous tenacity of grace.

[image modified from photo posted to Flickr by Matt Anderson per cc 2.0]

what I am not

measuring up.jpg

I am not Carrie Newcomer
I am not Rumi or Hafiz
I am not a brilliant prophet or great philanthropist
I am not even a good little girl
At least, not any more,
Not even on the surface.

So, what am I?

I am yours.
(and here a wry smile crosses my face)
I guess you are stuck with that …
With me.

But you are not stuck
And neither am I.
(and here a sweet chuckle rumbles your chest)
We are not stuck.
Deep within your embrace, there is movement.

Here, after your kiss
Exploded in the big bang;
Here, after your brooding spirit
Formed this blue marble in your hand;
Here, after my daddy’s eye’s twinkled
And my mom sighed;
Here you are: calling, calling me to be in you.

Not just me, of course,
You call us all.
Rock and tree
Sky and sea,
Even dark matter thrums in response.
And, somehow I know, we are coming.

We are all coming,
Every one.
In the end, love will win.
Love will melt the stubborn resistance
Of me, me, me.
Melt it into the quiet insistence
Of we, we, we.

The call … is irresistible.

Thank God.

[photo by Irish Typepad per cc 2.0]

 

the life of a leaf

fall leaves in MaineGreen leaves spend their whole lives
Nurturing the tree they call home
And sending vital oxygen into the world.
In the fall, when they retire,
They turn their souls to beauty –
Revealing gifts of color that had been hidden
Under the hard-working chlorophyl.

There is beauty in the bud.
There is beauty in the green.
There is beauty in the orange and yellow that follows.

I am rejoicing in each new turn of beauty,
In the leaves, in my friends, in myself.

[photo is my own]

could it be

dandelionCould it be that you whisper within me
That every breath is your breath
That every hope holds seeds of your hope
That my love echoes yours
That my eyes are shaped by your beauty
That you are in me
And I am in you
More fully than I ever knew?

Could it be that you are training my eyes to see
The life that shines between all things
As they dance together in your hands?
All things, all things (yes, even that)
Are in your hands.

I see only dimly, now.
But, oh, I long for more.

[photo by Chris Luczkow per cc 2.0]

not perfect

scrappy flowerIt started with very good
Not with perfect.

I started with very good
Not perfect.

That was the plan all along.
That is the gift of life.
Very good.
Not perfect.

Perfect needs nothing,
No one.
Perfect should not change
Else it is perfect no longer.

Good can grow.
It needs soil and sun.
It is not complete in isolation.
It needs relationship.

That’s what makes it very good.
It’s born with the holes
Where the stitches can go.
A necessary part of the whole.

That is very good.

[image cropped from photo by scrappy annie per cc 2.0]