I receive the blessings of December • Deep cold and warm sun, scattered across my days • Baking cookies with my mom and sisters • A fire in the grate and the warmth of family beside it • The true gifts of presence – of hugs and smiles and openhanded generosity And offer this blessing in response • May your heart receive the gifts that come your way with joy. • May you spill your own gifts into the world with abandon - and there find even deeper joy.
I receive the blessings of April • The geese in my neighbor’s pond, mother patiently upon the nest, father faithfully patrolling nearby • The joy of children dancing, emersed in the music and the sheer delight of movement • The soft nod of my mother, watching my granddaughters at play • The unconquerable spirit of spring, pushing itself up through the ground and out through each tiny branch I offer this blessing in response • May the spirit of love, which is life itself, rise in your heart and extend itself through your fingers to bless the earth around you
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.
The green of the leaf,
The heat of the sun,
The laughter that bubbles up
When good friends meet
After a long absence,
The sweet satisfaction
In a sip of cool water,
The uncomplicated giggle
Of a small, dear child,
These are evidence of you.
These are embodiment of you.
These are where, again, you create life.
Theology is good.
The pulse of life is better.
I rejoice in them both.
Is it possible
To hold within your heart
A nugget of defiant joy?
To deeply know
God’s deepest love
For all the deepest parts of you.
To hold to love
Despite the angry shouts
And sadly shaking heads.
To welcome God’s love
So fully, so truly
That it spills out to others.
Even – though they cannot see it,
And don’t know how to receive it,
To those with sadly shaking heads.
That is the miracle of grace.
That we can offer love to one
Who cannot love us in return.
Father, forgive them,
For they do not know
What they are doing.
Let me be a conduit of grace
Let it flow to me and through me
To all creation.
It is. (amazing) It is.
I need a faith that is bigger
Than my humble hopes and paltry prayers
A faith big enough to touch the wire cages
That hold the refugees I am afraid to recognize
As my siblings and my friends.
I need a faith big enough to offer hope.
And I need hope that is big enough
To draw me from my couch,
Not in guilt or anger, but in energetic love.
Ready to work within the unfolding,
Sure of the partnership of the One who holds us all.
I need a hope sure enough to evoke joy.
I need a surge of joyful surrender,
Rolling down the grassy slope into your lap.
Knowing that your embrace awaits –
An embrace that does not close around me
But opens me up to more and more.
I need the energy of your bracing love.
I need that breath of life that comes
When the emptiness is filled with You.
When darkness shines
And the hollows hold abundance.
When, at last, I know that love is real and all.
I need to know that faith and hope and love remain.
I need to know, to deeply know,
That you have not turned away from me
Or from this world of your creation;
That you can redeem even these moments of pain,
Within the whole of your infolding love.
The oak outside my office window is a bridge to the meadow’s oak – to the land where my imagination plays. Outside my window, the branches are tangible, but they hold the intangible, offering it before me. I slide into my meadow and I am home.
I sit at the base of that tree. leaning back in a restful pose, grateful to have let down my load for a moment, suddenly conscious of how long it has been since I rested. I need your rest. No wonder my mind is stodgy and inept. I need re-creation. So, I release myself into your meadow, our meadow, and feel the delicious smoothness of your rest, your peace. I hear a melody of love, though the notes are not clear. I feel the caress of the breeze and almost, almost, drift off to sleep.
But suddenly I am snapped awake. The melody has become louder. It is joyful, sparkling, a march of quirky delights – of jokes and puns of gamboling fauns and fairies, of a Narnian circle under the stars, where all the animals meet on midsummer night to play in delight at the simple fact of creation.
There is much to delight in, in your creation. I find myself in the circle, right between two giggling young fauns who can barely stand. They are so excited to be here. They play upon their flutes from time to time, but laughter keeps them from adding much to the song. Never mind, there are plenty of singers. I feel a giggle rising in my chest. I feel the wrinkle of a smile upon my lips. It seems strange, to smile a real smile, to laugh with delight, to release myself to joy.
Too much responsibility. I take it off like a coat and kick it – yes, I kick it aside.
Now, I am dressed in nothing but a thin summer dress, a breeze of a fabric that follows my dance as I begin to twirl. The fawns take a hand on ether side and dance me around almost tumbling over themselves in laughter and exuberance. We twirl and twirl until, exhausted, we fall onto the ground. An older faun gives one of the young ones a mockingly stern look, and then laughs, too.
Sudden there is a solemnness that overcomes the circle. It is not a sad solemnness, but a deeply joyful one. It quiets the laughter and spreads deep smiles and sighs through the crowd. Jesus himself has stepped into the middle of the circle. Not Aslan, but the Lord himself, in human form. He sits upon the hillside, leaning back so that he can look out at the crowd; look up at the sky. My two young fauns scramble over to sit as close to him as they can.
He smiles at them, and then begins to sing. He tilts his head back and sings. The tones rolling from his tongue repaint the sky, retouch the leaves, renew my heart. It is a jubilant, triumphant, invigorating song. When he is done, he looks straight at me. And smiles. Suddenly my own form is enriched, my own colors deepen, my own self becomes more real, more me, than I have been for a long time. He smiles again. He blows me a kiss and is gone. The whole scene is gone, but the colors remain in my heart. No longer gray am I. Life is returning with the sunrise. Color blooms.
Amen. amen. amen.
Obedience is not the actions you take – though action is taken.
Obedience is not subjugation – though a changing of the will is accomplished.
Obedience is not a precondition of love – instead, love is the precondition for true obedience.
Until your heart is full of love, the actions that mimic obedience are merely practice shots at the goal. Obligation has no role, except as the schoolmaster, the prefect, helping to show you the pattern. Only when the heart is transformed is it true obedience – flowing out of love, in love, to love. Then obedience becomes joy and what you obey is really just your own heart’s desire to love in return.
Can I even do this?
Can I jump from work to meditation in a heartbeat?
What besides a heartbeat can hold room for meditation?
Yet, it is a challenge to get inside a heartbeat – to hold the moment open.
That infinite, small space; that timeless time; that inward journey toward the universe
It does not bend to my command, and yet it is, somehow, within my reach.