Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

When I no longer do this Church-stuff, one of the things I’ll miss the most is the process of preparing for sermons.  It’s not the sermons themselves – I think there’s nothing I can say that you already haven’t heard somewhere else, and in a better way.   It’s the preparation time I’ll miss. 

I’ll miss this because it gives me time (actually I make time) to process life-stuff through the lens of faith.  And more and more, I find that faith – our journey of the Spirit – is like poetry.

Poetry – like faith – isn’t really accessed through the intellect in a conscious manner. 
Poetry – like faith – sometimes seems to find its way around the “reasonable” or “rational” – coming in through the parts of us that listen with different ears.

Sometimes we are captured by those “quiet moments”…
that can fill the space with the color of Spirit.
              That help us see the very same thing…  only through a very different lens

Sometimes were drawn to movement;
              movement of mind, or body, or heart…  or all three
              movement towards acts of faith… acts we recognize as more aligned with our deeper selves.  
                             More aligned with who we seem to really be.

Sometimes “faith” – that which gives shape to our spiritual journey
              …words   and actions     and Spirit    we recognize give deeper meaning to our moments…
                                           Often can take on the shape and feel of poetry

Poetry doesn’t confront our reason with facts…
Poetry doesn’t challenge our misperceptions as errors…
Poetry doesn’t forcibly dismantle our world views…

Poetry can do these things…  
              But it does so by weaving    in and through     us… 
                             without judgement
                             without defensiveness

 Allowing us – giving us permission
to add to      
subtract from
                            our journey

That which is needed..
              that which is no longer needed
– leaving it to us to choose when the time is right.

I recently saw a quote… “I am not religious because I am ignorant.  I am religious because I am in awe.”
I say all this about poetry – not because I am a poet –
but because I am more and more struck by it.
because I am more and more in awe
  I am more and more in awe.  

In its healthiest sense, the deeper the poem, the more we are invited to stand in awe of that sacred spirit in each of us.

Some poems to help us this day as we remember the Light of God come into the world:

O Lord,
      open my eyes that I may see the needs of others;
      open my ears that I may hear their cries;
      open my heart so that they need not be without succor
      let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the
      anger of the strong,
         nor afraid to defend the poor because of the
         anger of the rich.

Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
      and use me to bring them to those places.

And so open my eyes and my ears
      that I may this coming day be able to do some work of
      peace for thee.
                             – Alan Patton

I like to live in the sound of water,
in the feel of the mountain air.  A sharp
reminder hits me:  this world still is alive;
it stretches out there shivering towards its own
creation, and I’m part of it.  Even my breathing
enters into this elaborate give-and-take,
this bowing to sun and moon, day or night,
winter, summer, storm, still – this tranquil
chaos that seems to be going somewhere.
This wilderness with a great peacefulness in it.
This motionless turmoil, this everything dance.
                                           – William Stafford

Love all Creation
The whole of it and every grain of sand
Love every leaf
Every ray of God’s light
Love the animals
Love the plants
Love everything
If you love everything
You will perceive
The divine mystery in things
And once you have perceived it
You will begin to comprehend it ceaselessly
More and more every day
And you will at last come to love the whole world
With abiding universal love
                                           – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

It is I who must begin…

Once I begin, once I try––
Here and now,
Not excusing myself
By saying that things
would be easier elsewhere
without grand speeches and
and ostentatious gestures,
but all the more persistently
–– to live in harmony
with the “voice of Being”, as I
understand it within myself
–– as soon as I begin that,
I suddenly discover,
to my surprise, that
I am neither the only one,
nor the first,
not the most important one
to have set out
      upon that road…

Whether all is lost
or not depends entirely on
whether or not I am lost…
                             – Vaclav Havel

Merry Christmas all!

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