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Showing posts from November, 2015

Making Room

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Advent is a season of celebratory expectation. It’s full of symbolism that I believe is intended to remind us that God is both already present and constantly coming into our world. I can think of few other stories that convey this idea more powerfully than the birth of Jesus, who would come to be known as the Christ. The nativity of Jesus is about every birth as God’s way of renewing hope and love to bring about peace and joy on Earth.

Most of us know the story of Joseph and Mary. We probably envision them walking from inn to inn, only to have every door slammed in their faces. However, this idea seems to be a result of modern thinking. In Luke, there is only one line about Joseph and Mary looking for a place for her to give birth: “She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them.” Matthew doesn’t mention inns—full or otherwise, at all. There are several reasons Luke has Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem, but I think we too of…

Trying on a New Pair of Glasses

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Humans tend to look at the world through fear-colored lenses. For a species that has thrived by adapting to constant change, we’re surprisingly afraid of anything new or anyone different. People lamented the transition from telegraph to telephone, from horse-drawn carriage to automobile. Even though we began as a single group of people on the African continent, as we spread across the globe we claimed land for ourselves, drew artificial borders, and then killed the very people we once claimed as family if they attempted to enter “our” territory. In truth, there is not a single human being on the planet that is not in one way or another an immigrant. In fact, most of us are citizens of countries that our forebears took illegally from indigenous people. Here we are, 250,000 years into human evolution, so afraid of each other that our “leaders” are talking about building walls, or worse, urging us to kill innocent men, women, and children. Either way, our behavior is the result of fear-c…

Monday Meditation

Glorious God of all creation,
we humbly offer
our hearts, minds, and bodies
as your tools
in the creation of
a more peaceful
and understanding world.

We give thanks beyond measure
for your gracious gift
of eternal, unequivocal love
and promise to use
your love for us,
as an example of
how we are to love
each other—
even those who claim
to be our enemies.

[pause and leave silent space for God here] You clearly light the pathway
to love, compassion, and unity
with all creation.
We passionately acclaim
the gifts you give us:
Those moments of clarity,
when we see the world
through your eyes;
those awesome experiences
of your complete, unconditional love;
those too few quiet moments
when we are consciously
ONE with your presence,
when your being
becomes our being.

[pause and leave silent space for God here]

However, we confess that
we lead human lives
preoccupied with the “stuff” of this world,
stuff that often separates us
from the knowledge
and acknowledgement
of your constant presence
vibrating wildly within us.

Many of us are …

Monday Meditation

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God of endless wonder, we marvel at the awe-inspiring beauty and infinite diversity of your eternal universe.

I awoke this morning to the sounds of life: A dog barking in the distance. Birds outside my window singing 1000 melodies, on tree branches filled with multi-colored leaves and flowers filling the air with the sweet scent of your sustaining love.

My eyes opened as if for the first time, the colors of existence melting together like prismatic candy stirred in a vat of boiling water. Is this the same reality in which I fell asleep yesterday? Or, in my slumber, have I jumped across the very fuzzy line of the metaphysical into some new awareness? And is awareness of a new reality indeed a new reality, or simply a deeper appreciation (recognition?) of the place I have always been, yet too blind the beauty to see?

Asleep, the world is dark and dangerous. Despair and small-mindedness fill my televised, unenlightened life. But awakened by your gentle touch, I am alive! I see hope! I am ho…

Spread Hummus Not Hate

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Today is “Spread Hummus Not Hate” day, as 15 Muslim and Jewish activists share communion and travel through Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia spreading a message of hope and reconciliation. The tour encourages people to take a pledge created by Dr. Ali Chaudry, President of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, New Jersey: “While interacting with members of my own faith or ethnic community, or with others, if I hear hateful comments from anyone about members of any other community, I pledge to stand up for the other and challenge bigotry in any form.”

This sort of movement is exactly what I was talking about yesterday—people getting together and saying, “Enough is enough.” If even a handful of us starts setting an example for others, the world will change. It’s not going to be overnight, and it’s easy to give up in despair. But our task as people who see a different vision of the world is to remain steadfast in our faith—whatever we call that faith, and work together for the ben…

Learning To Say "No"

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What is it about this world that so readily tethers us to the idea that we are incapable of changing it? Why do we accept the status quo, even though the status quo is designed to beat us into submission? Why do we continue to read about school shootings, corporations cheating and lying to us (I’m talking to you, VW, and Wal-Mart, and probably the rest of you, too), and a political field filled with do-nothing candidates who combined have the intelligence of a rutabaga (and that’s probably generous)? Why do we do the zombie-shuffle to our jobs, where whatever life is left in us is sucked out by a fluorescent corporate machine ready to throw the empty husks of our humanity on the burning altar of unfettered Capitalism?

Is anybody awake out there? Or have our mass mediums of propaganda and destitution finally defeated our souls? I suppose it’s easier to sleepwalk through life than it is to mount the difficult (but not impossible) struggle of resistance this world so desperately needs rig…

Monday Meditation

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Holy and Loving God,
we are humbled and awed
by the company of saints
whom we join
on our journeys of faith.

Thank you for
your gracious love
that invites us all
into your compassionate embrace.

Thank you for
the uncountable saints
who through the years
have been a light in our lives,
influencing us to act for justice;
modeling for us how
to walk faithfully with you.

God of History and Hope,
in every time and place,
you have inspired people
whose devotion and integrity
inspired others
to find Oneness with you.
Make us people
Whose devotion and integrity
are also an inspiration
to everyone we encounter.

Continue to bless
all the people of light and love
who call themselves by many names;
who practice their faith
with unique and inspired variety;
who lead their children,
their neighbors,
and their friends
toward a more intimate
and complete relationship with you.

Make your Spirit pour out
in power and wisdom
upon the collection of saints
reading this today—
as well as all those
we hold dear,
both near and far,
living and decease…