Category Archives: Advent

Sign Of Love

Out of the corner of my eye I thought the sign said, “I’m Courageous Inside.” Cool, I thought. I stopped, and upon closer examination realized it was of course the predictable, promised “Gorgeous” hook often used when the outside of a house looks a little old, or sad.

I walked on smiling. And thinking, well, maybe this is the message I needed today. It showed up on the furthest-away-from-my-house block in a glance, and fits lovingly into the narrative that I have been hearing in this year’s Advent season. After all, we tend to hear the message we seek, or need. And God seems to usually (if not always) find a way, sometimes creatively, sometimes abruptly, to reach us when we get out of our house.

I plan to affirm and say this out loud sometime today.

I am courageous inside.

Maybe one of these words, courageous or gorgeous or another from a surprisingly and unsuspecting place, will meet and lift you as your sign of love. I’d like that.

15 Minutes Of Love

I have been invited to practice 15 minutes of Love a day, now and until Christmas. The only requirement is to pause, step into stillness, and focus on Love for a short time away from the flurry and distraction of a busy season. And my busy mind.

During this time, I am choosing a very simple practice called Centering Prayer – focusing on the word love as it reflects for me the essence of what I belief God to be; then, gently re-centering a hundred-thousand times if necessary back to the word. My intention is to simply call on and breath in love for the sake and goodness of Love, without expectation of what I might gain or accomplish in my practice or attitude.

… just sit with Love for 15 minutes a day.

There are many different and colorful routes to prayer and meditation. I invite you this season to follow a practice that makes sense to you, and leads you into Love. And in this, I believe we get to experience being One beyond our practice, and ourselves.

May love meet you in your moments, now and always.

Song Of The Shepherds

You are my body,
I am counting on you.
I need you to do for me there what I cannot do here.

I need you to love, forgive, meet and at times reject who shows up.
You cannot imagine you are hearing me correctly,
but you are.
Separate the care I ask of you from the need of yours to save.
Do this by prayer in the fringes of day.
Do this by rest under the stars;
by the light and rhythm of my moon.

I am asking you to tend my flock.
My flock comes with willingness, and eagerness, hunger;
you will recognize by sense more than sight who I bring as they respond to my call, not yours.

I am guiding you to not lose your way.
Do not let others distort or define you,
or my message, by territorial rights.
This is a spiritual truth which means true for all;
personal yes, exclusive no.

I am entrusting to you the fields I have marked as yours.
They are circled by fences built with crossbars of love and respect;
anchored by posts dug deep into the earth.
They are not too big,
nor too small for what I am asking of you.
They are not fertile but for the grass that grows to nourish souls and the season.
They are not yours in deed but by lease there is plenty,
for now and for all of the days of your life.

You are my body.
I am counting on you to be shepherds,
and the lamb of my fields.
This is the song of the shepherds;
listen for the call of yours.
Listen for Me.

An Angel Song

She came in the early evening;
just after sunset but before the darkest of night.
She came unsolicited, never dreamed for or called;
un-bidden, un-beckoned,
not out of desire or belief,
she appeared.

To my left at my bedside
with soft and warm countenance;
gentle conveyance of details of a
dusty, dark diamond-patterned dress,
and gray hair curled close to her head;
withholding proof by a vagueness of terms
or earthly language.

In silence, we shared moments of gaze,
the one upon the other until I became afraid
of the woman beside my bed,
my fear prompting her to pull aside the veil yet further to say,
with cause, clarity and assurance in a language of love,
“Just look away and you won’t be afraid anymore.”

I did, and I wasn’t. And she was gone.

Weeks later, alone and together at the kitchen table,
drinking wine with my Mother while my father slept
at the top of the farmhouse stairs,
I tell her of the woman, the vision, the dream?
But before I am finished, she is weeping and completes
the description of the diamond-patterned dress
as the one they chose for her Grandmother’s burial,
ten years before my birth.

She takes another drag from her cigarette and says,
with eyes sparkling from a sentimental cocktail of Chardonnay and memories,
“That was your great-grandmother honey.
I am sure she just wanted to see what you looked like.”

And we never spoke of the visit again.

Sometimes in the deadest of night,
in the torture of recycled conversations and circular thoughts,
I feel a terror of certain death.
I get afraid.
I get scared that I have been wrong to believe in the eternal.
I question for panicky gray moments the meaning and extension of a tenuous life.
And sometimes what brings the calm to my soul
is remembering the silent soothing power of these words again,

“Just look away and you won’t be afraid anymore.”

My Grandma Summe’s courage and love-enough
to cross time and reason of man
is proof-enough for me of eternal things made good.
In the bleakest of my faith and loudest of doubts,
her angel-song sings me back with Love.

Song of Herod

I heard him shout:
Don’t you know that I am king?
Don’t you realize that I am ordained to power?
Pay attention to me!
Agree with me, like me!

Acknowledge and elevate me
above all others.
Rid me of any who oppose my will,
my opinions,
my slander,
my approval.
Defer all power and control to me,
unchecked, unquestioned,
because I am king;
I know what is better
and best for you.

if you dare stand against me,
if you contest my throne,
I will cast a net to gather
and kill
all who resemble you and your kind.

I heard the Herod in me:
I want to be king.
I want you to pay attention to me.
I want you to agree with me;
I want to be right.
I want to manage and control
and get what I want;
to be comfortable and secured
by recognition and admiration.

I will withhold or leave
if you remind me of others
who did these injustices to me,
for my memory is long,
my severing ax disguised
as a tool of protection.

I heard the King say:
I am Majesty.
Master and Servant,
compassionate King
of Herod and the Herod in you.

false masters are created in
the shadows of your un-holy self,
your un-whole self,
your broken, wounded self
in need of denial or defense.

only love of the inclusive, infinite kind
can return you to
the compassionate self as I made you,
the whole-self of trust,
the fullness of being.

As much as you grieve and resist,
hate from fear is no longer your option,
nor is withholding love
from the Herod out there
and the Herod within.

Love is the command of your King.

I will never command you
without giving you strength.
I will never use up
what I use for good,
so go now.
Take up my mantle of love
and leave the how to me.

I am your King.

You will know me,
recognize me,
experience me
and be enlivened by
the compassionate tenor of my song,
the song of your King.

Inspired by today’s Contemplative Worship, The Center for Christian Spirituality, December 4, 2016. Thank you for this, with love.

Song Of The Maji

We live in the universe of inquiry by grace,
never complete or right enough to die in the end,
and never broken or wrong enough to be born again
to the greenwood of first creation. So that,
everything is written and nothing exists
outside of the love we accept, extend, long for or remember;
where nothing is spoken and everything lives
in the death of arrogance of claiming the known.

Advent 2016

Advent begins.

As does the shopping frenzy,
the depressive possibilities of
family disagreements
and loneliness.

And then,
there is the star
on the night’s horizon.
That promising star
rising higher and higher,
begging notice,
guiding hope.

It is darkest before the dawn,
some say;
when it gets dark enough
you can see the stars,
says Charles A. Beard.

And so we go,
heading to the edge of the unknown.