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Archive for the ‘Endurance’ Category

From the very young age of 10, when I first read the Bible from front to back, I decided that the book of Ecclesiastes would be (and continues to be) my favorite book of the Bible. Here are words to live by from chapter 3:

“I know God has made everything beautiful for its time. God has also placed in our minds a sense of eternity; we look back on the past and ponder over the future, yet we cannot understand the doings of God. 12I know there is nothing better for us than to be joyful and to do good throughout our lives; 13to eat and drink and see the good in all of our hard work is a gift from God. 14I know everything God does endures for all time. Nothing can be added to it; nothing can be taken away from it. We humans can only stand in awe of all God has done. 15What has been and what is to be—already is. And God holds accountable all the pursuits of humanity.*”

Excerpt From: Nelson, Thomas. “The Voice Bible.” Thomas Nelson, 2012-02-23. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

This year I intend to enjoy the “awe” just a bit more each day instead of trying to fix perfection.

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A Poem for the New Year

The God Who Only Knows Four Words

______________

Every
Child
Has known God,
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does
Anything weird,
But the God who only knows four words
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come dance with Me”
Come
Dance

A Poem of Hafiz the Great Sufi Master from The Gift, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

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My Father was a veteran but minimized it’s importance because he never saw military action having joined the Navy and sailed off to the Philippines as the war was ending. Just today, I learned from my mother that he had joined the Navy rather than another branch because the Post Master in his hometown told him to saying: “in the Navy you will always have a dry bed to sleep in, good food and less chance of dying.” He joined before his 18th birthday by lying about his age (the only lie I ever knew him to tell – truly). He couldn’t swim but I don’t remember how he got around that one. I’m glad my father didn’t see action. He had such a tender heart, I don’t think he would have survived.
As a minister. I often did funeral’s for veterans. There were always other vets present. Many times, one would seek me out after the graveside service with tears streaming down their cheeks. In some form or other, I would be asked, “Do you really believe God can forgive me for what I did in the war?” My heart would break at the years of hell that had plagued them with these questions. I always assured them that God had long ago forgiven these horrors and that their tears were God’s tears.
My Dad didn’t see action but he did participate in the integration of the Navy. His memories of those days informed his commitment to move past and lead past stereotypes and prejudice. That in itself is an enduring and yet to be won war.

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Importance of Prayer

In these days of frequent atrocities, it is easy to despair and believe the lie that we are powerless against the forces of Evil. Recall these words of a saint very familiar with overwhelming acts of violence:

Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.

-Mohandas Gandhi

Abide in the peace of Christ that passes all understanding. Abiding there in and of itself is a powerful antidote to evil. Then speak your fears and requests from this place of peace. Be confident that such prayers have always stormed the gates of Hell and changed war into peace. “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Amen

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Weeds

I have just come in from weeding our driveway. Yes, you read that right. Our home is built into the side of a small mountain. We have a gravel driveway which works very well when it rains – water is absorbed and does not flood our home. However, weeds grow with wild abandon. Why? Why? Why?
In our carefully tended garden there are places where nothing grows. We fertilize, mulch, mix in compost. Nothing. Why?
I do not know. There is the old adage that what we pay attention to, grows. Not so much when it comes to the weeds in my driveway. As always, I am trying to find the message in these weeds. Here’s what I have come up with.

1) we live in a fallen world
2) we are not in control
3) home ownership in the woods has it’s pitfalls
4) I’m getting old.

OK- obviously I’ve got nothing. Perhaps some things just have to be borne in life with a sense of humor. When we are old and rickety, we just might want to let the weeds grow. Winter is always around the corner and nature will have it’s own revenge on those ridiculous weeds.

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When prayer became my primary vocation, in all honesty, I saw it a my default operating system. No longer able to withstand full time employment or even to responsibly and consistently volunteer, I began to see prayer as the way I could justify my existence. Was I in for a surprise! God has provided for my every need, including a husband who cherishes me and a retreat-like home condusive to prayer, meditation and healing. Then God brought into my life teachers and friends to support my new life as a Christian mystic and contemplative. I have come to see prayer as not only aligning myself with the Kingdom of God but as an essential foundation for God at work in time and place. My heart has become filled with joy, cradled with peace and empowered in Christ-conciousness. All I can say is “Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you!”

Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.

-Mohandas Gandhi

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I just received this from Sojourners. This ancient view of Christians is a far cry from how we are seen today.

Christians live in their own countries, but only as guests and aliens. They take part in everything as citizens and endure everything as aliens. … They are as poor as beggars, and yet they make many rich. They lack everything, and yet they have everything in abundance. They are dishonored, and yet have their glory in this very dishonor. … They are abused, yet they bless. … In a word: what the soul is in the body, the Christians are in the world.

-Letter to Diognetus, an early Christian writing whose author is unknown

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