Showing posts from November, 2015

Thanks-giving and what it does

The world feels sad and scary just now.  And for some, it may feel like denial or naiveté to deliberately turn to gratitude.  Perhaps we start to believe we are accomplishing something by feeling the weight of the world in every moment, so by stopping to give thanks, it looks like we’re stepping away from our post. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.    Gratitude is not trite.  It is not shallow.  It comes out of suffering and survival, and it demands honesty. In fact, grieving opens us to greater gratitude, and gratitude opens us to  deeper grieving; they are both aspects of being alive and paying attention.  Gratitude recognizes that life is filled with tragedy, or at the very least anxiety, and it acknowledges our finitude, but at the same time it notices that our very existence is a gift from God; it points us again to that truth. It helps us come awake again.   Gratitude happens only in the very moment we are in.   “ This moment is a gift! ” gratitude exclaim

The Holy Work of those who don't turn away from Love

2 Kings 22:1-23:3 & Deuteronomy 6:4-9 This weekend I was remembering when, a few years ago, I traveled to Kansas City to visit my sister’s family.  I stayed in the bedroom of my then 8-year-old nephew, Vincent, amongst legos and bugs pinned to velvet plaques, stars glued to the ceiling and collections of books about dogs.   After he’d oriented me to the important things in his room and left me alone, I realized there was music playing softly. It was a cd with the Sunday school songs I had grown up with: Jesus loves me, I’ve got the joy down in my heart, Jesus loves the little children, Oh, how I love Jesus, and others, on a mellow cd where they were paced, I discovered, to match the beating of a heart.   The cd was set on repeat. When he came back in I said, “Vincent, that music is so relaxing.” He said, “Yeah, I think so too.   I like to sleep with it on. Hey! maybe you could too!”   So when I went to bed that night I did not turn it off.   Throughout the

Livid, Loyal Love

Hosea 11:1-9 You know that weird uncle who never gets invited anywhere because he’s always standing up and shouting really political, awkward things at the people on the stage at fancy public func tions?  Or that cousin who lives in a bunker and stockpiles canned goods and water purification pills, advising everyone to be prepared for the day the national power grid and global financial systems utterly collapse?   They might be decedents of the biblical prophets. Remember that the prophets were off the grid, out of the empire folks, and the stories get pretty fantastic, often involving absurd confrontations and wild encounters that highlight the weakness and wrongness of the way of life the Israelites have chosen and calls them strongly back to God.    The prophets are inconvenient, embarrassing and God uses them to hold before God’s people a vision of who they really are and who God really is, because they keep forgetting.   Prophets criticize and energize; they s