Prayerful Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sunset 08.22.2013

The Lord’s Prayer

These past two week have been difficult.  There are wildfires again in Australia, cyclones in the India, conflict in Chile, an early winter storm in Colorado, and the unwillingness of our government to govern, to name just a few.  All of these crises make my unhappiness with the gloomy skies that have settled over western Washington for more than a week seem pretty puny in comparison.

As I was praying about what to write for today I honestly couldn’t offer anything better than what Jesus gave his disciples when they asked him “teach us to pray.”  You see sometimes all you can do is pray, and when I can’t find the words I remember what my father always told me; “Ruth, you don’t have to say anything, G-d knows what’s in your heart, just sit and let your heart speak.”

So this week with no words to describe our hearts ache I ask that each of you to take five minutes out of your day and just sit, letting your heart speak.  If you wish you may end with the prayer Jesus taught his disciples so long ago.  Below is an English translation from the Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, of the Lord’s Prayer.  In addition I have included a link to a beautiful singing of the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic From the album, Sacred Ragas, by IndiaJiva. May you draw comfort from the Lord’s blessing and may they bless your day and coming week.

Shalom, Ruth Jewell

The Lord’s Prayer

(An English transliteration from the original Aramaic of Jesus)

 O Breathing Life, your Name shines everywhere!
Release a space to plant your Presence here
Envision your “I can” now
Embody your desire in every light and form.
Grow through us this moment’s bread and insight.
Untie the knots of failure binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ faults
Help us not forget our Source.
Yet free us from (all unripeness) of not being in the Present.
From you arises every Vision, Power, and Song
From gathering to gathering


May our future actions grow from here!

Prayerful Tuesday, October 15, 2013




Playing with the Spirit

In the past month I have begun the InterPlay Life Practice Course. For those of you who have never heard of InterPlay I can only described it as a time to play with my body/spirit/heart/mind all at the same time and it is a blast! Of course the founders of InterPlay have a much longer definition, that in brief, is a system and practice that allows you to lean slowly at your own pace to love being an embodied being by bringing into one whole Mind/Body/Spirit/Heart. But for me the term “it’s a blast” works best. (If any of you are interested in the longer definition please visit and there you will find all kinds of information and also where you might find an InterPlay play group of your very own.) Within my small community of new friends and playmates I am discovering what it means to free myself from the confines of “ought and should” for the openness of the possible within me and I find it extremely freeing and uplifting. In the freedom to dance and song, alone and in community I am discovering a new me. Well not really a new me rather let me say the real me, the one who laughs, and sings, and dances, and prays, and cry’s and morns, and laments, and worries, and creates, and brings to fruition all of the pieces that make up the being I am, in this body, in this place in time, the real Ruth is beginning to step forward. My steps are tentative and small right now, but I am hopeful that in the very near future they will become leaps and bounds of joy.

I realize all of this probably makes little sense to all of you, heck it still isn’t making much sense to me. But I hope that in the coming months I will be able to clarify the joy I am feeling and be able to share just a little with you. I realize I can’t just give you my experience, but maybe I will be able to open the door for one or two of you, inviting you into a space where you too may explore your true being. It might not be with InterPlay, it might be in some other way that allows you to open your being to new light, and I hope you will share that with us here at the Begin Again, Cloaked Monk blog, or here on my blog, A Quiet Walk.

So, today as a way to begin anew, I invite you to join me in a body prayer for morning:

1. I invite you to stand, if you are able to, if you are near a window or have access to the outside that would be wonderful, but not necessary.

2. Stand for a moment and breathe deeply, taking air in and letting it out slowly.

3. Now take another breath, this time noticing how cool the air is as it enters your lungs and how warm it is when you exhale.

4. Take a third breath and follow it into your lungs, noticing how your lungs expand to hold the fresh air. Imagine that you are seeing the exchange of oxygen that fuels your body for the waste product of carbon dioxide. Let yourself find joy in the workings of your body.

5. Now raise both hands to your chest placing them palm to palm in a prayer position. As you do so offer a prayer of thanksgiving for your health and well being.

6. Now raise your arms up over your head, stretching out to reach for the sky and offer a prayer of supplication for someone who lies on your heart.

7. Lower your arms and return your hands to a praying position. Bend head, and/or body, slightly and offer the following, “may the peace of the Holy Spirit be with me and those I love this day, Namaste.”

8. Stand still for just a moment to allow yourself to return to your day.

And so my prayer for all of you this day is; “May the peace of the Holy Spirit be with each and every one of you this day, Namaste.”

Ruth Jewell, ©October 15, 2013

Breaking Bread

The Broken Loaf
The Broken Loaf

Luke 24:30-31a When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him;

[This was my Spiritual Practice offering this week for Prayerful Tuesday on the Cloaked Monk Blog]

I attended the 2013 Turner Lectures in Yakima this week and the focus of study was the Road to Emmaus. I have always been struck by the above words of Luke. The disciples recognized Jesus “in the breaking of the bread,” . . . a simple act, an everyday act! And, just like Cleopas and his friend, it is in the sharing of a common meal that Jesus becomes real to us. Not s special meal, rather an everyday meal where you sit down with family and friends, inviting the stranger into your close community. What a marvelous way to remember the one who always invites us to sit down and join him in a cup of tea, mug of beer, or maybe a nice glass of wine. Today when you go on your break, or maybe for lunch, look around you who would you never think to invite into your circle? Consider asking that person to join you, for in the encounter with the stranger you may just receive Jesus without knowing it.

The table is set
The food prepared
Who will come
Who will break the bread
Who will.pour the cup
Stranger, friend
Both are welcome
Poor, rich, healthy, ill
I call all to the feast
Come sing, laugh
With the joy of each other
So what if we sometimes
Disagree. Today
We sit at the table
And share a meal.
Grace in abundance
Poured out and
Running over.

Ruth Jewell ©October 8, 2013

One Body


1 Corinthians 12:12-13: 12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

This last week I have been giving a great deal of thought to the importance of all of the parts of the body. And, it has given me completely new insights on Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. You see I had a blocked gland removed from the underside of my tongue on Thursday and I have learned just how dependent I am on every part of my body. I mean you try drinking, talking, even breathing without using your tongue for awhile and you will understand what I mean! However, given what has been happening in our nation’s capital it seems ironic that it is my tongue that is giving me a problem.

But enough of the gory details! Paul of course is writing to his wayward community in Corinth, which has a few problems getting along with each other. Does that sound familiar? Paul is telling his young Corinthian faith community they need each other because all of them are important and all are equal in the eyes of Christ. Not unlike the conflict we’ve been seeing in our nation’s capital this past week and I am afraid it will take another Apostle Paul for a resolution to this crisis to be resolved.

What might Paul tell our community today? Well one line he might repeat is “the body does not consist of one member but of many” and that each of the members is needed to perform some task that sustains the whole body. No part of the body could say “I do not belong to the body,” the tongue cannot say “I am in pain, so let the eye take my place,” trust me that isn’t going to happen. Just as the fireman cannot say to the man whose house is on fire I am to important to get my hands dirty, therefore I will not help you. That man’s house will burn down you can be pretty certain of that.

Today in Washington DC and in the rest of this country we have people who are saying just that. “I am to important to feed the hungry, or clothe the poor, or help the sick and elderly, or do anything that would make me see you as important in G-d’s eyes. I have my house with all of my barns stuffed with grain and produce that I have worked for and if you can’t take care of yourself, well that’s not my problem.” What these so called “important” people forget is that someone else prepared the ground, sowed the grain, harvested it and stacked it in his barn, they didn’t do it themselves. Just as in Jesus’ story of the rich man with all those full barns, G-d will come and say “Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” (Luke 12:20) and it will be too late.

Paul told his community, “the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect: whereas our more respectable members do not need this.” (1 Corinthians 12:22-23) Paul’s words ring with the same authority today as they did in the First Century, for those we hold in low esteem in our community are the ones who are harvesting our food, making our clothes and building our houses. Just because they don’t wear a suit and tie, or nice dresses doesn’t make them less valuable to the whole body of our communities. I would love to see the Speaker of the House in the fields of California harvesting lettuce; it would do him and the rest of our politicians good to do some really hard labor. There perspective on what is important would change dramatically, that is if they survive the 14-18 hour, 7 day a week job. Let them live for a year as an elderly person on Medicare and Social Security trying to make ends, trying to pay for food, rent and medical care on the little they have. Or, they could choose to take care of a family whose child has cancer or some other debilitating disorder. Let’s see if they could do any better with the medical bills and all the rest of the needs of a family on $50,000 a year.

Each of the “unimportant people” are part of the body of this country, and of the body of G-d. In fact according to G-d they are more important than those who sit in the “great halls of government.” For G-d tells us all “do not abuse any widow or orphan,” (Exodus 22:22) or “oppress a resident alien.” (Exodus 23:9) But those verses are conveniently forgotten.

We are all part of the body of G-d, of creation and the creator. We are all part of our country and world, whether you are a business person, a working person, a widow, a widower, orphan, or an immigrant to this country or any country. Each and every one of us is important to the wellbeing of us all and the Creator’s purpose for us as a whole people. No one is more important than the other; we all have our tasks to do in this life that will lead us into the next life. This week I learned a lesson that every part of the body is important no matter how insignificant I might think it is.

The tongue can be an instrument for good will, or a sword that hurts and divides us all. My tongue hasn’t always been a good instrument. Just like ever one else there here have been times when I have said hurtful things to others and I can’t take those words back, as much as I might wish too. Yet I have also spoken words of kindness and caring that I hope in the eyes and ears of G-d outweigh the bad.

This week has made me aware of the incredible gift of all parts of the body, the seemingly insignificant, and the ones that I erroneously hold in high honor. We all have the power to be good gifts of the body, the body of our country and world, and the body of the Spirit. No matter how insignificant each of us seems to be each is important to the functioning of this grand creation gifted to us by the creator. Paul ends his short discourse on gifts of the body with the words: “But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.” Each of us has the potential within to do even greater things than we do. It takes each of us to encourage those gifts in each other such that we all prosper, just as the Creator wants.

Ruth Jewell, ©October 5, 2013

Prayerful Tuesday, October 01, 2013

DSCF0561 a

A Prayer for Peace

October 1, 2013, the heading in the paper read, “GOV SHUTDOWN.” Today is Prayerful Tuesday and right now I am not feeling very prayerful, angry, frustrated but not prayerful. I want to run to Washington DC and ask our elected representatives what are you thinking, to shout angry words at them, I want to right them angry letters, I want to tell them there are more people in our country that need the Affordable Care Act than they are willing to poll or listen to. I want to … “sigh” … I don’t know what I want.

Prayer, how will prayer get me, all of us, through this time of crisis? Well, prayer offers us a time to look within and discover that even in the greatest of trials we are not alone. Even when we feel completely abandoned the Divine Spirit surrounds us and guides, all we have to do is to take a deep breath, wait, and listen. It is in the stillness of our hearts that our fears are known, our anger is known, and our guilt is known. John Phillip Newell wrote the following chant for Chanting For Peace (CD available from

Wait, wait, wait for God.
Wait, wait, wait for God.
Be strong and let your heart take courage.
Be strong and let your heart take courage.
Wait, wait, wait for God.

Waiting is hard, listening is even harder and sometimes I don’t know if I am up to it. To my regret I am all too often rash in speech and action. But Peace, Prayer, waiting, listening before I open my mouth or put to paper is what I am called to do. So today I offer this prayer”

A Psalm for Peace

Oh LORD, I wait upon you;
in this time of sorrow hear my cry.
My plea for my people is a just one,
for they are being assaulted by
those who would rob them
of peace and comfort.
Deliver us from our enemies,
who surround us, granting us
courage and strength of heart and being
to stand and speak your words of peace and justice.
Our world calls upon you, O GOD,
for we know you will answer us.
May we behold your face and feel your love
reflected in the face of our brothers and sisters,
in the morning light, the evening star,
the living earth and breathing sea.
May we, O LORD, Great Creator of all,
be the light that shines out and
brings peace to our hearts and world.

Ruth Jewell, ©October 1, 2013