And now faith, hope, and love abide,
these three; and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
FAITH, HOPE, LOVE
faith, hope, love
in faith an elderly Priest and his wife
waited for their first child
in faith a maiden utters the words
“Here Am I”
in love a child leaps in the womb
at the approach of the pregnant Mary
in love a bridegroom
takes a pregnant girl as his wife
in love Mary lays
her first born in a manger
in love the angels sang
and a star appeared
in hope the shepherds
came to the stable
in hope Magi followed a star
to kneel at the feet of a carpenters son
Faith, Hope, Love
all three were needed
for the greatest of miracles
but it was Love that conquered all
— Ruth Jewell, December 21, 2015
Meditations for a Mindful Advent
Queen Anne Christian Church
Slow down . . . seek hope
Buy less . . . create peace
Eat less . . . embrace joy
Worry less . . . give love
Prepare your heart for new birth.
An Advent Prayer
God who causes stars to burn and energy to flow,
may Your presence be made known to us in new ways.
When we wonder where You are, shine Your light in new ways.
When we wonder why bad things happen, help us to find all of Your Goodness.
When we feel hopeless, help us to become Your hope in the world.
You have created us out of stardust, and breathed into us life.
In You, all things are possible, and all things are created new.
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, as we await the birth of the light of Christ
may we come to You in new ways on this journey of faith. Amen.
Love – The Fourth Week of Advent Light four candles and pray “an Advent Prayer.”
Meditation Snowflakes, leaves, humans, plants, raindrops, stars, molecules, microscopic entities all come in communities. The singular cannot in reality exist. — Paula Gunn Allen
All this hurrying soon will be over. Only when we tarry do we touch the holy. — Rainer Maria Rilke
Morning: In anticipation of the day, call to mind the people you will meet.
Evening: As the day ends, where did you tarry, where did you glimpse the holy?
Offer a prayer for those in need of Love; include yourself
Genesis 1:1-5:1In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.
3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Genesis 1:1-5 is one of my favorite scriptures and I have read, and reread it many times. I can imagine the pleasure God had at that first light because light always gives me pleasure. To see the sun rise in the morning gives me great pleasure. The sky goes from velvety black to a dark blue and the birds begin their morning song. Then the first threads of sunlight break free of the horizon and begin to paint pinks, violets, and rose in the sky. The color increase to oranges, and yellows until the Earth turns just ever so slightly and the first sliver of the bright sun is visible. Now there is a grand chorus of bird song to add to the majesty of the morning. For me that is pure magic.
I grew up on a farm in Ohio and before dawn I went out to feed, cattle and horses. In the dark I would stop and watch for the incredible start to the day. I simply love morning! I love the return of light! At those moments I can understand how ancient peoples came to worship the sun. To them it was magic; they didn’t know about the earth’s rotation, they weren’t even sure that the sun would return. For them the welcome sight of the light of day meant they had survived the time of dark and fear and now there was light and hope.
Light warms our home, Earth and produces the chlorophyll for plants to grow and provide the food for all of us animals, humans included. Light, warm light, life giving life. The very air we breathe is dependent on light and the process of photosynthesis. Our very lives depend on the light that comes from our medium sized star we call the Sun. Without the warmth of the light our planet would be a cold and barren hunk of rock without life. God breathed the breath of life over the waters and that breath was preceded by light.
Now our planet, in its journey around our sun, is tilting it’s northern face once again away from that life giving, warming light and that means shorter days and longer, colder, dark filled nights. Oh I know the darkness has its place. It is a time of rest and renewal for plant and animal alike. And as a person who has lived with the land I know plants and animals need that time of rest, whether it is one short night or the long winter nights. But I am a creature of the day and already I yearn for the warmth of the spring morning when the sun rises with the trumpet of bird song.
On December 21st I will rejoice and offer a prayer of gratitude as the earth once again tilts the northern hemisphere back to the sun. Spring will come again, just as it has every other year. I will watch with growing anticipation the shortening of the night and lengthening of the days. And when that warm spring morning comes the birds and I will be there to welcome the return of the light.
May the light of God and the Universe give you joy this day.
Psalm 126:2a our mouths shall be filled with laughter,
our tongues, with songs of joy
Last Christmas Day my gift from Santa was a pinched nerve in my back. Apparently our dear Santa thought that was either funny or I was really bad last year. Actually the problem is due to the fact that we humans stand upright. If we still walked on our knuckles like other apes we would have fewer problems. But then we wouldn’t be able to see over the tall person, in the tacky Uncle Sam hat, during the 4th of July parade would we.
Any way I digress. What I am trying to say is in order to deal with the pain I have rediscovered the value of laughter as a spiritual practice. Like the little mouse above I have learned the grace of sharing my joy at being alive instead of being the grouch my beloved John says I can be. After all what does he know he only lives with me?
Spending time finding joy in all that is around me, offering that joy as prayer, and letting the response of joyful light to enter deep within does much for my own spiritual well being and for the life of those around me.
I am not the first to promote laughter as a spiritual practice, remember I said I rediscovered this practice. But it is one we forget when life overwhelms us. Taking ourselves seriously is important but it is also important to not go to the extreme. No matter what we do, how we feel, or how badly things have gone there is always something to laugh at, even if it is just ourselves.
Before you all get your knickers in a knot I want you to know I am not making light of those who fight depression every day of their lives. Because depression isn’t a choice it’s an illness that needs to be addressed. Caring for and helping those who fight mental illness is also a spiritual practice and an important one and something we all need to do.
However, for those of us who are fortunate not to experience depression learning to laugh, to find joy in life, and to bring joy to others is a spiritual practice, a spiritual practice that helps us all to not take ourselves too seriously. For me laughing at life in general and discovering the joy in simply living each day brings me closer to God, who, I am sure, is laughing along with me.
Today I challenge each and every one of you to find something that brings you joy. May your joy be your gift others and may it be a door to a deeper inner joy where you and the Holy Spirit have a good laugh.
Micah 6: 8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice,
and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Well the New Year is almost upon us and it has been an eventful, but mostly violent, one. In 2014 it seems we have had more violence than peace, despite the efforts of many. We have seen hate take over our streets and increase in our government. Peace on Earth just doesn’t seem to be in our hearts for this baby New Year.
This last year we have seen too many senseless deaths, demonstrations, hateful rhetoric, and downright meanness. There has been little peace in our world of late. But this small online community has been a refuge for some. We have offered moments of personal stillness in the rush of our daily lives. Yet in the face of so much violence prayer doesn’t always seem adequate does it.
But, every time we take a moment to offer a pray for our own peace and for the peace of others we change a piece of our hearts. Those changes add up and become the change we see around us. We just celebrated the birth of love breaking into the world. A love that gives out of its abundance, works for justice for all, and walks a path that honors the world we live in. In the light of that love we too can become love expressed in the world, with every prayer we offer and with every prayer action we take, the light of Love shines just a little brighter. Yes it may seem inadequate but remember you can’t have a beach with one grain of sand.
So my prayer request for each of you this week, as you contemplate the year past and look forward to the year to come, is to offer a prayer for our community that we will find solace in our hearts and compassion and justice in our actions. Pray for each other. Pray for local, national, and international governments. Pray for the children, elderly, and the sick and disabled who are most affected by hate speech and actions. Let your prayers spill over into the way you act in the world around you. Remember others are praying as well, you are not alone. Let every act you do in the coming year be an act of prayer, and offering to the God or Force that guides your path. Let this be your New Year’s resolution that you will “do justice, and … love kindness, and … walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 NRSV).
It is my prayer that, we as a people, will change the world by being the Force in the world for compassion, justice, and love. Let us learn to walk humbly with whatever Divine Energy each of calls to in the dark. May each of us this year light a candle of hope each day and let our light shine.
Happy New Year Everyone and may the Love of the Divine be with you in the coming year.
“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang
I returned home yesterday from a week of traveling. John and I joked that we could now give recommendations for 4 hotels and 4 different beds if anyone wanted such a thing. It is not that we didn’t have fun, the Turner Lecture’s in Yakima was very informative, with lots of insight and just plain good conversation, we loved visiting the Maryhill Museum and had a delightful time at the Maryhill winery (if you like winery’s this is one not to miss). And, I couldn’t ask for a better end to the trip than the wedding of my beloved cousin Sally to the love of her life, Maggie. However, I agree with Lin Yutang, home is best for a good rest.
When we returned home we were greeted with barks of joy and two wiggly furry bodies, screeches of mom and dad are home from two excited parrots and the inviting comfort of our own bed. I am grateful for the comfort of my own bed, the steamy warmth of my own shower, and the cozy comfort of husband and dogs on the couch. But most of all I am grateful for a silence that feeds a soul drained of its energy by activity and the presence of others who, while I love them all, are a bit needy. Here at home I am grateful for being alone, but not lonely, for silence that speaks to me, and for rest that feeds me.
So today I am asking you to spend time each day in the coming week with, at least, one gratitude for home. Every day offer up a prayer of gratitude for something about your home that you are grateful for and let your heart soar with thankfulness for that space you call home.
May your journeys always be so eventful that you are grateful for the return home.
Saturday, June 21st, was the summer solstice and I spent the day in a solstice retreat. It was a time of quiet meditation, laughter, the beginning of new relationships and the renewal of others. One of our discussions covered how all of us have a ‘longing’ for the companionship of others. I, like most people, was born into a family that served as my primary home of ‘be-longing’ for many years but now the events of normal life has separated me from most of my birth family. As a result I created my own ‘family’ through relationships with good friends, companion animals, and my husband and his family.
I had never thought of either a birth-family or a self created-family as a holy thing until I read a book by the late John O’Donohue, Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on our Yearning to Belong. In the very beginning of the book O’Donohue says “When you suppress your wild longing and opt for the predictable and safe forms of belonging, you sin against the rest of Nature that longs to live deeply through you” (pg 5). When we deny our need to belong in relationship with others we deny our true selves and we deny God’s gift of grace of the warm embrace of those who care for us. Yes being in relationship with any other being entails risk; the risk of loss and grief, and the risk of being betrayed. Yet while all of those risk may/do/will happen the benefit joy of knowing there is someone who understands you and is willing to be there for you totally outweighs any sorrow that may occur in the future.
Yes I have lost people I had been in relationship with for many years to death, relocation, and arguments. And losing a friend because of anger or betrayal is the hardest lost for it means a break in the sacred bond God had gifted us with. Today I am more aware of my relationships, looking for ways to nurture them instead of poisoning them. Belonging requires hard work, but like a garden the fruits of the harvest are bountiful and delightful.
Today I ask you to hold in prayer your relationships with your family, friends, companion animals, God and draw strength from knowing you are not alone even when the night is the darkest.