One of the Beloved Community

photo by Julian Rad from the 3/4 2022 issue of National Wildlife

Good Evening, God

This photo of a European ground squirrel with a tiny aster — moved me. There was such a delicacy of touch and of awareness present. And tonight as I was beginning Brothers in the Beloved Community: The Friendship of Thich That Hanh and Martin Luther King Jr. I remembered this photo.

I’m smiling, God, but it seems to me that this small ground squirrel is one of the Beloved Community. A creature living in peace with one another. A creature treasuring other portions of creation like this flower. I first heard the phrase “Beloved Community” back in early 2019. I immediately longed to be part of a beloved community. At the time, I referred to our church as our beloved community.

But, that is too small a way to understand this phrase. At least, God, my heart is creating her own understanding, in which all creatures desiring to dwell in harmonious appreciation of one another are part of the Beloved Community. Now, desiring is — at least for me — often very far from actually dwelling. But, being as unfinished as we are — I am hoping our intentions and desires do matter.

And for me, just the phrase — Beloved Community — calls me to be. Calls me to compassion, to appreciation of each one of us as we are …. Calls me to respect — to an honoring — of each one with the flame of life.

And each one of us has a small path to travel lightly on. Travel without crushing the spirit of any of those traveling along side.

Aaah, back to bed. Preparing for a new day.

Posted in Beloved Community, Choosing to respond, Honoring, personal responsibility, Personal Responsibilty, respect, Responding

The First Monday after Easter

The full moon as seen from our dining room window. The lights are from the park and elementary school.

Good Evening, God

Today seemed special — well, today IS special. It is the first Monday after Lent. I was trying to find out what this season is called. All I could find was Ordinary Time. Hmmm. It does not feel ordinary at all! It feels as if everything has changed — everything has been infused with HOPE and MEANING. At least, this is how I am feeling today. I like it so much that I am going to try and keep counting until we get to Pentecost. Forty Days?

I just looked it up and 40 days takes us to the feast of the Ascension. Then, ten more days until Pentecost. So I am going to see if I can develop SEEING each one of these days as special. I mean, every day is special. But, I feel as if this simple exercise of counting will help me appreciate each day.

Appreciation — looking for miracles in the ordinary. As one who “believes,” I feel that everything is a miracle. Full moons. Crescent moons. The fact that the disc of the moon exactly covers the disc of the sun — permitting eclipses!

The joy of starlight. And, alas, how seldom I am out in nature to SEE the overwhelming star studded sky. So many joys — waiting to be seen!

Posted in appreciation, clapping our hands in joy, delight, Enjoyment, JOY

The soft power of love and forgiveness

Rembrandt’s Dinner Emmaus — painted in 1648

Good MORNING, God!

Before church I got my best Easter message from a writer who normally deals in history and world events. He was talking about how the power of love and forgiveness has transformed the world and still has the power to transform the world. Of course, God, first we must let “the same Great Spirit the raised Christ Jesus from the dead” work in us.

Your Spirit is always springing forth! Willing and WANTING to embrace us with LOVE. Willing and WANTING to HEAL us and RESTORE us. Folks to not need to be nominally Christian — and I think of Gandhi and Thich That Hanh — to express Your Spirit of Compassion. Or the “Power of Extravagant Tenderness” as Father Boyle expressed it.

So, God! This morning I am awakening to Your Word in a new way. A way of HOPE. A way of LOVE. A way of FORGIVING — myself and all others.

With YOU all things are POSSIBLE!

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Posted in asking for and accepting forgiveness, being FORGIVEN by God, developing helpful definitions of love, Forgiven!, Forgiving, LOVE, opportunities to forgive myself, Peace, power and peace and gentleness, The Endless Flow of God's Love, the gift of persistent love

An Easter Hallelujah — by Leonard Cohen

sung by Cassandra Star and Callahan

Good Evening, God

I just saw this and longed to share it. Yes, even to folks who have heard it a million times. This is just an ethereal version. Apparently it was recorded by these sisters for their grandparents.

An image is worth a thousand words. How much more when combined with music. I am so thankful . . . thankful for Easter . . . for life . . . for life eternal . . . however You do that.

The other day I was waxing exuberant about the Golden Plovers getting ready to fly from Hawaii to Alaska. What is even MORE amazing, I said to my wonderful husband, Kit, their babies fly from Alaska to Hawaii and they haven’t ever even been here!

There was a pause — and then Kit said, “God wants us to be amazed.”

Posted in Amazing, an invitation to abundant life, Awe, setting my life in context, web of life

Abba, Forgive us . . .

Good Friday, God

Sigh, You forgive us — because You love us. And all you seem to ask is that we go and forgive others. Not those seeking forgiveness. Everyone! I remember reading how Fr. Rohr said that God loves God’s enemies. That statement hit me dead center! Of course! Your nature is love. And so You LOVE and forgive.

Now, it has taken me a very long time — and I am probably not there yet — to see that You look on our Hearts. And my heart is just like everyone else’s heart. Capable of goodness and hatefulness. I am especially capable of Hatefulness when I am JUDGING others. Judging them from my position of “goodness” and “correctness”. Oh dearie me.

Listening to Father Boyle’s latest book — The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness — has been overwhelming. Father Boyle is responsible for the world’s largest gang intervention program. But, it is the former gang members who are really running the various businesses. There is an 18 month training program — but in essence what happens is that everyone there is looking to find the goodness in one another. It is there! It is waiting for someone to see it. To see it faithfully enough so that the person comes to see it too.

Extravagant Tenderness is being poured forth — from You, into us, and then into one another. Sounds like the antidote to all the ills of the world. If only we would know how much we are being forgiven. . . for those who have been forgiven much . . . love much.

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Posted in asking for and accepting forgiveness, being FORGIVEN by God, developing helpful definitions of love, Forgiven!, Forgiving, LOVE, opportunities to forgive myself, The daily details of love, The Endless Flow of God's Love

Unfurl your sails — the Winds of Love are blowing

A training ship of the Polynesian Voyaging Society

Good Evening, God

This morning, early, as I was Centering, my Sacred Word* changed itself! I had started with “unfold” as in unfolding a blanket. Midway through, it became “Unfurl” as in unfurl your sails. And I felt as if that was addressed — not just to me — but to each and every one of us.

For surely, the Wind of the Spirit, is once again blowing over the waters. Calling us to turn away from Fear. Calling us to turn away from Hate. Calling us to care — to dare — and to set sail — blown by the Winds of Love.

I wanted to share. But what image? I thought of the clipper ships that set speed records just prior to the age of steam. Or maybe the galleons of exploration? But, no, not those. I wanted one of the Polynesian Voyaging Society sailing ships that had traveled the Pacific and circumnavigatined our Earth — using the Old Ways.

What better image could I have of people bringing a dream into a profound and moving reality. And that is just what we need now. To rediscover the Old Ways. To IMAGINE a thousand better futures.

  • The sacred word is not “sacred” in itself. It is a symbol of our willingness to consent to the presence and action of the Indwelling Spirit within us. It is used when we find our mind has wandered, to reaffirm our intention to consent to the Spirit’s presence and action within us.
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Posted in Centering Prayer, connecting, Imagination, imagining, LOVE, The Endless Flow of God's Love, water and love

We come: bleeding and believing

Even familiar paths seem darker

Good Morning, God

The scripture this morning was Mark 5 — about the woman with the issue of blood being healed when she touched the hem of Jesus’ robe. I really identified, God. Maybe women feel this story more than men. Twelve years! And, the society made her “unclean” — a societal leper — making anything she touched unclean!

Our pastor Mary went on to say that she had come “bleeding and believing.” Wow! That phrase hit me. We are all invited to come — bleeding and believing — to be healed.

I am real clear on the bleeding. Alas, my believing could use a lot of help. Do I believe You can heal? YES! I DO! But, I falter when I am believing You will heal me. And I fall down flat, when it comes to believing You will heal our World. Why? I believe it is Your Desire to heal! But, I have this feeling that I have to 1) want to be healed and 2) follow Your instructions to receive healing.

So, God? What would be so awful about healing us against our will?

Oh, hmmm. It is this “free will” thing. And free will bleeds into our “personal responsibility” thing. Yes! I sort of understand. We are Your Children. We are not Your Puppets. And so . . . I mess up. We as species mess up . . . mess up frequently and horribly. Freedom is messy. But, perhaps it is WHY we are here on Planet Earth?

Please help me. Help me to redouble my efforts to offer to You the Sacrifice of Praise (Hebrews 13:15). Praise founded only on trust. . . what little I have.

Posted in a prayer for healing, Believing, connecting, Faith, Prayer, praying, Praying for our enemies, Sacrifice, The sacrifice of praise, trust, Trusting God

Let’s IMAGINE love overcoming evil

Me, standing next to a crop of super weeds.

Good Evening, God

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if LOVE grew like the weeds grow? These weeds used to be ordinary sized weeds. But, I am guessing that Roundup was used on them. And those that survived were the hardiest. And they have flourished!

I suspect that is what happens then we try to eradicate almost anything. Those that survive, are hardier. And as we try even harder to kill them — they become hardier and hardier.

That is why you tell us to “Overcome Evil with Good”. That is why we are commanded to “Love our Enemies”. Because, otherwise we get super weeds, super bugs, and super enemies. Aaah, but the worse of it is — we become like our enemies. Angry, hateful and scared.

So, God, I am sitting here IMAGINING a world in which each believer Prayed FOR Putin. Prayed for him to be enveloped in Your Love. Blessing him, instead of cursing. That does not mean approving of the damage and trauma he is causing. But, it does mean seeing him as a fellow human being. A person that needs Your Love and Your Healing. Just as I do. It means trying to overcome evil with good.

Actually, I am imagining a world in which we pray for those in authority over us. All the elected leaders and the non-elected rulers. Praying for the Oligarchs all over the world — not just in Russia. Blessing people, loving them as fellow humans, tends to soften their hearts. Judging people seems to harden their hearts.

And when I judge people, my heart is hardened. Please, God, help me. Please help us all.

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Posted in hope, Hope as a gift from God, Over come Evil with Good, Overcoming, praying, Praying for our enemies, the JOY of praying together

Imagination and Lent

Good Evening, God

We just finished a Lenten meeting — focused on the Poetry of Lent. Tonight we focused on Wild Geese, a poem by Mary Oliver. We each shared lines that hhad caught our eye. This one caught mine:

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,

The World offers itself to my Imagination! My imagination!!! The line hit me — reminding me that I HAVE an IMAGINATION! And, I confess, God, I have been using it to imagine bleakness and darkness. That felt so wrong. It felt like a horrible misuse of a vital part of me.

Just yesterday, I was talking about not being taken captive by the Dark Forces. . . not being led into judging, anger and hate. But, here I was, doing something very similar by letting my imagination dwell on fearful futures.

You have told us so clearly to “overcome evil with good”. Told us that we are to pray for our enemies. To turn the other cheek. And if our enemy thirsts to give him water. Sigh. . . I keep thinking, God, that if You were to give me the power — I would do that. But, of course, I have it backwards! When I begin doing that –THEN, You’ll give me the power to continue.

So, I would ask, God, that You help me loosen the ties that bind my imagination. Set me free to imagine praying for peace — in the hearts of those losing violence upon others. Help me to imagine leaders everywhere repenting of threatening, bullying and violence.

Well, come to think of it, help me to come to You for cleansing and redirection. Ah, yes! Help me imagine a new way of living — a new way of loving in myself.

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Posted in hope, Hope as a gift from God, Imagination, LOVE, Lovingkindness, Over come Evil with Good, power and peace and gentleness, The daily details of love, The Endless Flow of God's Love, the essential nature of hope, the gift of persistent love

WHY we pray for our “Enemies”

Good Evening, God

Sunday morning, my wonderful husband Kit came in from getting the morning paper — fulmination about how evil Putin is. Kit is normally a kind hearted soul filled with good will. So I was distressed to see him so angry and hateful. Evil DOES hateful things for just that reason — to stir up anger and hate in us!!!

We are in what I call “Replication Wars”. Lovingkindness wants to bless and create more lovingkindness. While Evil wants to create Fear, Hate and Labeling — and more evil.

Sigh, it is all too easy to get caught up in responding to horrid acts with judging and anger and hate. But, that is falling into the trap that has been set. Killing and wounding others are dreadful acts. It is easy to think that the people doing them are dreadful too.

But that is failing to see the love and compassion that You, God, have for them. It is failing to see that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE TO YOU. When I MAKE MYSELF PRAY for these people I begin to see them as fellow human beings. As people in need of Your lovingkindness and healing. It is a slow process. And it is a humbling one — as I quickly begin to see how I need healing.

Now, praying isn’t magic. I believe that You do not heal people against their will. Still, as I pray and bless these people — I like to imagine it is helping to soften their hearts of stone. I know that it is softening my heart!

And, alas, when I angrily judge and condemn them, I am helping to harden their hearts. . . and hardening my heart as well. Praying for our enemies is not easy. But it is so very important.

Posted in a prayer for healing, acknowledging my need for prayer, Blessing, Hearts of Stone, Lovingkindness, Ongoing Transformation, Personal Power, power and peace and gentleness, Prayer, praying, Praying for our enemies, Replication Wars, The Power of the Spoken Word

Blogs I Follow
Brené Brown

chatting and sometimes, listening

Rachel Naomi Remen

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A Moment with God

chatting and sometimes, listening

Sacred Dance Guild Journal

Since 1958 articles by members & guests offer news about activities, history, Sacred Dance practices, profiles of Sacred Dancers, choreography, images & illustrations.

Victoria Paulsen

How to Step In -- Substitute Teaching

Brené Brown

chatting and sometimes, listening

Rachel Naomi Remen

chatting and sometimes, listening

A Moment with God

chatting and sometimes, listening

Sacred Dance Guild Journal

Since 1958 articles by members & guests offer news about activities, history, Sacred Dance practices, profiles of Sacred Dancers, choreography, images & illustrations.

Victoria Paulsen

How to Step In -- Substitute Teaching