10.27.2013

"Thy name"

(a meditation on each word(s) 
of the Lord's prayer)

Your Name
which signifies omnipresence
in a land that
stares into 
its self-absorbed screens.

Your Name
which signifies omnipotence
in a land that 
fights over 
scraps of power.

Your Name
which signifies omniscience
in a land that
hung Truth
on a cross.

The Bird With the Human Head

~ Anne Sexton

I went to the bird
with the human head,
and asked,
"Please Sir,
where is God?"

"God is too busy
to be here on earth,
His angels are like one thousand geese assembled
and always flapping.
But I can tell you where the well of God is."

"Is it on earth?"
I asked.
He replied,
"Yes. It was dragged down
from paradise by one of the geese."

I walked many days,
past witches that eat grandmothers knitting booties
as if they were collecting a debt.

Then, in the middle of the desert
I found the well,
it bubbled up and down like a litter of cats
and there was water,
and I drank,
and there was water,
and I drank.

Then the well spoke to me.

It said:  "Abundance is scooped from abundance,
yet abundance remains."

Then I knew.

Irish Folk Tale

Once there was a poor and generous old man from Ballaghaderreen who has a dream.  In it he is told to make a journey at the end of which he will find a pot of gold.  In this case the old man has to leave Balla and travel a good way to Dublin and there, when he crosses one of the bridges over the River Liffy, he will find a pub, and there he will find his treasure.  

The old man follows the dream map and when he sees the pub that was in his dream he looks around but there's no place he can dig for a hidden treasure, so he stands beside the door and waits.  He waits all day and at nightfall the publican comes out and asks,
"What are you standing here for all day long?"

"I had a dream that told me to come here."

"A dream?  I think you must be a daft old man to follow dreams.  I, myself, had a dream a month ago and it told me to go to some poor old sod's cottage on the crossroads from French Park to Ballaghaderreen and if I did, I would find a pot of gold in his front yard.  Do you think I would go traipsing all over the countryside because of a dream?  It's cold.  You should go home."

"Indeed I should and will," said the old man.

And when he got home he dug in his front yard and found the treasure and wasn't he himself and all the others the better for it.  

And if he hasn't given it all away we might share a bit with them.

10.21.2013

The Radical Priest on Luke 18:1-8

(Parable of the Persistent Widow)

Now most of 
my brethren
will preach
that the lesson of
the text is
to be persistent in prayer.
To pray unceasingly 
as St. Paul puts it.

However,
the problem I
have with this
message is
by extension
the unjust judge
is God.

Whom we
can badger
anything out of
Him 
if we are  
relentless in
our petitions.

Allow me
to turn the tables
on this parable.

God is the
widow.

Constantly 
pleading 
to the point of 
being pushy
to get us
to see His way
is the best way.

And I can see
by the look in
some of your eyes
you sense
the implications
of this.

WE ARE THE UNJUST JUDGE!

Do we
don't care
what God thinks?

Do we 
ignore
what God is pleading with
us about?

Do we worry
about 
God upsetting 
our apple cart
or worse?

(Aside: I never before noticed 
in the  text
that judge was afraid
of physical harm 
by his continual
rejecting of her claims.)

So the 
message I have for 
you this
Sabbath 
is this:
Yes,
be faithful in prayer.
Pray in the Spirit.
Pray in love and truth
and unceasingly.

But also
listen to
and contemplate
on the Father's
continual
prayers for you.

Buddha on Matthew 6:25-34

An old farmer went to the Buddha 
seeking help for his problems. 

First, he had professional problems. 
In his part of the world, 
farming was extremely difficult 
and his work completely vulnerable to weather. 

Even though he loved his wife, 
there were certain things 
about her he wanted to change. 

Similarly, he loved his children, 
but they weren’t evolving 
the way he had hoped and anticipated. 

Listening carefully
as the man explained his frustrations with life, 
the Buddha responded, 
“I’m sorry, but I can’t help you.”

“What do you mean?” 
questioned the farmer. 
“You’re a highly regarded great teacher 
who has insight into all of life’s problems.”

“All human beings have eighty-three problems,” 
the Buddha explained. 
“A few problems may go away, 
but soon enough others will arise. 
So we’ll always have eighty-three problems.”

The farmer, both indignant and frustrated, asked, 
“So what good is all of your teaching?”

To which the Buddha replied, 
“My teaching can’t help with the eighty-three problems, 
but perhaps it can help with the eighty-fourth problem.”

“What’s that?” the farmer asked with great curiosity.

“The eighty-fourth problem is that 
we don’t want to have any problems.”

“Hallowed be”

(a meditation on each word(s) 
of the Lord's prayer)

I

Lord,
when I'm in a
church 
that is in 
more awe 
of the preacher
than You,
I believe 
I hear them
pray:
“...hollowed be thy Name”

II
The Beauty of His Holiness

You are 
holy.

Compassionate before a person sins,
Compassionate after a person has sinned,
and
mighty in compassion 
to give all creatures according to their need.

Merciful, that humankind may not be distressed;
Gracious if humankind is already in distress.

You are
slow to anger;
plenteous in mercy;
speaking in truth;
keeping mercy unto thousands;
forgiving
iniquity;
transgression;
and sin;
and pardoning
because
You are 
holy.


10.13.2013

"in Heaven"

(a meditation on each word(s) of the Lord's prayer)

Your eternal address.

You
once sublet
the place
to that
nice couple
You created.

Unfortunately,
 You had to 
evict them
because they
broke
the 
Lease.

And for 
a long time
you let 
the place go vacant.

Then
You decided
to 
advertise
Kingdom Properties.

First
the prophets.

Then
Your Son.

Telling
all who 
would listen
about
the new terms
of the Lease. 1

And revealing to people 
the new name of the estate --
Graceland.


Note 1  - John 1:17

"Who Art"

(a meditation on each word(s) of the Lord's prayer)

I
A Mystery.

All
of the modern 
versions of
the Book
have dropped 
this line,
so why
do we pray
as if 
Jesus
proclaimed
the Good News
in 
Old English? 

II
Jehovah-Shammah

"You are"
Jesus insists.

No ancestor 
worship
of
Abraham,
Isaac,
and Jacob.

You 
are
the God
of the living.

You are 
Presence.


Benediction

Rabindranath Tagore

Bless this little heart, 
this white soul that has won the kiss of
heaven for our earth.

He loves the light of the sun, 
he loves the sight of his
mother's face.

He has not learned to despise the dust, 
and to hanker after gold.
Clasp him to your heart and bless him.

He has come into this land of an hundred cross-roads.
I know not how he chose you from the crowd, came to your door,
and grasped your hand to ask his way.

He will follow you, laughing while talking, 
and not a doubt in his heart.
Keep his trust, lead him straight and bless him.

Lay your hand on his head, and pray that though the waves
underneath grow threatening, yet the breath from above may come 
and fill his sails and waft him to the heaven of peace.

Forget him not in your hurry, 
let him come to your heart and
bless him. 

10.06.2013

Our

(meditation on each word(s) of the Lord's prayer)

You made us.

I can understand
why You call us 
Yours.

But it’s only through
Your gift of 
grace
that we can begin
in prayer with 
“Our”

Father

(meditation on each word(s) of the Lord's prayer)

You love us
unconditionally.

You desire 
relationship.

Yet,
You allow us to wander
away.

No Amber alert.
No pictures on a milk carton.

Just
the confidence
that Your children will
 repent their sins
and understand
there is no place like Home.

Meal Blessing

(From a prayer book)

Blessed are you, Father
who gives us
our daily bread.

Blessed is your only begotten Son,
who continually feeds us
with the word of life.

Blessed is the Holy Spirit,
who brings us together
at this table of love.

Blessed be God
now and forever.
Amen.