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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Signs Of The Times

They asked him, ‘Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?’ And he said, ‘Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and, “The time is near!” Do not go after them...Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.'

There is a street in our neighborhood that has signs, similar to the one above, posted where the street dissects a small lake. I've driven past and mused at these signs many times. Well, yesterday while taking that route to the Post Office, I was annoyed by a car stopped in the middle of the road, before realizing that a big fat duck waddled across the street between these signs, within the painted lines of the crosswalk. This has me wondering how many "signs" of the times are all around us that we muse upon as quaint, take for granted, and otherwise ignore.

Prophesies, parables, and predictions like the one above by Jesus, and found in numerous sacred texts,  are in many ways actually timeless - meaning they can be True in any age and context. However, as we look around our communities, our nation, and the world today there are signs that we live in times of disruption intended to deceive that have us off balance and anxious. These signs, as well as human history, are telling us something - disruptive deception leads to destruction.

The signs of our times are not quaint musings to be ignored. Just as sure as the fig tree yields its fruit and fat ducks cross the road, the chaos being sown in our world today may very well be a sign that the One Eternal Presence of Truth cannot be deceived by disruption. However, when signs are ignored, there are consequences.

To use another metaphor, perhaps we have used the "snooze" on the alarm enough and it's time to wake up.


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

"Before I built a wall..."

It seems appropriate today to share the iconic Robert Frost poem that gets at the truth of current craziness. Unfortunately the most often quoted line is the last one instead of the first one, missing the whole point of the poem by not reading the entire poem. Poetry and scripture are often treated similarly in that we think we know it from often quoted parts without taking in the whole story.

Mending Wall
BY ROBERT FROST

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A Pic and A Prayer for A New Year

On this second day of a new year I offer you a photo and a prayer. The grainy photo is from this morning's pre-dawn sky, capturing Venus, the Moon, and Jupiter among clouds and palm fronds. (Mercury is somewhere behind the clouds below Jupiter )



Prayer for a New Year

God of time and space, 
known by many names 
sought through many traditions, 
as a new year begins we are reminded  
of the Eternal Presence. 
Beyond this moment and this place 
Spirit bonds all creation 
in a tapestry of interdependence, 
transcending vested interests and personal privilege.

Standing on the threshold of a new year 
may we forgive the discord, mistrust
and disappointment of our past, 
as we are forgiven, 
may we receive a grace-filled future 
of promise and potential that awaits 
nothing more or less than 
our open minds, our loving hearts, and our open arms
stretched out to one another and thus to God.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Re-Gifting!

What better is there to do on the day after Christmas than to re-gift?  I give you a quote from Howard Thurman that a friend gave me today:

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with the flocks,
then the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal those broken in spirit,
to feed the hungry,
to release the oppressed,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among all peoples,
to make a little music with the heart...
                     --Howard Thurman 

May Christmas Blessings continue in your life!