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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Circle of Thanks

Today is the day before Thanksgiving Day and the day after our 41st wedding anniversary. I have so much for which to be thankful, yet my circle of thanks seems so small this year.

Our family has gathered for the holiday in a mountain house near Asheville, NC where the view from the porch would normally be a beautiful fall mountain vista, yet the sky is filled with smoke from nearby raging forest fires. Much is happening in the world that stretches my capacity to accept even the title and premise of my own blog. Where is One Eternal Presence, and my thanks and gratitude, when some things seems to be unraveling?

Within the unraveling the people closest and most dear to me are gathered in One place. For today and the next few their Presence will be my solace and my hope. In them I see the Eternal beyond the hazy present. In them and for them I feel gratitude and love. They are the morning sun rising beyond the mountain piercing and painting the smoky sky with thanks, with gratitude, with hope, with love. The One Eternal Presence fills even small circles of thanks.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Being and Doing

Do what can be done
let go of what can't.
Don't be afraid of fear.
Held too tightly it turns to hate.
Sit with it, hold it gently.

Take a deep breath, or two, or three.
Feel the cool of morning, 
the warmth of noonday sun. 
Gaze into the wonder of a night sky.
Smell a fragrant flower in bloom
or the pungent waft of decaying leaves.
Breathe again, and again, and again.

The One Eternal Presence is just that -

Now, do what can and must be done -

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Morning After

I am feeling so much more than can be said today. My heart aches. My mind drifts into despair. My emotions are frayed. I grasp to make meaning of what appears as an endorsement of fear and hatred. So I fall back on words from my sermon delivered this past Sunday in hope that I can hear them anew.

Irish poet Michael Longley is known for his prophetic voice during the height of conflict between Catholics and Protestants, the IRA and the British and all factions within Northern Ireland. One of his poems is called “All Of These People” 

Who was it who suggested that the opposite of war
Is not so much peace as civilization? He knew Our assassinated Catholic greengrocer who died At Christmas in the arms of our Methodist minister,And our ice-cream man whose continuing requiem Is the twenty-one flavors children have by heart. Our cobbler mends shoes for everybody; our butcher Blends into his best sausages leeks, garlic, honey;Our corner shop sells everything from bread to kindling. Who can bring peace to people who are not civilized? All of these people, alive or dead, are civilized.

Civilization is not a place void of conflict where everyone agrees all the time. It is however a place of shared human dignity where diversity is held together by hope, respect, compassion, mercy, justice, kindness, forgiveness, and love for all people. I have to believe this or else I succumb to darkness myself. I have to believe this or else my righteous anger devolves into hate.   

Love is the life we are called into. Love is the life we strive to live every day. May we have the grace and courage to do so.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Decision Time

One week from today the elections will be over.  I don't know about you but I'm ready to move on from the three ring circus that our elections have become. Our country's politics are usually not a place for the thin-skinned, but this election cycle has gone beyond the pale.  The fear, rancor, tension and anxiety that has been stirred up in our country is frightening and sad.

In the meantime there are decisions to be made and the American people will decide just as we have done hundreds of times in local and national elections. We will choose, for whatever reasons, the people we think will be our best leaders. However, the thing that seems to have been lost in our election process is the wider perspective of the common good. Too many of us vote according to what's best for me rather than what's best for everybody - and not just today but tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

I voted over two weeks ago by mail-in ballot and will spend parts of the next few days encouraging others to vote.  So that's what I'm doing here. If you haven't already voted, please do so!  And when you do, please take time to forget the polls, the TV ads, the internet memes, and talking heads of cable news.  All of these have vested interested in keep things stirred up as long as possible. Take time to consider the people you vote for, and whether they have the best common interests of our communities and nation at heart.

In the end, next week it will be decided, and the decision is ours to make. Whatever the outcomes are, may the day after elections be the first day of a journey toward healing in our lives and our country.