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Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Ten Commandments - Flipped

What if we recorded the ten commandments wrongly? They mostly tell
us what not to do. What if God's true intention was to tell us what
we are released to do now? Open to Exodus 20 to refer to the
received version and then open your heart and mind to the following set!

1. I know you and you know me. You are free to find me for
yourself. You are freed from all those other gods or to anything
that enslaves you.

2. You will always have me with you wherever you go. You are free
to see that all creation is holy. You are freed to love your
statues, books, stones, and places yet free to find me everywhere.

3. On the day that you find out how to speak with me and about me
with respect and love, you will be freed into the full, reviving
strength of our relationship.

4. Surprise everyone by setting aside time to nourish yourself,
your family, your community – so that you take delight in this world
and the work we have done together.

5. Honor your father and your mother.

6. You will love all creation and find in each life what I have
put there. You are free to seek the value in each life.

7. You are free to discover the deep power in relationship with
others. You will be faithful in all your commitments and they will
not burden you.

8. You will value fair exchange and equitable use of this world
and you will always have what you need.

9. You are freed to speak the truth in love at all times, to
friend and to stranger.

10. You will take pride and satisfaction in the life you are living
– living in the eternal moment – my precious "now!"

Friday, October 09, 2009

Blessed to Have Been There

At the end of the Deuteronomy, there comes this encounter between God and the long-suffering leader, Moses.
Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan, all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar.  Then the Lord said to him, "This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, 'I will give it to your descendants.'"

God speaks to Moses for the last time and tells him that what Moses has longed-for is fulfilled.
At times, all of us stand at thresholds and contemplate the future. For all of us, there can be an expectation, call it a dream or a hope, of what life will turn out to have meant at the end.  What do you hope your life will turn out to mean at the end?  What will fulfillment be for you?
I confess that there are moments when my life seems perfectly fulfilled.  Have you ever said to yourself, "Having seen that, I can now die in peace!"  
I suggest you seek a moment like that today. What I have in mind is for you to call your friend and tell her or tell him how strong the connection between you has been and remains.  Or check out the trees that are now just turning to their true New England colors, the green of summer having drained away.  Gaze upon open water; a river, a lake, as the water sparkles in the autumn air.  Go visit a child.  Go visit someone who would like to see you.  Seek out something today that blows into your mind and your heart, that fills your spirit with the understanding that you could die in peace, having seen it.
You will know you have found the moment because you will find yourself grateful.  You might find yourself reaching for words of blessing and joy; perhaps words like these:
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam!
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the Universe!
I'm guessing that's what Moses said that day on Mount Pisgah.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Candle in the window

They have finally removed the Christmastime candles we kept in the front windows at Grace Church.  They looked cheerful for several months but their time came and went and now they are ready to be stored until next Advent.

But not the candle in the parlor that looks north toward Salem End Road.  It's a battery-run candle that has kind of a subtle, orange "flame."  It is in the window of our church for the same reason that there is an electric candle in my window here at home.

What's that about?  Well, I'm not the first to have a candle in the window.  It is a pretty good metaphor for waiting for someone.  I think I put it there years ago when we in Needham first knew that a young man from Needham was deployed to Afghanistan to drive the Taliban out and find Osama bin Laden.  

The world was caving in.  Everyone seemed to think it was a great idea to go to war.  In those days some found their place in serving in the military.  They chose to put themselves in harm's way.  

Maybe it mattered that we knew the kid slightly.  He was a lanky kid I maybe coached some long ago soccer season.  I'm pretty sure he's still living, so this isn't one of those stories of loss.  He is just one of the many "someones" who signed up, and shipped out.  

Needham lit up like Christmas.  There were candles all up and down every street.  Like I said, after awhile, it wasn't about the kid, whom few of us knew.  People just needed to wish him well, to salute him, and to demonstrate that they awaited his return.

The lights have gone out in Needham since then.  I don't see them outside of December.  But I don't know how to say it's no longer a good idea or a meaningful act.  There are still those who are away, still those I can't forget about, still those who are awaited.  So, as Juliet says, we'll "leave a light on."

Friday, May 22, 2009

May Your Face Shine

That holy mystery who waits at the center, 
      the sudden, windy visitor who surprises us with sorrow and joy, 
      and the man whose path we try and try and try to catch a glimpse of,
bless you and keep you and when you look in her direction, may your face shine!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Christ Observes?

Consider the idea that what happens, in my life, in yours, in the cosmos, is observed.  In that observation, the Observer reacts, anticipates, yearns, weeps, shouts "Excellent!" and understands.  As those moments of observing become moments of understanding, what happened, merely happened, becomes destiny.  It is understood and at that moment invented.  That's why our lives seem destined - as if the Observer has a plan.

Does this Oneness, this Essence, this Observer, do anything else?   I do sense in my mystical hours a deep, beyond-articulate caring.  I put words on it.  I say, "God loves you, God loves me."  I say, "Turn toward the place inside yourself where you feel closest to the Holy."  I say, "God weeps when you weep."  I say, "You"

That's the context for me listening to the words below and asking a question to which I feel like I know the answer, "Who is singing?  Whose voice?"

Maybe Galadriel.  In Galadriel's compassion, strength, mystery, inaccessibility, immediacy, and beauty, I glimpse the One.

Lay down
Your sweet and weary head
Night is falling
You've come to journey's end
Sleep now
And dream of the ones who came before
They are calling
From across the distant shore

Why do you weep?
What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see
All of your fears will pass away
Safe in my arms
You're only sleeping

     What can you see
     On the horizon?
     Why do the white gulls call?
     Across the sea
     A pale moon rises
     The ships have come to carry you home

And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
All souls pass

Hope fades
Into the world of night
Through shadows falling
Out of memory and time
Don't say: "We have come now to the end"
White shores are calling
You and I will meet again

And you'll be here in my arms
Just sleeping

     What can you see
     On the horizon?
     Why do the white gulls call?
     Across the sea
     A pale moon rises
     The ships have come to carry you home

And all will turn 
To silver glass
A light on the water
Grey ships pass 
Into the West

"Into the West" as sung by Annie Lennox in "The Lord of the Rings" movies.

Food Advice

"Don't eat anything your GREAT Grandmother wouldn't recognize as food." 
-Michael Pollan

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Blessing

May that holy mystery who waits at the center, 
     the sudden, windy visitor who surprises us with sorrow and joy,
          and the man whose path we try and try and try to catch a glimpse of 
bless you and keep you - and when you look in her direction, may your face shine!