Monday, April 30, 2007

dust moment

I heard a teaching last evening
most of which I had already understood
for whatever reason
what I heard last night
became alive and very very real

during the days
when the feet that had yet to be pierced
walked the dust of this earth
it was the highest goal
for young boys
to be chosen to follow a rabbi

some were
some were not

it was some of these rejected ones
that the Rabbi chose

the teachings of a rabbi were called his yoke
but it is only one Rabbi who says His yoke was easy

the chosen ones would follow their rabbi everywhere

the benediction last evening was

may you forever be covered in the dust of your Rabbi

Saturday, April 28, 2007

rain moment

there is a difference to rain in the woods
not competing with the whir of technology
coloring the background of most days
its language softer

wombed by the poustinia
with its mossy roof
slightly muffling all sound
each word is heard
as this torrent of prose and praise
tumbles from an opened hand in the heavenlies

even in their heavy falling
the words are gentle
in their plummeting
one by one

naked in advanced pregnancy
their sacrifice of waiting almost over
bow to its unhurried rhythm

roots dive deeper into wet soil
as tender shoots
dance in delight
of receiving of this rain

birds silent
huddle in wonder


the promise yet hidden in the darkened sky
there is a knowing
this is a rain
not unto death
but unto life

Friday, April 27, 2007

remembering moment

remembering is a dance of wonder

sometimes a piece of ourselves
our joy
our wonder
gets put on the shelf
or perhaps just wanders away for a while
but the beautiful thing is that we can always come back again
and find the source of our wonder
there are things that bring us back to ourselves
that help us remember
we are here to celebrate the beauty around us

Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote
"to live the spiritual life means to live in a state of "radical amazement."
The origin of word radical, radicalis, means to "get at the root of things."
To live in wonder is to engage in amazement at the root of our being"

if you want the truth
I will tell you the truth:
the God whom I love
is inside

Thursday, April 26, 2007

stilled moments

for a few hours this morning
60 or so shepherds gathered in one pasture
who are called to feed lambs
and tend sheep
responded to the call of their Shepherd
came together to a place of rest
and drank from stilled waters

one by one
each face bowed to drink
only one face was seen
reflected in the cool quiet waters

and the paradox is
this single face that was seen
is the face of the One who is Living Water
the One who says drink of me and you will never thirst again
and yet
the it is the voice of this same One
that echoes through the ages still


arms wide open


Monday, April 23, 2007

church moment

someone recently said to me
the people
formerly known as the congregation
have left the building
perhaps that is true a lot of the time
I was with some people
in a building yesterday
and we had church
we were the church
imperfect yes
but church nonetheless
the worship was stunning
the message was challenging
communion was real
there was a waiting for God
and everyone felt the weight of the wait
babes played quietly on the floor
there was a wind
a hot wind
and not all the wind was outside
when no one gets up to leave
you know God is in the house
when I came home
I was full
for the first time in a very long time

whisper moment

there are moments
I can only whisper
the Name of the Lord
lest the earth
should tremble

Saturday, April 14, 2007

another farewell moment

and so
on this day
another funeral

a young man
a son
a brother
a husband
an uncle
a brand new father
my friend

married only 18 months
a dad only four months

in a far off land
amongst people he loved
he was where he chose to be

and now is home
no longer on foreign soil
because in all things
he chose well

the end of his song
is now its beginning

nunc dimittis

now lettest thou they servant depart in peace
according to thy word
for mine eyes have seen thy salvation
which thou hast prepared
before the face of all people
a light to lighten the gentiles
and the glory of thy people Israel
vespers by Sergei Rachmaninov

farewell Peter
until we meet again

choosing moment

we are called to lay down our lives
for those we love
this laying down might
in special circumstances
mean dying for others
but it means
first of all
making our own lives
our sorrows and joys
our despair and hope
our loneliness
and experience of intimacy
available to others
as sources of new life
one of the greatest gifts we can give others
is ourselves
we offer consolation and comfort
especially in moments of crisis
when we say
do not be afraid
I know what you are living
and I am living it with you
you are not alone
Henri Nouwen

and yet
we still have a choice

and we end
where we chose to arrive

Friday, April 13, 2007

goodbye moment

this morning
I sit here
preparing words to speak
that will honor a friend

words that will be totally true
in their honoring

this friend
who for some years now
in the physical had a malfunctioning heart
but in the spiritual
had a heart that functioned perfectly
in the unforced rhythms of grace

the death has all sort of tragedy surrounding it
on a ship
in the ocean
an unexpected fall
long delays for medical assistance

and yet
my friend
died alive

she chose to live
to live fully
to live abandoned in trust

like the weather outside today
that bounces between rain and snow
my emotions bounce between sadness
and absolute joy
in the knowing

no more pain
no more tears
no more sickness
no more death

see you soon Elsie

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

uncharted moments

there was a moment yesterday
a suddenly of God
an opportunity to explore uncharted territory
an opening to move beyond surface words
the loneliness of the I'm fine
and step trembling into a scary place

the nakedness of truth

the holding out of pain
asking others to hold it together
while exploring its depths

to extend freedom to one another
to be willing
or not
to walk together in nakedness

a choice
to be seen naked
to see another naked

there are times love is a confrontation

we choose who we are
and what we have decided to be

where we end
is where we chose to arrive

this morning
one of my brothers in a community
of those whose lives have particular challenges
desired to do as some others were doing
and create a gift
to produce something with his hands
these hands that are spastic
and seem to have a mind of their own

use of a cutting tool was required
but I did not wish to deprive this gentle man
of the opportunity to create
and so I simply wrapped my hand around his
so that he could feel the handle of the tool in his fingers
but I could assist in its use

again there was a suddenly
this time it was a seizure
and during the convulsive movements
my hand was cut

after a bit
when things were quieter
this gentle man
with wide eyes
asked to unwrap the wound on my hand

when he saw the cut
and the blood
he wept
and wept
and wept

with his eyes locked onto mine
he stammered

you bleed
not me
you bleed
for me

and he buried his face in my lap and sobbed

and I thought of Christ
who bled
for me
who bleeds still today
for me
with fresh wounds
that I inflict
and yet
how often does the reality of that
cause me to bury my face in his lap and weep

and I thought of the events of yesterday
how when cultivating the garden of friendship
in the uncovering of
and touching
hidden or thorny things
there might be blood
or an other's
or both

and how will we respond

will we simply react
and run

or dare to seek the path where there is no trail

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

in this valley
in this season
there must be a way through
point my feet
in the way they should go
place your Holy Spirit

dying well

after a week of celebrating

the flowers are wilting

but I am struck

by their simple elegance

in death

peace moment

there are times the song of life
seems to be in a minor key
with a kind of veil over our soul
diffusing sadness over all praise
courage and confidence are needed
to go on singing

reaching the end of the song
it is more apparent
the end refers back to the beginning
and rounds off the story

Good Friday was a broken chord

so often we confuse not having peace
with not being aware
of the peace we have

when storm-tossed
we no longer perceive anything but the storm
because that occupies the most conscious part of ourselves

we have not lost our peace
simply our awareness of it

is God's Presence

provided we have not offended him gravely
He is there

Monday, April 09, 2007

explosive moment

where is the sound of hope
for a child who wakes no more

only a dull aching continued breathing of mothers
that has become a wail of grief
for their children who are no more

the now silent landscape shudders
under the weight of the loss
of those whose life is over
before it had begun

only blood soaked dust marks the spot
where in one explosive moment
six lights were extinguished
and the world became that much darker

and now I understand
why for days
I have been seeing
the final grains of sand
one by one
throught the narrow neck
of an hourglass

and a heart
that is cracked

Sunday, April 08, 2007

right arm moment

one evening last week
a pastor introduced me to someone new on staff
one who will be serving in worship

a gentle softly spoken young man
whose right arm is distinctly different from his left

this is the second young man
brought into this fellowship
to serve in worship
whose right arm is distinctly different from his left

and I wonder about this
and then wonder if I should even wonder


saying something
or meaning nothing

calling moment

my dad died twenty-five years ago ........
I have been missing him a lot lately

I have pictures
but was losing the memory of the sound of his voice
and that saddened me

I came across some tapes
and on one
was my dad
speaking and singing and laughing

and it was as if no time had passed
there was instant recognition of the voice of my father

this all has made me think of Mary Magdalene
it was Jesus saying her name
that caused her to recognize him

it was his voice

when our name is spoken with deep love
we are forever changed
simply in the hearing

my most favorite song speaks to that

I can hear you softly calling
I hear you say my name
and I am changed"

all this takes place in a garden

in the place where Jesus was crucified
there was a garden

it was Mary
one who had been forgiven much
who sought to be near him
even in death

I can hear you softly calling ........

Saturday, April 07, 2007

weird moments

last Sunday
I discovered my pastor
did not have a pastor's heart
this I guess is OK
not everyone is gifted the same way
just was a bit of a surprise
when I needed a pastor to come alongside
to see him go in the opposite direction
and the one with a pastor's heart
who did come alongside
teaches school this season

goes to show
a pastor is not what you do
but who you are

another weird sort of moment this week
was being offered a job
a name my own salary job
two days after officially being aged enough
to receive free stuff every month from the government

and yet one more ........
three days after having lunch outside
under the budding tree
to be again dealing with snow

Friday, April 06, 2007

compass moment

while packing today
I came across this compass
used by my dad during the war

he was an intelligence officer
behind enemy lines

before cell phones
before blackberries
before all our high tech gadgets

this was all he had
to keep from getting lost

I have been saying a lot of goodbyes lately
to some who have been wonderful moral compasses
keeping me from getting lost

I will miss their steady pointing towards truth
their unwavering arrow of love

passover moment

I Cor. 11: “Do this in remembrance of Me.”

the Passover in every element pointed to Christ
pictured Him
and explained Him

the Communion remembers Christ

what was pictured in the Passover
is ‘finished’ on the Cross

the Passover was the promise of a future
the Communion table celebrates the Fulfillment

the Passover was a feast on the symbols of the True
the Communion is a feast of the True

Jesus is . . .the Blood of purity that
covers the sins of the whole world

the Bread of humility which
feeds the starved spirit of humanity

the Blood answers the death we earned
the Bread is the Life we lack

Christ is our Passover

Martha Kilpatrick

Thursday, April 05, 2007

silent moment

spending time in silent contemplation
is not praying
it is being prayed

Monday, April 02, 2007

garden moment

in the place
where He was crucified
there was a
our fellowship
joined together
in a tenebrae service
one loaf of bread
one cup of wine
shared slowly
scriptures read
one by one
candles extinguished
one by one
people left
one by one
only darkness remained
what is it like
to grieve unto death
in a garden
what is it like
to hang
and naked
on a cross
one by one
people left
only darkness remained

dance moment

a room
a bed
two chairs

a stark naked room of pain

a room set apart
for just that pain

in a desert more real
than the deserts of sand and heat

a desert
where man meets his God
face to face
both crucified

gone the subterfuges

man entering into the truth of God

all masks torn
and man becomes what he truly is

now is the moment of meeting

now is the moment of speaking

but no words are needed
in that room

only the steps of the Father
the reaching hands of Jesus
and the light of the Spirit
that comes like a gentle breeze in the spring
making clear all that was unclear

so that
in that stark
room of pain

joy enters

the sick arise
dance with Christ

love moment

to love
is to be more committed to another
than I am to the relationship
to be more concerned about his walk with God
than the comfort
or benefits
of his walk with me

Sunday, April 01, 2007

just another moment

in reality
all that has happened
is that twenty-four hours have passed
one more sunset
one more sunrise
and all the moments in between

and yet
it is being called a milestone

and people are asking
if I am feeling any different

not sure how to answer
or what everyone is expecting

am I now to be adult
mature (I somehow hope not)

a senior
wow - what does that mean
other than the fact I forget everything
all the time

but then
I have always been like that

how I am supposed to feel
what is the difference I should be feeling

all the questions
and today
like yesterday
I have no answers

I suspect tomorrow
I still will have no answers

I am grateful for the gift of the past twenty-four hours
for the gift of the sunrise of today
and the geese flying overhead
for the gift of breath
and life
for the gift of friends who surprised me
for the balloons
for the flowers
for the phone calls
and the hugs

for the loving surprise of my son
and my daughter

for the giggly laughter of my grandsons

for the songs sung last night
and this morning

for the stunning face to face last evening

and so
is today

and I am reminded again
that it is not the number of our breaths that count
but the moments that take our breath away

and there have been many
in the last twenty-four hours

and I guess I am just wise enough
to treasure each moment
and hold them lightly

should I ever figure out
what the difference is that I am to feel
I'll let you know

if I remember