Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Emmanuel moment

God hidden in the mud
and the pain of each day
God answering the cry of our hearts

Thursday, December 25, 2008

giving moment

there is one thing that we alone can give God
and that is our personal love
no one else
can give God
our personal love
for this
is our great significance
Basil Pennington

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

light moment

Let the Star of Morning Rise by Ted Loder

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.
Isaiah 9:2

Lord God,
in the deepest night there rises the star of morning,

of birth,
the herald of a new day you are making,
a day of great joy dawning in yet faint shafts of light and love.

I hear whispers of peace in the stillness,
fresh breezes of promise stirring,
winter sparrows chirping of life,
a baby's cry of need
and hope --

In the darkness I see the light
and find in it comfort,

cause for celebration,
for the darkness cannot overcome it;
and I rejoice to nourish it in myself,
in other people,
in the world
for the sake of him in whom it was born
and shines forever,
even Jesus the Christ.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

prepared moment

God had prepared a stable
before man started shutting the doors

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Vanier moment

I am sensing a yearning for solidarity,
a cry coming from people for togetherness and for love.
For too long we've been walking on the road to independence.
We're beginning to feel our loneliness.
We're beginning to see that we can only live if we're together.
We have had enough of loneliness,
and competition.
Jean Vanier

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

eagle moment

A man found an eagle's egg and put it in the nest of a barnyard hen.
The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them
All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did,

thinking he was a barnyard chicken.
He scratched the earth for worms and insects.
He clucked and cackled.
And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.
Years passed and the eagle grew very old.

One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky.
It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents with scarely a beat of his strong golden wings.
The old eagle looked up in awe. "Who's that?" he asked
"That's the eagle, the king of the birds," said his neighbour.
"He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth - we're chickens."
So the eagle lived and died a chicken for that's what he thought he was.
Tony de Mello
Song of the Bird.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Habakkuk 3:17-18
though the fig tree should not blossom
and there be no fruit on the vines
though the yield of the olive should fail
and the fields produce no food
though the flock should be cut off from the fold
and there be no cattle in the stalls
yet I will exult in the LORD
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation

Friday, December 12, 2008

mystery moment

perhaps it is we are not to know the answers
but live in the part of self where the question is born
live with an attitude of listening
of awareness of presence
of an openness to mystery

Thursday, December 11, 2008

piano moment

playing the piano
I got lost today
and didn’t want to come back

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

alone moment

Soren Kierkegaard
"Christianity does not join people together.
No, it separates them in order to unite every single individual with God.
And when a person has become such that he can belong to God and to God alone,
he has died away from that which usually joins people together.
Every call from God is always addressed to one person,
the single individual.
Precisely in this lies the difficulty and examination,
that the one who is called must stand alone,
walk alone,
alone with God."

Monday, December 08, 2008

healing moment

The broken and the oppressed have taught me a great deal
and have changed me quite radically.
They have helped me discover that healing takes place at the bottom of the ladder,
not at the top.
Jean Vanier

Sunday, December 07, 2008

listening moment

Many people in L'Arche are close to God, and yet they are so little and poor. They have known rejection and have suffered a great deal. I am always moved as I hear them speak of God. When somebody asked one of our men, Peter, if he liked to pray, he said that he did. So the person continued and asked him what he did when he prayed. He replied: “I listen.” Then the person asked what God says to him. Peter, a man with Down`s Syndrome, looked up and said: “He just says, 'You are my beloved son.'
Jean Vanier

Saturday, December 06, 2008

reed moment

Once there was a reed, tall and proud, growing near a stream. He was a fine reed, and how he loved life! He lived every moment to the full. From his height he had a splendid view of the whole area. He watched the small animals scamper to and fro, the birds darting here and there, the multi-hued insects, the fish gliding in the stream. But best of all he liked the flowers. They came in a never ending parade of exquisite form and color. Old friends would go, but new ones promptly followed and they delighted him so that he never stopped to wonder what happened to the old. And all the while he stood, tall and green. Yes, life was good indeed.
Then one morning he awoke, and as he looked into the stream he discovered that his tip was turning brown. His dismay grew as day after ay the malady spread until his fine green coat was completely gone. In addition, he began to feel dry, then drier and drier. Then the rains came and beat at him, the winds battered him, and finally a mightly gust snapped him loose from the earth. He lay desolate on the ground, broken, bruised, and heavy-hearted.
Some days later, a young man came by and picked him up. He put him into his bag where it was dark, so dark that poor reed could see nothing at all. He longed for the end. Anything would be better than this unending darkness.
Finally the day came when the young man took him back out of the bag. How good to see the light again! He saw the fields and rolling hills, and sheep grazing peacefully around. The young man took a sharp knife and cut part of the reed away, hurting him so acutely he couldn’t help but cry out. Then the man ruthlessly pierced him through from end to end, clearing out his hollow. Every inch of his being quivered with pain. Then he was thrust back into the darkness again.
Sometime later he was taken out again. He welcomed the light, yet dreaded the pain he anticipated would come along with it. And sure enough, there was the knife. This time the young man mercilessly cut several holes in him. He wept silently. Then he was plunged once more into darkness.
The day came when reed, from his black home in the bag, sensed something different about everything; there was some excitement in the air. The young man joined some of the other shepherds and they hurried toward the edge of town. There they went into a cave, and the young man pulled reed out of the bag. Reed braced himself for the inevitable knife. Instead, to his surprise, he felt only the gentle caress of the young man’s hands as he lifted him tenderly to his lips. Then the young man poured his life-breath into him and there came forth from reed a beautiful song, simple and pure. And as reed looked out he saw a young mother and her little Baby. And they both smiled at him.

written by a Madonna House worker

Sunday, November 30, 2008

restore moment

Once we prayed knowing our help came from You
Once we defied injustice knowing that you were on our side
Once we prayed all night til our help came
Once we apologized for calling someone a fool
Once we believed it was important to please you
Restore us as people who follow God even when no one is looking
Restore us Lord
Kwasi I. Kena

Friday, November 28, 2008

salt moments

We moved this past summer, away from the hum of traffic, next to the peace of the woods. Now that winter has arrived, our horizon has changed from bricks and mortar to snow laden trees, colourful birds, quiet foxes and the odd hesitant deer. In order to entice the deer to come around more often my husband bought a salt block and placed it on the small patio across the stream amongst the trees. I was looking at it the other day and noted that the snow had melted in a perfect circle all around this block of salt. I also noted its label which stated that it was pure, no additives, no contaminants, nothing that would harm the environment. It simply rests where it has been placed, quietly offering a pleasant taste, its natural ingredients exuding warmth into the cold snow............

And I thought that is how I must be...........
content to be where I am placed
offering a pleasant taste to anyone who is hungry or thirsty,
providing a natural warmth that would penetrate coldness,
clearly labelled by my life so that all could see: pure, no contaminants, nothing artificial, safe...........

no bells or whistles, no lights or drum rolls, no platform .........just quietly and naturally altering the environment around me......


in this dry and thirsty land

Thursday, November 27, 2008

face to face moment

I want
O my Beloved
at each beat of my heart
to renew my offering to You
an infinite number of times
until the shadows having disappeared
I may be able to tell You of my love
in an eternal face to face
St. Therese Lisieux

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

twitter moment

I simply cannot figure out
why everyone is all atwitter
about twitter
nothing will ever come close
to a face to face
that comes with a hug

Monday, November 24, 2008

seeing moments

God had brought me to my knees
and made me acknowledge my own nothingness
and out of that knowledge
I had been reborn
I was no longer the centre of my life
and therefore
I could see God in everything
Bede Griffiths

Friday, November 21, 2008

today's moment

the only way to have any impact on how we experience tomorrow
is to live our moments well today

Thursday, November 20, 2008

proving moment

our very life demonstrates God or denies Him
we will manifest Him to the measure we know Him
and He will reveal Himself to the world
in the measure we depend on Him
and believe in Him
word and claims will not reveal Him
only a personal history
and a radical surrender
will prove Him to a darkening world

Saturday, November 15, 2008

child moment

plucked from Scott Williams' blog ........

unless you become like a child...
8 or so months ago an older couple were having lunch at my restaurant when they happened to mention that they had inherited an orphanage in Haiti, and had no means to feed them. as we sat and talked i realized that something had to be done so i asked a couple of club members, who happened to be waiting on tables, if we should do something. we voted and adopted an orphanage. we had no committees to run it through, no old members to placate. there were no financial balance sheets to reconcile. the kids needed to eat.so i went to my little group of club members - 30 or so mostly teens and young adults and we talked about what we could do. that saturday we took an "offering" (i hate that word) and the kids got to eat for a month. within a couple of weeks we had 4 months worth of money. the giving never ended. let me assure you, i had very little to do with this. young adults signed over their whole paychecks, others gave 50% or more of their income. it was a marvel to watch.a couple months later we found out that a local pastor that had been helping 'our kids' had died falling off a roof and his body was stuck in the morgue, no money to release it for a funeral. so i told the peeps and that night, on top of the money they already shelled out, they raised $400. there was about 15 teens and young adults, and a few others, there that night.sometime later we found out that if we could somehow raise $800 bucks in 6 months the kids could have a teacher and books come in and have school. 2 or 3 weeks later we sent the money.last night a guy from haiti was here and i interviewed him. i asked him what they needed - $200 bucks for more books and approximately $300 bucks for shoes for all 30 kids. i put it out there, we have a month to raise it, and the kids ponied up $680 plus change. i couldn't get my head around it.one of the seniors who was visiting last night asked me how i could get young people to give and live so sacrificially. i simply said, "i told them if we don't give they don't eat'. i really did nothing else. they are rough and rude, loud and unpolished, authentic and sacrificial.maybe the problem with today's youth isn't that they aren't committed. maybe the problem is that we haven't given them anything of value to be committed to

Thursday, November 13, 2008

ambushed moment

today I have been ambushed by longing

what if I dare to touch the place of longing and desire within me,
allow myself to really feel how deep it goes
only to discover that those desires cannot be met -
what do I do with myself then -
how will I live with desire that is awake and alive
rather than asleep and repressed
can I,
like Bartimaeus
reach deep within,
touch the place of fundamental human need
and cry out from that place -
Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!
will Jesus hear above all the other voices clamoring for his attention
am I willing to embarrass those who surround me
by shouting out my honest expression of need
and thus capture Jesus' attention
will I allow His question
"what do you want me to do for you"
bring me face to face with my vulnerability,
my need,
strip away the layers of pretence and superficiality
and expose what is truest in me -
that most tender and fragile place

heal moment

it usually takes what wounded us to heal us

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

preach moment

be sure that you first preach by the way you live
if you do not
people will notice that you say one thing
but live otherwise
your words will bring only cynical laughter
and a derisive shake of the head
St. Charles Borromeo

Monday, November 10, 2008

present moment

discover God in the present moment
be a friend of time and of reality

Sunday, November 09, 2008

crucial moment

there is that crucial moment
when everything within me seems to crumble
its desolation
causing me
in a no man's land

Friday, November 07, 2008

listening moment

seeking the path
where there is no trail
to know
and be known
truly seen

facing myself
and living to tell the tale
only done
by leaning onto His breast
listening for His heart beat

until the trumpet sounds

Thursday, November 06, 2008

question moment

are there times
we are afraid
to ask a question
in case
the answer
should change our lives

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

day after moment

blessed be the name of God forever and ever
to whom belong wisdom and might
He changes times and seasons
He removes kings and sets up kings
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding
He reveals deep and hidden things
He knows what is in the darkness
and the light dwells with Him
Daniel 2:19-22

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

leading moment

the leader is the guardian of unity
he or she must thirst for unity and work for it day and night
for this the leader must not fear conflict
but rather accept it
and strive to be an instrument of reconciliation
the leader must be in contact with all the different elements in the community
and particularly with those who are in pain
or who are angry with the community

Monday, November 03, 2008

promise moment

could it be the promised land
is less about a physical destination
or anything outward
and more about a way of life
that enables us to worship
and love God fully

Sunday, November 02, 2008

fig leaf moment

is it possible
to clothe oneself
with the words
of the bible

Saturday, November 01, 2008

OK moment

A priest spoke to a young man with a disability who was dying of AIDS.
"Mike, are you OK?"
he asked.
Mike in turn asked the priest,
"Does God love me?"
The priest said,
"I'm convinced that God has always loved you and loves you very much today."
Mike then asked,
"Do you love me?"
The priest answered,
"I really do, Mike."
Spreading his arms to embrace the priest, Mike said,
"Then I'm perfectly OK

Friday, October 31, 2008

limited moment

words are such an inadequate medium to express deep emotions
especially from this blunt and broken pen
but alas
it's what I am limited to at this moment

Monday, October 27, 2008

still moment

there is a stillness
in the wet earth
of me
this day
like a forest
in mid winter

Thursday, October 23, 2008

be moment

God breathes life into our dry and barren places
calling us forth
to live in freedom
and be
all that we were created to be

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

rising moment

in the tumbling of mountains
there is a rising whisper
causing the earth to tremble
Holy Holy Holy is the Lord

love moment

to love someone
is to give them permission in advance
to treat you as they will

Friday, October 10, 2008

disabled moment

Of all the things, I remember his feet the most. They showed all the signs of never being used. Gordy had been unable to walk for ten years by the time I met him ......I’ve met very few people who don’t admit to some insecurity about their feet. Foot washings, commemorating Christ’s work at the Last Supper are enough to keep many of us from church. But Gordy was silent. He knew I would see everything but he said nothing. It was as I was putting on his socks one day that I realized Gordy was the holy one in all our efforts. He was serving me and in some very practical ways sacrificing the privacy of his body to do it. I was so disabled inside, afraid to let people see my faults and struggles, because my disabilities could be hidden. Gordy’s outward disability became in a very real sense my inward cure. His willingness to let another see his weakness revealed an inspiring inner strength.
Gary Thomas

Thursday, October 09, 2008

revealing moment

towels and dishes and sandals
all the ordinary things of our lives
reveal more quickly than anything
what we are made of

Monday, October 06, 2008

tsunami moment

weeping inwardly
my heart swells with salty water
when still
when quiet
it will surface
like an ocean wave
reaching for any shore
first a ripple
but then
if unchecked
a tsunami
of pain
of grief
of loss
a deep wrenching breaking
a coming undone
heavy chains painfully crank open doors
and the waters rise
from above
from below
from within
adrift in its wild turbulence
I reach for the rock
only when gripping tight
when gripped tight
do the words come
be still

Sunday, October 05, 2008

powerless moments

Hidden in those who are powerless is a mysterious power:
they attract and awaken the heart.
Their thirst for friendship, love and communion leaves no one indifferent:
either you harden your heart to their cry and reject them,
or you open your heart
and enter into a relationship built on trust,
simple, tender gestures
and few words.
Jean Vanier

Monday, September 29, 2008

objective moment

while seeking a colleague's insight
concerning a recent event
my heart smiled at his response
"I'm trying to be objective
but really I'm an ear cutter off
when someone hurts my friends"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

wheat moment

if we truly understood the growth of a grain of wheat
we would die of wonder
Martin Luther

Monday, September 22, 2008

war moment

God of the heavens
and the earth
we need your peace
send your gentle, fierce Spirit
to the war-torn lands
of our broken relationships
come, God of peace
we need you today

Sunday, September 21, 2008

tears moment

the garden
never wet from above
in a moment
a bite
a single bite
caused a soaking of its soil
by tears falling from human eyes
tears that started falling
long before rain ..........

Thursday, September 18, 2008

rhythm moment

I need to recover a rhythm in my heart
that moves my body first
and my mind second
that allows my soul to catch up with me
I need to take a sacred pause
as if I were a sun-warmed rock
in the center of a rushing river
Dawna Markova

garden moment

awakening to the inner garden
learning to accept it and live within it
we uncover the mysterious seed of divine life within us
lovingly energizing our lives moment to moment
(1 John 3:9)

the Spirit of Christ alive in our hearts
this is the gift of contemplation
the intimacy we crave

remaining in the garden
aware that we live
and breathe
and exist
in God
we find strength
to resist the temptation to project our thoughts into the future
and become overwhelmed with fears

we find our home in the present moment
a gate into the eternal Now

it is here
in the dynamism of the present
that God finds us

Wayne E. Simsic

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

illusion moment

the great illusion of leadership
is to think that man can be led out of the desert
by someone who has never been there
Henri Nouwen

Sunday, September 14, 2008

vulnerable moment

Voluntarily placing oneself in a position of vulnerability
just stepping away from security
Northumbria Community

Saturday, September 13, 2008

question moment

in her kindness and patience
nature never puts of the fatal question
as to the meaning of their lives
into the mouths of most people
where no one asks
no one need answer

Carl Jung

Friday, September 12, 2008

burning moment

earth's crammed with heaven
and every common bush afire with God
but only he who sees, takes off his shoes
the rest sit around and pluck blackberries"
Eliz. Barrett Browning
the burning bush was a most ordinary object
that became extra ordinary
because it was on fire with divine activity
how often do we see
the bush burning in the middle of our own life
and have enough sense to turn aside
take off our shoes
and pay attention
if we took the time to turn aside
and look
we might discover we are standing on holy ground
more often than we think

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

giving moment

giving from the fullness of our pocket
giving from the fullness of our heart
which is the most acceptable
most pleasing

Monday, September 08, 2008

worship moment

I had a long tender note from a worship pastor friend

he posed a question

has our worship become the work of Martha

and I cannot answer lightly

or easily

or quickly

or without pain .................

wilderness moment

"those who lower themselves
to the earthy mud of their origins
can touch heaven"
M. Kilpatrick
there is a wilderness of worship
that we need not be afraid of
and perhaps
that we need even to seek

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunday moment

consider the quarry from which you were mined
the rock from which you were cut

Friday, September 05, 2008

meeting moment

my soul smiles
my heart dances
my fears flee
my mind wrestles
my tongue shouts praise
my loneliness finds company
my spirit meets God

Friday, August 29, 2008

inside moments

Parker Palmer:
"a leader must take special responsibility for what is going on inside him or herself
lest the act of leadership create more harm than good."

when able to claim our experiences as our own
and acknowledge the ways they have shaped us
then we are in a position to take responsibility for ourselves
rather than be driven by our unconscious patterns of manipulating
and controlling reality

most often our reactions are more connected to the past
than to what is actually going on in the present

one can only say to God
I recognize what I am now
and I am none other than what I am -
whatever it is that most needs to be done in my life
You will have to do ..........

in the realization that it is not about fixing
but about letting go
life is birthed
and freedom tasted

Thursday, August 28, 2008

choice moment

the choice

continue the unpacking
or waste these next few hours
being still
being quiet
allowing myself to be centred
and rediscover His rhythm

I have nothing to offer God
except my choice to be with Him
and that is a choice
that no one but Him
is likely to put any value on

take me from the tumult of things
into Your Presence
and there
show me what I am
and what You destined me to be
and then
hide me from Your tears ..............

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

interrupted moment

An Unfinished Sermon
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders;
make the most of every opportunity.

My friend and pastor Denny Denson was in the middle of a sermon one Sunday morning
when a young man
he had been witnessing to for months
slipped into the back of the church.
The young man was a victim of crack cocaine
and had more than once tried to get off the drug,
promising to someday attend our church.
When Denny saw him walk in that morning,
he was hopeful and excited that he had come.
After a few minutes
the young man got up and walked back outside.
Denny understood at once what he needed to do.
He stopped in the middle of his sermon
and asked the congregation to go to prayer.
With that,
he followed the man outside
and caught up with him a block from the church.
After perhaps fifteen minutes
the two of them came back inside with good news.
The young man had finally accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
The remainder of the service was spent in worship.
Denny never finished his sermon!

Are you willing to be interrupted for the sake of someone who needs the Lord?
Michael Card

Saturday, August 23, 2008

gun moment

Theophane, a Cistern monk, relates this story:

“I saw a monk working alone in the vegetable garden.
I squatted down beside him and said, “Brother, what is your dream?”
He just looked straight at me. What a beautiful face he had.
“I would like to become a monk.” he answered
“But Brother, you are a monk aren’t you?”
“I’ve been here for 2 years but I still carry a gun” he drew a revolver from the holster under his robe.
It looked so strange, a monk carrying a gun.
“And they won’t, are you saying they won’t let you become a monk until you give up your gun?”
“No, it’s not that. Most of them don’t even know I have it, but I know.”
“Well then, why don’t you give it up”.
I guess I have had it so long. I’ve been hurt a lot and I’ve hurt a lot of others. I don’t think I would be comfortable without this gun.”
“But you seem pretty uncomfortable with it.”
“Yes, pretty uncomfortable, but I have my dream.”
“Why don’t you give me the gun?” I whispered.
I was beginning to tremble.
He did, he gave it to me. His tears ran down to the ground and then he embraced me.

Most of us have a gun, some way of protecting ourselves and making ourselves feel safe, hidden under the robe of our persona.

Are we too comfortable with it to hear God whispering, “Why don’t you give me the gun?”

Will we hand it over and let our tears run to the ground?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

shepherd moment

in Israel
shepherds go in front
leading their sheep
in Britain
shepherds drive their sheep
from behind .......
interesting ........

dance moment

we are all connected
and a beautiful dance emerges between us
when we allow it

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

friend moment

an artist needs a relationship with a world that is without words
a quiet world of warmth and beauty
of images
and colors
and sensory perceptions
that world is shy and retreats easily
it is a friend
and wants to be treated as a friend

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

hugging moment

I spent some special moments with a friend this morning .......
talking about many things
deep things
not time filling fluff ......

the subject of hugging came up somehow
the dangers
the benefits
the rules nowadays ...........

and this wonderful gentle man said the following

For a woman it's even more significant;
it's her origin,
a wrapping back into her place of birth,
Adam's chest
it has been a long time since I have heard or felt anything quite so beautiful

come moment

Come unto Me
Matthew 11:28

Friday, August 15, 2008

hidden moment

if we don't have a hidden life with God
our public life for God cannot bear fruit
Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

call moment

Calls are essentially questions.
They aren’t questions you necessarily need to answer outright;
they are questions to which you need to respond,
expose yourself,
and kneel before.
You don’t want an answer you can put in a box and set on a shelf.
You want a question that will become a chariot to carry you across the breadth of your life.
Gregg Levoy

lustful moment

there is a spiritual lust
addicting one to the feeling of God's Presence
rejoicing in it
instead of His true Presence ..........

chasing the wind and ever seeking the new thing
while never knowing the satisfaction of the person of the Lord Jesus
because of an obsession with feeling Him

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

complex moment

I keep saying to myself that I want a simple life
yet regularly meander off that path into complexity

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

another email moment

Many of the things happening inside of me seemed too shameful to talk about out loud. Laid low by what has happening at (my church) I did not have the energy to put a positive spin on anything ....... beyond my luminous images of Sunday mornings I saw the committee meetings, the numbing routines and the chronically difficult people who took up a large part of my time. Behind my heroic image of myself I saw my tiresome perfectionism, my resentment of those who did not try as hard as I did and my huge appetite for approval. I saw the forgiving faces of my family left behind every holiday for the last fifteen years while I went to conduct services for other people and their families.
Above all I saw that my desire to draw as near to God as I could had backfired on me somehow Drawn to care for hurt things, I had ended up with compassion fatigue. Drawn to a life of servant hood I had ended up a service provider Drawn to marry the Divine Presence I had ended up estranged .... Like the bluebirds that sat on my windowsills pecking at the reflections they saw in the glass I could not reach the greenness for which my soul longed. For years I had believed that if I just kept at it the glass would finally disappear. Now for the first time I wondered if I had devoted myself to an illusion...........

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

call moment

the call of God is like the call of the sea
no one hears it but the one who has the nature of the sea in him
Oswald Chambers

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

call moment

Calls are essentially questions.
They aren't questions you necessarily need to answer outright;
they are questions to which you need to respond,
expose yourself,
and kneel before.
You don't want an answer you can put in a box and set on a shelf.
You want a question that will become a chariot to carry you across the breadth of your life."
Gregg Levoy

Saturday, July 26, 2008

thought moment

I want to know God's thoughts...
all the rest are details
Albert Einstein

Friday, July 25, 2008

liar moments

Theodore Dalrymple:

"In my study of communist societies,
I came to the conclusion
that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade,
or convince,
nor to inform,
but to humiliate;
and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better.
When people are focused to remain silent when they are told the most obvious lies,
or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves,
they lose once and for all their sense of probity.
(Probity: the quality of having strong moral principles; honesty and decency)
To assent to the obvious lies is to cooperate with evil,
and in some small way to become evil oneself.
A person’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded,
and even destroyed.
A society of emasculated liars is easy to control."

Friday, July 04, 2008

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Joey moment

While pastoring, one day a person named Joey slipped into a back pew - I later found out that Joey was a drug addict living a lifestyle that included thieving, selling drugs and living in a drug induced high, his world a network of young men and women whose world from dawn until late into the night was the pursuit of getting high. He continued to come back week after week, eventually asking for baptism. He sent out invitations to his family and the network that read simply

"You are invited to Joey's funeral and resurrection on Sunday night."
They came, curious and confused.
Joey stood by the baptismal water and said
I am leaving the world that all of us know for real life in Jesus
You will see me around and we will talk
and I hope I will continue to be your friend.
But the Joey you have known has died and in a few minutes will be buried.
The man you will be talking to is somebody who has risen from the dead
and for the first time in his life is really alive.
And seeing as he is dead,
Joey will not be selling drugs any more
and will not be joining you to shoot up or be at parties."

M. Smith

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

hush moment

held in a hug of holy hush
the land simply lay there
like Adam awaiting his first breath
the air heavy in pregnant anticipation
hovered over the perfectly stilled waters
quietly slipping the kayak into the lake
and gently easing out from shore
it was wonder-filled to be one with it all
in absolute silence
rain started falling
like giant oval tears from heaven
each drop partly embraced by the lake
partly bouncing back up
reaching for its place of birth
and the hush only deepend
how could all this water fall
without a sound
only when lightening began to rip the sky
did I head back

Friday, June 27, 2008

wesley moment

The Wesley Covenant:
It is agreed by us whose names are underwritten to:
that we will not listen or willingly inquire after any ill concerning each other;
that if we do hear any ill of each other, we will not be forward to believe it;
that as soon as possible we will communicate what we hear
by speaking or writing to the person concerned;
that until we have done this,
we will not write or speak a syllable of it to any person whatsoever;
that neither will we mention it, after we have done this, to any other person;
that we will not make any exception to any of these rules,
unless we think ourselves absolutely obliged to do so.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

clinging moment

living in a land of deep shadows
at the edge of the wingspan of a raging river

I have come to learn
I have come to lean and love

there is noise
but everything is quiet
as I press through
and touch the seamless garment of silence

night is leaving

I stand on the shore and watch
feeling the weight of my life
begin to drop
and I realize why dawn
is called mourning

the rocks echo ancient rhythms
heat slams into my skin

and I remain upright
solely because clinging to a cross
are the tendrils of my being

Thursday moment

we are born
to develop
in the sometimes rugged earth
of our families

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

mirror moment

I had a dream last night
of a man
and a boy
standing side by side
looking at one another
in a mirror
the man seeing what he had been
the boy seeing what he will become
and I wept for all the boys
looking into a mirror
with no dad looking back

Monday, June 23, 2008

Saturday moment

while the land was still enveloped in an early morning fog
there was a rap rap rap on the door

our neighbour
looking for coffee and company

and so
while nibbling on still warm muffins
and watching the steam curl up from our cups
we sat by the water
comfortable in silence

and then his story
chapter by chapter
came out

this man is now 77 years young
born in Austria
he came to Canada in his late teens
to work on the pipe line

a true self made man
little formal education
his hands capable of doing almost anything

he fell in love with Canada
specifically the lake we both now share

he married
a girl from his Austrian home town
they had two sons

his wife was never happy here
soon she and the boys went back to Austria
and he followed to care for them ...........

but his heart remained in this land

and so even now
at the age of seventy-seven
he still comes back
every summer
for three months ......

every log of his cottage
selected and put in his place himself

every stone in his garden
selected and put in place himself

the building looks very Austrian
in this very Canadian spot

and this sometimes gruff
rough edged man
five years ago
became our neighbour

this is the one who led me to the poustinia

he opened the first page of his story

his mother worked as a maid
for a wealthy family in Germany
the son of this family became attracted to her
and she found herself pregnant
the family kicked her out
the son would have nothing to do with her

she somehow made her way back to Austria
where she gave birth to a baby boy

at three days
she gave her baby away to a farmer and his wife

and now seventy-seven years later
this man/child
sitting beside me
is weeping with all the "nevers" in his life

the touch of his mother
words of love
of acceptance
of well done
the hug of a dad
the name of his father

the farmer family fed him
clothed him
worked him
but were unable to love him

never receiving love
he has never learned how to give love

and my heart broke
at the seventy-seven years without love

so I shared the absolute fact that he had a Father
who loved him
who accepted him
who wanted him

the coffee and muffins long finished
he now feasted on the love of a Father

and this man
became a boy
listening to his Dad
loved by his Father

and the fog lifted
as the SON shone

Friday, June 20, 2008

come moment


I felt His nearness

awed by His beauty
trembling at His majesty
I fell to my knees at His holiness

‘Come to me’ He said

I could not move
bound by who I am

‘Come to me’

I still could not move
bound by who I had been

He stretched out His Hands
and I saw the scars

He moved closer
and I saw His pierced feet

He bent towards me
and I saw His eyes

‘It is done’ He whispered

He helped me up
and set me free

insightful moment

we are never captured by another's intimidation
but only by our own fear

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

pierced moment

there are times
you can only reach out
through a broken pane/pain
in the window of life
and hang onto
the pierced Hand

Monday, June 16, 2008

anonymous moment

"I screamed at God for all the starving children,
and then I realized
that all of the starving children
were God screaming at me." -

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday moment

like an unfinished painting
a song not yet sung
a dream still in the foggy recesses of the unseen
a life ending yet barely begun
an unformed hope
a dance waiting for its rhythm
arms full yet empty
wrapped in a sigh
so wide it would fill the universe
I wait
in silent stillness
noting the storm
the fire
the earthquake
listening for the whisper

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

email moment

You do not know who I am, and I have never met you, but a friend of mine told me he has been greatly helped by your wisdom and he gave me your address and urged me to write. I trust you will read this email and give me some answers.
I am writing to you because my Christian life is a disaster and I have nowhere to turn. I am in a position of leadership in my church and if I shared with the pastor or any other deacons the way my life is, I do not know what would happen. I know I would no longer be welcome in the church. I pray you will read this and be able to help me.
Let me say upfront that if you saw me in the context of the church, in the weekly meetings, in social gatherings with other church members or teaching my adult Sunday school class, you would never imagine that I am not the person you see.
I did not set out to be a hypocrite. From the very first I gave my very best to live for Jesus. I have disciplined myself to pray every day and read and even memorize scripture. I honestly set out every week to live for Jesus. But I fail every time. The life that my family and the people I work with see is very different from the one that is portrayed before the church. I have a terrible temper that I cannot control however much I try. I wrestle every day with lustful thoughts and when I am out of town on business I watch pornographic movies in the hotel room. I have a brother I have not spoken to in twenty years and cannot bring myself to forgive because of a betrayal of confidence that deeply hurt me. If Christianity is loving as Jesus loved then count me out.
But above all I do not love God; I do not find joy in prayer or bible reading - it is something I do because I have been told that it will nurture my Christian life. But my heart is not in keeping His commands and being with Him; in fact there are times I have to admit that I envy the world - they look a lot happier than I ever feel.
Maybe I have continued to live this way for the past ten years because in the church I can get by with a veneer that satisfies my peers and leaders. You know what I mean by veneer - the rules of the subculture we evangelicals are part of. I went over them the other day. We are the people who do not do certain things; we do not go to certain places; we do not smoke or drink liquor, nor do we dress like the world, especially our poor women! As long as I keep these rules everyone thinks I am a great Christian.
But in the last weeks I have faced myself and realized that the Bible primarily addresses my thoughts, motives, and relationships not so much the lists that I spend my life trying to keep that have been given by the church. Above all it commands me to love God and delight in Him, to obey His commands out of love for Him.
I miserably fail. The truth is I do not love God. It would be more correct to say that I am afraid of Him and go to church and pray because I am afraid if I do not, I will go to hell. I look around at the others in my church, even my friends, and wonder if they are living in the same craziness that I am - and why not? They do not know what I am really like. Do they scream at their kids and sneak pornography when no one is watching? Do they go through all the words and motions on Sunday while their hearts are untouched and without love for God? Is their religious life like mine, just a millimeter thick mask over the real person underneath?
There have been times when I think that I have had an experience of God. At special meetings when hands have been laid on me I have felt a warm glow inside, the flickering of a joy that has lasted for a couple of weeks and I have wondered if that is how real Christians feel all the time. At times I have heard a message that lays out a formula for living as a victorious Christian and I have tried it, but it feels artificial when I try to live it out with the guys at the office. All my spurts of hope that I can live this life are dead ends and leave me in greater despair than before.
In the last weeks I have looked at myself and evaluated what my life is really like. It has left me in utter despair. This letter is my last attempt to ask someone I can trust if the Christian life can be lived by ordinary people like my friends and me. Tell me honestly, is it for a few unusual people who do not have the desires that we have, who really do hate the world and love God? And if it is for everyone, then is there something I have missed. Is there a level of dedication or an experience I need to have that will finally get me living the Christian life? Or is my life as I have tried to describe it to you as good as it gets?
If my experience of Christianity is as good as it gets then I will quietly walk away from it all. I can no longer live a life that is so incredibly shallow and meaningless. Please be honest with me - if you tell me that this is the way Christianity really works out in practice I will not tell anyone you said so; I will burn your response and drop out. There is a Bible study and prayer meeting at the church tonight and I do not want to go; in fact I have no interest in being there. If I go, it is because I do not want to go through the hassle of being asked by the pastor why I was not there or of having my friends think I am backsliding. But I think I will stay home because I am sick of this game. Please answer me and be honest with me, whatever the answer is.
Thank you.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday moment

dark still
rain pelts against the window
no bird songs filling the air
the house is silent
as the land simply lies there
drinking in the rain

only six hours remaining here
then pack up and off to the cottage
and although it has been amazing
I am ready to go
and happy to be leaving some baggage behind
to go home lighter than I arrived

the Spirit had His own plans for yesterday
I learned a lot
about myself and others
I learned a lot deeper things of God, His Son and Spirit
I learned more about what it means to embrace the altar
and die
I learned that in the body we really do feel one another's pain
I learned that freedom comes with a cost
I learned there is a lot of judgement within the body
I learned to stand at the foot of the cross

I need to process much

fitting it is again raining outside

Friday, May 30, 2008

friday moment

and so
here I am
Friday ..........
and while other days have been days of giving
this is a day set aside to receive

something not always easy for me to do

still unsure exactly what it is that God wishes me to be transparent about
I went to the very end of the dock last evening,
to be close to the water –
I lay on the dock and noted that although the waves would cause the dock to shake a bit,
it remained solid –
did not collapse –
or be destroyed–
that is how I feel at times,
there is a shaking when stuff comes against me,
but my feet are solidly planted on the Rock of Jesus –
and I am not destroyed

a boat must have gone by somewhere –
I did not see it nor hear it
but the waves,
the ramifications of its passing,
now reach me,
touch me –
and this makes me think of sin in the body of Christ,
or our own generational sins –
we do not see it,
nor hear it,
and yet it eventually reaches us,
crashes into us,
touches us if it is not cut off...........

then I looked up and saw a huge hawk
or perhaps an eagle???????????
(I have been crying out to see an eagle)
circling above,
floating in the thermal,
never moving its wings,
content to go where the wind took it,
not fighting,
or even assisting the wind,
just soaring in the heat of the love of God,
in the wind of the Spirit –
no matter where,
no matter when ........
and how I long to live like that ...........
no matter where,
no matter when,
no resisting or assisting,
soaring in the wind...........
completely abandoned to the Wind .............

and so
we will see what comes out of my mouth
when asked to share .......

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

wednesday moment

awakening to the brilliance of the sun
the entire morning was then spent in the brilliance of the Son

after receiving four hours of teaching
fueled by many cups of coffee
we broke for a bit .............

two went shopping
one went for a nap
one went for a walk

the remaining five of us sat 'round the table

and it was so wonder-filled to be at a table of shepherds ..........
have a chance to ask questions
try and gain some insight
seek counsel
share others pains and wonderings

one of the pastors let drop a pearl ................
our hunger sometimes causes us to drink anything that looks like water

the discussion went very deep, very fast
enriched by tears and laughter

this daily bread was so flavorful
so nourishing
so filling -
and yet left me hungry for more ......

three more sessions to come during this day ..........
and I am expectant
pregnant already
yet still expectant .............

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

and so
here I am
tucked away in this beautiful room
in this quite amazing place
on the shores of Wolfe Lake

I have been blessed this time with a private room
called eagle
I wonder at the name
and what it is I will see
whether it will be an outward seeing
or an inward seeing

there are only five of us on this course
some came farther than others
but we all came because of One

it is an eight day course
necessitating bringing some luggage
but we quickly learned
tucked in our luggage
is some baggage

yesterday we shared our stories
and we all have a story ...........

last evening was very tender
after worship
we positioned ourselves before the Lord
in a womb of silence
allowing Him to place His finger on areas needing His touch

I discovered my well of grief
has not yet been emptied
and the grief is far wider
more encompassing
and painful than I knew

it was sort of fitting that it was storming outside
the pelting rain and bending trees
a vivid picture of what was going on inside my heart

later I lay in this huge bed
and simply let the tears flow
until it seemed my heart was pillowed on a sea of salty water

in the middle of the night
I got up to pray and journal
and found a tender prayer that had been emailed to me
by this new found friend in England

he also included a picture of the view from his poustinia
his name is David
how fitting as he spends his days watching the sheep of his pasture ..........
he says we have much to learn from sheep ..........

this is now day 3 of the course
and I somewhat hesitantly await its unfolding .....

tonight we will simply gather and worship for the evening .....

I have no doubt it will be a day of wonder .............

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

wild moment

when a child
my wild soul guided much of my life
inspiring my play
my creation
and my friendships
as I grew up
slowly and surely
cloaked my soul in all sorts of civilized clothing
as most of us do
my wild soul came up in me now and again
but it had no place
or support
and its tenderness shrank from the world
eventually I chose the “should” life
anxious to put behind me
the dangers of living with my tender soul exposed
however after years of this
despite my best efforts to keep everything in order
my suffocating soul cried out
causing a need to create a life
nourishing my soul
and honoring my tender heart
nurturing a soulful, creative life that is of benefit to others
requires tenderly reconnecting with my wild soul
creating a loving
nonjudgmental space
for my tender parts to gain footing and courage

Monday, May 19, 2008

poustinia moment

although the calendar declared May
my winter season had been long crying out
for a poustinia moment
and at last

seeking the path where there is no trail
head bowed under drooping branches
carefully stepping around new life budding the forest floor
over and around the mossy rock

I was finally there ........

to discover I was not the only visitor

a messy little mouse has made himself quite at home
the birds again entrusting their nest to the window ledge
water quietly resting in the swamp
rocky hills echoing blackbird calls

it was silent inside

I saw the crack
in the closed door
I had never noticed it before
and this made me think of David
this gentle worshipper
far off in England
whose eloquent words about cracks
I quoted a year or so ago in this very blog
who has recently entered
and so enriched my life

shoes off
head down on the well worn desk
the tears finally came
there are not many places
where it is safe to cry
where no one will try to make it stop
make it better
to ease their own discomfort

like an unplugged well
the hot saltiness of grief
poured out
the rain falling
like a steady drumming
was strangely comforting
as if all outside was grieving with me
and the more I cried
the more I needed to cry
then it slowed
and stopped
and I heard singing

lost in wonder
I rested
only when peace filled my spirit
my soul
and my body
I left

I left the building
but not the poustinia

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

tender moment

One day I was looking at a man with a disability.
In his hand he held a tiny wounded bird.
He had made his hand into a little nest,
neither so open that the bird would fall out,
nor so closed that it would be crushed.
The nest was a reassuring place in which the bird could grow
so as to fly one day to freedom.
A mother's arms are a nest for a child,
not to possess or imprison him,
but to give him security
so that one day he can fly away.
Tenderness is like this. .

- Jean Vanier

Saturday, May 10, 2008

message moment

and so
just now I received a phone call
from a friend
who is presently seeking the heart of God
on a prayer retreat
in the hills of Israel

and the message was

I just felt compelled to call you
and tell you that you are a very good mother

there is a pondering wonder to this season
that is very wide
and very deep

bridge moment

there are times
the pains of others
the pains of me
pass over my heart
like vehicles crossing a bridge

some seasons the passing is quick
and some seasons slower

lately though
the bridge of my heart is bearing the weight
of a stalled pain

this pain remains parked
not moving forward
and not receding

is it simply that the pain is so big
so wide
such a heavy load
that it needs to cross over slowly
in order to completely reach the other side

fortunately the footings of my heart
are embedded in solid Rock

there is a creaking
a groaning
a stretching
some cracks being exposed
but the underpinnings are holding

as the weight of it increases
a new sound is being birthed
an ebbing and flowing sound
like the rising and falling sounds of labour

it is necessary to flow with its rhythm
to breathe
and not push

and in time
this will either pass over
or crush me

but even in a crushing
it will be a falling on the Rock

Sunday, May 04, 2008

lament moment

do you hear the sound of my broken heart
do you taste the salt of my tears
do you feel the groan of my grief
do you see the emptiness of my arms
do you touch the depths of my despair

this pain is mine
but more than mine

it is a mother heart pain
the pain of all mothers missing their sons
not knowing

in the winter of their lives
some needing to ask forgiveness
some needing to receive forgiveness

sons who are lost
sons who are missing
sons given away
sons stolen, gripped by darkness

can you hear me

do you not know of this wrenching ache in my spirit

am I to sorrow alone

how long is my song to be sung in a minor key

this is my lament Lord

hear my cries
heal the land of my sick heart

and yet


and in my choosing
I now understand it is not even my cry

it is yours