Sunday, April 23, 2017

Prayer

At the beginning of  our Saturday afternoon meditation time at Hesed, our leader often dedicates a few minutes to the listening to some of John Main's talks on Christian meditation. Yesterday, I heard him encourage each of us to not think of our meditation time as our own time, but rather God's time. I found that helpful for it reminded me that the invitation to sit with God is always present. Too often my sense of time is really more of an agenda than anything else. God invites us to set our planning and plotting aside, and simply sit in the love that is God.    
 
Lately, I have been thinking of an activity assistant, whom I will call Nadia. I always think of the activity room as her room. It is bright and sunny, much like her disposition, and is always colorfully decorated with the results of her various craft projects.  She always greets us with much warmth, and enthusiastically joins us in our singing. As she sings, she helps the residents with their song sheets, talking with them and encouraging them by name. However, these elders are among the frailest of the frail; there is little, if any outward response. Yet, if you watch only Nadia, you would never guess that. Her call and response are from and to a very deep source within her.    
  
If you look at the center of this rose, you may see what looks to be a figure at prayer. At least I do. I like the image of prayer moving ever outward. This is how our prayer affects the whole world. John Main writes, "And meditation is a pure opening of the heart, a being energized by God's infinite love."     
 
May we all be energized like Nadia, and simply tend to our work with love. 
    
 
John Main, Silence and Stillness in Every Season, 1997, p. 173.  
  
  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Gift

I believe this poem succinctly and beautifully describes both the paradox of the faith journey, and the freedom that meditation offers us. In this simplicity, we expand. When are in silence together, we begin to experience the limitless being in Christ that is our reality and our destiny.  This is the gift that we are offered. Let us accept it.  
   
When we are weak, we are 
strong. When our eyes close 
on the world, then somewhere
within us the bush 
burn. When we are poor
and aware of the inadequacy 
of our table, it is to that 
uninvited the guest comes.
  
- R.S. Thomas    
 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Communion

"Even though you may be eating all by yourself, you are in communion with all. Eating is always a communion, a celebration with all those who have labored to bring you this food, with all those creatures who have lived and died to give you this food, and with all others who eat on earth."  

David Stendel-Rast, O.S.B.
Music of Silence     
     
  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Rising

Christ has risen, and so have my biscuits! Have a beautiful Easter Sunday. If you are wondering what to do this morning, come join us at Little Brown Church in Sunol. Worship begins at 10:30. Biscuits served a bit later...


“Do not cling. Let me be bigger than your heart can hold. Rise with me to a larger vision.”  
 Ann Lewin
 
                                

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Way

"Follow him there? We recoil. We close our ears. We hurry on to Easter. But we will not know what to do with Easter’s light if we shun the friendship of the darkness that is wisdom’s way to light." 
   
 Richard John Neuhaus    
   
May those who sow in tears 
reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping
bearing the seeds for sowing
shall come home with shouts of joy, 
carrying their sheaves.  

Psalm 126:5-6    



Friday, April 14, 2017

Carrying Easter

I experienced several tender moments this week, especially in the memory care communities. I was able to sing with John, and I again enjoyed his beautiful voice. I know he plays piano, but I have never heard him play. I asked him, as I always do, if he was still playing. He usually replies that he plays very little now. This week, however, he responded, "No, God has returned that gift to heaven. I think someone else is needing it. But, I am grateful that I had it for awhile." 
  
Later in the week, I was surprised to see Jewel. She must have moved away and then moved back because I have not seen her for over a year.  In the past she has entertained us with stories of growing up on a farm in Idaho, but now her words are garbled. As I listened, an image came to mind of balls rolling down a set of stairs, impossible to catch or control.  She joined us for the hymn sing, and although she held the song sheet she did not sing.  Yet, when we all started singing from memory hymns like "Amazing Grace," and "I Come to the Garden," she joined in without reservation. I told her how glad I was to hear her singing.  She responded in a clear voice, "Oh, I had no idea that I was doing that."  Then, her words began to tumble once more.    
Jewel's comment reminded me of Mary whom I was with a few days prior. Mary can no longer read and when I ask her if she knows a hymn, she will usually respond that she cannot remember. Yet, she sang in a choir for many years, so if I begin singing, she readily joins in with a lovely clear voice. I think there are many layers to memory - the mind beneath the mind.      
In the communities I serve, every worship service is an Easter service.  We celebrate the living Christ who is always with us. The cross is celebrated as well because these good people certainly know what it is to pick up their cross and go.  We speak of death, and mourn those who have passed. In order to practice not being afraid, we sing our alleluias whenever we can, and at times, even when we can't.    
   
During our good-byes yesterday, Betty said, "Thank you for adding your Easter to ours."  If each of us did just that, what a glorious life this could be. 
  
Yes, I know this is Good Friday, a day of somber reflection. Jesus, please forgive me, but you know I must start out the day at the temple of Mel's Tires. I simply must get a tire fixed. I still have a ways to go and I am grateful.  
I was glad when they said to me, 
"Let us go to the house of the Lord!"
Psalm 122:1
  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Solace

New things are possible for us in our life
once we acknowledge the inner mess.
Jesus comes to life here and now, 
And if we begin saying: 
"Where we are, he has been,
"​

we begin to hear the other side of this great message, 
"Where he is, we shall be."  
  
Rowan Williams