Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Finding the Starting Point

"Don't start by trying to love God, or even people; love rocks and elements first, move to trees, then animals, and then humans. Angels will soon seem like a real possibility, and God is then just a short leap away." 

Father Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ (p.57)
photograph: San Leandro, June 2019

Might be good to carry a small stone in our pockets - for those times when we find we need to get back to the basics. This idea  also helps me understand mandalas a little more. May we all find someone or something to love today.  Start small if you need to.  We will be led ever on.   


    
    

Monday, June 3, 2019

Morning Questions

dreamed of a fish 
covered with expertly 
placed glinty scales. 
With bright eyes wide open 
it moved silently through  
the glittery waters.
Light was everywhere. 
  
I woke thinking of 
 Apostle Paul's 
knowing  we are  
clothed in Christ. 

Can I really move so freely, 
donned in such light, 
breathing in and breathing out, 
going only where the river 
takes me , 
trusting in that great flow?    
 
Really, where and how else 
could I possibly go?     
   
say,  June 2019   
  
"... for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."   
Galatians 3:26-27

Friday, May 31, 2019

Repair Work

Last night I dreamed 
that a friend gave me a typewriter. 
I had forgotten about it. 
I found it lying in a dusty corner 
of a  ramschackle house I did not live in. 
Lots of things had been left in the house, 
I think about three floors worth. 

It had taken awhile to reach 
the house 
but the gentle path was beautiful 
lined green with shady trees and plants.  
Walking back (to where?) 
from it was so pleasant. 
I had to apologize to my friend 
for forgetting about the typewriter
as I wondered how to use it.  
  
I then dreamed of being underwater. 
Not scary, but so free and blue. 
I felt no temperature 
surely like an unborn child would know
no temperature other than perfect. 
Other people were in this sea, 
we were all having fun 
minding our own sea-business, 
even swimming upside down 
looking like pencils.    
 
A smiling man  
drove up in his large truck.  
He said not to worry; 
He would repair the house.   
But first, he, too, went swimming, 
diving so deep that I did worry.     
 
He arose laughing,
just like Jesus.   
  
say, May 31, 2019

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Light of Wisdom

My gratitude to Father Richard Rohr who sent me (by way of his book The Universal Christ, page 32-33) to the passage below. It is from the Wisdom of Solomon which is found in the Apocrypha.  It is worth seeking out a Bible that does contain these texts.  This passage reminds me of the revelations of Julian of Norwich.  She wrote of a God who is only love, a love that is continually being poured out. I think this is what Father Rohr means when he writes of the "Forever Coming of Christ" which he describes as  "...the light that allows people to see things in their fullness. The precise and intended effect of such a light is to see Christ everywhere else....A mature Christian sees Christ in everything and everyone else. That is a definition that will never fail you, always demand more of you, and give no reason to fight, exclude, or reject anyone."  As I ponder how best to be in relationship with someone I find truly difficult, I would do well to remember that Christ is forever coming, revealing, and patiently calling us all to be transformed by love.  How do we let the work that God is doing in all our hearts shine?  This I struggle with even as I know we are all a divine work in progress, being formed in love. The sooner we "see" this, the better, and that includes me.      


But you are merciful to all, for you can do all things,
and you overlook people’s sins, so that they may repent.
For you love all things that exist,
and detest none of the things that you have made,
for you would not have made anything if you had hated it.
How would anything have endured if you had not willed it?
Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved?
You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living.
For your immortal spirit is in all things.
Therefore you correct little by little those who trespass,
and you remind and warn them of the things through which they sin,
so that they may be freed from wickedness and put their trust in you, O Lord. 

  
 Wisdom of Solomon 11:23-12:2   




photograph: San Leandro, May 2019 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Revisiting

The following post and photograph are from May 26, 2016, and they appeared on my Facebook page today.  Both fit with my experience this morning  when I served Communion in a community dedicated to memory care. The pianist could not join me, but even without music, several of the residents seemed to appreciate the simple service. I was grateful to be with them. The activity assistant seemed relieved just to be able rest awhile and take Communion. She is now wearing a brace on one knee - a reminder that the work in long-term care is not easy.
 +++

Last night I dreamed of someone I know who resides in a skilled nursing community. In the dream I walk into a round white building. It looks to be a small church. I know I have been away for awhile, but I am welcomed into a discussion. As I settle in, I look out one of the windows that is just above where I am sitting. There I see Keith leaving, and I am hopeful he will see me. He does pause, and he smiles and waves. I return the wave. I cannot help but comment, "He looks great." The others agree. Keith walks on. He still has his cane, but his gait is easy.

I woke with the phrase, "Luke 15." This morning I see the story of the Prodigal Son, and I wonder if Keith has shed this worn-out life. His body and mind have been failing for awhile now. As I write this, I remember that he recently took Communion. I have known him for a few years, and he has always smiled and declined the bread and cup, saying, "He is with me." Yet, that day, something had changed for him. Afterwards, he told me a little of his childhood in Oklahoma. He seemed happy.

Last night I also dreamed that I am sitting with God on a valley floor. I have a sense the trek down had not been easy, but sitting there, although it was kind of dark, maybe like twilight or an early pre-dawn morning, I feel a sense of peace. I realize that the ground is level and that God is there. In the dream I think, "Oh, so this is what rock bottom looks like." I know I am safe. Not only safe; I am happy.

To serve Communion to those who are at the end of their lives is a profound, humbling experience. It is to witness an ancient love affair that is beyond time and knows no limitations. It is when I am at my simplest, and when I often witness the most. It is a feast on the valley floor.


"Quickly, bring out a robe - the best one - and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet... let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!"

Luke 15:22    
     

Friday, May 24, 2019

Finding Home

While I will often stop by a garage sale or a thrift store, I generally avoid estate sales.  Going through objects that belonged to someone who has passed feels disrespectful.  Therefore, when I saw that there was an estate sale going on a few houses down, I made no plans to visit.  I left our house and went about my work as usual, stopping by the market on my way home.  Yet, as I was unpacking the groceries, I thought of LaVerne, and wondered if I could find something that would remind me of her spiritual life.  She converted to Catholicism as an adult, and over the years I think we both enjoyed our conversations about faith and church.  She even helped me in my ministry once a month.  She and Ms. Cleo, my elder standard poodle who has also passed, made a popular pair of chaplains.  I often felt I was simply the chauffeur who happened to preach. I picked up my purse and decided to visit. 

The living room  was set up with tables, and a wide variety of objects were available. Many I recognized.  I walked over to the mantle, and there I found this St. Francis. I had never seen him before, but I knew she had a lot of objects in her garage that I never saw.  I smiled when I noticed he was missing an arm.  It looks like it was repaired at one point, but goodness knows what happened to the missing limb.  I decided he should come home with me. 
  
Then I walked into the kitchen, and there a deep peace came over me.  It's not that I sensed her presence, but I think I felt what drew her to buying the house.  She told me that as soon as she walked into the house she knew she wanted to live there, and she did for many years.  As I stood in the kitchen, I was barely aware of other people moving around me.  I was in another time.  I looked out her kitchen window and pondered her apple tree and the gift of Granny Smith apples that would grace our front porch.  I then noticed a medium sized pale green ceramic bowl, and decided to bring that home as well.  I paid a bit more than I normally would for the bowl, but I was given St. Francis.  He now has a place on my bookcase that has all kinds of found items and gifts, and yes, even books. 
  
Thank you, LaVerne.  Your last years were not easy, I know.  Yet, I believe you are at peace, and I am grateful.  

Love, 
Sue Ann    
 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Residing

"It is impossible to make individuals feel sacred inside of a profane, empty, or accidental universe. This way of seeing makes us feel separate and competitive, striving to be superior instead of deeply connected, seeking ever-larger circles of union."  
  
The Universal Chirst, Richard Rohr (p. 16)   
 
photograph:  San Leandro, May 2019