Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Our Inherent Interconnectedness

Sometimes life lessons come from the simplest items. Recently for me, it was an apple core. Let me explain.

On Wednesdays, I bring my lunch to work. The schedule for that day makes it difficult to go out for lunch and we have a wonderful courtyard with tables and chairs, flowers, and abundant shade. I enjoy being outside anyway, so it’s always a pleasant break in the day.

Last Wednesday, I noticed an apple core in the chair next to mine. I bring apples most weeks, and place the core at the base of a plant, since I know the core will compost. A squirrel knew it had found a treat, carried it to the table and sat in a chair like a person to dine! While I didn’t get to see the actual event, I enjoyed the mental image it brought forth.

On Tuesday mornings, we have a service of morning prayer in our prayer center. Many mornings I enjoy sipping my coffee prior to prayer while looking out the windows of the prayer center. A fence of brick lattice is visible outside the windows, and the windows also overlook the courtyard. I often see squirrels and birds, and when the season and weather cooperate, I get to see the sun hit the side of our sanctuary building. There is a particular spot on the brick fence that is often littered with acorn shells, evidence that a squirrel has had a meal there.


When I looked out the window yesterday, there was an apple core in that spot! I laughed out loud, thinking about how much my lunch leftovers are being appreciated by our church’s nearest neighbors. It was a reminder, a lesson for me about how all creation is connected, that every act we take affects others, whether we are aware of it or not. We know it if we remember our science lessons—the trees produce oxygen we need to breathe, and we produce carbon dioxide that the trees need to breathe. Yet we don’t always live like we know this, or else we would be more careful about our environment.

This is only one example of how our lives depends on the lives of everything and everyone else. We are dependent on one another far more than many of us realize. People you will never meet made your clothes, tended and harvested your food and assembled most of the products you use every day. When we act as if some people don’t matter, as if they are disposable, we harm ourselves, not only our way of life but also our souls.

All we do, for good, for ill, or simply unknowingly, has a ripple effect, just as we are affected by the actions, beliefs and choices of others. An apple-eating squirrel reminded me of that. May we all be more aware of our interconnectedness and live every day with care, remembering that our neighbors include all of creation.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Three Haiku from Ireland

On Easter Monday, I traveled to Ireland for a writing retreat, giving my blog a rest while generating fresh ideas for future posts. Today I offer three haiku written in the ruins of the church named for St. Colman Mac Duach.


Ancient prayer grows
from the stone. Small fern speaks life
into hopeful hearts.


Warmh of holiness.
Sanctuary of silence.
Eternity speaks.


I offer my heart
on this ancient altar as
prayers seep from stones.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Yes!

2 Corinthians 1:19-20

Christ is risen and so am I:
   my first thought on waking today.
What great surprise—
   the powers that rule are overthrown
   not by force but by love.
Greed, jealousy, hate, fear outwitted.
Peace, joy, grace, abundance flow
drowning the armies of small-mindedness.

Sing, dance, praise the God of life,
the God of love,
the God of YES!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Holy Saturday

1 Kings 19:11-13

Holy Saturday recalls those times of waking up
to find no miracle. What you hoped was a dream
isn’t.
The pain of loss sharp, acute.
The storm has wreaked its havoc.
Life as it was is gone
forever.
Shock and disorientation immobilize.
The mind too numb to imagine new.
Be still.
Wait.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Forsaken

Mark 15:33-34

It may be the aloneness after death,
when all have returned to their homes
and you are left with memories and emptiness.
It may be the grind of medical treatments
that ravage body and spirit
by their seeming neverendedness.
It may be a child's innocent request for candy
that makes the heart ache,
weighed against unpaid bills and an empty refrigerator.
It may be the weariness of living
with misunderstanding, betrayal and false accusation.
It may be the daily fear of deportation
or bullying or prejudice.
It may be the experience of exile with no place to go
or a caregiver who receives no respite.
It may be a man who hangs on a cross.

Forsakenness is the darkest of days,
the deepest pit, the absolute emptiest . . . hopelessness.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

God Who Understands

Psalm 56

When life abruptly changes
   God have mercy on me.
When friends become betrayers
   God have mercy on me.
When I have been wrongly accused
   God have mercy on me.
When the next step is utterly dark
   God have mercy on me.
When I feel alone in the wilderness
   God have mercy on me.
When I struggle to trust you
   God have mercy on me.
Remind me of your faithful love,
   God of mercy.
Be my companion, my savior,
   God of gentleness.
All my hope is in you,
   God who overcomes.
You have traveled the path of suffering yourself
   and you travel it with me.
Thanks be to you, O God.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Entombed

John 11:1-44

Jesus, I think of you crying at the grief of your friends,
Martha and Mary, and over the death of Lazarus.
Even in your tears you were disparaged by others.
We can be so cynical and mean to each other.
Maybe your tears were also because of that.

Today, Christ, you still cry for those entombed and those
who love them, whether the tomb is death,
prison, disease, oppression or fear.
You cry for the cynics, the proud and powerful who
do not even know they are dead, who are unaware
they are entombed by their pride, their power, their hate.
The stench is terrible and you cry.
But you do not turn away.
You remove the stone.
You call us out of the tomb.
You unbind us and set us free.
You have the power to speak us into life.
Are we listening?