Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jesus feeds Judas

At this morning's service we read John's gospel story in which Jesus tells his disciples that someone in the room was about to betray him. All were shocked. Mystified. Baffled. And wondered who it could be? Really? They didn't have an inkling? Nothing? Nada? Hmmm....When John leans in to ask who the betrayer might be Jesus replied that it would be the one he was about to feed. Then Jesus took a piece of bread, dipped it in the dish, and gave it to Judas....So I leave you with this encouraging thought to chew on which was also read at this morning's service:

"There is a Judas in me. When Christ feeds me, he feeds all of me - the sinner and the saint alike. He feeds my Judas. He loves even that part of me. He loves "the least of these" in me. He loves the parts of me I hide from the world and deny. That is a remarkable feeding. He does not withold anything - even his body and his blood - from such a one as I."  Forward Day by Day, March 31st, 2010 

artwork:  Kiss of Judas by Ante Barisic

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Colt's recollection of Palm Sunday

A Colt, The Foal of an Ass
by Robert Siegel

"Contemplating the dust he stands
in the direct unbearable noon, tethered
to the dead thorn. His long ears hang
down, twitch and revolve as the gang of flies
brassily land and bite and ascend
in a constant small black cloud. His hide
at each bite quivers and smooths out
like this earthquake-tormented land,
while his tail, with its bathrobe tassel, larrups
and swats too late.

His eyes, half-lidded
in the bleaching light, are fixed and still,
his plain, dull face perpendicular as a post,
his forelock hanging over it.

He does not
turn toward the stranger who stands talking
with the two at the door. Only his muzzle,
soft as silk and still faintly pink,
twitches as his nostrils catch the foreign scent,
widen, and lift his lip for half a second.

lazily he turns to look, eyes glazed, indifferent,
tugs at the harsh rope once, desists,
patient with donkey patience, already learning
the rough discipline that pulled him from the grass
and his mother's side.

Now, without warning,
as if he feels a tremor underfoot,
some inaudible alarm from the world's core,
he bares his teeth and breaks the air with a sound
like a stone wrenched and crying from its center,
harsh and grating as a rusty hinge
on which the whole earth hangs.

there is a moment with a crowd roaring
in surges long and hoarse as breakers crashing,
cool, green branches to tread over the hot stones,
and flowers which offer a brief fragrance underhoof -
one moment of all those in the years that are to come
of fetching and hauling for masters bad and good,
when he does not mind what he is carrying,
when a sense of joy returns, the early smell
of grass while he first stood, unsteady, in the field
with a beast's dim sense of liberty.

Still, he cannot guess what he is carrying
and will not remember this moment in all the years
until he is worn out, lame,
until the hammer is brought down on his unsuspecting head,
his hooves melted to glue, his hide thrown to the crows -
when he shall return to this now, this always,
he continues to live in,
this moment of bearing the man,
a weight that is light and easy,
celebrated in a rough, ecstatic chorus,
toward his own fatal burden heavier than the world."

taken from A Pentecost of Finches, New & Selected Poems
by Robert Siegel, Paraclete Press, Copyright 2006

Friday, March 26, 2010

Painful Pebbles

It is not the road ahead that wears you out
– It is the grain of sand in your shoe.
Arabian proverb

photo of Shoe Tree in Middlegate, Nevada

When I'm walking & feel the pain of a pebble in my shoe
I am always surprised by how small the stone actually turns out to be.
It's often the smaller irritants of daily life that really get to me!
Absurd but True.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

the path

As we start to turn the corner
and see Holy Week on the horizon,
let us contemplate the upcoming journey
that Jesus will make on our behalf towards Jerusalem.
"You cannot travel the path
until you have become the path."
- Buddha
photo from this pilgrimage

Monday, March 22, 2010

speak in anger?

Speak when you're angry
and you'll make the best speech
you'll ever regret.
Dr. L.J. Peter

yesterday as i slowed to turn into a driveway, the driver who had been tailgating me decided to pass on the right shoulder at high speed. i honked in anger and he waved his middle digit. ah yes. even without words we can make our anger known!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

too many coats

"The original, shimmering self gets buried so deep
that most of us end up hardly living out of it at all.
Instead we live out of all the other selves,
which we are constantly putting on and taking off
like coats and hats against the world’s weather"

F. Buechner, Telling Secrets

and now that Spring has officially arrived,
what better time for a clearing out of those
"other selves"

Friday, March 19, 2010

shoulda, woulda, coulda

"Orthograph #37 - Living in the Present Moment"
is from the always brilliant Pithless Thoughts

so if you stop living in the shoulda/woulda/coulda circles,
will 'your real life' circle expand?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lucy Leprechaun

Even Lucy is getting into the "green" movement.
(In case you're concerned, rest assured that
I would never dip my dog in dye
but I would dress her in that snappy hat.)
Thanks Phil for the link:)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lucy's Love

Every time I return home my dog, Lucy, goes berserk. First there's that sweet moment when she realizes that I have returned from wherever I've been. Then there is that mad dash to get to me. This can occur at a dizzying level of speed. This is followed by the jumping up on me, the piddling, the squeaking, and the frantic tail wagging. And the length of time that I'm away doesn't seem to factor in to her uber-excitement. I can be gone a week or 20 minutes. It's all the same to Lucy. And I love it for who else is so consistently overjoyed just by my walking into their range of sight?

Here's what I know about my dog. She is the spittin' image of the Father in the parable of The Prodigal Son. You know the story, boy is unhappy with his lot in life, asks dad for his inheritance, dad hands it over, boy blows it all and has to crawl back home. He is expecting to hear a litany of "I told you so's" but instead his dad acts just like my dog. Running, kissing, hugging, and I am undone by such a display of love - as I'm sure that son was. Like the Prodigal Son's Father, Lucy's mercy is neverending. I continue to learn a lot from her.

P.S. Oh yeah, and about that "put-out attitude" of the older brother. Definitely cat behavior.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Severe Salmon

Today during lectio group, while reading aloud the parable of the prodigal son
from Luke's gospel, I tripped over my own tongue and instead of saying,
"When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country"
I said,
"When he had freely spent everything, a severe salmon struck that country."
Of course we all laughed, but as I made my way through
the rest of the reading I could only imagine
what being attacked by a severe salmon would look like
and how it would strike some poor unsuspecting country.
I don't know about you but I think I would rather suffer the famine
than face the prospect of being smacked around by
some severe salmon?

photo from here

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Lenten Fast?

Lenten Morning Routine
by Steven Robinson
snitched from here

Friday, March 5, 2010

less is truth

It does not require
many words
to speak the truth.

Chief Seattle

this goes along with my Lenten desire to fast on talking, feast on listening

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jesus, Our Holy Mother Hen

In last Sunday's Gospel from Luke, Pharisees came to warn Jesus that Herod was out to kill him. Jesus responded with a strong message for them to deliver in which he described Herod as a fox and himself as poultry. Really. Near the end of the reading Jesus had this to say about his love for Jerusalem:

"How often have I desired to gather your children together
as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,
and you were not willing!"

In Elizabeth's+ Sunday sermon she mentioned (amongst other brilliant insights) that Jesus could have compared himself to something with more power, such as a rooster, which could haved used its talons to fight the fox. Instead Jesus described himself as a mother hen. Check out this picture of a broody hen. Look at how covered up those chicks are. Is that you I see looking so dreamy under the wings of Christ? Ah yes, you do look quite protected, and oh so content. Carry on.

In my quest to find the photo I came across this blog with another insightful perspective about this Gospel reading along with a glorious mother hen prayer. And as the Lord's Prayer is so important to me during this Lenten Season I had to share what I found. I encourage you to click on the red link above to read the rest of Tammerie Day's thoughts:

"Our Mothering Hen
Who art brooding over us
hallowed be thy sheltering wings.

Forgive our unwillingness to come into your embrace
And gather us in, reluctance and all.

Free us from fear of foxes
And the sharp bite
of anything that separates us from you.

Open our eyes
To the plenty around us.
Open our hearts
That our plenty be shared.

Lead us not into contention
But into the dance of connection.

For thine is the grace that wakes us each new day
And thine is the mercy that puts our souls at ease
And thine is the love that sets our hearts alight.

For ever and ever, amen."

Tammerie Day - posted at Day at a Glance

Monday, March 1, 2010

so sorry

"I'm so sorry this happened to you"

This is a well-intentioned comment we emit frequently when someone relays distressing news. We don't want to see anyone suffer, and yet we all suffer. We really want to believe that we have at least a smidgen of control over the hills and valleys of this process of living our lives but deep down we know we don't. And so we say we're sorry that it happened in an attempt to bring comfort and express our empathy. And it always leaves us feeling inadequate.

I found this Barbara Brown Taylor quote on FB today and was moved by the reality of the work of suffering in our lives:

"Terrible things happen, and you are not always to blame.
But don’t let that stop you from doing what you are doing.
That torn place your fear has opened up inside of you is a holy place.
Look around while you are there. Pay attention to what you feel.
It may hurt you to stay there and it may hurt you to see,
but it is not the kind of hurt that leads to death.
It is the kind that leads to life."
Barbara Brown Taylor, from "Life-Giving Fear, Christian Century 1998.

and so we pray:
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves:
Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls,
that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body,
and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, Collect for 3rd Sunday in Lent

photo from here