Reflections on vows, theme from Book of Ruth

My whole life changed when I decided not just what I’d like to do, but when I decided who I was committed to being and having in my life. — Tony Robbins
The Four Great Bodhisattva Vows
Shu jo mu hen sei gan do. Bon no mu jin sei gan dan.
Ho mon mu ryo sei gan gaku. Butsu do mu jo sei gan jo.
Sentient beings are numberless; I vow to save them all.
Desires are inexhaustible; I vow to end them all.
The Dharma Gates are infinite; I vow to enter them all.
The Buddha Way is unexcelled; I vow to attain it completely.

The Road to Emmaus (excerpt) —  Spencer Reece
But if I get nothing right,
I must try to get a nuance of our friendship
and his sponsorship right—
we were bound, bound by a vow, a vow of attention
(there are many causes for attention, among them redemption).
Our attention concerned the spirit,
although that sounds pious and we were not so pious,
we were more selfish, more human than pious.
What else can I say?
I needed a liberator
and liberators can come in some unexpected guises.
I may never wholly explain the two of us.
Perhaps the spirit defies the human mind …

On Making & Keeping Vows

Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work. — Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Vows are powerful things … They set things in motion. ― John C. Wright, Orphans of Chaos

Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come. ― Rumi

We want to renew our vows with our people. We want to reconnect with our people. We want to get our people excited again. — Cyril Ramaphosa

Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us. Society is stronger when we make vows to each other and we support each other. I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a conservative. ― David Cameron

It was a vow we made those long years ago. Neither of us spoke of it afterwards, but it hung between us like a spider web, fragile and easy to break, but danged hard to get shed of once the threads took hold. ― Cassie Dandridge Selleck, The Pecan Man

Riotous madness, To be entangled with those mouth-made vows, Which break themselves in swearing! ― William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra

There was something of relative freedom in that feudal gesture of the vow; for no man asks vows from slaves …  ― G.K. Chesterton

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them. ― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

Vows made in storms are forgotten in calm. — Thomas Fuller

Blind obedience is itself an abuse of human morality. It is a misuse of the human soul in the name of religious commitment. It is a sin against individual conscience. It makes moral children of the adults from whom moral agency is required. It makes a vow, which is meant to require religious figures to listen always to the law of God, beholden first to the laws of very human organizations in the person of very human authorities. It is a law that … can never substitute for personal morality. ― Joan D. Chittister

On Wedding Vows

The papers say we’re married, but it’s the heart that writes the love story. ― Anthony Liccione

With the Mother Earth and Father Sun here to witness I give you my everlasting oath. My body is created of this Earth and belongs to it, but my soul belongs only to you. Even when this body succumbs and fades, my soul will continue to look after you even unto the next life, and the next, forever. ― Kazusa Takashima, Wild Rock

Blood of my Blood … and bone of my bone. You carry me within ye … and ye canna leave me now, no matter what happens, You are mine, always, if ye will it or no, if ye want me or nay. Mine, and I wilna let ye go. ― Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber

Among men and women, those in love do not always announce themselves with declarations and vows. But they are the ones who weep when you’re gone. Who miss you every single night, especially when the sky is so deep and beautiful, and the ground so very cold. — Alice Hoffman

The forsaking of all others is a keeping of faith, not just with the chosen one, but with the ones forsaken. The marriage vow unites not just a woman and a man with each other; it unites each of them with the community in a vow of … responsibility toward all others. ― Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays, “The Body and the Earth”

Two people fall in love, and decide to see if their love might stand up over time, if there might be enough grace and forgiveness and memory lapses to help the whole shebang hang together. — Anne Lamott

Tue, July 17 – Sun, July 22

This Week at Jackson Community Church

At church: Tue – Matter of Balance, Wed – Tune-Up Fitness & Council Mtg, Thurs – Pastor’s Hours & Yoga, Sat – Ron Hill Celebration of Life, Sun – Worship with Diana Germain and choir. Plus community events with Jackson Public Library, Tin Mountain Cons Ctr, and Dine to Donate at Shannon Door. Upcoming dates: Mountain Top Music home concert in Jackson and father-daughter fundraising bike ride.

Continue reading “Tue, July 17 – Sun, July 22”

Tue, July 10 – Sun, July 15: This Week at Jackson Community Church

Highlights: Tue: Pastor’s Hours 9-11am & Matter of Balance class @ church, Wed: Pastor’s Hours @ JTown Deli & Tune-Up Fitness Class @ church, Thurs: Yoga @ church, Sat: Men’s Group @ Wentworth, Sun: Interfaith Gathering & Worship. Plus community events with Jackson Public Library and Tin Mountain Conservation Center.

Continue reading “Tue, July 10 – Sun, July 15: This Week at Jackson Community Church”

Themes in anticipation of Independence Day: social and spiritual freedom

I Hear America Singing Walt Whitman
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

On Political and Social Freedom

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. — Benjamin Franklin

The function of freedom is to free someone else. — Toni Morrison

Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance. — Woodrow Wilson

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. — George Orwell

Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation. — Coretta Scott King

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. — Nelson Mandela

Peace is more than just the absence of war. True peace is justice, true peace is freedom. And true peace dictates the recognition of human rights. — Ronald Reagan

Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought. — Pope John Paul II

On Spiritual Freedom

Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. These give us the utlimate human freedom … The power to choose, to respond, to change. — Stephen Covey

Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain … To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but to embrace it. — Kevyn Alcouin

All great spirituality teaches about letting go of what you don’t need and who you are not … At that place, you will have nothing to prove to anybody and nothing to protect. That place is called freedom. It’s the freedom of the children of God. ― Richard Rohr

Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free. — Thich Nhat Hahn

Free of who I was, free of presence, free of dangerous fear, hope, free of mountainous wanting. — Rumi

There’s freedom in hitting bottom, in seeing that you won’t be able to save or rescue your daughter, her spouse, his parents, or your career, relief in admitting you’ve reached the place of great unknowing. This is where restoration can begin. — Anne Lamott

Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom. — Hannah Arendt

To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment. — Eckhard Tolle

Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you. — Jean-Paul Sartre

Dreams of freedom & justice as themes from prophet Ezekiel

My Mind Stayed on Freedom  — Spiritual adapted by Odetta Holmes (Well, I) woke up this mornin’ with my mind stayed on freedom Oh well, I’m walkin’ and talkin’ walkin’ and talkin’ with my mind stayed on freedom … Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah.

Musings on Justice

Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. — Reinhold Niebuhr

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst. — Aristotle

Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph. — Haile Selassie

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. — Frederick Douglass

Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both. — Eleanor Roosevelt

Election days come and go. But the struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just the one percent – a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice – that struggle continues. — Bernie Sanders

Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door. — Charles Dickens

Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do. — Wendell Berry

If you want peace work for justice. — Pope Paul VI

Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens. — Plato

In the real world, as lived and experienced by real people, the demand for human rights and dignity, the longing for liberty and justice and opportunity, the hatred of oppression and corruption and cruelty is reality. — John McCain

I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice. — Albert Camus

Dreams of Freedom & Justice

I Am Waiting (excerpt) Lawrence Ferlinghetti
… I am waiting for a rebirth of wonder and I am waiting for someone to really discover America and wail …

I Have a Dream … When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was the promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness … I have a dream today! … This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with … With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.  And this will be the day … And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. — Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream (excerpt)

AmericaAllen Ginsberg
America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing … America this is quite serious. America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set. America is this correct? I’d better get right down to the job … America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

AmericaClaude McKay
… I will confess I love this cultured hell that tests my youth. Her vigor flows like tides into my blood, Giving me strength erect against her hate, Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood …

Learning to love America (excerpt) — Shirley Geok-Lin Lim
… because I say we rather than they

… because my senses have caught up with my body

my breath with the air it swallows
my hunger with my mouth
because I walk barefoot in my house
because I have nursed my son at my breast
because he is a strong American boy
because I have seen his eyes redden when he is asked who he is
because he answers I don’t know
because to have a son is to have a country
because my son will bury me here
because countries are in our blood and we bleed them
because it is late and too late to change my mind
because it is time.

This Week: June 26-July 1

This Week at Jackson Community Church
Highlights: Tue – Pastor’s Hours, Matter of Balance Class; Wed – Pastor’s J-Town Hours, Tune-Up Fitness Class, Groundwater Protection (Whitney); Thurs – Yoga, Children’s Hospital Program (Boston), AA; Fri – MIssion Team; Sun – Interfaith Gathering (gazebo), Worship with Independence Day Themes, BBQ for BAILEY FAMILY (Main St, Wildcat), Fireworks (Jackson park)

Continue reading “This Week: June 26-July 1”