Reflections about being the Good Samaritan and needing the Good Samaritan

Asking for help is never a sign of weakness. It’s one of the bravest things you can do. And it can save your life. ― Lily Collins

Being asked to help can sometimes be as difficult as asking for it, because it can feel awkward, uncomfortable, aggravating and inconvenient. Yet we are called to open the door to inconvenience. ― Cindee Snider Re

From what I’ve seen, it isn’t so much the act of asking that paralyzes us–it’s what lies beneath: the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of rejection, the fear of looking needy or weak. The fear of being seen as a burdensome member of the community instead of a productive one.It points, fundamentally, to our separation from one another.― Amanda Palmer

There are many different kinds of power. True power comes from serving and helping others.— Dalai Lama

Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you. — Mother Teresa

You can always give something, even if it is only kindness. — Anne Frank

Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver. — Barbara De Angelis

SONGS about ASKING FOR or GIVING HELP:

May we realize that this earth is sacred and live accordingly.
May the suffering arising from oppression, hatred, and fear be righted and remedied.
May all those in the grips of insecurity be released to the safety of understanding.
May those weighed down by grief be given over to compassion.
May those lost in delusion find relief in the path of wisdom.
May all wounds to forests, rivers, deserts, oceans, all wounds to the earth be witnessed and healed through our right action.
May we work for the ending of suffering from consumerism, the climate catastrophe, war, economic disparity, racism, sexual violence, and the abuse of children.
May those in refugee camps and prisons find their way home, with our support.
May those who are alone or abandoned by friends and family, and those who are unsheltered find a safe and loving harbor in community.
May we have deep time in practice with each other and in the solitudes, to be taught by sangha and by silence, so that we have the courage and equanimity to be a source of love and wisdom for all beings.
May we all have the health, wisdom, and energy to serve in the years ahead.
May all awaken and awaken others.
— Roshi Joan Halifax

His Holiness Dalai Lama’s DAILY PRAYER
Excerpt from Shantideva’s Way of the Bodhisattva

May all beings everywhere
Plagued by sufferings of body and mind
Obtain an ocean of happiness and joy
By virtue of my merits.
May no living creature suffer,
Commit evil, or ever fall ill.
May no one be afraid or belittled,
With a mind weighed down by depression.
May the blind see forms
And the deaf hear sounds,
May those whose bodies are worn with toil
Be restored on finding repose.
May the naked find clothing,
The hungry find food;
May the thirsty find water
And delicious drinks.
May the poor find wealth,
Those weak with sorrow find joy;
May the forlorn find hope,
Constant happiness, and prosperity.
May there be timely rains
And bountiful harvests;
May all medicines be effective
And wholesome prayers bear fruit.
May all who are sick and ill
Quickly be freed from their ailments.
Whatever diseases there are in the world,
May they never occur again.
May the frightened cease to be afraid
And those bound be freed;
May the powerless find power,
And may people think of benefiting each other.
For as long as space remains,
For as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then may I too remain
To dispel the miseries of the world.

PRAYER — Thomas Merton

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

ABOUT NEEDING HELP

Dependence starts when we are born and lasts until we die. We accept our dependence as babies and ultimately, with varying degrees of resistance, we accept help when we get to the end of our lives. But in the middle of our lives, we mistakenly fall prey to the myth that successful people are those that help rather than need, and broken people need rather than help. Given enough resources, we can even pay for help and create the mirage that we are completely self-sufficient. But the truth is that no amount of money, influence, resources, or determination will change our physical, emotional, and spiritual dependence on others.Brené Brown

Brene Brown has found through her research that women tend to feel shame around the idea of being ‘never enough’… at home, at work, in bed, never pretty enough, never smart enough, never thin enough, never good enough… Men tend to feel shame around the fear of being perceived as weak, or more academically, ‘fear of being called a pussy’. Both sexes get trapped in the same box for different reasons.

If I ask for help… I am not enough.
If I ask for help… I’m weak.

It’s no wonder so many of us don’t bother to ask, it’s too painful. ― Amanda Palmer

Praying is admitting you don’t got this, but you know God does. ― Richelle E. Goodrich

There is no weakness in asking. If we wait for someone to give us what we want, chances are we might never get it. ― Abhishek Ratna

It may sound paradoxical, but strength comes from vulnerability. You have to ask the question to get the answer, even though asking the question means you didn’t know. ― Majid Kazmi

Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help. — Brené Brown.Say and do something positive that will help the situation; it doesn’t take any brains to complain. — Robert A. Cook

When a person’s down in the world, I think an ounce of help is better than a pound of preaching. —  Edward Bulwer-Lytton

When we feel weak, we drop our heads on the shoulders of others. Don’t get mad when someone does that…Be honored. For that person trusted you enough to, even if subtly, ask you for help. — Lori Goodwin

If you’re in trouble, or hurt or need – go to the poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help – the only ones. — John Steinbeck

When you’re too religious, you tend to point your finger to judge instead of extending your hand to help. — Steve Maraboli

Life provides ample opportunity to test our mettle. When circumstances call for it, let’s give ourselves a break and ask for help. — Gina Greenlee

Refusing to ask for help when you need it is refusing someone the chance to be helpful. —  Ric Ocasek

Being first to ask for help in a friendship takes courage and humility. — Afton Rorvik

Take the risk to ask for whatever you need and want. If someone says no, you will not lose anything. If someone says yes, you have a lot to gain. — Abhishek RatnaHowever, if you find you can’t help yourself, there’s no shame in asking others for help. Sometimes asking for help is just as heroic as giving it. — Chris Colfer

In our communion with God, we are so busy presenting our problems, asking for help, seeking relief that we leave no moments of silence to listen for God’s answers. — Alice Hegan Rice

The only mistake you can make is not asking for help. — Sandeep Jauhar

There is no shame in asking for help; it is one the most courageous things you’ll ever do and will lead to greater connection with those around you. — Laura Lane

Sometimes the loudest cries for help are silent. — Harlan Coben

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, because when you’re still in the state of trying to fix the unfixable, everything bad is engaged: the chatter of your mind, the tension of your physiology, all the trunks and wheel-ons you carry from the past. It’s exhausting, crazy-making. — Anne Lamott

SOURCES of HELP

With our love, we could save the world. — George Harrison

Great leaders are willing to sacrifice the numbers to save the people. Poor leaders sacrifice the people to save the numbers. — Simon Sinek

In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. — Carl Sagan

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. — John F. Kennedy

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools. — John Muir

If we pollute the air, water and soil that keep us alive and well, and destroy the biodiversity that allows natural systems to function, no amount of money will save us. — David Suzuki

I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t. — Audre Lord

Music will save the world. — Pablo Casals

You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want. —  Zig Ziglar

The power of the ballot we need in sheer defense, else what shall save us from a second slavery? — W.E.B. Dubois

I learned that I can’t save the world, but I can help a child at a time. — Afeni Shakur

Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives. — Tony Robbins

There are good people who are dealt a bad hand by fate, and bad people who live long, comfortable, privileged lives. A small twist of fate can save or end a life; random chance is a permanent, powerful player in each of our lives, and in human history as well. — Jeff Greenfield

If you want what you’re saying heard, then take your time and say it so that the listener will actually hear it. You might save somebody’s life. Your own, first. — Maya Angelou

The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That’s what poetry does. — Allen Ginsberg

Mental health can improve overall well-being and prevent other illnesses. And since mental health problems have a serious economic impact on vulnerable communities, making them a priority can save lives and markedly improve people’s quality of life. — Vikram Patel

There is no person that love cannot heal; there is no soul that love cannot save. — Carlos Santana

I don’t believe our works save us, but I believe they follow us into heaven and bring glory to God. — Max Lucado

Bullying is killing our kids. Being different is killing our kids and the kids who are bullying are dying inside. We have to save our kids whether they are bullied or they are bullying. They are all in pain. — Cat Cora

It’s not new that architecture can profoundly affect a place, sometimes transform it. Architecture and any art can transform a person, even save someone. — Frank Gehry

But where do we even start on the daily walk of restoration and awakening? We start where we are. We find God in our human lives, and that includes the suffering. I get thirsty people glasses of water, even if that thirsty person is just me. My friend Tom goes through the neighborhood and picks up litter, knowing there will be just as much tomorrow. We visit those shut-ins whom a higher power seems to have entrusted to our care – various relatives, often aging and possibly annoying, or stricken friends from our church communities, people in jails or mental institutions who might be related to us, who benefit from hearing our own resurrection stories. My personal belief is that God looks through Her Rolodex when She has a certain kind of desperate person in Her care, and assigns that person to some screwed-up soul like you or me, and makes it hard for us to ignore that person’s suffering, so we show up even when it is extremely inconvenient or just awful to be there. ― Anne Lamott

Meditations on who is invited? Sitting down to the wedding banquet (or not)

That you need a village, if only for the pleasure of leaving it. Your own village means that you’re not alone, that you know there’s something of you in the people and the plants and the soil, that even when you are not there it waits to welcome you. — Cesare Pavese

Welcome home my dear, you are arrived. — Elton John

If you’ve ever been homesick, or felt exiled from all the things and people that once defined you, you’ll know how important welcoming words and friendly smiles can be. – Stephen King

Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast. — William Shakespeare

Welcome the present moment as if you had invited it. Why? Because it is all we ever have. — Pema Chodron

Welcome those big, sticky, complicated problems. In them are your most powerful opportunities. — Ralph Marston

Welcome to my house! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of the happiness you bring! — Bram Stoker

A smile is the universal welcome. —  Max Eastman

SONGS about WELCOME & INVITATION (Or Not):

WELCOMING BLESSING — Jan Richardson

When you are lost
in your own life.

When the landscape
you have known
falls away.

When your familiar path
becomes foreign
and you find yourself
a stranger
in the story you had held
most dear.

Then let yourself
be lost.
Let yourself leave
for a place
whose contours
you do not already know,
whose cadences
you have not learned
by heart.
Let yourself land
on a threshold
that mirrors the mystery
of your own
bewildered soul.

It will come
as a surprise,
what arrives
to welcome you
through the door,
making a place for you
at the table
and calling you
by your name.

Let what comes,
come.

Let the glass
be filled.
Let the light
be tended.
Let the hands
lay before you
what will meet you
in your hunger.

Let the laughter.
Let the sweetness
that enters
the sorrow.
Let the solace
that comes
as sustenance
and sudden, unbidden
grace.

For what comes,
offer gladness.
For what greets you
with kindly welcome,
offer thanks.
Offer blessing
for those
who gathered you in
and will not
be forgotten—

those who,
when you were
a stranger,
made a place for you
at the table
and called you
by your name.

Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can. — Dalai Lama

BLESSING THE THRESHOLD — Jan Richardson

This blessing

has been waiting for you

for a long time.

While you have been

making your way here,

this blessing has been

gathering itself,

making ready,

biding its time,

praying.

This blessing has been

polishing the door,

oiling the hinges,

sweeping the steps,

lighting candles

in the windows.

This blessing has been

setting the table

as it hums a tune

from an old song

it knows,

something about

a spiraling road

and bread

and grace.

All this time

it has kept an eye

on the horizon,

watching,

keeping vigil,

hardly aware of how

it was leaning itself

in your direction.

And now that

you are here,

this blessing

can hardly believe

its good fortune

that you have finally arrived,

that it can drop everything

at last

to fling its arms wide

to you, crying

welcome,

welcome,

welcome.

TO COME HOME to YOURSELF — John O’Donohue

May all that is unforgiven in you,
Be released.

May your fears yield
Their deepest tranquilities.

May all that is unlived in you,
Blossom into a future,
Graced with love.

Inspired by Joy Harjo’s Perhaps the World Ends Here, a collection of student poetry about everyday objects such as the kitchen table:

Mrs. Nazimek, 8th Grade, Washington

At The Table — Bryanna P.

At the table I play / games like Monopoly.
At the table I sometimes / get yelled at.
The table is like a sign / of bringing everyone together.
The table has been / through a lot and still
has not managed to chip / or break.
The table is a very / special thing.
At the table we laugh, / talk and sometimes even / fall asleep.
At the table there are / so many memories that / will never be forgotten.

Untitled — Maribel R.

The world begins at a dining room table.
You would eat at this table
This table had all my birthday cakes
This table had all my family dinners
All my homework has been done at this table.
After having so much homework on this
table I thought the table would collapse
Under the table are legs and my
dog spread out in the middle.
This table had our family gatherings.
This table has never been moved.
At this table we talk about anything.
This table has held my life together.
this table has seen sadness and
happiness.
This world will end at the dining
room table, while we are laughing
and having happiness.

Kitchen TableEmily A.

We eat at this table,
delicious food that we can’t get sick of.
each day we converse at this talbe.
we talk about the good
and the bad…
We have heard some tragic things.
Other things were wonderful
We all reunite at this table.
It’s the only time we can be together.
It’s what got us closer,
What made us stronger,
What made us weaker,
What made us happier.
But whatever happens in the end,
we’ll all be together,
laughing, talking and gossiping
at the kitchen table.

Mrs. Strus, 7th Grade, Washington

Table of Memories — Gabriella S.

The table si where I enjoyed eating dinner with my
family.
The table is where I aged, and where everyone would
sing for me at each birthday.
the table is where we had long talks about life
and what it’s become.
The table is where I told my parents what I wanted to
be when I grew up.
the table is where I was taught to behave.
The table is where we played hours of games
as a family.
Lastly, the table is where I live and learn the
meaning of life.

The TableCesar L.

I have worked very hard
at the table. I hope to meet
family members I have never seen
at this table. There have been
fights at this table. Tears have
dropped on this table. I have cleaned
this table. It’s a brown wooden
table.

WELCOME — Stephen Dunne

if you believe nothing is always what’s left
after a while, as I did,
If you believe you have this collection
of ungiven gifts, as I do (right here
behind the silence and the averted eyes)
If you believe an afternoon can collapse
into strange privacies-
how in your backyard, for example,
the shyness of flowers can be suddenly
overwhelming, and in the distance
the clear goddamn of thunder
personal, like a voice,
If you believe there’s no correct response
to death, as I do; that even in grief
(where I’ve sat making plans)
there are small corners of joy
If your body sometimes is a light switch
in a house of insomniacs
If you can feel yourself straining
to be yourself every waking minute
If, as I am, you are almost smiling . . .

About WELCOME

The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.— Emily Dickinson

The stories we love best do live in us forever. So, whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.— J.K. Rowling

One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. – Jean Vanier

To all my friends without distinction I am ready to display my opulence: come one, come all; and whosoever likes to take a share is welcome to the wealth that lies within my soul. — Antisthenese

God sends a welcome. —  John Herschel

We are made for goodness. We are made for love…We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know. We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders…all are welcome. – Desmond Tutu

Welcome to the present moment. Here. Now. The only moment there ever is. — Eckhart Tolle

Sometimes the hurdles aren’t really hurdles at all. They’re welcome challenges, tests. — Paul Walker

I’m open for choices. I always welcome new ideas. I’m always eager to learn. I’m never going to close my mind from learning. — Cesar Millan

Good company, good wine, good welcome, can make good people. — William Shakespeare, from The Life of King Henry the Eighth

Welcome every morning with a smile. Look on the new day as another special gift from your Creator, another golden opportunity to complete what you were unable to finish yesterday. Be a self-starter. Let your first hour set the theme of success and positive action that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no start at all. You were not born to fail.— Og Mandino

Welcome the challenges. Look for the opportunities in every situation to learn and grow in wisdom. — Brian Tracy

If the sign on your heart says “WELCOME”, the love will come pouring in from everywhere. — Susan Jeffers

Welcome out of the cave, my friend. It’s a bit colder out here, but the stars are just beautiful. —Plato

Joy waits on welcome, not time. – Robert Holden

When we are generous in welcoming people and sharing something with them some food, a place in our homes, our time-not only do we no longer remain poor: we are enriched. — Pope Francis

Sometimes, challenges and struggles are exactly what we need in our lives…May you welcome every effort, every struggle, and every challenge…May you open your wings and fly! — Miranda Kerr

For each and all I bid thee a grateful welcome home. — John Greenleaf Whittier

Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. — Henry Nouwen

There’s no substitute for a great love who says, ‘No matter what’s wrong with you, you’re welcome at this table. – Tom Hanks

Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air, and you. — Langston Hughes

I will always welcome joyfully any opportunity that comes my way to be of service to you. – Vincent de Paul

Only flowers of buckwheat
Can still be served on the mountain road,
To welcome you here.
— Matsuo Basho, translated by Toshiharu
Oseko

Cuckoo,
were you invited by the barley 
plumed with seed?
— Matsuo Basho translated by David Landis Barnhill

The GUEST HOUSE — Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

MORNING OFFERING
— John O’Donohue


Bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal in me
Welcomes the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Waves of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

REMEMBER — Joy Harjo

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
Remember.

POEMS that WRESTLE with WELCOME

WELCOME — Susan Eisenberg

Everything you thought you knew

must be relearned overnight.

How to walk.

Walk, not trip, over cords, 2x4s,

used coffee cups, concrete cores.

Walk, 40 pounds on your shoulder, across

rebar or a wood plank; glide,

not wobble, not look like the bounce

beneath each bootstep scares you.

How to dress yourself

to work outdoors all day midwinter

and keep warm, keep working, fingers moving;

or midsummer, with no hint of breasts.

How to climb ladders–

not a stepstool or a 4-footer–

ladders that stretch up two stories

where someone’s impatient

for that bundle of pipe.

How to get coffee–

hot and how they like it–to a crew

spread out 10 floors; to carry muffins

three blocks in a paper sack

through sheets of rain.

How to look.

To never go back empty-handed

when you’re told, Grab me a This/That

from the gangbox, if all you’ve done

is move things around, poke here and there;

if you haven’t emptied out the full contents

so the journeyman won’t shame you

by finding This/That in a quick minute,

after you’ve said, We don’t have any.

How to be dependable

but not predictable-provokable.

Not the lunch break entertainment.

How to read

blueprints,

delivery orders,

the mood on the job;

how long it’s okay to sit down for coffee;

how early you can start rolling up cords.

How to do well in school

from the back row

of a seats-assigned-Jim-Crow classroom

How to learn tricks-of-the-trade

from someone who does not like you.

How to listen, to act-don’t-ask.

To duck when someone motions, Duck!

Or when someone tells you, Don’t talk to Zeke,

to know what they mean

so you don’t even look

at Zeke, the ironworker who’s always first out,

last in, standing there, so four times a day–

start, lunch, quit–all the workers walk past him,

like a sandbar, waves washing back and forth,

that catches debris.

How to pick up the phone and call your friend,

the only one of the women not at class

the night the apprenticeship director met you all

at the door

carrying the nervous rumor

that one of the women had been raped

and you all look at each other

and it wasn’t any of you five.

How to respond–within protocol–

when someone takes your ladder or tools,

imitates your voices on the loudspeaker,

spraypaints Cunt on your Baker staging,

urinates in your hardhat,

drives to your home

where you live alone

with your daughter

and keys your truck parked

in your own driveway.

Later, you’ll need the advanced skills:

how–without dislodging the keystone–

to humiliate a person, how to threaten

a person. Deftly.

So no one’s certain for absolute

that’s what happened. Not even you.

THE UNITED STATES WELCOMES YOU — Tracy K. Smith

Why and by whose power were you sent?

What do you see that you may wish to steal?

Why this dancing? Why do your dark bodies

Drink up all the light? What are you demanding

That we feel? Have you stolen something? Then

What is that leaping in your chest? What is

The nature of your mission? Do you seek

To offer a confession? Have you anything to do

With others brought by us to harm? Then

Why are you afraid? And why do you invade

Our night, hands raised, eyes wide, mute

As ghosts? Is there something you wish to confess?

Is this some enigmatic type of test? What if we

Fail? How and to whom do we address our appeal?

SONG of WELCOME   Joseph Brodsky

Here’s your mom, here’s your dad.

Welcome to being their flesh and blood.

Why do you look so sad?

Here’s your food, here’s your drink.

Also some thoughts, if you care to think.

Welcome to everything.

Here’s your practically clean slate.

Welcome to it, though it’s kind of late.

Welcome at any rate.

                                        ____

Here’s your paycheck, here’s your rent.

Money is nature’s fifth element.

Welcome to every cent.

Here’s your swarm and your huge beehive.

Welcome to the place with its roughly five

billion like you alive.

Welcome to the phone book that stars your name.

Digits are democracy’s secret aim.

Welcome to your claim to fame.

                                        ____

Here’s your marriage, and here’s divorce.

Now that’s the order you can’t reverse.

Welcome to it; up yours,

Here’s your blade, here’s your wrist.

Welcome to playing your own terrorist;

call it your Middle East.

Here’s your mirror, your dental gleam.

Here’s an octopus in your dream.

Why do you try to scream?

                                        ____

Here’s your corncob, your TV set.

Your candidate suffering an upset.

Welcome to what he said.

Here’s your porch, see the cars pass by.

Here’s your shitting dog’s guilty eye.

Welcome to its alibi.

Here are your cicadas, then a chickadee,

the bulb’s dry tear in your lemon tea.

Welcome to infinity.

                                        ____

Here are your pills on the plastic tray,

your disappointing, crisp X-ray.

You are welcome to pray.

Here’s your cemetery, a well-kept glen.

Welcome to a voice that says “Amen.”

The end of the rope, old man.

Here’s your will, and here’s a few

takers. Here’s an empty pew.

Here’s life after you.

                                        ____

And here are your stars which appear still keen

on shining as though you had never been.

They might have a point, old bean.

Here’s your afterlife, with no trace

of you, especially of your face.

Welcome, and call it space.

Welcome to where one cannot breathe.

This way, space resembles what’s underneath,

and Saturn holds the wreath.

C3: COCKTAILS & CHRISTIAN CONVERSATIONS
 Fri, July 22 @ 5pm


C3: COCKTAILS & CHRISTIAN CONVERSATIONS 

PARABLES set in the VINEYARD

MATTHEW 18:23-35
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant 

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him, and, as he could not pay, the lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’
      And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’
     Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place.
      Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’  And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 
     So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

MATTHEW 20:1-16 — The Laborers in the Vineyard
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.
     When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.
     When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around, and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?
     They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
     He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’
     When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager,‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’
     When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’
      But he replied to one of them,‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”MATTHEW 21:28-31 —The Parable of the Two Sons
“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said,‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 
     He answered, ‘I will not,’ but later he changed his mind and went.
    The father went to the second and said the same, and he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go.”
    [Jesus asked] 31 “Which of the two did the will of his father?”
    They said, “The first.”

 MATTHEW 21:33-41,43-45 — The Parable of the Wicked Tenants
“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went away.
    When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first, and they treated them in the same way.
    Then he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
    But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
    [Jesus asked] “Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
    They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.” …
    “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces its fruits.

Themes from vineyard parables: loving and laborious, first and last, generous and greedy, willing and willful

Indeed, the word sacrament is derived from a Latin phrase which means “to make holy.” When hit with the glint of love’s light, even ordinary things become holy. … But our God is in the business of transforming ordinary things into holy things, scraps of food into feasts and empty purification vessels into fountains of fine wine. This God knows his way around the world, so there’s no need to fear…. There’s always enough—just taste and see. There’s always and ever enough. —Rachel Held Evans

Beer is made by men, wine by God. — Martin Luther

Today I begin a new life. Today I shed my old skin which hath, too long, suffered the bruises of failure and the wounds of mediocrity. Today I am born anew and my birthplace is a vineyard where there is fruit for all. — Og Mandino


The WINE of LOVE — James Thomson

The wine of Love is music,
And the feast of Love is song:
And when Love sits down to the banquet,
Love sits long:

Sits long and ariseth drunken,
But not with the feast and the wine;
He reeleth with his own heart,
That great rich Vine.


A DRINKING SONG W. B. Yeats

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

SONGS about OWING:

SONGS about OFFERING:

LOVE: I Am the Vineyard — Rumi

The singer sings about love, until 
the Friend appears in the doorway. 

Kitchen smoke drifts up into clouds 
and becomes a thousand-year-old wine. 

I am here, not reckoning the credit
accumulated or future speculation.

I am the vineyard and the barrel
where the grapes are crushed,

the entire operation, whose transaction
pours this glass of wine,
this moment, this poem.

A man stumbles by with baggage,
papers from the house, regret and wishing,
not knowing which to tend to. Neither.

After you see the face, concerns change,
as lakewater rises into mist.

The VINEYARD— Rudyard Kipling
At the eleventh hour he came,
But his wages were the same
As ours who all day long had trod
The wine-press of the Wrath of God.

When he shouldered through the lines
Of our cropped and mangled vines,
His unjaded eye could scan
How each hour had marked its man.

(Children of the morning-tide
With the hosts of noon had died,
And our noon contingents lay
Dead with twilight’s spent array.)

Since his back had felt no load ,
Virtue still in him abode;
So he swiftly made his own
Those last spoils we had not won.

We went home, delivered thence,
Grudging him no recompense
Till he portioned praise or blame
To our works before he came.

Till he showed us for our good–
Deaf to mirth, and blind to scorn–
How we might have best withstood
Burdens that he had not born!

THOUSANDS of WINES — Rumi
…There are thousands of wines
that can take over our minds.
Don’t think all ecstasies
are the same!
Jesus was lost in his love for God.
His donkey was drunk with barley.
Drink from the presence of saints,
not from those other jars.
Every object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.
Be a connoisseur,
and taste with caution.
Any wine will get you high.
Judge like a king, and choose the purest,
the ones unadulterated with fear,
or some urgency about “what’s needed.”…

THE WORM’S WAKING — Rumi
This is how a human being can change:
there’s a worm addicted to eating
grape leaves.
                         Suddenly he wakes up,
call it grace, whatever, something
wakes him, and he’s no longer
a worm.
                He’s the entire vineyard,
and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks,
a growing wisdom and joy
that doesn’t need
to devour.

LABORING in the VINEYARD
Training the vineyard:
https://www.arec.vaes.vt.edu/content/dam/arec_vaes_vt_edu/alson-h-smith/grapes/viticulture/extension/presentations/newgrowervinemgmt.pdf

Planting, maintaining and harvesting vineyards in first-century Israel was strenuous work requiring hard physical labor in the heat of summer. Often, additional laborers were required to get all the work done.  — Gotquestions.org

The most intimate contact between man and nature occurs during pruning. Observe, breathe, walk around and sense, above all sense. Before we prune, we must first study the vineyard, but most importantly, we must love it
      Pruning is to the vine what a new building is to an architect. The first steps at the beginning of the year; the beginning of the process of the life cycle of our vines, the most significant decision in the cycle of the vineyard; choosing which wine we want to create from each plot, where it all begins.
     It is one of the tasks carried out with the utmost respect, attention, sensitivity and one that requires the most experience and wisdom. All the work which takes place throughout the year is important, but pruning is probably the most relevant, since the quality and the quantity of the grape and the wine that will be obtained later depends on how well it is performed. — from Raventos i Blanc, ful article :https://www.raventos.com/web/module_travel/blog/en/poda/

Vineyards and shining harvests, pastures, arbors, And all this our very utmost toil Can hardly care for, we wear down our strength Whether in oxen or in men, we dull The edges of our ploughshares, and in return Our fields turn mean and stingy, underfed, And so today the farmer shakes his head, More and more often sighing that his work, The labour of his hands, has come to naught. – Lucretius

Every person should guard the vineyard where he has been called to labor. – Sunday Adelaja

Any man who, having planted a vineyard, has not yet reaped the benefits should do so at once, so that he does not die in the struggle and leave it for another to enjoy. – Paulo Coelho

It was with good reason that God commanded through Moses that the vineyard and harvest were not to be gleaned to the last grape or grain; but something to be left for the poor. For covetousness is never to be satisfied; the more it has, the more it wants. Such insatiable ones injure themselves, and transform God’s blessings into evil. – Martin Luther

IN the VINEYARDS of TERAMO
for Franco — Laura Apol
1.
You are named for the man
who told you stories
of the vineyards of his youth
when you, too, were learning
the ways of love. There was the sun.
There was the light.
There were the vines and grapes,
the thick spread of honey
across breasts, belly and thighs,
and the gift of pleasure
a man can give and taste
in a woman’s skin.
It was a fine-­‐-­‐grained photo
of his life, oceans ago—
your grandfather creating with words
the land he had left and the man
he had been, carrying love
on his tongue for the rest of his years.
2.
We will know it together, someday—
that Adriatic light, the lush vines
covering the hillsides of Abruzzo,
and the hum of bees
threaded through the sweet smell
of ripening grapes.
And when at last
we lie down in that vineyard,
the hushed echo of grapes alive in the air,
I will call you by the name
you and he share—the name of a man
who passed on
the pleasures of skin and tongue,
the sweetness of light,
and the warm honeyed taste of Teramo.
3.
Say this is the place, these
the hillsides your grandfather
wandered, the thick vines he loved.
Picture his stained fingers
handling these curling tendrils,
these blossoms and shoots.

By night we taste the fruit,
breathe in its color, roll its velvet
names on our tongues:

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo,
Pepe Trebbiano, vintage Aurora—
the complex palate
of a wine-­‐-­‐maker’s dream. By day, too,
we sample the vines, live into the story
you learned long ago:
clay lime soil at my back, Gran Sasso peaks
and thunder in the distance—
the sky opening as I unlock your name.
And so we are soaked by Abruzzi rain,
here in the vineyards that speak to you
of home, and passion quickening
across continents and time.
Say this is the sweetness
your young grandfather tasted—
you, the future
he pressed himself toward.

ODE to WINE Pablo Neruda
Day-colored wine,
night-colored wine,
wine with purple feet
or wine with topaz blood,
wine,
starry child
of earth,
wine, smooth
as a golden sword,
soft
as lascivious velvet,
wine, spiral-seashelled
and full of wonder,
amorous,
marine;
never has one goblet contained you,
one song, one man,
you are choral, gregarious,
at the least, you must be shared.
At times
you feed on mortal
memories;
your wave carries us
from tomb to tomb,
stonecutter of icy sepulchers,
and we weep
transitory tears;
your
glorious
spring dress
is different,
blood rises through the shoots,
wind incites the day,
nothing is left
of your immutable soul.
Wine
stirs the spring, happiness
bursts through the earth like a plant,
walls crumble,
and rocky cliffs,
chasms close,
as song is born.
A jug of wine, and thou beside me
in the wilderness,
sang the ancient poet.
Let the wine pitcher
add to the kiss of love its own.

My darling, suddenly
the line of your hip
becomes the brimming curve
of the wine goblet,
your breast is the grape cluster,
your nipples are the grapes,
the gleam of spirits lights your hair,
and your navel is a chaste seal
stamped on the vessel of your belly,
your love an inexhaustible
cascade of wine,
light that illuminates my senses,
the earthly splendor of life.

But you are more than love,
the fiery kiss,
the heat of fire,
more than the wine of life;
you are
the community of man,
translucency,
chorus of discipline,
abundance of flowers.
I like on the table,
when we’re speaking,
the light of a bottle
of intelligent wine.
Drink it,
and remember in every
drop of gold,
in every topaz glass,
in every purple ladle,
that autumn labored
to fill the vessel with wine;
and in the ritual of his office,
let the simple man remember
to think of the soil and of his duty,
to propagate the canticle of the wine.

COMMENTARY on VINEYARD PARABLES

… Really, this parable isn’t about the workers. It’s about landowner.  This is God’s Vineyard, God’s table, God’s Kingdom and God’s world. We don’t make the invitation list and we don’t dole out the gifts. And it’s a good thing too because no doubt we would try to make it all fair. No doubt we’d make sure everyone got what they deserved. But God isn’t fair. God is irrationally and irresponsibly generous. His mercies are infinite, offensive, new every morning.
     We think the miracle is that our coworkers get to share in the reward, but the miracle is that any of us get to share in the work. The miracle is that God comes to the marketplace, pulls us out, hands us shovels and baskets and clippers, and puts us to work. If  we want in on this Kingdom, if we want in on this work, we best set aside our small notions of what it means to deserve, what it means to be fair, and what it means to earn. Because what makes God’s grace offensive isn’t who it leaves out, but who it lets in…starting with you and me. Fair’s got nothing to do with it.  — Rachel Held Evans, full article: https://rachelheldevans.com/blog/lectionary-workers-vineyard-landowner

We poison the wine as He decants it into us; murder a melody He would play with us as the instrument … — CS Lewis

What makes this the kingdom of God is not the worthiness or piety or social justicey-ness or the hard work of the laborers…none of that matters. It’s the fact that the landowner couldn’t manage to keep out of the marketplace. He goes back and back and back, interrupting lives…coming to get his people. Grace tapping us on the shoulder…And so, I reminded those seven pastors specifically, including the man who introduced me to grace, that the kingdom of God was just like that exact moment in which sinners/saints are reconciled to God and to one another…In the end, their calling, and their value in the kingdom of God comes not from the approval of a denomination or of the other works, but in their having been come-and-gotten by God. It is the pure and unfathomable mercy of a God that defines them and that says, ‘pay attention, this is for you. — Nadia Bolz-Weber

I feel like the vineyard owner and the tree all at once.  Like I’m my own defendant, judge and jury at the same time.  And I’d love nothing more than to stand here and say that this only happens once in awhile but the fact is it happens all the time. Impatience with myself and others.  Which is why eventually this little parable really broke my heart. Because once I realized that I felt like the tree and the vineyard owner at the same time, both the one who does not produce and the one who harshly judges the lack of production..well when I realized that it felt amazing to make the next jump – which is to realize that God is the one in our lives who steps in with a big sledgehammer of grace and advocates for us saying “one more year” Another year.  Another month.  Another week.  Another day.  This is what God comes to us offering like an endless deferment of your student loan. — Nadia Bolz-Weber

Of FRUIT & CUP

Wine is sunlight, held together by water. — Galileo Galilei

Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile — Homer

Wine is a living liquid containing no preservatives. Its life cycle comprises youth, maturity, old age, and death. When not treated with reasonable respect it will sicken and die. — Julia Child The sun had already set behind the mountains, and the sky had been drained of color. The trellises of sauvignon blanc flowed down the hill in even rows toward the valley floor. Whatever I was looking for, it wasn’t outside. As far as I could tell, the grapes were minding their own business. – Frederick Weisel

Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.– Benjamin Franklin

Groves of orange and lemon perfumed the air, their ripe fruit glowing among the foliage; while, sloping to the plains, extensive vineyards spread their treasures. Beyond these, woods and pastures, and mingled towns and hamlets stretched towards the sea, on whose bright surface gleamed many a distant sail; while, over the whole scene was diffused the purple glow of evening. – Ann Radcliffe

Every season hath its pleasure; Spring may boast her flowery prime, Yet the vineyard’s ruby treasuries brighten Autumn’s sob’rer time. – Thomas Moore

Would the valleys were your streets, and the green paths your alleys, that you might seek one another through vineyards, and come with the fragrance of the earth in your garments. – Kahlil Gibran

My only regret in life is that I did not drink more wine. — Ernest Hemingway

Men are like wine – some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age. — Pope John XXIII

Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read. — Francis Bacon

GO WORK in MY VINEYARD — Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Go work in my vineyard, said the Lord,
And gather the bruised grain;
But the reapers had left the stubble bare,
And I trod the soil in pain.

The fields of my Lord are wide and broad,
He has pastures fair and green,
And vineyards that drink the golden light
Which flows from the sun’s bright sheen.

I heard the joy of the reapers’ song,
As they gathered golden grain;
Then wearily turned unto my task,
With a lonely sense of pain.

Sadly I turned from the sun’s fierce glare,
And sought the quiet shade,
And over my dim and weary eyes
Sleep’s peaceful fingers strayed.

I dreamed I joined with a restless throng,
Eager for pleasure and gain;
But ever and anon a stumbler fell,
And uttered a cry of pain.

But the eager crowd still hurried on,
Too busy to pause or heed,
When a voice rang sadly through my soul,
You must staunch these wounds that bleed.

My hands were weak, but I reached them out
To feebler ones than mine,
And over the shadows of my life
Stole the light of a peace divine.

Oh! then my task was a sacred thing,
How precious it grew in my eyes!
‘Twas mine to gather the bruised grain
For the “Lord of Paradise.”

And when the reapers shall lay their grain
On the floors of golden light,
I feel that mine with its broken sheaves
Shall be precious in His sight.

Though thorns may often pierce my feet,
And the shadows still abide,
The mists will vanish before His smile,
There will be light at eventide.

WILD GRAPES

— Robert Frost – 1874-1963

What tree may not the fig be gathered from?

The grape may not be gathered from the birch?

It’s all you know the grape, or know the birch.
As a girl gathered from the birch myself
Equally with my weight in grapes, one autumn,
I ought to know what tree the grape is fruit of.
I was born, I suppose, like anyone,
And grew to be a little boyish girl
My brother could not always leave at home.
But that beginning was wiped out in fear
The day I swung suspended with the grapes,
And was come after like Eurydice
And brought down safely from the upper regions;
And the life I live now’s an extra life
I can waste as I please on whom I please.
So if you see me celebrate two birthdays,
And give myself out of two different ages,
One of them five years younger than I look-

One day my brother led me to a glade
Where a white birch he knew of stood alone,
Wearing a thin head-dress of pointed leaves,
And heavy on her heavy hair behind,
Against her neck, an ornament of grapes.
Grapes, I knew grapes from having seen them last year.
One bunch of them, and there began to be
Bunches all round me growing in white birches,
The way they grew round Leif the Lucky’s German;
Mostly as much beyond my lifted hands, though,
As the moon used to seem when I was younger,
And only freely to be had for climbing.
My brother did the climbing; and at first
Threw me down grapes to miss and scatter
And have to hunt for in sweet fern and hardhack;
Which gave him some time to himself to eat,
But not so much, perhaps, as a boy needed.
So then, to make me wholly self-supporting,
He climbed still higher and bent the tree to earth
And put it in my hands to pick my own grapes.
‘Here, take a tree-top, I’ll get down another.
Hold on with all your might when I let go.’
I said I had the tree. It wasn’t true.
The opposite was true. The tree had me.
The minute it was left with me alone
It caught me up as if I were the fish
And it the fishpole. So I was translated
To loud cries from my brother of ‘Let go!
Don’t you know anything, you girl? Let go!’
But I, with something of the baby grip
Acquired ancestrally in just such trees
When wilder mothers than our wildest now
Hung babies out on branches by the hands
To dry or wash or tan, I don’t know which,
(You’ll have to ask an evolutionist)-
I held on uncomplainingly for life.
My brother tried to make me laugh to help me.
‘What are you doing up there in those grapes?
Don’t be afraid. A few of them won’t hurt you.
I mean, they won’t pick you if you don’t them.’
Much danger of my picking anything!
By that time I was pretty well reduced
To a philosophy of hang-and-let-hang.
‘Now you know how it feels,’ my brother said,
‘To be a bunch of fox-grapes, as they call them,
That when it thinks it has escaped the fox
By growing where it shouldn’t-on a birch,
Where a fox wouldn’t think to look for it-
And if he looked and found it, couldn’t reach it-
Just then come you and I to gather it.
Only you have the advantage of the grapes
In one way: you have one more stem to cling by,
And promise more resistance to the picker.’

One by one I lost off my hat and shoes,
And still I clung. I let my head fall back,
And shut my eyes against the sun, my ears
Against my brother’s nonsense; ‘Drop,’ he said,
‘I’ll catch you in my arms. It isn’t far.’
(Stated in lengths of him it might not be.)
‘Drop or I’ll shake the tree and shake you down.’
Grim silence on my part as I sank lower,
My small wrists stretching till they showed the banjo strings.
‘Why, if she isn’t serious about it!
Hold tight awhile till I think what to do.
I’ll bend the tree down and let you down by it.’
I don’t know much about the letting down;
But once I felt ground with my stocking feet
And the world came revolving back to me,
I know I looked long at my curled-up fingers,
Before I straightened them and brushed the bark off.
My brother said: ‘Don’t you weigh anything?
Try to weigh something next time, so you won’t
Be run off with by birch trees into space.’

It wasn’t my not weighing anything
So much as my not knowing anything-
My brother had been nearer right before.
I had not taken the first step in knowledge;
I had not learned to let go with the hands,
As still I have not learned to with the heart,
And have no wish to with the heart-nor need,
That I can see. The mind-is not the heart.
I may yet live, as I know others live,
To wish in vain to let go with the mind-
Of cares, at night, to sleep; but nothing tells me
That I need learn to let go with the heart.

The VINE Thomas Merton

When wind and winter turn our vineyard
To a bitter Calvary,
What hands come out and crucify us
Like the innocent vine?

How long will starlight weep as sharp as thorns
In the night of our desolate life?
How long will moonlight fear to free the naked prisoner?
Or is there no deliverer?

A mob of winds, on Holy Thursday, come like murderers
And batter the walls of our locked and terrified souls.
Our doors are down, and our defense is done.
Good Friday’s rains, in Roman order,
March, with sharpest lances, up our vineyard hill.

More dreadful than St. Peter’s cry
When he was being swallowed in the sea,
Cries out our anguish: “O! We are abandoned!”
When in our life we see the ruined vine
Cut open by the cruel spring,
Ploughed by the furious season!

As if we had forgotten how the whips of winter
And the cross of April
Would all be lost in one bright miracle.
For look! The vine on Calvary is bright with branches!
See how the leaves laugh in the light,
And how the whole hill smiles with flowers:
And know how all our numbered veins must run
With life, like the sweet vine, when it is full of sun.

Scroll to top