How do you place God — holy healing Love — first? How do you care for yourself? How do you care for your neighbor? How do you love the home — creation — in which you and your neighbor abide? How do you love the un-loveable?
What are the edges of how and who you love? What are the limits of how you allow yourself to be loved in return?
Fire of love, crazy over what You have made. Oh, divine Madman. — Prayer of Catherine Siena
O you who’ve gone on pilgrimage – where are you, where, oh where?
Here, here is the Beloved! Oh come now, come, oh come!
Your friend, he is your neighbor, he is next to your wall –
You, erring in the desert – what air of love is this?
If you’d see the Beloved’s form without any form –
You are the house, the master, You are the Kaaba, you! . . .
Where is a bunch of roses, if you would be this garden?
Where, one soul’s pearly essence when you’re the Sea of God?
That’s true – and yet your troubles may turn to treasures rich –
How sad that you yourself veil the treasure that is yours!
— Rumi ‘I Am Wind, You are Fire’
Translation by Annemarie Schimmel
Continue reading “Meditations on loving God, neighbor & self: themes from Mark”
Do you feel heard? Seen? Recognized? Beloved?
Here are Rev Barbara Brown Taylor’s thoughts on the Love who insists one being Present and bears Witness to our lives:
“I use the word “sacred” to describe something that grounds me in this world and opens me up to another world all at the same time. Oceans usually do it, especially in the middle of summer storms. The kindness of strangers does it. Getting sick does it, especially if I am so sick that I cannot do anything for myself. Being present at the birth of a new human being does it, and so does being between the sheets with someone I love. I could go on. I use the words “holy” and “divine” to describe the same phenomena. They almost involve the sense that there is a Witness to my life, a Consciousness that is for me in the best situations but also in the worst, where this Sacredness is working around the clock to make life out of death for me and every other living thing.”
We had seen God in His splendors,
heard the text that Nature renders.
We had reached the naked soul of man.
— Ernest Shackleton
I know that when I pray, something wonderful happens.
Not just to the person or persons for whom I’m praying,
but also something wonderful happens to me.
I’m grateful that I’m heard.
— Maya Angelou
The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.
― Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi, The Illuminated Rumi
Continue reading “Reflections on being heard & listening: themes from Hebrews”
How will you come boldly into the presence of God, of Love? What does it mean, for you, to trust that you will receive the help you require, if not the help you desire, even if you cannot possibly merit it? Have you ever felt such a moment, being utterly loved and supported? Have you ever offered that sort of love and support to someone else? What sort of grace, or help, do you need?
How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold?
Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root,
and in that freedom bold.
— William Wordsworth (excerpt)
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute –
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated —
Begin it, and the work will be completed!
— John Anster (excerpt) translation of Part One of
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s“Faust”
Dream a big dream, a bold dream. Don’t play conservatively between the 40 yard lines. Don’t just play it safe. — Robert Kraft
Fortune befriends the bold. — Emily Dickinson
Be bold, be brave enough to be your true self. — Queen Latifah
Shine like the whole universe is yours. — Rumi
Continue reading “Reflections on boldness, mercy & grace: themes from Hebrews 4”
This week at church: Mon: JCC @ Sandwich Fair for Honduras Hope, Wed – Fitness with Laurie McAleer, Thurs – Pastor’s Drop-In Hours @ Glen Ledge Store & Gas Station & Yoga with Anjali Rose, Fri – Pastor’s Drop-In Hours @ J-Town & Pastor’s Office Hours @ church, Sat – Men’s Breakfast, Sun – Worship, Youth Games, & Finding Our Why report. Community events: Fri – Jackson Historical Society reception for new exhibition and art show & sale, Sun – Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk. Hold the Date: Ukama Dinner for Zimbabwe delegates, Wentworth Charity Ball and Neighbor to Neighbor.
Continue reading “This Week at Jackson: Oct 8-14”
Is conflict always a bad thing or might it be a chance to grow? What is your response to conflict? How might you move from holy conflict to sacred response: hope, healing, resilience, and reconciliation? — Rev Gail
Excerpt from commentary by Chanequa Walker-Barnes: Conflict is not a threat that needs to be prevented or extinguished. It is an important dynamic for the growth and health of any organization. In fact, as Margaret Kornfeld states in her book, Cultivating Wholeness, the healthier that a community is, the more potential there is for conflict to emerge. Perhaps this is the understanding of conflict that the author of Proverbs had in mind when they wrote, “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another” (Prov. 27:17 NRSV). When conflict is expressed, acknowledged, and worked through, it can be a blessing that facilitates growth, strength, and positive innovation. The challenge for us is to learn how to be comfortable with the tension that conflict creates. After all, we don’t want to block the blessing.
Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (excerpt) — Joy Harjo
“I am the holy being of my mother’s prayer and my father’s song”
—Norman Patrick Brown, Dineh Poet and Speaker
Recognize whose lands these are on which we stand.
Ask the deer, turtle, and the crane.
Make sure the spirits of these lands are respected and treated with goodwill.
The land is a being who remembers everything.
You will have to answer to your children, and their children, and theirs—
The red shimmer of remembering will compel you up the night to walk the perimeter of truth for understanding.
As I brushed my hair over the hotel sink to get ready I heard:
By listening we will understand who we are in this holy realm of words.
Do not parade, pleased with yourself.
You must speak in the language of justice.
Continue reading “Meditations on seeds of conflict & fruits of wisdom: hope, healing, resilience & reconciliation: themes from James 3”
THIS WEEK at Jackson Community Church and Around Town
TUE, Sept 18 – SUN, Sept 23
At JCC: Tue – deacons mtg, Wed – council mtg, Thurs – yoga, Sat – JCC walks for Azheimers cure in Portland, ME, Sun – faioth formation & worship. Community events: Gibson Center steering committee, hold the dates for Habitat for Humanity’s Honey Do Auction and the Wentworth Charity Ball (must ask to be added to invitation list if you haven’t already received an invite) and Neighbor to Neighbor volunteer winterizing initiative.
Continue reading “This Week: TUE, Sept 18 – SUN, Sept 23”
Reflections on first responders in anticipation of First Responders Sunday (Sept 16 at Jackson Community Church) and ‘losing life to gain life’ as themes from Mark 8.
I find myself wondering: How do we discern what we should be fierce about? How do we choose what we will hold on to, and what we need to release? … Some crosses are made of what we take on; some crosses are made of what we let go … Where is this place in your own life? How do you discern what you will hold on to, what you will claim and fight for, and what you will release? How does this choosing, this discerning, draw you closer to … what God might imagine for your life? — Jan Richardson
Continue reading “Reflections on First Responders and ‘Losing Life to Gain Life’”
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. — Gandhi
Have you ever experienced a “work of mercy” (“good deeds for the benefit of the neighbor”) to be a two-way street? — Tanya Barnett
Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life
— St Francis of Assisi
The Good You Do: Taking Action
It is not enough to be compassionate: you must act. — The Dalai Lama
Continue reading “Reflections on action & service: advocating and helping others and ourselves. Themes from Jame 2 and Matthew 7.”
Poem ― Charlotte Eriksson
… so this is for us.
This is for us who sing, write, dance, act, study, run and love
and this is for doing it even if no one will ever know
because the beauty is in the act of doing it.
Not what it can lead to.
This is for the times I lose myself while writing, singing, playing
and no one is around and they will never know
but I will forever remember
and that shines brighter than any praise or fame or glory I will ever have,
and this is for you who write or play or read or sing
by yourself with the light off and door closed
when the world is asleep and the stars are aligned
and maybe no one will ever hear it
or read your words
or know your thoughts
but it doesn’t make it less glorious.
It makes it ethereal. Mysterious.
For it belongs to you and whatever God or spirit you believe in
and only you can decide how much it meant
and will forever mean
and other people will experience it too
Through your spirit. Through the way you talk.
Through the way you walk and love and laugh and care
and I never meant to write this long
but what I want to say is:
Don’t try to present your art by making other people read or hear or see or touch it; make them feel it. Wear your art like your heart on your sleeve and keep it alive by making people feel a little better. Feel a little lighter. Create art in order for yourself to become yourself
and let your very existence be your song, your poem, your story.
Let your very identity be your book.
Let the way people say your name sound like the sweetest melody.
So go create. Take photographs in the wood, run alone in the rain and sing your heart out high up on a mountain
where no one will ever hear
and your very existence will be the most hypnotising scar.
Make your life be your art
and you will never be forgotten.
Continue reading “Reflections on songs & singing”