Give thanks for what is new: relationship, belonging, place, or experience. Be grateful and attentive to whatever comes to mind, that is new in your life right now.
Appreciate its presence. Imagine its freshness. Savor its capacity to be put to use or to be discovered. What must you learn about this new and previously-unknown thing or person or place which you are noticing?
New can imply young. Immature. Just getting started. Something just created or conceived. Or new can signify that it is unfamiliar to you, has just arrived in your life, regardless of its condition, purpose, or its age. With something new comes the possibility of discovery. Of surprise. Or wonder. Of rejuvenation.
Give thanks for something new in your day or your life. — Rev Gail
“For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant. — Job 14:7-9
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them. — Revelation 21: 1-3
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! — 2 Corinthians 5:17
As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world. — Terri Guillemets
Jesus calls us to gratitude. He calls us to recognize that gladness and sadness are never separate, that joy and sorrow really belong together, and that mourning and dancing are part of the same movement. That is why Jesus calls us to be grateful for every moment that we have lived and to claim our unique journey as God’s way to mold our hearts to greater conformity with God’s own. The cross is the main symbol of our faith, and it invites us to find hope where we see pain and to reaffirm the resurrection where we see death. The call to be grateful is a call to trust that every moment of our life can be claimed as the way of the cross that leads us to new life. – Henri Nouwen
Are we allowing ourselves to be swept along by circumstances, traveling our road by default?
are we seeking to walk with intention and discernment, creating our
path with some measure of the courage and clarity by which Christ walked
his, even in the midst of forces that may lie beyond our control?
And from a different commentary by Jan Richardson:
find myself wondering, what is the way that I am preparing … Am I
clearing a path by which [Christ/Holy Love] has access to my life?
Am I keeping my eyes open to the variety of guises that Christ continues to wear in our world?
What am I lifting up, that God might come down and dance with me?
Songs About Pilgrimage, Companionship, Joy in the Presence of Death: Palm Sunday Themes
To feel the pull, the draw, the interior attraction, and to want to follow it, even if it has no name still, that is the “pilgrim spirit.” The “why” only becomes clear as time passes, only long after the walking is over. ― Kevin A. Codd
I do not understand the mystery of grace — only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us. ― Anne Lamott
When you’re in the day-to-day grind, it just seems like it’s another step along the way. But I find joy in the actual process, the journey, the work. It’s not the end. It’s not the end event. — Cal Ripken, Jr.
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument. Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. — Mevlana Rumi
And this is it. This is the life we get here on earth. We get to give away what we receive. We get to believe in each other. We get to forgive and be forgiven. We get to love imperfectly. And we never know what effect it will have for years to come. And all of it…all of it is completely worth it. ― Nadia Bolz-Weber
Little Gidding (excerpt) — TS Eliot With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time …
Renga with Kate (excerpt) — Eric Overby, There’s no better place Than in each moment with you Traveling through life Regardless of place and time, Or seasons and location …
With the right attitude, any journey to a sacred place becomes a pilgrimage. — Dalai Lama
Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart. ― Abraham Joshua Heschel
You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. — CS Lewis
It’s funny how you doubt yourself through & through, when the sun & the moon are parabolically on a pilgrimage, encircling the mecca of you. ― Curtis Tyrone Jones
There is a time for stillness, for waiting for Christ as he makes his dancing way toward us. And there is a time to be in motion, to set out on a path, knowing that although God is everywhere, and always with us, we sometimes need a journey in order to meet God—and ourselves—anew. — Jan Richardson No one is climbing the spiritual ladder. We don’t continually improve until we are so spiritual we no longer need God. We die and are made new, but that’s different from spiritual self-improvement. We are simultaneously sinner and saint, 100 percent of both, all the time … The movement in our relationship to God is always from God to us. Always. We can’t, through our piety or goodness, move closer to God. God is always coming near to us. Most especially in the Eucharist and in the stranger. ― Nadia Bolz-Weber
My ideal journey: set out early and never arrive. ― Marty Rubin
No pilgrimage is holier than compassion, no gospel is truer than kindness, no offering is grander than love. ― Abhijit Naskar
I think joy and sweetness and affection are a spiritual path. We’re here to know God, to love and serve God, and to be blown away by the beauty and miracle of nature. You just have to get rid of so much baggage to be light enough to dance, to sing, to play. You don’t have time to carry grudges; you don’t have time to cling to the need to be right. ― Anne Lamott
That very fast train reminds me that, as a pilgrim, travel is made holy in its slowness. I see things that neither the passengers of the train nor the drivers of the automobiles see. I feel things that they will never feel. I have time to ponder, imagine, daydream. I tire. I thirst. In my slow walking, I find me. ― Kevin A. Codd
My prayer is my pilgrimage. ― Lailah Gifty Akita
Pilgrimage: to journey to a sacred place. Pilgrim: a traveller or wanderer, a stranger in a foreign place. Crusaders: pilgrims with swords who attempted to conquer the Middle East. Hajj: the journey to Mecca, one of the five pillars of Islam. Shahadah, Salat, Zakat, Sawm, Hajj. Pleasant, perhaps, to say that I am a pilgrim … who isn’t a … pilgrim anyway? ― Claire North
The pilgrimage provided a sense of purpose … calmed what was restless within me, and … I noticed how the minutes slowed and the silence assembled, until the days were worth more than they had been before. ― Guy Stagg
The purpose of a pilgrimage is about setting aside a long period of time in which the only focus is to be the matters of the soul. Many believe a pilgrimage is about going away but it isn’t; it is about coming home. Those who choose to go on pilgrimage have already ventured away from themselves; and now set out in a longing to journey back to who they are. … Yet we do not need to go to the edges of the earth to learn who we are, only the edges of ourself. ― L.M. Browning
Mountains have long been a geography for pilgrimage, place where people have been humbled and strengthened, they are symbols of the sacred center. Many have traveled to them in order to find the concentrated energy of Earth and to realize the strength of unimpeded space. Viewing a mountain at a distance or walking around its body we can see its shape, know its profile, survey its surrounds. The closer you come to the mountain the more it disappears, the mountain begins to lose its shape as you near it, its body begins to spread out over the landscape losing itself to itself. On climbing the mountain the mountain continues to vanish. It vanishes in the detail of each step, its crown is buried in space, its body is buried in the breath. On reaching the mountain summit we can ask, “What has been attained?” – The top of the mountain? Big view? But the mountain has already disappeared. Going down the mountain we can ask, “What has been attained?” Going down the mountain the closer we are to the mountain the more the mountain disappears, the closer we are to the mountain the more the mountain is realized. Mountain’s realization comes through the details of the breath, mountain appears in each step. Mountain then lives inside our bones, inside our heart-drum. It stands like a huge mother in the atmosphere of our minds. Mountain draws ancestors together in the form of clouds. Heaven, Earth and human meet in the raining of the past. Heaven, Earth and human meet in the winds of the future. Mountain mother is a birth gate that joins the above and below, she is a prayer house, she is a mountain. Mountain is a mountain. ― Joan Halifax
None of your knowledge, your reading, your connections will be of any use here: two legs suffice, and big eyes to see with. Walk alone, across mountains or through forests. You are nobody to the hills or the thick boughs heavy with greenery. You are no longer a role, or a status, not even an individual, but a body, a body that feels sharp stones on the paths, the caress of long grass and the freshness of the wind. When you walk, the world has neither present nor future: nothing but the cycle of mornings and evenings. Always the same thing to do all day: walk. But the walker who marvels while walking (the blue of the rocks in a July evening light, the silvery green of olive leaves at noon, the violet morning hills) has no past, no plans, no experience. He has within him the eternal child. While walking I am but a simple gaze. ― Frédéric Gros
On Companions Interrelationship – Thich Nhat Hanh
You are me, and I am you.
Isn’t it obvious that we “inter-are”?
You cultivate the flower in yourself,
so that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself,
so that you will not have to suffer.
I support you;
you support me.
I am in this world to offer you peace;
you are in this world to bring me joy.
And for all that walk in the world in these after-days. For such is the way of it: to find and lose … But I count you blessed … for your loss you suffer of your own free will, and you might have chosen otherwise. But you have not forsaken your companions … — J.R.R. Tolkien
Those who are enjoying something, or suffering something, together, are companions. — C.S. Lewis
Is he alone who has courage on his right hand and faith on his left hand? ― Charles A. Lindbergh
… is it any wonder that we find comfort and solace in hairy, furry, and scaly companions? ― Nick Trout
People will walk in and walk out of your life, but the one whose footstep made a long lasting impression is the one you should never allow to walk out. ― Michael Bassey Johnson
Death is our constant companion, and it is death that gives each person’s life its true meaning. ― Paulo Coelho
I have no companion but Love, no beginning, no end, no dawn. The Soul calls from within me: ‘You, ignorant of the way of Love, set Me free.’ — Rumi
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things. ― Mary Oliver
On Arrival & Departure
Go. The word is my last and most beautiful gift. ― Anne Fall
If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong. ― Masaru Emoto
Well, my friends give me purple flowers and orange tea and goosedown spinning quilts and torquoise chairs we greet one another in a wild profusion of words and wave farewell amidst the wonderment of air In the laughing times we know we are lucky In the quiet times we know that we are blessed And we will not be alone. ― Dar Williams
What we’re searching for will determine where we arrive, or if we arrive. And right in the middle of such risky choices … God perfectly solving the problem by showing us what to search for and then bringing it to us. ― Craig D. Lounsbrough
You must clear out what you don’t want, to make room for what you do want to arrive. ― Bryant McGill
That (labyrinth)…became a world whose rules I lived by, and I understood the moral of mazes: sometimes you have to turn your back on your goal to get there, sometimes you’re farthest away when you’re closest, sometimes the only way is the long one. After that careful walking and looking down, the stillness was deeply moving…It was breathtaking to realize that in the labyrinth, metaphors and meanings could be conveyed spatially. That when you seem farthest from your destination is when you suddenly arrive is a very pat truth in words, but a profound one to find with your feet. ― Rebecca Solnit
To have no more running to do … to have arrived, and have no more need to run. The appetite changes. Now I think it would be a beautiful thing to be still. ― Ellis Peters
I wanted to say goodbye to someone, and have someone say goodbye to me. The goodbyes we speak and the goodbyes we hear are the goodbyes that tell us we´re still alive. ― Stephen King
Looking back I can see that there have been no breaks from one departure to the next; I start planning again before we’ve even arrived back home. ― Barbara Hodgson
Arrival in the world is really a departure and that, which we call departure, is only a return. ― Dejan Stojanovic
It is odd how, when you have announced that you are leaving, it is as if you are already gone, even if your physical departure still lies months away. ― Paul Watkins
You know, even when we leave a place, we leave our memories there and they will represent us in our absence! So, in reality, we will always continue to be in every place we depart! ― Mehmet Murat ildan
When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself. — Tecumseh
If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive. — Eleonora Duse
We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. — Buddha
Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity. — Henri Nouwen
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. — William Arthur Ward
Joy, feeling one’s own value, being appreciated and loved by others, feeling useful and capable of production are all factors of enormous value for the human soul. — Maria Montessori
Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy. — Mahatma Gandhi
For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair. — Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy. — Joseph Campbell
I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few. — Brene Brown
Joy is the serious business of Heaven. — C. S. Lewis
The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse. — Helen Keller
Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life. ― Rumi
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. ― Melody Beattie
O my Great Elder, I have no words to thank you, But with your deep wisdom I am sure that you can see How I value your glorious gifts … when I look upon your greatness, I am confounded with awe. O Great Elder, Ruler of all things earthly and heavenly, I am … ready to act in accordance with your will. — Excerpted from Kikuya Prayer (Kenya)
Savoring the Small Stuff: Ordinary Gratitude as Spiritual Practice (excerpt from full article) — Carl Gregg … ways that we can be more intentional about noticing and responding to the parts of our lives for which we are most (and least) grateful. I. Noticing… What do you tend to notice in your daily life? And why? … we could notice at any given time — different sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, or emotions — but our personalities shape what stands out to us and what fades into the background … you can amplify the power of this practice — and keep yourself accountable to regularly noticing what you are grateful for — by making a commitment to share your daily gratitude (or gratitudes) with someone else, whether it is a child, a partner, or a friend.
II. The Awareness Examen
… one of the most consistently helpful ways … is a practice called the Awareness Examen … It helps you weigh the value of various aspects of your life. The examen was first detailed by Ignatius of Loyola, the 16th century founder of the Jesuits … shorter and more accessible book by Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn called Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life. In short, the examen encourages you to respond to two questions at the end of each day either around the dinner table with your family or silently before you go to sleep: … you can ask “What am I most grateful for today?” and “What am I least grateful for today?” Over time, to add nuance, you can ask variations on your consolations such as, “Where did I feel most connected, most alive, most energized, or most loved?” Correspondingly, you can ask “Where did I feel most isolated, most enervated, or most taken for granted?”
… And as you notice patterns of what consistently makes you feel connected, alive, energized, and loved, the invitation is to find ways to cultivate more of that person, place, or activity in your life. … As you notice patterns of what consistently makes you feel isolated, enervated, or taken for granted, an invitation is to consider if you should find ways to have less of that person, place, or activity in your life.
III. The Spiritual Practice of Savoring
This practice of noticing and choosing what is life-affirming over what is life-negating can seem particularly simple or obvious: structure your life to do morefrequently those things that bring you consolation and do less frequently those things that bring you desolation … gently think back through my day, and name those things I’m grateful for. It’s honestly a great way to fall asleep: savoringthose things you are most grateful for. … Of course, all this talk about gratitude and savoring is easier said than done. Cultivating ordinary gratitude, noticing our consolations and desolations, and savoring them are all practices that happen over time. As with practicing the piano, practicing basketball, or practicing yoga, method and frequency matter … “Practices doesn’t necessarily make perfect, but it does make permanent.” … Practice makes permanent by ingraining habits that are difficult to break.
For now, with the potential stress and joy of Thanksgiving still a few days away, I invite you to spend a short time practicing the art of savoring. Ask yourself, “What am I grateful for?” Then, pause in the silence, and listen. Allow yourself to be potentially surprised about what emerges for you as a source of gratitude. As you do so, remember the guidance from Buddha’s Brain: “Make [your consolation] last by staying with it for 5, 10, even 20 seconds [or longer].” Savor this source of gratitude with your whole self. “Focus on your emotions and body sensations…. Let the experience fill your body and be as intense as possible.”
What are you grateful for in your life?
What do you need to savor?
Other articles on gratitude:
Gratitude practices by Deepak Chopra (full article): “What am I grateful for?” is one of four key questions that practitioners pose to themselves prior to entering into meditation. Such practices of gratitude bring awareness to and appreciation of the positive features within and around us, helping us to embrace life as it is with all of its imperfections. Other practices to consciously cultivate a grateful life include journaling, counting blessings, savoring positive moments, and behavioral expressions of gratitude such as thank you notes, to name a few. By cultivating gratitude, we cultivate wellbeing.
In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
One can never pay in gratitude; one can only pay ‘in kind’ somewhere else in life. — Anne Morrow Lindbergh
How I show love has always been through food. That, for me, has been the foundation of how I express gratitude for anybody around me. — Antoni Porowski
Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is the true prosperity. – Eckhart Tolle
None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy. —Fred De Witt Van Amburgh
Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty. – Doris Day
Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for. — Zig Ziglar
Happiness cannot be traveled to owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. – Denis Waitley
When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.– Anthony Robbins
What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude. – Brene Brown
When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. – Willie Nelson
Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. —Oprah Winfrey
As with all commandments, gratitude is a description of a successful mode of living. The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us. – James E. Faust
As Connection to Holiness
Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life, not just in the moments we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines. Not just in the moments when life seems easy. — Henri Nouwen
All human bodies are things lent by God. With what thought are you using them? — Terrikyo. Ofudesaki 3.41
I acknowledge my feeling and gratitude for life by praising the world and whoever made all these things. — Mary Oliver
I acknowledge with great gratitude the peace and contentment we can find for ourselves in the spiritual cocoons of our homes, our sacrament meetings, and our holy temples. — James E. Faust
Be not like those who honor their gods in prosperity and curse them in adversity. In pleasure or pain, give thanks! — Midrash, Mekilta to Exodus 20.20
O you who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and be grateful to God, if it is Him that you worship. — Qur’an 2.172
‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding. — Alice Walker
It is God who has made the night for you, that you may rest therein, and the day, as that which helps you to see. Verily God is full of grace and bounty to men, yet most men give no thanks. It is God who has made for you the earth as a resting place, and the sky as a canopy, and has given you shape–and made your shapes beautiful–and has provided for you sustenance of things pure and good; such is God, your Lord. So glory to God, the Lord of the Worlds! — Qur’an 40.61, 64
Gratitude exclaims, very properly, ‘How good of God to give me this.’ — C. S. Lewis
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. — John F. Kennedy
Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts. —Henri Frederic Amiel
You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it. —Lyndon B. Johnson
Feeling gratitude isn’t born in us – it’s something we are taught, and in turn, we teach our children. — Joyce Brothers
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. —William Arthur Ward
Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe. — Wayne Dyer
For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile. — Elie Wiesel
The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy. — Henri Nouwen
Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, hostility, worry, and irritation. It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is present-oriented. – Sonja Lyubomirsky
I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. — Brene Brown
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. —Robert Brault
It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up. — Eckhart Tolle
The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. —Dalai Lama
Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. — John Milton
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. —Albert Einstein
If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice. — Meister Eckhart
Being thankful is not always experienced as a natural state of existence, we must work at it, akin to a type of strength training for the heart. – Larissa Gomez
If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul. — Rabbi Harold Kushner
The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. —Charles Schwab
We learned about gratitude and humility – that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean… and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect. — Michelle Obama
Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. — Charles Dickens
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. — William Arthur Ward
Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful. – Buddha
Two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we take; the larger kind we feel for what we give. – Edwin Arlington Robinson
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. – Epictetus
When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ― G.K. Chesterton
When we set that table, we would do well to remember that we are not the
hosts, but the God who loves us all, and invites each and every one of
us to the feast. — Kathryn Matthews
means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter
& become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change
people, but to offer them space where change can take place. — Henri Nouwen
Everydayness (excerpt)— Emilie Townes … there are other ways in which we sit here this morning and i want to suggest that given the worlds we live in these days however we are, as we sit here this morning it’s normal the challenge, i think for all of us is this: what will we to do with the fullness and incompleteness of what we have brought to this time and place as we remember that we are in a world that we have helped make that needs a new, or perhaps ancient vision molded by justice and peace rather than winning and losing … i’m talking about what we call in christian ethics, the everydayness of moral acts it’s what we do every day that shapes us and says more about us than those grand moments of righteous indignation and action the everydayness of listening closely when folks talk or don’t talk to hear what they are saying the everydayness of taking some time, however short or long, to refresh us through prayer or meditation the everydayness of speaking to folks and actually meaning whatever it is that is coming out of our mouths the everydayness of being a presence in people’s lives the everydayness of designing a class session or lecture or reading or writing or thinking the everydayness of sharing a meal the everydayness of facing heartache and disappointment the everydayness of joy and laughter the everydayness of facing people who expect us to lead them somewhere or at least point them in the right direction and walk with them the everydayness of blending head and heart the everydayness of getting up and trying one more time to get our living right it is in this everydayness that “we the people” are formed and we, the people of faith, live and must witness to a justice wrapped in a love that will not let us go and a peace that is simply too ornery to give up on us won’t you join in this celebration?
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.
sort of privileges, status or power do you hold or inhabit? Which ones
were you born into and which ones did you earn or achieve?
How is your life segregated, so you spend your time with people like yourself?
When and how do you spend time with people different from yourself?
How do attributes of power, privilege, and status allow or interrupt your ability to make a difference?
Who is someone, holding a position of status and authority and power, whom you admire as a role model?
have you sat down with people different from yourself to eat together?
What was it like? How was it awkward or enlightening?
When have you prepared the meal for others different from yourself?
When have you been fed by others with different social identities than yourself?
On Privilege, Positions & Power
It is better to be told, ‘Come up here,’ than to be put lower in the presence of a noble. — Proverbs 25:7
That the people in her particular village were ‘the most marginalized,’
and often those furthest from her own milieu of ‘incredible social
privilege’ was what set her apart. — Dr Jonathan Jacobs (about socialite Judith Peabody)
Having power and wealth is not inherently evil; it is how one uses these
privileges that matters most to God. Is power used to oppress others or
to liberate them? Is wealth hoarded only for self-gain or shared with
those who have so little? When the human family works together on behalf
of everyone, life improves for all, and God is pleased. — Lisa Davison
When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we
would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept
vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable. — Madeleine L’Engle
We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone–but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy. — Frank Crane Do we welcome them on our terms, or with a willingness to say, “Today we are a different church because you are here in our midst, because you are part of us”? Let’s be the church, and let’s be open to the newness of what God is doing each day, the gifts brought in the person of new members, new friends, new Christians. — Kathryn Matthews
The centrality of honor in this culture teaches natives to stay always a step behind their rightful status, for it’s important that “one is not at all trying to appear or to be better than another person.” — John J. Pilch (commentary on Jewish culture in Biblical times)
Beneath all the great accomplishments of our time there is a deep current of despair. While efficiency and control are the great aspirations of our society, the loneliness, isolation, lack of friendship and intimacy, broken relationships, boredom, feelings of emptiness and depression, and a deep sense of uselessness fill the hearts of millions of people in our success-oriented world. … The radical good news is that the second love [human love] is only a broken reflection of the first love [God’s limitless love] and that the first love is offered to us by a God in whom there are no shadows … — Henri Nouwen
The churches must learn humility as well as teach it. — George Bernard Shaw
Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real. — Thomas Merton
There are people who observe the rules of honor as we observe the stars: from a distance. — Victor Hugo
A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed. — Desmond Tutu
A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you. — C.S. Lewis
Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man… It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone. — C.S. Lewis
We are rarely proud when we are alone. — Voltaire
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. — Ernest Hemingway
Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune. — C.G. Jung
With Whom Do We Eat?
Bread was important; in fact, where some eat and some do not eat, the kingdom is not present. — Fred Craddoc
When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist. — Dom Helder Camara
and hospitality in general, is a communion, and any meal worth
attending by yourself is improved by the multiples of those with whom it
is shared. — Jesse Brownerm
is hope … If you feel hopeless, go visit your cranky uncle in elder
care. Bring him flowers or a new pair of socks—nothing gives a person
more hope than a new pair of socks. Then, because you’ve brought the
hope, you will feel it. — Anne Lamott
Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect. — Brene Brown
is the practice of God’s welcome by reaching across difference to
participate in God’s actions bringing justice and healing to our world
in crisis. — Letty M. Russell
don’t practice hospitality to point other people to ourselves, our
church, or even our beliefs. We practice hospitality to point people
toward the ultimate welcome that God gives every person through Christ. —
We might even go so far as to say, that the theology of Liberation can
be understood only by two groupings of persons: the poor, and those who
struggle for justice at their side—only by those who hunger for bread,
and by those who hunger for justice in solidarity with those hungering
for bread. Conversely, liberation theology is not understood, nor can it
be understood, by the satiated and satisfied—by those comfortable with
the status quo. — Leonardo and Clodovis Boff
When you start with an understanding that God loves everyone, justice isn’t very far behind. — Emilie M. Townes
Greek word for hospitality, philoxenia, means ‘love of the stranger … banquet behavior fitting for the reign of God ought to affect dinner invitations even now. — Peluso-Verdend
Love … is not something you feel; it is something you do … Love
seeks the well-being of others and is embodied in concrete efforts in
their behalf. — Francis Taylor Gench
Jesus tells us to surprise others by our own dinner guest list, and
prepare for a “great” time, too. Perhaps we, too, will come to
understand a little better the meaning of true fulfillment and joy. — Kathryn Matthews
He comes as a guest to the feast of existence, and knows that what
matters is not how much he inherits but how he behaves at the feast, and
what people remember and love him for. — Boris Pasternak
True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each
and every person. Henri Nouwen has described it as receiving the
stranger on his own terms, and asserts that it can be offered only by
those who ‘have found the center of their lives in their own hearts.’ — Kathleen Norris
What vows, oaths, pledges and promises have you made to an individual, entity or organization?
Which covenants and promises have included a promise of love?
What promises were made to you in return? Did those reciprocal vows or promises also include love?
What practices support your ability to keep your promise?
What symbols signify those promises? Do you wear or carry them on your person?
What is the difference between a covenant and a contract?
Are you fleeing from Love because of a single humiliation?What do you know of Love except the name? … Since Love is loyal, it purchases one who is loyal: it has no interest in a disloyal companion. The human being resembles a tree; its root is a covenant with God: that root must be cherished with all one’s might. A weak covenant is a rotten root, without grace or fruit. Though the boughs and leaves of the date palm are green, greenness brings no benefit if the root is corrupt. If a branch is without green leaves, yet has a good root, a hundred leaves will put forth their hands in the end. — Rumi
Appalachian Elegy (Section 6)— bell hooks
listen little sister / angels make their hope here in these hills / follow me I will guide you / careful now / no trespass I will guide you / word for word / mouth for mouth all the holy ones / embracing us all our kin / making home here renegade marooned / lawless fugitives / grace these mountains we have earth to bind us the covenant / between us / can never be broken vows to live and let live
To every people the land is given on condition. Perceived or not, there is a Covenant, beyond the constitution, beyond sovereign guarantee, beyond the nation’s sweetest dreams of itself. — Leonard Cohen
When you look in the dictionary for the most important word, do you know what it is? It could be remember. Because all of you have made covenants — you know what to do and you know how to do it — our greatest need is to remember. — Spencer W. Kimball
Mother Earth needs us to keep our covenant. We will do this in courts, we will do this on our radio station, and we will commit to our descendants to work hard to protect this land and water for them. Whether you have feet, wings, fins, or roots, we are all in it together. — Winona LaDuke
The word ‘slavery’ and ‘right’ are contradictory, they cancel each other out. Whether as between one man and another, or between one man and a whole people, it would always be absurd to say: “I hereby make a covenant with you which is wholly at your expense and wholly to my advantage; I will respect it so long as I please and you shall respect it as long as I wish. — Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Peace does not rest in the charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of all people. So let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on paper, let us strive to build peace, a desire for peace, a willingness to work for peace in the hearts and minds of all of our people. I believe that we can. I believe the problems of human destiny are not beyond the reach of human beings. — John F. Kennedy
Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the Ark of the Covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. — Edmund Morgan
The best way to strengthen a home, current or future, is to keep covenants. — Linda K. Burton
Sociologists argue that in contemporary Western society the marketplace has become so dominant that the consumer model increasingly characterizes most relationships that historically were covenantal, including marriage. Today we stay connected to people only as long as they are meeting our particular needs at an acceptable cost to us. When we cease to make a profit – that is, when the relationship appears to require more love and affirmation from us than we are getting back – then we “cut our losses” and drop the relationship. This has also been called “commodification,” a process by which social relationships are reduced to economic exchange relationships, and so the very idea of “covenant” is disappearing in our culture. ― Timothy Keller
Dalai Lama’s Commentary
With a wish to free all beings I shall always go for refuge to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha until I reach full enlightenment.
Enthused by wisdom and compassion, today in the Buddha’s presence I generate the Mind for Full Awakening for the benefit of all sentient beings.
As long as space endures, as long as sentient being remain, until then, may I too remain and dispel the miseries of the world.
In conclusion, those who like myself, consider themselves to be followers of Buddha, should practice as much as we can.
To followers of other religious traditions, I would like to say, “Please practice your own religion seriously and sincerely.”
And to non-believers, I request you to try to be warm-hearted. I ask this of you because these mental attitudes actually bring us happiness. As I have mentioned before, taking care of others actually benefits you. — 14th Dalai Lama
Holy Covenants: Jewish & Christian Commentary
In legal language, a covenant generally denotes an agreement between two or more parties. But in a religious context, a covenant is much more significant. It is a sacred promise with God. [God] fixes the terms. — Russell M. Nelson
God doesn’t want us to have rigid rituals with Him. In the new covenant, He is more interested in having a relationship with us. — Joseph Prince
The Israelites frequently forsook God, and he as frequently forsook them. But when they repented and returned to him, he remembered his covenant and delivered them from their distresses. — Adoniram Judson
A covenant made with God should be regarded not as restrictive but as protective. — Russell M. Nelson
The work of man is to respond to the Covenant by obeying the commandments of the Torah, those commandments that can be obeyed here and now. — David Novak
Then God establishes his Covenant with Noah, and with his sons, “and with every living creature.” Many recall the Covenant with Noah, but forget the Covenant with all other living Beings. However, God does not forget it. He repeats the terms “all flesh” and “every living creature” a number of times, to make sure we get the point. No one can make a Covenant with a stone: for a Covenant to exist, there must. be a minimum of two live and responsible parties to it. Therefore the Animals are not senseless matter, not mere chunks of meat. No; they have souls, or God could not have made a Covenant with them. The human Words of God affirm this: “But ask now the beasts,” says Job 12, “and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee … and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.” ― Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood
When God makes a covenant with us, God says: ‘I will love you with an everlasting love. I will be faithful to you, even when you run away from me, reject me, or betray me.’ In our society we don’t speak much about covenants; we speak about contracts. When we make a contract with a person, we say: ‘I will fulfill my part as long as you fulfill yours. When you don’t live up to your promises, I no longer have to live up to mine.’ Contracts are often broken because the partners are unwilling or unable to be faithful to their terms. But God didn’t make a contract with us; God made a covenant with us, and God wants our relationships with one another to reflect that covenant. That’s why marriage, friendship, life in community are all ways to give visibility to God’s faithfulness in our lives together.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith
Things that become important to economies become ritualized and become deified. Because I’m Jewish, I always thought it was interesting that in Judaism, salt seals a bargain, particularly the covenant with God. Some people, when they bless bread, they dip it in salt. Same thing exists in Islam. — Mark Kurlansky
Marriage has a unique place because it speaks of an absolute faithfulness, a covenant between radically different persons, male and female; and so it echoes the absolute covenant of God with his chosen, a covenant between radically different partners. — Rowan Williams
Settle this in your heart: Whether I am up or down, the Lord Jesus is the same. Whether I sing or sigh, the promise is true and the Promiser is faithful. Whether I stand on the summit or am hidden in the vale the covenant stands fast and everlasting love abides. — Charles Spurgeon