Love is the bridge between you and everything. ~ Rumi
The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return. – Natalie Cole
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu
Do love. Don’t just think love, say love, have faith in love, or believe that God is love. Give up the idea that your ideas alone can save you. If you know the right words, then bring those words to life by giving them your own flesh. Put them into practice. Do love, and you will live. — Barbara Brown Taylor
SONGS about LOVE:
- Higher Love cover by Whitney Houston, Kygo (pop/anthem):https://youtu.be/k9olaIio3l8
- Love Song by Sara Bareilles (folk/pop): https://youtu.be/qi7Yh16dA0w
- What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong (blues/rock): https://youtu.be/CWzrABouyeE
- One Day by Matisyahu (Jewish rock): https://youtu.be/WRmBChQjZPs
- Shower the People by James Taylor (pop): https://youtu.be/GfJWqjoekow
- One Love by Bob Marley ft Manu Chao (rock/raggae): https://youtu.be/4xjPODksI08
- Give Love by MC Yoga (rock/rap): https://youtu.be/rpVUih5nY9g
- Will the Circle Be Unbroken by Nitty Gritty Band w/ Johnny Cash & Ricky Skagg (country): https://youtu.be/7bRJLkNqNXI
- The Proof of Your Love by King & Country (Christian): https://youtu.be/b-2dKOfbC9c
- Shine It All Around by Robert Plant & The Strange Sensation (rock): https://youtu.be/fJoarBi19QM
- Forever and Ever, Amen by Randy Travis (country): https://youtu.be/sgJXbIP83A8
- Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher by Jackie Wilson (rock): https://youtu.be/mzDVaKRApcg
- Grateful: A Love Song to the World by Empty Hands Music (rap): https://youtu.be/sO2o98Zpzg8
- Ain’t No Mountain High by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell (rock): https://youtu.be/-C_3eYj-pOM
- Amazed by Lonestar (country): https://youtu.be/x-skFgrV59A
- All of Me by John Legend (pop): https://youtu.be/450p7goxZqg
- Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts (country): https://youtu.be/8-vZlrBYLSU
- All for Love by Bryan Adam, Rod Stewart & Sting (rock):: https://youtu.be/n-AB7RJpOjY
- Love Is My Religion by Ziggy Marley (raggae): https://youtu.be/r-eXYJnV3V4
- We Shall Be Free by Garth Brooks (country): https://fb.watch/dZicIUjBxP/
- Big Love by Tracy Byrd (country): https://youtu.be/QFMcKdmrPvU
- Love Like This by Lauren Daigle (Christian): https://youtu.be/Br1q_i1RHPU
- Can You Feel the Love Tonight by Elton John (ballad): https://youtu.be/lFYBLwb3I84
- Union by Black-Eyed Peas & Sting (rock/rap): https://youtu.be/rT_-Ln7eWpw
- I Want to Know What Love Is by Foreigner (rock): https://youtu.be/4jA-_g_iSY0
- You Say by Lauren Daigle (Christian): https://youtu.be/sIaT8Jl2zpI
- God Only Knows by The Beach Boys (rock): https://youtu.be/AOMyS78o5YI
- Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel (jazz): https://youtu.be/tJWM5FmZyqU
- It’s Your Love by Tim McGraw & Faith Hill country): https://youtu.be/XRa7lP5–lE
- Best of My Love by The Emotions (soul): https://youtu.be/B-Tb80rmPt4
- Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran (pop): https://youtu.be/lp-EO5I60KA
- We Are Here by Alicia Keyes (pop): https://youtu.be/HrKmDgk8Edg
- I Swear by All-4-One (rock): https://youtu.be/25rL-ooWICU
- I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston (rock): https://youtu.be/3JWTaaS7LdU=
- I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith (rock): https://youtu.be/JkK8g6FMEXE
- I Just Called to Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder (rock): https://youtu.be/1bGOgY1CmiU
- Tonight I Celebrate My Love for You by Roberta Slack & Peabo Bryson (pop): https://youtu.be/4t0Xo3-Ga_4
- Just the Way Your Are by Billy Joel (rock): https://youtu.be/tJWM5FmZyqU
- I’ll Stand by You by The Pretenders (pop): https://youtu.be/bLpmj059JFA
SONGS about FREEDOM:
- Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round by The Freedom Singers (gospel/protest): https://youtu.be/WPuBGcng6Tw
- Freedom by Pharrell Wiliams (pop): https://youtu.be/LlY90lG_Fuw
- Woke Up This Monring by John Legend (gospel/Christian/protest): https://youtu.be/0pOVElQFNMs
- We Shall Be Free by Garth Brooks (country/Gospel): https://youtu.be/wyZI9HwnAiY
- Chimes of Freedom by Bob Dylan (folk): https://youtu.be/zDOHhx_dk1g
- Ode to Freedom by ABBA (rock/disco/pop): https://youtu.be/YtNJybve8j4
- Freedom by Beyonce (R&B/country/alt): https://youtu.be/7FWF9375hUA
- American Soldier by Toby Keith (country): https://youtu.be/DWrMeBR8W-c
- Freedom by Jon Batiste (R&B/soul): https://youtu.be/3YHVC1DcHmo
- Chainbreaker by Zach Williams (Christian): https://youtu.be/JGYjKR69M6U
- Freedom by Richie Havens (rock/folk): https://youtu.be/rynxqdNMry4
- Born Free by Kid Rock (country): https://youtu.be/bu3rsha1ZtI
- Free Fallin by Tom Petty (rock): https://youtu.be/1lWJXDG2i0A
- I‘m Free by The Who (rock): https://youtu.be/uRD_gIoVOmY
- I Want to Break Free by Queen (rock): https://youtu.be/f4Mc-NYPHaQ
- I’m Set Free by The Velvet Undergorund (rock/indie): https://youtu.be/wfzoyDOXfzY
- Freedom by Anthony Hamilton & Elayna Boynton (country/R&B): https://youtu.be/_bdOTUocn5w
- Free Bird byt Lynnrd Skynnrd (rock): https://youtu.be/CqnU_sJ8V-E
- God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood (country): https://youtu.be/-KoXt9pZLGM
- Freedom by Rage Against the Machine (rock): https://youtu.be/H_vQt_v8Jmw
- Weightless by Natasha Bedingfield (pop): https://youtu.be/AUxLeytLHVk
- Freedom by Pitbull (rap/rock): https://youtu.be/zKKF_vFshMM
- Free Your Mind by En Vogue (rock/pop): https://youtu.be/i7iQbBbMAFE
- Independence Day by Martina McBride (country): https://youtu.be/4VPpAZ9_qAw
LOVE LIBERATES — Maya Angelou
I am grateful to have been loved
and to be loved now
and to be able to love,
because that liberates.
It doesn’t just hold—that’s ego.
When my son was born, I was seventeen.
My mother had a huge house, fourteen-room house,
At seventeen, I went to her and said, “I’m leaving.”
She asked me “you’re leaving my house?” and she had live-in help.
I said “yes. I’ve found a job and I’ve got a room
with cooking privileges down the hall
and the landlady will be the babysitter.
She asked me, “you’re leaving my house?”
I said “Yes, Ma’am,”
“And you’re taking the baby?”
I said yes.
She said “alright, remember this:
when you step over my doorsill, you’ve been raised.
You know the difference between right and wrong.
Don’t let anybody raise you and make you change.
And remember this:
You can always come home.”
I went home every time life slapped me down and made me call it uncle.
I went home with my baby.
My mother never once acted as “I told you so,”
She said, “Oh, baby’s home! Oh my darlin!
Mother’s gonna cook you something,
Mother’s gonna make this for you!”
She liberated me to life.
She continued to do that.
When my son may have been five years old
My mother would pick him up all the time and feed him.
I went to her once a month and she would cook for me.
So, one day I went to her house and she had cooked red rice, which I love.
After we finished eating, we walked down the hill and she started across the street and she said
“wait a minute, baby.”
I was twenty-two years old.
She said “wait a minute, baby,
you know, I think you’re the greatest woman I’ve ever met.
Mary McCleod Bethune,
and my mother.
You’re in that category.”
Then she said “give me a kiss”
I gave her a kiss and I got onto the streetcar.
I can remember the way the sun fell on the slats of wooden seats.
I sat there and I thought about her.
Suppose she’s right.
And she says she’s too mean to lie.
So suppose I am gonna be somebody.
She released me.
She freed me.
To say I may have something in me
that would be of value,
maybe not just to me,
When she was in her final sickness,
I went out to San Francisco.
The doctors said she had three weeks to live.
I asked her “would you come to North Carolina?”
She said “yes,”
She had emphysema and lung cancer.
I brought her to my home.
She lived for a year and a half.
And when she was finally, finally, in extremis,
she was on oxygen, fighting cancer for her life,
and I remembered her liberating me.
And I said “I hope I’ll be able to liberate her.”
She deserved that from me.
She deserved a great daughter and she got one.
So, in her last days, I said,
“ now I understand that some people need permission to go.
As I understand it, you may have done what God put you here to do:
You were a great worker.
You must have been a great lover because a lot of men
and, if I’m not wrong, maybe a couple of women risked their lives to love you.
You were a piss poor mother of small children,
but you were a great, great mother of young adults.
and if you need permission to go
I liberate you.
I went back to my house
and something said “go back,”
I was in my pajamas,
I jumped in my car and ran.
And the nurse said,
“she’s just gone.”
You see, love liberates.
It doesn’t bind.
Love says, “I love you,
I love you if you’re in China,
I love you if you’re across town,
I love you if you’re in Harlem,
I love you.
I would like to be near you.
I’d like to have your arms around me,
I’d like to hear your voice in my ear,
but that’s not possible now,
so I love you.
Touched By An Angel— Maya Angelou
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
Of Love — Mary Oliver
I have been in love more times than one,
thank the Lord.
Sometimes it was lasting
whether active or not.
Sometimes it was all but ephemeral,
maybe only an afternoon,
but not less real for that.’
They stay in my mind,
these beautiful people,
or anyway beautiful people to me,
of which there are so many.
You and you and you,
whom I have the fortune to meet,
or maybe missed.
Love, love, love, it was the core of my life,
from which of course comes the word for the heart.
And, oh, have I mentioned
that some of them were men and some were women’
and some – now carry my revelation with you –
Or music flying above the names of their makers.
Or clouds, or the sun
which was the first, and the best,
the most loyal for certain,’
who looked so faithfully into my eyes, every morning.
So I imagine such love of the world –
its fervency, its shining,
its innocence and anger to give of itself
I imagine this is how it began.
INVITATION— Mary Oliver
Oh do you have time
to linger for just a little while
out of your busy
and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles
for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,
or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air
as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine
and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,
do not walk by
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.
It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.
Where there is love there is life. – Mahatma Gandhi
The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. – Dalai Lama
Love is more than a noun – it is a verb; it is more than a feeling – it is caring, sharing, helping, sacrificing. – William Arthur Ward
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ~ Rumi
Love is not really an action that you do. Love is what and who you are, in your deepest essence. Love is a place that already exists inside of you, but is also greater than you. That’s the paradox. It’s within you and yet beyond you. This creates a sense of abundance and more-than-enoughness, which is precisely the satisfaction and deep peace of the True Self. You know you’ve found a well that will never go dry, as Jesus says (see John 4:13-14). Your True Self, God’s Love in you, cannot be exhausted. — Richard Rohr
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. — Martin Luther King Jr. Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all. ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.― Jimi Hendrix
The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. — Victor Hugo
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” & “I believe God loves the world through us—through you and me.” — St Mother Teresa
There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met. — William Butler Yeats
Many can give money to those in need, but to personally serve the needy readily, out of love, and in a fraternal spirit, requires a truly great soul. — Saint John Chrysostom
… the action and behavior produced by love is distinctly countercultural. … In a society where so much is presented in terms of “self”—self-awareness, self-esteem, self-acceptance, self-image, self-realization—to present a way of existence in which a person lives for the other in a life of loving self-sacrifice will be highly provocative. Following the one who gave his life as a sacrifice for us will be humbling and undoubtedly costly in terms of human recognition and progress in life as secular society defines it.— zondervanacademic.com
Love, in the New Testament, 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
DANCE — Wendell Berry
… And I love you
as I love the dance that brings you
out of the multitude
in which you come and go.
Love changes, and in change is true.
I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out. – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
In the end we discover that to love and let go can be the same thing.— Jack Kornfield
Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. – Rumi
You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sing like there’s nobody listening, And live like it’s heaven on earth. – William W. Purkey
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. – Martin Luther King Jr.
Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart. – Washington Irving
Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third. – Marge Piercy
Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. – Zora Neale Hurston
The chance to love and be loved exists no matter where you are. – Oprah Winfrey
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. – Charles Dickens, Dr. Marigold
If you can’t fly, then run,
if you can’t run, then walk,
if you can’t walk, then crawl,
but by all means keep moving.
– Martin Luther King Jr.
BELOVED IS WHERE WE BEGIN — Jan Richardson
If you would enter / into the wilderness,
do not begin / without a blessing.
Do not leave
without hearing / who you are:
Beloved, named by the One
who has traveled this path / before you.
Do not go / without letting it echo
in your ears, / and if you find
it is hard / to let it into your heart,
do not despair. / That is what
this journey is for.
I cannot promise / this blessing will free you
from danger, from fear,
from hungeror thirst,
from the scorching of sun or the fall of the night.
But I can tell you that on this path there will be help.
I can tell you that on this way there will be rest.
I can tell you that you will know
the strange graces that come to our aid
only on a road / such as this,
that fly to meet us
bearing comfort and strength,
that come alongside us / for no other cause
than to lean themselves / toward our ear
and with their / curious insistence / whisper our name:
SONGS about STARTING a JOURNEY
- Don’t Stop Believin‘ by Jounrey (pop): https://youtu.be/1k8craCGpgs
- Ghost / I Keep Going to the River by Ellie Henderson (pop): https://youtu.be/tA8AfQaUnXM
- My Fight Song by Rachel Platten (pop): https://youtu.be/xo1VInw-SKc
- The Journey by IFC Worship (Christiian): https://youtu.be/Uawxvj6nUPU
- Hard Love by Just Can’t Breathe (pop) :https://youtu.be/IDWhCaDgd3Y
- Will You Let Me Be Your Servant? piano : https://youtu.be/O-bFuqEiIKw
- Control by Zoe Wees (pop); https://youtu.be/VghvmL0G144
- Someday by OneRepublic (pop): https://youtu.be/vNfgVjZF8_4
- I’m No Longer a Slave to Fear by Zaxch Williams: https://youtu.be/bDnA_coA168
- Start of Something Good by Daughtry (country): :https://youtu.be/WKsyxZWQ_g0
- Start of Something New by Disne (musical): https://youtu.be/gP8xwlUbzE4
- At the Beginning by Anastasia animated film (musical): https://youtu.be/EgqXg9qPefE
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute,
Whatever you can do, or dream you can—begin it;
Boldness has genius, power, magic in it;
Only engage,—and then the mind grows heated;
Begin!—and then the work will be completed.
It’s just as well, my pitcher shattered
I’m free of all that hauling water!
The burden on my head is gone….
A single well, Kabira
And water-bearers many!
Pots of every shape and size
But the water always One.
— ‘Bhala Hua Meri Gagri Phooti’ –song of Kabir.
translated by Rabindranath Tagore 1915, 55-56
Blessing the Baptism — Jan Richardson
As if we could call you
anything other than
drenched as we are
in our love for you
washed as we are
by our delight in you
born anew as we are
by the grace that flows
from the heart of the one
who bore you to us.
STARTING a JOURNEY
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.– Lao Tzu
To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself. – Søren Kierkegaard
The only impossible journey is the one you never begin. – Tony Robbins
The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance, and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning. – Oprah Winfrey
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. – Aristotle
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant. – Robert Louis Stevenson
Tell me, O Swan, your ancient tale.
From what land do you come, O Swan ?
to what shore will you fly ?
Where would you take your rest, O Swan, and what do you seek ?
Even this morning, O Swan, awake, arise follow me !
There is a land where no doubt nor sorrow have rule: where the terror of Death is no more.
There the woods of spring are a-bloom, and the fragrant scent “He is I” is born on the wind:
There the bee of the heart is deeply immersed and desires no other joy.
— Poems of Kabir, translated by Rabindranath Tagore 1915, 55-56
COMMENTARY on BAPTISM
So I hope in this baptismal life ahead of you that when you encounter water – this most common of substances which surrounds land and comprises our bodies…I hope when you drink it in; when you dive deep in a pool of it; when you wade in a stream of it; that even when you wash dishes with it; I hope that you are reminded of the promise of life eternal: a promise that life with God is as close to you as water and bread and wine and human bodies. Because to be Christian is to know that the eternal is always contained in the present. — Nadia Bolz-Weber
Water figures in many of Jyoti’s paintings, as too in biblical imagery: the waters that were ‘the face of the deep’ before creation; the waters of the flood, over which the rainbow shone, sign of God’s covenant of peace with all creation; the waters of the Red Sea parting to liberate the fleeing slaves, the ‘children of Israel’; the ‘water of life’ with which Jesus identified himself, both with the alienated woman at the well and during debate in the temple; the waters of baptism – that of Jesus and of those who accept his way. — Jyoti Sahi Art Ashram
Jesus has become part with the waters. His character is innately like that of water. … water seeks out the lowest place. Or, as [St] Francis says in his Hymn to Creation, the waters are humble – they offer life to others and for others – and in themselves are clear, like light. — Jyoti Sahi Art Ashram
|I think we all suffer from acute blindness at times. Life is a constant journey of trying to open your eyes. I’m just beginning my journey, and my eyes aren’t fully open yet. — Olivia Thirlby|
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind … — William Shakespeare
I have looked into your eyes with my eyes. I have put my heart near your heart. — Pope John XXIII
|Songs about ‘Blindness’:|
Blind Leading the Blind by Mumford & Sons (rock)
Blind Fools by Megan Davies & Curtis Peoples (country)
I Am Free by Newsboys (Christian rock)
I Go Blind by Hootie & The Blowfish (rock)
I Wish I Were Blind by Bruce Springsteen (rock)
Seeing Blind by Niall Horan & Maren Morris (country)
Sky Blue by Peter Gabriel with Blind Boys of Alabama (ballad/gospel)
Blind Boy by Musical Youth (pop)
Loving Blind by Clint Smith (country)
Love Is Blind by David Coverdale/Whitesnake (rock)
Lord You’ve Been Good To Me by 5 Blind Boys (gospel)
He Saw It All by the Booth Brothers (Christian country)
If You Me To by Ginny Owens (Christian)
Live Music with Blind Boys of Alabama (gospel)
Blind Man by Aerosmith (rock)
Blind Love by Tom Waits (country)
You’re Blind by Run/DMC (rock/rap)
Blind by Dababy (rap – includes explicit lyrics/some cursing)
Songs about Sight & Seeing: My Father’s Eyes by Eric Clapton (rock)
Have You Ever Seen the Rain? by Creedance Clearwater Revival (country/rock)
Doctor My Eyes by Jackson Browne (rock)
Look at Me by Sarah Vaughan (jazz/blues)
I Only Have Eyes for You by The Flamingos (rock/soul)
The Light In Your Eyes by LeAnn Rimes (country)
When I Look at the World by U2
I Look to You by Whitney Houston (rock)
The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra (jazz/big band)
Eyes Open by Taylor Swift (pop)
Close Your Eyes by Meghan Trainor (country)
Fresh Eyes by Andy Grammer (pop)
In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel (rock ballad)
Don’t Close Your Eyes cover by Tim McGraw
In Another’s Eyes by Trisha Yearwood & Garth Brooks (country)
In My Daughter’s Eyes by Martina McBride
Sue Looks Good to Me by Alicia Keys (pop)
Look It Here by Public Enemy (rap)
Look Me In the Heart by Tina Turner (rock)
Look at Me Now by Kirk Franklin (rock/rap/gospel)
Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You by Frankie Valli (rock)
Close Your Eyes by Peaches & Herb & again Close Your Eyes The Five Keys (soul/rock)
Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler (rock ballad)
When I Look in Your Eyes by Firehouse (rock)
Close Your Eyes by Michael Buble (pop)
Close My Eyes Forever by Ozzy Osbourne & Lita Ford (rock ballad)
Take a Look at Me Now (Against All Odds) by Phil Collins (pop ballad)
Angel Eyes by the Jeff Healey Band (rock)
My Eyes Have Seen You and I Looked at You by The Doors (rock)
Sight for Sore Eyes by Aerosmith (rock)
Look at Me Now by Charlies Puth (pop)
Ocean Eyes by Billie Eilish
The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson (pop ballad)
The Eyes of a Woman by Journey (rock)
PRAYER by Richard Rohr
God of all Light and Truth, just make sure that I am not a blind man or woman.
Keep me humble and honest, and that will be more than enough work for you.
PRAYER by Nadia Bolz-Weber
God of desert prophets and unlikely messiahs, humble us.
Show us that there is more to see than what we look for.
More possibility. More love. More forgiveness …
Restore our sight so that we may see you in each other.
PRAYER by St Augustine
Late have I loved you, O beauty ever ancient, ever new.
Late have I loved you. You have called to me, and have called out,
and have shattered my deafness. You have blazed forth with light and
have put my blindness to flight! You have sent forth fragrance,
and I have drawn in my breath, and I pant after you.
I have tasted you, and I hunger and thirst after you.
You have touched me, and I have burned for your peace.
At the End of the Day: A Mirror of Questions — John O’Donohue
What dreams did I create last night?
Where did my eyes linger today?
Where was I blind?
Where was I hurt without anyone noticing?
What did I learn today?
What did I read?
What new thoughts visited me?
What differences did I notice in those closest to me?
Whom did I neglect?
Where did I neglect myself?
What did I begin today that might endure?
How were my conversations?
What did I do today for the poor and the excluded?
Did I remember the dead today?
When could I have exposed myself to the risk of something different?
Where did I allow myself to receive love?
With whom today did I feel most myself?
What reached me today? How did it imprint?
Who saw me today?
What visitations hd I from the past and from the future?
What did I avoid today?
From the evidence – why was I given this day?
RICHARD ROHR COMMENTARY (from Center for Action & Contemplation)
Finally, the great theater-piece Gospel is about a man born blind. … We can only touch upon the surface here, but enough to point you beneath the surface, I hope. Let me list in quick succession the major themes so you cannot miss them:
- The “man born blind” is the archetype for all of us at the beginning of life’s journey.
- The moral blame game as to why or who caused human suffering is a waste of time.
- The man does not even ask to be healed. It is just offered and given.
- Religious authorities are often more concerned about control and correct theology than actually healing people. They are presented as narrow and unloving people throughout the story.
- Many people have their spiritual conclusions before the facts in front of them. He is a predefined “sinner” and has no credibility for them.
- Belief in and love of Jesus come after the fact, subsequent to the healing. Perfect faith or motivation is not always a prerequisite for God’s action. Sometimes God does things for God’s own purposes.
- Spirituality is about seeing. Sin is about blindness, or as Saint Gregory of Nyssa will say, “Sin is always a refusal to grow.”
- The one who knows little, learns much (what we call “beginner’s mind”) and those who have all their answers already, learn nothing.
Doing as others told me, I was Blind.
Coming when others called me, I was Lost.
Then I left everyone, myself as well.
Then I found Everyone, Myself as well.
COMMENTARY on the STORY of the BLIND MAN
… Of the two choices, Jesus picked a third, unbinding sin from the body, deformity from purity. Before sight was restored, God’s presence was invoked in this marginal space, this “inappropriate” body. God’s presence was invoked within the blind man – within the “imperfect”, within the “other”. And when his eyes were opened, God’s light came pouring out from this man, casting into stark relief the social and religious ideas that had kept him out for so long. — Eliza (UCC minister – see full posting on her blog)
Jesus doesn’t ask the blind guy when he heals him what he’ll be looking at for the rest of his life. — Anne Lamott
It will make a weak man mighty. it will make a mighty man fall. It will fill your heart and hands or leave you with nothing at all. It’s the eyes for the blind and legs for the lame. It is the love for hate and pride for shame. That’s the power of the gospel. — Ben Harper
It was here in the midst of my own community of underside dwellers that I couldn’t help but begin to see the Gospel, the life-changing reality that God is not far off, but here among the brokenness of our lives. — Nadia Bolz-Weber
ON SEEING & BLINDNESS as STATES of SPIRITUAL PERCEPTION
It’s not like ‘I once was blind, and now can see’: it’s more like, ‘I once was blind and now I have really bad vision’. — Nadia Bolz-Weber
Optimism does not mean being blind to the actual reality of a situation. It means maintaining a positive spirit to continue to seek a solution to any given problem. And it means recognizing that any given situation has many different aspects—positive as well as problematic. — Dalai Lama
We are only as blind as we want to be. ― Maya Angelou
Spirituality doesn’t mean a blind belief in a spiritual teaching. Spirituality is a practice that brings relief, communication, and transformation. Everyone needs a spiritual dimension in life. Without a spiritual dimension, it’s very challenging to be with the daily difficulties we all encounter. With a spiritual practice, you’re no longer afraid. Along with your physical body, you have a spiritual body. The practices of breathing, walking, concentration, and understanding can help you greatly in dealing with your emotions, in listening to and embracing your suffering, and in helping you to recognize and embrace the suffering of another person. If we have this capacity, then we can develop a real and lasting spiritual intimacy with ourselves and with others. ― Thich Nhat Hanh
Had the price of looking been blindness, I would have looked. — Ralph Ellison
Blindness is an unfortunate handicap but true vision does not require the eyes. — Helen Keller
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. — Mark Twain
Our very eyes, Are sometimes, like our judgments, blind. — William Shakespeare
There are not sacred and profane things, places, and moments. There are only sacred and desecrated things, places, and moments-and it is we alone who desecrate them by our blindness and lack of reverence. It is one sacred universe, and we are all a part of it. — Richard Rohr
Man’s basic vice, the source of all his evils, is the act of unfocusing his mind, the suspension of his consciousness, which is not blindness, but the refusal to see, not ignorance, but the refusal to know. — Ayn Rand
An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
NOBEL SPEECH (excerpt from FULL LECTURE) by Toni Morrison
“Once upon a time there was an old woman. Blind but wise.” Or was it an old man? A guru, perhaps. Or a griot soothing restless children. I have heard this story, or one exactly like it, in the lore of several cultures. “Once upon a time there was an old woman. Blind. Wise.”
In the version I know the woman is the daughter of slaves, black, American, and lives alone in a small house outside of town. Her reputation for wisdom is without peer and without question. Among her people she is both the law and its transgression. The honor she is paid and the awe in which she is held reach beyond her neighborhood to places far away; to the city where the intelligence of rural prophets is the source of much amusement.
One day the woman is visited by some young people who seem to be bent on disproving her clairvoyance and showing her up for the fraud they believe she is. Their plan is simple: they enter her house and ask the one question the answer to which rides solely on her difference from them, a difference they regard as a profound disability: her blindness. They stand before her, and one of them says, “Old woman, I hold in my hand a bird. Tell me whether it is living or dead.”
She does not answer, and the question is repeated. “Is the bird I am holding living or dead?”
Still she doesn’t answer. She is blind and cannot see her visitors, let alone what is in their hands. She does not know their color, gender or homeland. She only knows their motive.
The old woman’s silence is so long, the young people have trouble holding their laughter.
Finally she speaks and her voice is soft but stern. “I don’t know”, she says. “I don’t know whether the bird you are holding is dead or alive, but what I do know is that it is in your hands. It is in your hands.”
Her answer can be taken to mean: if it is dead, you have either found it that way or you have killed it. If it is alive, you can still kill it. Whether it is to stay alive, it is your decision. Whatever the case, it is your responsibility.
For parading their power and her helplessness, the young visitors are reprimanded, told they are responsible not only for the act of mockery but also for the small bundle of life sacrificed to achieve its aims. The blind woman shifts attention away from assertions of power to the instrument through which that power is exercised…
I look at the world — Langston Hughes
I look at the world
From awakening eyes in a black face—
And this is what I see:
This fenced-off narrow space
Assigned to me.
I look then at the silly walls
Through dark eyes in a dark face—
And this is what I know:
That all these walls oppression builds
Will have to go!
I look at my own body
With eyes no longer blind—
And I see that my own hands can make
The world that’s in my mind.
Then let us hurry, comrades,
The road to find.
Sonnet 19: When I consider how my light is spent — John Milton
When I consider
how my light is spent,
Ere half my days,
in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent
which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless,
though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker,
My true account,
lest he returning chide;
‘Doth God exact day-labour,
I fondly ask.
But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies,
‘God doth not need
Either man’s work
or his own gifts;
Bear his mild yoke,
they serve him best.
Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er Land and
Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only
stand and wait.’
Reflection: Work of Peace – Doves at Work
PRAYER of MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
God grant that we wage the struggle with dignity and discipline. May all who suffer oppression in this world reject the self-defeating method of retaliatory violence and choose the method that seeks to redeem. Amen.
Music about peace & advocacy:
- Anthem by Leonard Cohen
- Get Up, Stand Up by Bob Marley
- One Day by Matisyahu
- Talkin ‘Bout a Revolution by Tracy Chapman
- Imagine by John Lennon
- Peace Train by Cat Stevens
- Peace by Taylor Swift
- I Wish You Peace by The Eagles
- Peace by Hillsong
- Peace Song (Beatitudes) by Westminster Choir
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love.
— Leonard Cohen
Prayer — Black Elk
Grandfather, Great Spirit, once more behold me on earth and lean to hear my feeble voice.
You lived first, and you are older than all need, older than all prayer.
All things belong to you — the two-legged, the four-legged, the wings of the air, and all green things that live.
You have set the powers of the four quarters of the earth to cross each other.
You have made me cross the good road and road of difficulties, and where they cross, the place is holy.
Day in, day out, forevermore, you are the life of things.
Hey! Lean to hear my feeble voice.
At the center of the sacred hoop
You have said that I should make the tree to bloom.
With tears running, O Great Spirit, my Grandfather,
With running eyes I must say
The tree has never bloomed
Here I stand, and the tree is withered.
Again, I recall the great vision you gave me.
It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives.
Nourish it then
That it may leaf
And fill with singing birds!
Hear me, that the people may once again
Find the good road
And the shielding tree.
DOVE as SYMBOL of PEACE
We must combine the toughness of the serpent and the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart. ― Martin Luther King, Jr.
When angels visit us, we do not hear the rustle of wings, nor feel the feathery touch of the breast of a dove; but we know their presence by the love they create in our hearts. — Mary Baker Eddy
Great ideas, it has been said, come into the world as gently as doves. Perhaps then, if we listen attentively, we shall hear amid the uproar of empires and nations, a faint flutter of wings, the gentle stirring of life and hope. Some will say that this hope lies in a nation; others in a man. I believe rather that it is awakened, revived, nourished, by millions of solitary individuals whose … works every day negate frontiers and the crudest implications of history. — Albert Camus
The more bombers the less room for doves of peace. — Nikita Khrushchev
I had a dove and the sweet dove died; And I have thought it died of grieving: O, what could it grieve for? Its feet were tied, With a silken thread of my own hands’ weaving. — John Keats
I say love, and the world populates itself with doves. — Pablo Neruda
A Brave and Startling Truth
— Maya Angelou
We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth
And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms
When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil
When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze
When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse
When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets
Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world
When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe
We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines
When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear
When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.
GANDHI’S PRAYER FOR PEACE
I offer you peace
I offer you love
I offer you friendship
I see your beauty
I hear your need
I feel your feelings
My wisdom flows from the highest source
I salute that source in you
Let us work together
For unity and peace.
MORE PRAYERS by MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
Thou Eternal God, out of whose absolute power and infinite intelligence the whole universe has come into being, we humbly confess that we have not loved thee with our hearts, souls and minds, and we have not loved our neighbors as Christ loved us. We have all too often lived by our own selfish impulses rather than by the life of sacrificial love as revealed by Christ. We often give in order to receive. We love our friends and hate our enemies. We go the first mile but dare not travel the second. We forgive but dare not forget. And so as we look within ourselves, we are confronted with the appalling fact that the history of our lives is the history of an eternal revolt against you. But thou, O God, have mercy upon us. Forgive us for what we could have been but failed to be. Give us the intelligence to know your will. Give us the courage to do your will. Give us the devotion to love your will. In the name and spirit of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Dearest Jesus, come and sit with us today. Show us the lies that are still embedded in the soul of America’s consciousness. Unmask the untruths we have made our best friends. For they seek our destruction. And we are being destroyed, Lord. Reveal the ways the lies have distorted and destroyed our relationships. They break your shalom . . . daily. Jesus, give us courage to embrace the truth about ourselves and you and our world. Truth: We are all made in your image. Truth: You are God; we are not. You are God; money is not. You are God; jails, bombs and bullets are not. And Jesus, give us faith to believe: Redemption of people, relationships, communities and whole nations is possible! Give us faith enough to renounce the lies and tear down the walls that separate us with our hands, with our feet, and with our votes! Amen.
Oh God, we thank Thee for the creative insights in the universe. We thank Thee for the lives of great saints and prophets in the past, who have revealed to us that we can stand up amid the problems and difficulties and trials of life and not give in. We thank Thee for our forebears, who’ve given us something in the midst of the darkness of exploitation and oppression to keep going. And grant that we will go on with the proper faith and the proper determination of will, so that we will be able to make a creative contribution to this world and in our lives. In the name and spirit of Jesus we pray. Amen.
WORK of PEACE
Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways. — Dalai Lama XIV
Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. — Margaret Mead
If you want to end the war then Instead of sending guns, send books. Instead of sending tanks, send pens. Instead of sending soldiers, send teachers. — Malala Yousafzai
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. — Victor Frankl
Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace. — Dwight D. Eisenhower
Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.
— John F. Kennedy
Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. —Albert Einstein
If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner. — Nelson Mandela
It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. — Robert F. Kennedy
We aren’t passengers on Spaceship Earth. We’re the crew. We aren’t residents on this planet. We’re citizens. The difference in both cases is responsibility. — Apollo Astronaut Rusty Schweickart
… I am fully committed to the oneness of humanity. If we share these common feelings, then we will have no ground for violence or war. It’s difficult but possible to achieve, through education, not through prayer. I met someone who asked me, please pray. I said, I am a Buddhist, I have a daily practice of prayer but I do not believe prayer brings a peaceful world. We can keep praying for a thousand years and nothing will happen. We should be realistic. If you have the opportunity to meet the Buddha or Jesus Christ, ask them to bring peace to this world and they will certainly ask you, who creates violence? If god created violence, then yes, it’s relevant to appeal to god. I am certain that Buddha and Jesus Christ would tell us, you have created the problem, so it’s your responsibility to solve it. Work for peace, the easy thing to do is pray. — Dalai Lama