Nature is the one song of praise that never stops singing. — Richard Rohr
A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. — Joan Walsh Anglund
Bless the poets, the workers for justice, the dancers of ceremony, the singers of heartache, the visionaries, all makers and carriers of fresh meaning—We will all make it through, despite politics and wars, despite failures and misunderstandings. There is only love.― Joy Harjo
Let people catch something from your heart that will cause no discomfort, but help them to sing. — Rumi
“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!” ― J.K. Rowling
Music can change the world because it can change people.― Bono
SONGS about SINGING & MAKING MUSIC:
- One of my Favorite Prayers offered by the Dalai Lama as a song with instrumental accompaniment: https://youtu.be/9EQVj2MmtDo
- Sing a Song by Shirley Bassey (Sesame Street theme / pop): https://youtu.be/TAkJNWRQF18
- Sing a Song by The Carpenters (Sesame Street theme / pop): https://youtu.be/2LYekeK0HWo
- I’ve Got the Music in Me by Kiki Dee (pop): https://youtu.be/SsNl9zaWJdQ
- Your Song by Elton John (pop): https://youtu.be/GlPlfCy1urI
- Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen (rock): https://youtu.be/fJ9rUzIMcZQ
- A Song Can’t Fix Everything by Sunny Sweeney (country): https://youtu.be/qEvfTcXbQko
- I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing by The New Seekers (pop): https://youtu.be/wlR0KElxxVg
- Daddy Sang Bass by Johnny Cash (country): https://youtu.be/NGUP8oc9Bgs
- Don’t Stop Believin‘ by Journey (pop): https://youtu.be/1k8craCGpgs
- Drift Away by Dobie Gray (rock/pop): https://youtu.be/NIuyDWzctgY
- Please Don’t Stop the Music by Rihanna (pop): https://youtu.be/yd8jh9QYfEs
- I”ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song by Jim Croce (folk): https://youtu.be/JpVDuemlW4Q
- The Heart of Rock and Roll by Huey Luis & The News (rock): https://youtu.be/M7JVlpm0eRs
- Symphony by Clean bandit ft Zara Larsson (rock): https://youtu.be/aatr_2MstrI
- Song of the South by Alabama (country): https://youtu.be/lHdXQAQHjd8
- Record Year by Eric Church (country): https://youtu.be/gvvYMxV6TmI
- I Write the Songs by Barry manilow (pop): https://youtu.be/934QpLtK05s
- Fight Song by Rachel Platten (pop): https://youtu.be/xo1VInw-SKc
- Turn the Beat Around by Glroia Estefan (pop): https://youtu.be/inHwBUo9Pzk
- We Belong to the Music by Timbaland ft Miley Cyrus (pop): https://youtu.be/r7I7QwDIgJc
- I Love Rock n Roll by Joan Jett (rock): https://youtu.be/d9jhDwxt22Y
- Video Killed the Radio Star by The BUggles (pop): https://youtu.be/W8r-tXRLazs
- Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars (pop): https://youtu.be/OPf0YbXqDm0
- I Was Country when Country Wasn’t Cool by Barbara Mandrell (country): https://youtu.be/YRHjl3xMB3o
- Keep Singing by Rick Astley (pop): https://youtu.be/AC3Ejf7vPEY
- The Song We Were Singing by Paul McCartney (rock): https://youtu.be/PxBHrxvfMrI
- Sing a Simple Song by D’Angelo (pop): https://youtu.be/0kZuixrC1-8
- Sing a New Song by Dan Schutte (Christian): https://youtu.be/1-_E7XEOY5M
- Sing a New Song by BJ Putnam (Christian contemporary): https://youtu.be/2ctz8m1Sc3g
I WILL SING a NEW SONG — Howard Thurman
The old song of my spirit has wearied itself out.
It has long ago been learned by my heart;
It repeats itself over and over,
bringing no added joy to my days or lift to my spirit.
I will sing a new song.
I must learn the new song for the new needs.
I must fashion new words born of all the new growth
of my life – of my mind – of my spirit.
I must prepare for new melodies that have never been mine before,
that all that is within me may lift my voice unto God.
Therefore, I shall rejoice with each new day
and delight my spirit in each fresh unfolding.
I will sing, this day, a new song unto the Lord.
Singing in the midst of evil is what it means to be disciples. … we, like Mary, are bearers of resurrection, we are made new. … To sing to God amidst sorrow is to defiantly proclaim, like Mary Magdalene did to the apostles, …that death is not the final word. To defiantly say, once again, that a light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot, will not, shall not overcome it. And so, evil be damned, because even as we go to the grave, we still make our song alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia — Nadia Bolz-Weber
LET IT BE — Paul McCartney
When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree,
there will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see,
there will be an answer. let it be.
Let it be, let it be …
And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me,
shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be …
Meditations on MUSIC & SONG
I have the opportunity, once more to right some wrongs, to pray for peace, to plant some trees, and sing more joyful songs. — William Arthur Ward
Because Music is a language that lives in the spiritual realms, we can hear it, we can notate it and create it, but we cannot hold it in our hands. ― Joy Harjo
We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives. — Toni Morrison
Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once. ― Robert Browning
I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things. ― Tom Waits
Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio. ― Hunter S. Thompson
Adversity in life does not rob your heart of beauty. It simply teaches it a new song to sing. — Karen White
Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without. ― Confucius
And could love free me from the shadows? Can a caged bird sing only the song it knows or can it learn a new song? —Angela Carter
It’s a new day, it’s a new season, it’s time to sing a new song and it’s time to put on the dancing shoes. – — Euginia Herlihy
Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common. ― Sarah Dessen
The poets of each generation seldom sing a new song. They turn to themes men always have loved, and sing them in the mode of their times.—Clarence Day
Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies. ― Edward Bulwer Lytton
Sing me a new song; the world is transfigured; all the Heavens are rejoicing.— Friedrich Nietzsche
The heart is sometimes tainted with the songs of yesterday. Sing a new song today.— Steven Aitchison
It’s nice to play new songs, but it’s nerve-wracking. — Samuel Ervin Beam
It was the moment I realized what music can do to people, how it can make you hurt and feel so good all at once. ― Nina LaCour
Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens. ― Maria von Trapp
Beethoven tells you what it’s like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it’s like to be human. Bach tells you what it’s like to be the universe. ― Douglas Adams
I’m self-deprecating, but I’m an artist, too. I have to write new songs to chronicle stuff for myself. I write a song like ‘Middle Age’ or ‘Responsibility’ or ‘I Just Work Here,’ and it’s about how bleak life can be. But it’s real. — Steve Forbert
When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest. — Henry David Thoreau
Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music. ― George Eliot
I have no reason to sit home and write songs all day without going out and playing for the folks. And I have no reason to go play for the folks unless I’m writing new songs so they can sort of feed off one another. And I just try to do the best I can. — Guy Clark
Where words leave off, music begins.― Heinrich Heine
My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary. ― Martin Luther
He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that’s what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you. ― Hannah Harrington
Where words fail, music speaks. ― Hans Christian Andersen
I do feel most at home playing live, but the feeling of getting into the studio to see the new songs take shape was really incredible. — Jason Mraz
Music is the universal language of mankind. ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
HISTORY of MUSIC — wikipedia.org, article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_music
Although definitions of music vary wildly throughout the world, every known culture partakes in it, and music is thus considered a cultural universal. The origins of music remain highly contentious; commentators often relate it to the origin of language, with much disagreement surrounding whether music arose before, after or simultaneously with language. Many theories have been proposed by scholars from a wide range of disciplines, though none have achieved wide approval. Most cultures have their own mythical origins concerning the invention of music, generally rooted in their respective mythological, religious or philosophical beliefs.
The music of prehistoric cultures is first firmly dated to c. 40,000 BP of the Upper Paleolithic by evidence of bone flutes, though it remains unclear whether or not the actual origins lie in the earlier Middle Paleolithic period (300,000 to 50,000 BP). There is little known about prehistoric music, with traces mainly limited to some simple flutes and percussion instruments. However, such evidence indicates that music existed to some extent in prehistoric societies such as the Xia dynasty and the Indus Valley civilisation. Upon the development of writing, the music of literate civilizations—ancient music—was present in the major Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Indian, Persian, Mesopotamian, and Middle Eastern societies. It is difficult to make many generalizations about ancient music as a whole, but from what is known it was often characterized by monophony and improvisation. In ancient song forms, the texts were closely aligned with music, and though the oldest extant musical notation survives from this period, many texts survive without their accompanying music, such as the Rigveda and the Shijing Classic of Poetry. The eventual emergence of the Silk Road and increasing contact between cultures led to the transmission and exchange of musical ideas, practices, and instruments. Such interaction led to the Tang dynasty‘s music being heavily influenced by Central Asian traditions, while the Tang dynasty’s music, the Japanese gagaku and Korean court music each influenced each other.
Historically, religions have often been catalysts for music. The Vedas of Hinduism immensely influenced Indian classical music, while the Five Classics of Confucianism laid the basis for subsequent Chinese music. Following the rapid spread of Islam in the 6th century, Islamic music dominated Persia and the Arab world, and the Islamic Golden Age saw the presence of numerous important music theorists. Music written for and by the early Christian Church properly inaugurates the Western classical music tradition, which continues into medieval music where polyphony, staff notation and nascent forms of many modern instruments developed. In addition to religion or the lack thereof, a society’s music is influenced by all other aspects of its culture, including social and economic organization and experience, climate, and access to technology. Many cultures have coupled music with other art forms, such as the Chinese four arts and the medieval quadrivium. The emotions and ideas that music expresses, the situations in which music is played and listened to, and the attitudes toward musicians and composers all vary between regions and periods. Many cultures have or continue to distinguish between art music (or ‘classical music’), folk music, and popular music.
CAGED BIRD — Maya Angelou
A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
There are many ways to the Divine. I have chosen the ways of song, dance, and laughter. — Rumi
… Thank you for the reminder that theology may divide but hymns always unite. — Randy Biery
Let us sing a new song, not with our lips, but with our lives. -— Saint Augustine
God is always working to make His children aware of a dream that remains alive beneath the rubble of every shattered dream, a new dream that when realized will release a new song, sung with tears, till God wipes them away and we sing with nothing but joy in our hearts. — Larry Crabb
… Many of us may or may not intellectually assent to the same doctrinal and theological propositions we were taught, but the music that we made from our bodies, the vibrations of song created and shared in communal expression is still ours. And I believe that the sentiment these hymns can evoke from within us …that that is also faith. (These days, my idea of what constitutes “faith” keeps expanding!)
Sometimes hymns are my creeds, my first language, the texts of my faith which have formed me from even before I was born. If I grow to be an old woman whose mind softens at the edges of reality, I may not know my own name or the names of my children and grandchildren, but I am certain I will still know every single word to Great Is Thy Faithfulness. No matter what my mind holds, agrees to, or understands, I will always be standing on the promises of God, because the hymns I have sung throughout my life will never let me go. And for this I give thanks. — Nadia Bolz-Weber, full post: https://thecorners.substack.com/p/singing-hymns-alone
It is a season of new songs.
It is a season of new people, new prayers, new questions.
At first, the liturgy of the Episcopal Church captured me with its novelty. The chants and collects, calls and responses were a refreshing departure from the contemporary evangelical worship I’d come to associate with all my evangelical baggage. I liked confessing and receiving communion each week. I liked reciting the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed together in community. I liked the smells and bells. Each Sunday I’d stuff the sandy-colored bulletin in my purse so I could go home and study the rhythm of this worship, imbibing the poetry of those holy words.
We didn’t know many people then. I kept my eyes on the floor as I walked away from the Table on Sundays, afraid of exchanging too many warm smiles, afraid of becoming too familiar to these kind, religious people who, like all kind, religious people will inevitably disappoint and be disappointed. The melodies of the hymns remained largely inscrutable to my untrained ears, except for when the director of music, (raised Pentecostal), threw in an “Amazing Grace” or “Rock of Ages” and I sang loud and badly just to hear my voice grip those solid words again.
But we’ve been showing up for nearly six months now, and so it is a different sort of beauty I encounter on Sunday mornings these days—the beauty of familiarity, of sweet routine.
I know the order of service now. I know it well enough to have favorite parts, to skim ahead when I’m hungry or restless, to get the songs stuck in my head. And we know the people too, not merely as strange faces gathered around the Table but as the Alabama fan, the new mom, the student who loves talking theology, the quilting club, the recovering fundamentalists, the friends. Yesterday, my eyes clouded with tears as the choir sang “I Shall See,” somehow pulling every frantic, disparate prayer from the week into a single sweet plea. The music director told me the song made her think of me.
It is a season of new songs.
It is a season of receiving, of being loved just for showing up.
I am holding all these gifts gingerly, like fragile blue eggs I’m afraid to break. I am holding them the way I hold that white wafer in my cupped, open hands—grateful, relieved, and still just a little bit frightened of what will happen when I take it and eat. — Rachel Held Evans, full post: https://rachelheldevans.com/blog/new-son
MUSIC in JUDAISM — My Jewish Learning.org
- History of Jewish musicas video: https://youtu.be/gbeArPQqsc8
Music has been a part of Jewish life since biblical times, and remains integral to the Jewish religious and cultural experiences. At the moment of Israel’s birth as a nation — the Exodus from Egypt — the Bible tells us that Moses led the people of Israel in a song of divine praise. Music was part of the sacrificial worship in the Temple, and later became part of synagogue prayer services and at-home religious observance. Jewish music tends to blend unique elements with aspects that reflect the cultures in which Jews have lived, composed, played instruments, and sung…
Jewish religious music includes cantorial music — the music of the professional prayer leader; nusah, the melodies to which traditional prayers are chanted, with different tunes used for different services; modern liturgical music, in which composers set excerpts of Jewish prayer to choral or other music that is not necessarily inherently “Jewish”; cantillation, which is the notes for chanting public readings of the Torah, haftarah(selections from Prophets), and other Jewish sacred texts, such as the Scroll of Ecclesiastes on the festival Sukkot; and nigunim, which are wordless melodies. Different Jewish communities throughout history have produced their own distinctive forms of these different Jewish religious expressions. However, as the global community has grown increasingly connected, so too have the different Jewish communities, resulting in a cross-fertilization of musical styles between Jews of different countries and different denominational affiliations.
JUDEO-CHRISTIAN MUSIC History
- More info:
- BibleProject introduction by video to literary styles in the Bible (including songs): https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/literary-styles-bible/
Worship with instruments in the Bible starts off in Genesis 4 with Jubal who “the first of all who play the harp and flute.” Moses mentions tamborines and dancing in Exodus as they celebrate the victory at the Red Sea. Then in the days of David and Solomon at the height of temple worship, they had choirs, ram horn (shofar) blowers, cymbal bangers, tamborines and various other percussionists and some stringed instruments (fore-runners to guitars like the lyre, ….) at the temple for celebrations of worship. It was probably very loud, and quite dissonant to our ears. And when people complain about the loud drums, besides the Psalm 150:5 “Praise him with the loud/clashing cymbals” you can check out 1 Chronicles 15 and 16 and notice that King David put Asaph in charge of the worship music and his instrument was… the cymbals? Why? Pragmatic of course: the cymbals are louder and more rhythmic of all the instruments, so it is the most logical for helping to keep the band in time! This orchestration lasted for many years, depending on the state of the temple. See Nehemiah 12 for a description and remember every time you read “trumpet” that you are talking about a shofar, not a modern finely tuned diatonic instrument. Psalm 150 makes it clear that we are free to use all the instruments we can find to worship God with. — musicacademy.com, full article: https://www.musicademy.com/history-worship-music-old-new-testament-to-rock-and-roll/
MUSIC and ISLAM — Hussein Rashid, Hofstra University, article: https://asiasociety.org/arts/music-and-islam-deeper-look
… The debate among Muslims is not about the permissibility of audio art, but about what kind of audio arts are permissible. The Qur’an, the first source of legal authority for Muslims, contains no direct references to music. Legal scholars use the hadith (saying and actions of Prophet Muhammad) as another source of authority, and have found conflicting evidence in it. The consensus that has emerged is that the audio arts fall into three broad categories: legitimate, controversial, and illegitimate. Qira’at, the call to prayer, religious chants and the like are all considered legitimate. Controversial audio arts include almost all other types of music. Illegitimate audio arts are considered to be those that take people away from the commandments of the faith. Music that leads to drinking or licentious behavior is considered illegitimate. Depending on the community of interpretation, one can find devotional music legitimate, controversial, or illegitimate.
Sufis, a broad category for a group of Muslims who generally take on a more personal and esoteric approach to the faith, argue that devotional audio arts must be bound by three things to be considered legitimate: time, place, and companions. Al-Ghazali, the famed 11th/12th century Sunni Muslim, argues that a good time is one that allows you to complete religious and societal obligations and no diversion should take time away from performing obligations. The place for the performance of audio art should be an appropriate setting– no concerts in masjids, and no performances in bars. Finally, the companions, the people surrounding the listener, should encourage the best in the listener.
The 10th century philosophical group, the Ikhwan as-Safa, argue that the truest audio art is the Voice of God, which the Prophet Moses heard at Sinai. When Moses heard the Voice, he moved beyond the need for earthly music. Based on this moment, the Ikhwan as-Safa believe that human audio arts are necessary echoes to remind us of the true music. The 15th century Persian mystical poet Jami says that in the Qur’an, when God says He is blowing life into the form of man (38:72) it should be understood that human beings are the first musical instrument. The famous Sufi poet Rumi (13th century) also plays with the idea of human beings as musical instruments. He opens his work the Mathnawi, perhaps one of his most famous poems, with the lines, “Listen to the reed as it tells a tale/ a tale of separation,” a statement on the human condition of removal from the Divine. It is also argued that the Prophet David (who authored the Psalms according to Muslims) and the Prophet Solomon both had beautiful voices and sang freely….
It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. — Frederick Douglass
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. — Khalil Gibran
Pentecost Blessing — Jan Richardson
On the day when you are wearing
your certainty like a cloak
and your sureness goes before you
like a shield or like a sword,
may the sound of God’s name
spill from your lips as you have never heard it before.
May your knowing be undone.
May mystery confound your understanding.
May the Divine rain down in strange syllables
yet with an ancient familiarity,
a knowing borne in the blood,
the ear, the tongue,
bringing the clarity that comes
not in stone or in steel
but in fire, in flame.
May there come one searing word:
enough to bare you to the bone,
enough to set your heart ablaze,
enough to make you whole again.
Questions to consider about Acts 2: 1-21:
- What gifts do you believe you have received from the Spirit?
- When have you felt connected to something larger than yourself?
- When have you had a sense that you’ve lost control and your expectations have been overturned? What happened next? Did that experience make a lasting change in you?
- When have you felt like a ‘stranger in a strange land?’ What helped you reconnect?
Music about fire, wind, breath and Spirit:
- Dancin’ in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen (rock)
- Sailing by Christopher Cross (pop/soft rock)
- Come Alive (Dry Bones) by Lauren Daigle (Christian)
- We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel (rock)
- Colors of the Wind performed by Judy Kuhn (musical)
- Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash (country)
- Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles (rock)
- Mandolin Wind by Ron Wood & Rod Stewart (rock/pop)
- Set Fire to the Rain by Adele (pop)
- Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant (Christian/Christmas)
- Another in the Fire by Hillsong United (Christian)
Thoughts on Pentecost & Holy Spirit
Chi and the Christian understanding of the Holy Spirit share many commonalities. The Old Testament ruach and the New Testament pneuma carry the same ambiguity of multiple meanings, as does Chi, such as “breath, air, wind, or soul.” — Kim
Here’s one thing
you must understand
about this blessing:
it is not for you alone.
It is stubborn about this.
Do not even try
to lay hold of it
if you are by yourself,
thinking you can carry it
on your own …
— Jan Richardson
Both the Jews and Christians celebrate Pentecost. During the Jewish Pentecost, every male Jew living within twenty miles of Jerusalem was legally bound to go up to Jerusalem to participate in the feast. Jewish Pentecost is also known by the name Shebuot or Shavuot (The Feast of Weeks). … For Christians … It is the day when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles in the form of different tongues. It took place fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus. The feasts also commemorate the inauguration of the Christian Church by apostles. — latestly.com
… Fire fell, I say, in angel-swarm, and men were changed for good,
To feast with God, to feast on God, to savor holy food.
Bread and wine, body and blood, were shed and tucked in a tomb.
But, out He strolled, and breathed His breath, and the world became a womb …
— Ross Guthrie
You burn with irrepressible, ferocious passion … we can barely stand upright in the face of your love … you would subsume us in the unrelenting hold of your peace … thank god our inadequacy defining you has never stopped you yet. — Cheryl Lawrie… look for – and expect! – the Holy Spirit to come along side us and shake things up, preparing and equipping each and all of us to share the disruptive, surprising, and life-giving word of grace of the God who will not rest until all people enjoy abundant life … — David Lose
English translations also underplay the fear-inducing, adrenalin-pumping, wind-tossed, fire-singed, smoke-filled turmoil of that experience. Those who observed this Pentecost visitation from outside the room are described in the NRSV as “bewildered” (v. 6), “amazed and astonished” (v. 7), and “amazed and perplexed” (v. 12). The Greek terms describing their reactions could be appropriately rendered (following the lead of various lexicons) as confused, in an uproar, beside themselves, undone, blown away, thoroughly disoriented, completely uncomprehending. — Frank Couch
This is not a soft, cuddly Holy Spirit; this is an uncontrollable and unpredictable Spirit … the Spirit is not our private possession — it’s not “mine.” The Spirit is given to the whole community. — Patrick Johnson
The Spirit is like breath, as close as the lungs, the chest, the lips, the fogged canvas where little fingers draw hearts, the tide that rises and falls twenty-three thousand times a day in a rhythm so intimate we forget to notice until it enervates or until a supine yogi says pay attention and its fragile power awes again. … The Spirit is like fire, deceptively polite in its dance atop the wax and wick of our church candles, but wild and mercurial as a storm when unleashed. … The Spirit is like a seal, an emblem bearing the family crest, a promise of belonging, protection, favor. …The Spirit is like wind, earth’s oldest sojourner, which in one place readies a sail, in another whittles a rock, in another commands the trees to bow, in another gently lifts a bridal veil. … The Spirit is like a bird, fragile alloy of heaven and earth, where wind and feather and flight meets breath and blood and bones. … The Spirit is like a womb, from which the living are born again. — Rachel Held Evans
Excerpt from Mindfulness Exercise by Thich Nhat Hanh (full article)
Just recognize: this is an in-breath, this is an out-breath. Very simple, very easy. In order to recognize your in-breath as in-breath, you have to bring your mind home to yourself. What is recognizing your in-breath is your mind, and the object of your mind—the object of your mindfulness—is the in-breath. Mindfulness is always mindful of something. When you drink your tea mindfully, it’s called mindfulness of drinking. When you walk mindfully, it’s called mindfulness of walking. And when you breathe mindfully, that is mindfulness of breathing.
So the object of your mindfulness is your breath, and you just focus your attention on it. Breathing in, this is my in-breath. Breathing out, this is my out-breath. When you do that, the mental discourse will stop. You don’t think anymore. You don’t have to make an effort to stop your thinking; you bring your attention to your in-breath and the mental discourse just stops. That is the miracle of the practice. You don’t think of the past anymore. You don’t think of the future. You don’t think of your projects, because you are focusing your attention, your mindfulness, on your breath.
Spirit as Flame and Fire
Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.
Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.
Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.
— attributed to Rumi
Love in its essence is spiritual fire. — Seneca
The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire. — Ferdinand Foch
Heat cannot be separated from fire, nor beauty from the eternal. — Dante Alighieri
We cannot tear out a single page of our life, but we can throw the whole book in the fire. — George Sand
You kindled me, heap of ashes that I am, into fire. — Cassandra Clare
… I am … setting fire to the forests
at night when no one else is alive or awake
however you choose to see it and I live in my own flames
sometimes burning too bright and too wild
to make things last or handle myself or anyone else
and so I run. run run run
far and wide until my bones ache and lungs split
and it feels good. Hear that people? It feels good …
― Charlotte Eriksson
Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden. ― Cormac McCarthy, The Road
If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is. ― Charles Bukowski
There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke. ― attributed to Vincent van Gogh
The Moth don’t care
when he sees The Flame.
He might get burned,
but he’s in the game.
And once he’s in,
he can’t go back,
he’ll Beat his wings
’til he burns them black…
No, The Moth don’t care
when he sees The Flame …
The Moth don’t care if
The Flame is real,
‘Cause Flame and Moth
got a sweetheart deal.
And nothing fuels
a good flirtation,
Like Need and Anger
No, The Moth don’t care
if The Flame is real …
― Aimee Mann
Spirit as Wind and Breath
The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also received his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. — Chief Seattle
The breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind. ― Kahlil Gibran
Close your eyes and turn your face into the wind. Feel it sweep along your skin in an invisible ocean of exultation. Suddenly, you know you are alive. ― Vera Nazarian
The wind shows us how close to the edge we are. — Joan Didion
To most human beings, wind is an irritation. To most trees, wind is a song. ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
When men sow the wind it is rational to expect that they will reap the whirlwind. — Frederick Douglass
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. — William Arthur Ward
What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?— E. M. Forster
You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of. — Jim Rohn
I hear the wind among the trees Playing the celestial symphonies; I see the branches downward bent, Like keys of some great instrument. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Texts for this week include Psalm 118 and Matthew 21, as well as “I am the way, the truth and the life” from Gospel of John.
Questions to Consider: Questions raised up in commentary on Palm Sunday from Jan Richardson:
- Are we allowing ourselves to be swept along by circumstances, traveling our road by default?
- Or 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:
- I 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
- See You Again by Charlie Puth & Wiz Khalifa (rock/hip hop)
- One More Light by Linkin Park covered by One Voice Children’s Choir (pop)
- Modern English’s Melt With You (rock)
- This Is Me from Greatest Showman (broadway)
- Hope Medford’s Pilgrimage
- Eric Clapton Pilgrim music video (rock)
- Companion by Quantrelle (hip hop/rap ballad)
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
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.
- Start a Gratitude Practice — Melissa, Lionheart Life
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
The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care. The opportunity of like is to serve. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend. The beauty of life is to give. — William Arthur Ward
Every one of us has the seed of mindfulness.
The practice is to cultivate it. — Thich Nhat Hanh
SEEDS & SPICES – Special focus on mustard seeds.
Song about seeds:
- Faith Like a Mustard Seed (Jamaican reggae gospel) song link
- Sowing the Seeds of Love by Tears for Fears song link
- How Great by Chance the Rapper (gospel and rap) song link
- My Little Seed by Woody Guthrie (folk song) song link
- Faith as Small as a Mustard Seed (Christians children’s music) song link
- The Seed Song (Christian children’s music) song link
- Just a Little Seed by Liz Buchanan song link
- Finger Play for children “The Farmer Plants the Seeds” video link
- Spices – Biblical Archeology link to article
- Herbs and Spices of the Bible link to article
- Herbs and Spices – Partial Scripture Inventory of their appearances in Bible link to article
Blessing That Holds a Nest in Its Branches — Jan Richardson
The emptiness that you have been holding for such a long season now;
that ache in your chest that goes with you night and day
in your sleeping, your rising—
think of this not as a mere hollow,
the void left from the life that has leached out of you.
Think of it like this: as the space being prepared
for the seed.
Think of it as your earth that dreams
of the branches the seed contains.
Think of it as your heart making ready
to welcome the nest its branches will hold.
Whereas spices are as valuable as currency in ancient times, including many of the seeds used to create them, mustard seeds were like weeds in Jesus’ time (and today, too). They grew and spread and were unwelcome in fields and vineyards. Yet mustard seeds are used as a positive image in the parable, turning our ideas upside down. When we take small actions and make simple choices, big things are possible out of those beginnings. And maybe the world of justice, mercy and compassion — holy Love’s kingdom here on earth — will grow and take shape in the most potent, surprising, and undeniable ways. Like plants that we consider weeds, that grow up to become healing, beautiful and transformative.
- What small deeds or words have you heard that changed your perspective?
- What simple choices and actions have you taken that may have a larger impact than you can imagine? Or what choices and actions would you like to make as a beginning of transformation?
- Where do you see change in holy and loving ways that surprise you?
- Who has surprised you with insights and actions that teach you to see the world differently?
MUSTARD SEED MUSINGS: Small but Persistent
I’ve read that the mustard plant is a bush, not a tree, but it seems that the point of the parable is the size, relative both to other plants and to the initial kernel from which the plant grows. — Mark Davis
They are prepared for a mustard-seed kingdom of God no bigger than the eye of a newt but not for the great banyan it becomes with birds in its branches singing Mozart … ― Frederick Buechner
I have a mustard seed and I’m not afraid to use it! — Joseph Ratzinger
… in Jesus’ world … mustard was a weed, dreaded by farmers the way today’s gardeners dread kudzu, crabgrass, or bindweed. It starts out small, but before long has taken over your field. Why, then, compare the kingdom of God to a pernicious weed and pollutant? Because both mustard seed and yeast have this way of spreading beyond anything you’d imagined, infiltrating a system and taking over a host … far more potent than we’d imagined and ready to spread to every corner of our lives … — David Lose
God’s work is barely perceptible at times, and yet produces enormous results. — Pulpit Fiction
Mustard was just about as virulent as Kudzu. Once it took hold in a field, it would eventually take over the whole place. It’s just about impossible to eradicate. Modern farmers hate it because it gets in their crops. Ranchers hate it because it irritates the eyes of their livestock. What possible good could come from mustard seed? But in a very real sense, that’s precisely the point. God’s realm of justice and peace and freedom in this world is something unexpected. It works contrary to our expectations. — Alan Brehm
BUDDHIST MUSTARD SEED STORY
“A woman lost her child and was inconsolable in her grief, carrying her dead child throughout the land, begging for someone to help heal her child. When she came to the Buddha, she begged him to help her. He told him he could help her if she would collect mustard seeds for the medicine. She eagerly agreed, but then the Buddha explained that the mustard seeds needed to come from a home that had not been touched by death. When the woman visited each house in search of the mustard seeds that might heal her son, she discovered there was no house that had not suffered the loss fo a parent, or a spouse, or a child. Seeing that her suffering was not unique, she was able to bury her child in the forest and release her grief.” — Shared by the Dalai Lama
Spices As Philosophy
The secret of happiness is variety, but the secret of variety, like the secret of all spices, is knowing when to use it. — Daniel Gilbert
Variety’s the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor. — William Cowper
Arabian merchants controlled most of the spice trade for centuries. They became the exclusive suppliers of spices from Asia, such as cassia and cinnamon. In order to discourage the Mediterranean world from establishing direct commercial links with sources in the East, the Arabians spread fanciful tales about the dangers involved in obtaining spices. The real source of spices was “probably the best-kept trade secret of all time,” according to The Book of Spices. — jw.org
Words are like spices. Too many is worse than too few. — Joan Aiken
There has never been any great genius without a spice of madness. — Seneca the Younger
I just think you need to spice up life every now and then with a bit of adventure and excitement. — Richard Branson
Is not birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, Manhood, learning, gentleness, virtue, youth, liberality, and such like, the spice and salt that season a man — William Shakespeare
But in truth, should I meet with gold or spices in great quantity, I shall remain till I collect as much as possible, and for this purpose I am proceeding solely in quest of them. — Christopher Columbus
Spices in Cooking & Food
Spice is life. It depends upon what you like… have fun with it. Yes, food is serious, but you should have fun with it. — Emeril Lagasse
Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go. — Erma Bombeck
I measure in my palm and use my eyes to estimate amounts; a tablespoon is a full palm of dried spices. — Rachael Ray
All those spices and herbs in your spice rack can do more than provide calorie-free, natural flavorings to enhance and make food delicious. Theyre also an incredible source of antioxidants and help rev up your metabolism and improve your health at the same time. — Suzanne Somers
Spices As Emotion
Spice a dish with love and it pleases every palate. — Plautus
Variety is the spice of love. — Helen Rowland
Love is like a spice. It can sweeten your life – however, it can spoil it, too. — Confucius
Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice. — Bethany Hamilton
Fear is the spice that makes it interesting to go ahead. — Daniel Boone