Be Not Afraid …

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
— Joshua 1:9

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
— Romans 8:38-39

The chief thing that separates us from God is the thought that we are separated from Him. If we get rid of that thought, our troubles will be greatly reduced. We fail to believe that we are always with God and that He is part of every reality. The present moment, every object we see, our inmost nature are all rooted in Him. But we hesitate to believe this until our personal experience gives us confidence to believe in it. This involves the gradual development of intimacy with God. God constantly speaks to us through each other as well as within. The interior experience of God’s presence activates our capacity to experience Him in everything else—in people, in events, in nature. We may enjoy union with God in any experience of the external senses as well as in prayer.
— Thomas Keating from Open Mind, Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel

There is no event so commonplace but that God is present within it, always hiddenly, always leaving you room to recognize him or not recognize him, but all the more fascinatingly because of that, all the more compellingly and hauntingly… Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.
— Frederick Buechner from Now and Then

“How can you seek God if he’s already here? It’s like standing in the ocean and crying out, ‘I want to get wet.’ You want to get over the line to God. It turns out he was always there.” Francisco’s eyes began to gleam. “Grace comes to those who stop struggling. When it really sinks in that there’s nothing you can do to find God, he suddenly appears. That’s the deepest mystery, the only one that counts.”
— Deepak Chopra from Why Is God Laughing?: The Path to Joy and Spiritual Optimism

The Mercy of God

I am copying down in a book from my heart’s archives
the day that I ceased to fear God with a shadowy fear.
Would you name it the day that I measured my column of virtue
and sighted through windows of merit a crown that was near?
Ah, no, it was rather the day I began to see truly
that I came forth from nothing and ever toward nothingness tend,
that the works of my hands are a foolishness wrought in the presence
of the worthiest king in a kingdom that shall never end.
I rose up from the acres of self that I tended with passion
and defended with flurries of pride;
I walked out of myself and went into the woods of God’s mercy,
and here I abide.
There is greenness and calmness and coolness, a soft leafy covering
from the judgment of sun overhead,
and the hush of His peace, and the moss of His mercy to tread.
I have naught but my will seeking God; even love burning in me
is a fragment of infinite loving and never my own.
And I fear God no more; I go forward to wander forever
in a wilderness made of His infinite mercy alone.
— Jessica Powers from The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers

I Saw Jesus Today

I saw Jesus on the train today. He had worked a long shift, his coveralls a patchwork of sweat and grime; yet he joked with a coworker in the adjacent seat. I saw Jesus awhile later, as the crowd filed onto the stairs to the street below—he was a young girl with two small children in tow, her nerves clearly frayed. And then, in the grocery store, there was Jesus again, a check-out clerk who smiled and wished me a good evening. The next time I saw him, he was stuck in traffic, his business suit rumpled and his eyes weary. And when I walked by my neighbor’s house, Jesus sat on the front step, passing the time with a friend.

When Jesus came to share our human existence, he changed what it means to be ordinary people going through the day. Each one of us has a purpose and a place in the world. Each of us experiences pain, fatigue, humor, and hope. If we look more intently at the people we encounter on a typical day, we will see who they truly are—persons loved by God. Regardless of appearance or situation, the woman, man, or child before you is brimming with holy possibility. Consider that you are gazing into the eyes of God. Understand that Jesus comes to you in many faces and places.
Vinita Hampton Wright (original post)
Night falls. Or has fallen. Why is it that night falls, instead of rising, like the dawn? Yet if you look east, at sunset, you can see night rising, not falling; darkness lifting into the sky, up from the horizon, like a black sun behind cloud cover. Like

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