Desert Day 37: The Fruit of the Spirit …

How does the Spirit of God manifest itself through us? Often we think that to witness means to speak up in defense of God. This idea can make us very self-conscious. We wonder where and how we can make God the topic of our conversations and how to convince our families, friends, neighbors, and colleagues of God’s presence in their lives. But this explicit missionary endeavor often comes from an insecure heart and, therefore, easily creates divisions. Continue reading “Desert Day 37: The Fruit of the Spirit …”

Desert Day 31: Love Your Enemies …

“The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust.” —Isaiah 32:17

Loving Your Enemies

Probably no admonition of Jesus has been more difficult to follow than the command to “love your enemies.” Some men have sincerely felt that its actual practice is not possible. It is easy, they say, to love those who love you, but how can one love those who openly and insidiously seek to defeat you? Others, like the philosopher Nietzsche, contend that Jesus’ exhortation to love one’s enemies is testimony to the fact that the Christian ethic is designed for the weak and cowardly, and not for the strong and courageous. Jesus, they say, was an impractical idealist. Continue reading “Desert Day 31: Love Your Enemies …”

Desert Day 22: Song of Awakening (Spring Meditation) …

As you light a candle:

Listen, all you seeds in the Earth,
buried in your dark Earthen tombs,
as this flame of my spring candle
penetrates the darkness,
may your young tender stems pierce the Earth
to dance in wind and rain
just as this flame, like a tiny sun,
now dances before me. Continue reading “Desert Day 22: Song of Awakening (Spring Meditation) …”

Desert Day 05: Why God Makes Us Wait …

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven …
— Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

The entire life of a good Christian is an exercise in holy desire. You do not see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when God comes you may see and be utterly satisfied. Suppose you are going to fill some holder or container, and you know you will be given a large amount. Continue reading “Desert Day 05: Why God Makes Us Wait …”

Desert Day 02: Blessing The Desert . ..

Hope begins in the dark: the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work. You don’t give up.
— Anne Lamott from Bird by Bird

Blessing the Desert

Ask me what
this blessing sounds like
and I will tell you
about the wind
that hollows everything
it finds. Continue reading “Desert Day 02: Blessing The Desert . ..”

In Difficult Times …

Consoling God,
be a source of serenity for me
when struggles and difficulties
threaten to overwhelm me.

God of hope,
assure me of your unconditional love
when I doubt myself
or question the worth of my life. Continue reading “In Difficult Times …”

Winter Has A Gift To Give …

Winter here is a demanding season—and not everyone appreciates the discipline. It is a season when death’s victory can seem supreme: few creatures stir, plants do not visibly grow, and nature feels like our enemy. And yet the rigors of winter, like the diminishments of autumn, are accompanied by amazing gifts. Continue reading “Winter Has A Gift To Give …”

Advent Day 28: Silent Night, Holy Night (Christmas Eve) …

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
on them light has shined.
— Isaiah 9.2

All grace comes precisely from nowhere—from silence and emptiness, if you prefer—which is what makes it grace. It is both you and yet so much greater than you at the same time, which is probably why believers chose both uprushing fountains (John 7:38) and downrushing doves (Matthew 3:16) as metaphors for this universal and grounding experience of spiritual encounter. Sometimes it is an uprush and sometimes it is a downrush, but it is always from a silence that is larger than you, surrounds you, and finally names the deeper truth of the full moment that is you. I call such a way of knowing the contemplative way of knowing, as did much of the older tradition. (The word “prayer” has been so consistently trivialized to refer to something you do, instead of something that is done to you, with you, in you, and as you.) Then, like Mary, you are ready to give birth. You are ready for Christmas … Continue reading “Advent Day 28: Silent Night, Holy Night (Christmas Eve) …”

Advent Day 25: The Longest Night …

The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!
— Apollon Maykov

All throughout these months
as the shadows
have lengthened,
this blessing has been
gathering itself,
making ready,
preparing for
this night.

Continue reading “Advent Day 25: The Longest Night …”