Passing Through

Life is a series of movements and passages. How do we respond to losses and change?

Earthquakes, Truth, and Freedom

What is the Good News that we can lean into during our current instability and struggles? What can we lean into within our pain, our grief, our disbelief, our cracked foundations, and our shaky footing?

Evening Glow

Have we ever feasted on the alpenglow? Have we seen the glory of light revealed? Have we had a “foretaste of glory divine”? Have we stood in the space between heaven and earth? Has light filled us with awe and wonder?

Salt and Pepper Shakers

I rolled the shakers around in my hand, examining each scratch and dent, the salt label faded beyond recognition.

The Gift of Tears

All of us will encounter grief and sorrow during our journey through life. Paradoxically, the more we love, the more we will grieve. We cannot avoid it or go around it though we try, but we must go through it.

Seeing with New Eyes

Mature faith or contemplation “allows us to see the truth of things in their wholeness.” We see our own beauty and our flaws. We begin to recognize the complexity of the people and situations around us.

Live in Love

When we fall in love, we walk lightly on the ground, and we hear the birds singing. We write poetry and sing songs. Falling in love is a Norman Rockwell painting in process. It is wonderful and so easy to fall into love, but it is quite another thing to stay in love. Can we stay in love with one another and God?

Live in Joy

I imagine the shepherds soaked in the sudden, glorious starlight, and they knew that light was “good news of great joy for all people.” What is joy and can we live in joy?

Live in Peace

Jesus, the child born in the manger, the Prince of Peace, grows up and embodies peace, creates peace, and shares peace. Blessed are the peacemakers he told us. Put your swords away.

Live in Hope

We have moments when get frustrated, lose patience, and get irritated with one another. It’s part of life. But do we also experience moments that saturate us in the way of Christ’s peace and grace?

Red Apples

The one God, creator of all, is not the God of one nation, one religion, one denomination, or one ethnicity. Christ is everywhere. This changes everything.

Is Doing Nothing Enough Sometimes?

How often do we respond to anger with more anger? How often do we meet violence with more violence? Mary stands silently in love and compassion not resignation. How do we stand when we face sorrow, anger, or injustice?

14 Medium Cokes Please

Do we practice giving thanks for things big and small? A blue sky, a golden leaf, the soft cool breeze, a friendly hello, our next breath, a hot meal, and a warm bed? A cold pop? Do we find hidden blessings in the struggles and difficulties in life? This is a challenge.

Heart Matters

When our hearts are full, life is good and our “cup overflows.” Sometimes when sadness or grief overwhelm us, we might say, “My heart aches.” Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart” (Matthew 22:37). The heart is prevalent in all aspects of our lives.

Is Love a Yes and a No?

We cannot fit one more thing into our schedule, but the requests for our time and energy do not stop. Can we say no? Did Jesus ever say no to requests for his time, his gifts, and his energy?

A Humble Place

Let us give thanks for Christ’s grace and mercy. Let us move from self-righteous judgment to shared empathy. With humility, we are one.

Being Home

How much time do we spend in Christ’s house of grace living in a spirit of compassion, understanding, acceptance, and reverence for ourselves and others?

Befriending Death

We can befriend our dreams, befriend our shadow, befriend our unconscious, and we can befriend death.

Exquisite Mutuality

When we start connecting our pain/grief to the larger world, our common humanity, then we become part of the grand restorative narrative: lost and found, exile and return, death and resurrection. We move from sorrow to joy.

Good Mourning!

May our deep tears be cathartic and lead to resurrection joy.

Stand Still

Jesus lived in solitude, and he lived in community. He began his ministry by spending forty days alone in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). How do we begin our days? Before he chose the twelve disciples, he spent the entire night alone in the desert hills (Luke 6:12). Do we spend time in silence before we make decisions?

Christ and Blizzards

Do we see our Creator in the stranger? Do we see Christ’s love and goodness in those who are different from us? Would we recognize Jesus if he walked into our church? What would He look like?

To Bless or Not to Bless

Do we tend to bless, or do we tend to curse? Maybe a little of both, but as we consciously grow in faith we bless more and curse less.

Move Toward Forgiveness

Are we aware of our need to receive forgiveness and extend forgiveness daily? Or, do we say, “We’re just fine.” Is the practice of forgiveness a way of life for us?

A Soft Heart

What has opened our hearts to a deeper understanding or more tenderness? Has anything closed or hardened our hearts? Can grace and intention transform our hearts?

Transforming Pain

Mary lets her pain and grief transform her, so she embodies the peace, the gentleness, the forgiveness, and the light of Christ.

What Is Our Practice?

Jesus did not just come to tell us about life after death but to show us how to live life now.

Gratitude: Healing the Heart

Jesus invites us to recognize that gladness and sadness are never separate. Have we seen blessings/gifts spring forth from difficult situations, hard times?

Awestruck by Beauty

Paradise exists is in our common ordinary lives: the bread we bake, the seeds we plant, and the small blessings we receive.

Enough

What is enough? How do we know if we have it? How do we know if we have done enough work for one day?

Just a Closer Walk With Thee

When we walk and do not have a destination, we are free to see the holy, the sacred, and the beauty in the world. We have time to listen and to be present.

Lost in Wonder

To experience resurrection is to live with childlike wonder. And maybe, we will hear the Risen Christ say to us, “Do not be afraid. The world is full of wonder, beauty, and mystery. I will be with you always.”

Elusive Unity

Unity is being together or at one with someone or something, being on the same page, being of one mind and heart. It is a rare, precious, and an invaluable, hard-earned gift.

Living Resurrection

Like Mary, do we long to be known? To be held? To be the recipient of God’s love and adoration? Do we believe love is greater than death? Do we rise?

Hosanna! (Save Now)

It is gut-wrenching, trying, and endearing to ride the roller-coaster of life, but we find lasting hope in knowing that Christ is with us and love perseveres through it all.

A River Runs Through Our Town

We will have more love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness if we fill our lives with simple good things and give thanks to God, our Creator for them.

Being Free of Our Enemies

God’s grace heals, mends, and restores us and hate usually destroys us or at the very least makes us miserable

Come and See  

May we give thanks to those people who have taught us how to live well through their living example.

The Desert

In the desert, no matter how arduous it might be, no matter how parched we may be for a drink of water, we discover angels are all around us.

To Free Ourselves

Only forgiveness can break the cycle of resentment, pain, and blame. Forgiveness is unfair but it is the only thing that offers us a way out from the weight of resentment and anger.

The Best Four Letter Word

How do we get back to loving one another as Christ loved us? Who do we share or not share the grace and love of God with?

Celebration

When Jesus left the world, he gifted his peace and joy to us, “These things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).

A Mellow, Forgiving Heart

Thank God for the example of the Prodigal Father, Jesus the Christ, and the Coach Ards of the world. They show us a way forward.

70 x 7

To live in a vibrant, life-giving community is to practice forgiveness. May we ask for the grace to let go so we can live in the present and not the past.

The Spiritual Practice of Community

Do we believe more in ourselves or in the grace of community life? Isn’t it easier to just do it ourselves and not bother with other people or another group?  

Rattled and Grounded

In our life we will hear voices that will encourage us to hate, to destroy, and to vilify our neighbors. Loud charismatic voices will tell us that love and forgiveness are naïve, ridiculous, and foolish. Power, violence, and control rule the day, not love, some voices say. What voices do we listen to and what voices shape the way we live?

A New Year?

It is a new year, and it can be a new beginning for us. Henri Nouwen writes, “So how can we be in touch with the Spirit, hear the voice of the Spirit, and allow ourselves to be guided by the Spirit?” Can we create some space for God to inform, guide, and shape our responses to all the interactions we have each day?

It’s Still Christmas

As we take time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, may the spirit of Christ continually be born in us. What needs to be born or born anew in us today?

Giving Birth to Love

A warm smile. A kind word. A heartfelt thank you. A hug. Forgiveness. A meal made with great care. A phone call from a long-ago friend. Flowers blooming in the spring. A dog’s joyful greeting. Prayer.

Do we see God’s love in the world, and do we give birth to Love?

Do Some Pondering

When we are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or stressed out, what do we do? Do we react in haste? Are we compulsive? Do we think things through? Do we have the faith of Mary to stop and ponder?

Flashlights

We develop a deeper spirit of peace within us when we no longer have anything left to cling to. What are we hanging on to?

Are We Headed Somewhere Good?

May we experience God’s intimate love and grace moving through us and through our world. May we find within our hearts “a place where the light shines with tender memories.” May we live with hope.

Waiting in Our Upper Rooms

So much like the first disciples, we wait in the cloud of unknowing in our “upper rooms” wherever they may be.

Taking Off Our Outer Garments: Healing Our Divides

What outer garments do we wear that keep us from forming relationships with the other? What outer garments do we wear that separate us? What do we wear that prevents us from seeing the image of God in our neighbor?

Walk the Walk

Is love just sentimental or is love also the pain of healing, the exercise necessary to heal a broken body or spirit? A broken nation?

How Do We Carry Our Keys?

Jesus set boundaries. He fed, healed, listened, and restored people and when Jesus got tired, He stopped and went to a quiet place to be still and restore His soul. Why would we be any different?

Eternal Hope

May we keep our eyes on the Promised Land while being aware of our present reality.

What Do We Carry?

Jesus loved. He loved the children, the blind, the disabled, the lepers, prostitutes, the elderly, and the poor. He changed lives and the world by loving one person at a time.

This Too Shall Pass: Dark Nights

The dark nights can seem like an eternity but maybe faith is trusting that we do go through the dark valleys and the sun will come up tomorrow.

Who’s afraid of the Dark?

Do we have enough faith to explore the dark instead of using faith to bar all our doors? How much more is in store for us if we learn to walk in the dark?

Love Who?

It’s not easy to love as Christ first loved us. Will we follow His example? Will we love our enemies?

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Conflict and the Third Way

All of us probably face conflict daily. We can continue to fight or flee, but how is it working out for us? How is it working out for our communities and our nation? How is it working out for those we disagree with? Maybe we should pause and ask for wisdom to practice the third way, the way of Christ.

Specks and Logs

We have so many things on the table in our community and in our country. We are divided but the Good News is we can change.

Expect Long Delays

It takes time for a new idea to take hold. It took time for people to realize that the earth is not the center of the universe. It takes time to see with new eyes. It takes time for humanity to realize how much we need each other and how sacred all of creation is. It takes time for justice to take root.

Anam Cara

Good friends help us find our balance, our center, our way in life. They remind us of who we are.

Box Elder Bugs

Is there a spirituality for the rest of us who are not secluded in a monastery, who don’t have it all together and probably never will?

Rain

How do we turn our cups upwards to catch the grace that God showers on us?

Go Down the Hill and Cross the Wash

Grief and death are universal experiences we all share. They move across cultures, races, and every demographic in our societies. The sting of death can tear us apart with anger, resentment, and bitterness, and the pain of death can draw us together in love, compassion, and empathy.

Interiority

What is going on inside of us that influences or colors how we see people and the world? The answer requires a lot of prayer, grace, and introspection on our part.

Liberty and Justice for All

May we help bring “liberty to those who are oppressed.”

May we move in the Spirit of God’s Peace.

May there be liberty and justice for all.

May “justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

May all mean all.

Blessed Consciousness

Can anyone pronounce a blessing? What is a blessing? Which things do we agree to bless, and which things do we decline to bless? Who/what does Jesus bless? Hint: God makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous (see Matthew 5:45).

Mending Lives

This is a pivotal time in our history. It is time, as people of the Way, to start mending relationships one person at a time.

Green and Growing Time

“The great paradox of solitude is that as we enter alone (silent prayer) into the sacred presence of God, we find ourselves moving closer to others, indeed to the whole human race.” – Thomas Merton

Peace With Justice Sunday: Angels of Peace

Peacemakers are not agitators, anarchists, or traitors say Sister Joan Chittister. Rather peacemakers “call us to the best of what we are.” They are loud and quiet, and they are nonviolent and compassionate.

3rd Sunday of Easter: Living Peace Through Solitude

“When we pray, go to our inner room, close our door, and pray to God in secret,” Jesus tells us. As we learn to sit in sacred silence, the chaos of our minds gradually subsides. We empty our minds to allow God’s peace to move within us and fill us.

2nd Sunday of Easter during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Last Sunday my mom and I were driving to Cortez to see a friend in need. Just past the west side of Mesa Verde hill, we saw a barefoot woman running hysterically down the shoulder of Highway 160. She was crying and flailing her arms in the air. She stumbled and weaved as she ran, pure terror. A car was parked behind her and I thought she might be running for her life from whomever was in the car.

My stomach tightened in a ball and I gripped the steering wheel harder. What should I do? I turned to my 81-year old mom and asked, “Do you think we should stop? And, if we do stop should we give her a ride if she needs one?” I was not for sure, but intuitively I thought she was fleeing a domestic violence situation. The parked car behind her concerned me. Her life could be at risk and if we stopped our lives could be at risk. We could call 911 but by the time help arrived it might be too late. And, I had concerns about the coronavirus as well. Would we want a frantic, barefoot stranger riding in our car?

What was our best response?

Many of the stories of Jesus tell about him being moved with compassion. Marcus Borg in his transformative book, “Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time” says, “For Jesus, compassion was the central quality of God and the central moral quality of a life centered in God.” Compassion is feeling the suffering or the pain of someone else and being moved by that suffering to do something. “To be compassionate is to feel as God feels and to act as God acts in a life-giving, nourishing,” and generative way. Frank Rogers says compassion is the heartbeat of humanity that restores life, and Jewish rabbis and scholars believe the ethic of compassion is the essence of the Torah.

Jesus lived compassion. He touched the lepers and the blind. The hungry moved him with compassion. Jesus drew close and healed the man with unclean spirits. He forgave the thief on the cross. He listened intently to the woman at the well.

Easter Sunday: To Live Threatened with Resurrection

We run from our souls. Our dreams. Our hopes. Our identity. We run from joy, peace, wonder, and beauty. Father Richard Rohr says, “Resurrection offers us a future. One that is unknown and thus scary.” So, we cling to the familiar even if it harms us or no longer serves us or society. “It is easier to gather our energy around death, pain, and potential problems than around love, joy, and new life.” What do we hold on to? What do we cling to? Can we let go and enter into new life?

Entering Holy Week during the age of the coronavirus

Father Richard Rohr states, “We are clearly not in control, as this pandemic is now teaching the whole planet. For many of us, this may be the first time in our lives that we have felt so little control over our own destiny and the destiny of those we love.” However, Christ invites us to walk in faith. We can be gentle, kind, patient, and supportive of one another. This is faithfulness.

How much is enough?

On Thursday, Governor Polis issued a stay at home order, so Jennifer and I walked around the block a few times together. We talked. We felt the warm sun on our faces. We noticed the new green tufts of grass in the neighbor’s yard. We’ll probably need to mow in a week or two. A few yellow daffodils are spreading their wings. The tulips look promising in the front flower beds at church. Will they bloom at Easter? Tim’s aging old hound walked gingerly toward us. We said, “hello” as only old friends can do. I rang the church bell twelve times at twelve noon, once for each of the original disciples and to remind myself and all of us who we follow. Amidst the cloud of unknowing, is this enough?

A few thoughts in lieu of church

This past week has been strange and surreal with the reality of the corona virus upon us.  Empty grocery store shelves.  Take out only in restaurants.  Schools shut and churches closed.  Social distancing and elbow bumps.  Empty streets.  This moment in time might forever change how we see the world and this moment might remind us of some eternal truths as well.