A Good Friday Meditation…
Shock Me with Terrible Goodness
Shock and save me with the terrible goodness of this Friday,
And drive me deep into my longing for your kingdom
Until I seek it first-
Yet not first for myself,
But for the hungry
And the sick
And the poor of your children,
For prisoners of conscience around the world,
For those I have wasted
With my racism
For those around this mother earth and in this city
Who, this Friday, know far more of terror than of goodness;
That, in my seeking first the kingdom,
For them as well as for myself,
All these things may be mine as well:
Things like a coat and courage
And something like comfort,
A few lilies in the field,
The sight of birds soaring on the wind,
A song in the night,
And gladness of heart,
The sense of your presence
And the realization of your promise
That nothing in life or death
Will be able to separate me or those I love,
From you love
In the crucified one who is our Lord,
And in whose name and Spirit I pray.
by Ted Loder – Guerrillas of Grace
There are those who see God most clearly in creation. Their eyes breathe in the Divine glory and know that everything good comes from the Father of Lights. Francis of Assisi saw God as the Master Artist, visible in all that He made. Francis’ first biographer, Thomas of Celano, wrote:
“Saint Francis praised the Artist in every one of his works; whatever he found in things made, he referred to their Maker. He rejoiced in all the works of the Lord’s hands, and with joyful vision saw into the reason and cause that gave them life. In beautiful things he came to know Beauty itself. To him all things were good. They cried out to him, ‘He who made us is infinitely good.” By tracing His footprints in things, Francis followed the Beloved wherever He led. He made from created things, a ladder to His throne.”
In the Genesis creation poem it is abundantly clear that humanity has been given the privilege to steward, or care for the earth. Of all people, those who trust the Scriptures should be the first to embrace a theology of ecology, restoration, healing and care.
While I have not fact-checked this next statement, it seems to makes sense to me. That, with the global shut-down brought about by the COVID19 crisis, there has resulted a new healing of the earth. There has been a dissipation of large amounts of air pollution, clearing of water pollution, and wildlife returning to their habitats. While I am not sure of the statistics around this, it makes sense that as we are not able to consume as we have been consuming, there are many positive natural results. Something we should all consider post-COVID.
For Earth Day 2020 I offer you the following blessing penned by John O’Donohue in his book, “To Bless The Space Between Us.” meditate on it and then go for a walk in the wonder of God’s creation.
“Let us bless,
The imagination of the Earth.
That knew early the patience
To harness the mind of time,
Waited for the seas to warm,
Ready to welcome the emergence
Of things dreaming of voyaging
Among the stillness of land.
And how light knew to nurse
the growth until the face of the Earth
Brightened beneath a vision of color.
When the ages of ice came
And sealed the Earth inside
An endless coma of cold,
The heart of the Earth held hope,
Storing fragments of memory,
Ready for the return of the sun.
Let us thank the Earth
That offers ground for home
And holds our feet firm
To walk in space open
To infinite galaxies.
Let us salute the silence
And certainty of mountains:
Their sublime stillness,
Their dream-filled hearts.
The wonder of a garden
Trusting the first warmth of spring
Until its black infinity of cells
Becomes charged with dream;
Then the silent, slow nurture
Of the seed’s self, coaxing it
To trust the act of death.
The humility of the Earth
That transfigures all
That has fallen
Of outlived growth.
Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth
For all our sins against her:
Four our violence and poisonings
Of her beauty.
Let us remember within us
The ancient clay,
Holding the memory of seasons,
The passion of the wind,
The fluency of water,
The warmth of fire,
The quiver-touch of the sun
And shadowed sureness of the moon.
That we may awaken,
To live to the full
The dream of the Earth
Who chose us to emerge
And incarnate its hidden night
In mind, spirit, and light.
This morning my prayerful reflection was written by Karl Rahner SJ. It is a beautiful invitation into love, which is the presence and form of God.
God of My Life
Only in love can I find you,my God.
In love the gates of my soul spring open,
…..allowing me to breathe a new air of freedom.
…..and forget my own petty self.
In love my whole being streams forth
…..out of the rigid confines of narrowness and anxious self-assertion,
…..which makes me a prisoner of my own poverty and emptiness.
In love all the powers of my soul flow out toward you,
wanting never more to return,
but to lose themselves completely in you,
since by your love you are the inmost center of my heart,
closer to me than I am to myself.
But when I love you,
when I manage to break out of the narrow circle of self
and leave behind the restless agony of unanswered questions,
when my blinded eyes no longer look merely from afar
and from the outside upon your unapproachable brightness,
and much more when you yourself, O Incomprehensible One,
have become through love the inmost center of my life,
then I can bury myself entirely in you, O mysterious God,
and with myself all my questions.
As we take our first steps out of the darkness that eclipsed with the Winter Solstice, we experience how nature continues to direct our rhythms and remind us of new life sprouting from the darkness.
I don’t know about you, but I have received my word for 2019 This word, or thought, will become my guide and constant reminder this year. It will help me stay on track, say yes to the right things, and no to the wrong things.
Mostly, it reminds me that no matter what may happen, I am co-creating my life with God which deserves my passionate attention.
My prayer to launch the year is from Ted Loder. It’s real, beautiful, painful and an invitation to journey outside the God-box so many live in. I feel like it describes where I have been and where I long to go. May it speak to your soul as it does mine.
God of history and my heart,
so much has happened to me during these whirlwind days:
I’ve known death and birth;
I’ve been brave and scared;
I’ve hurt, I’ve helped;
I’ve been honest, I’ve lied;
I’ve destroyed, I’ve created;
I’ve been with people, I’ve been lonely;
I’ve been loyal, I’ve betrayed;
I’ve decided, I’ve waffled;
I’ve laughed, I’ve cried.
You know my frail heart and my frayed history–
and now another day begins.
O God, help me to believe in beginnings
and in my beginning again,
no matter how often I’ve failed before.
Help me to make beginnings:
to begin going out of my weary mind into fresh dreams,
daring to make my own bold tracks in the land of now;
to begin forgiving
that I may experience mercy;
to begin questioning the unquestionable
that I may know
to begin disciplining
that I may create beauty;
to begin sacrificing
that I may accomplish justice;
to begin risking
that I may make peace;
to begin loving
that I may realize joy.
Help me to be a beginning for others,
to be a singer to the songless,
a storyteller to the aimless,
a befriender of the friendless;
to become a beginning of hope for the despairing,
of assurance for the doubting,
of reconciliation for the divided;
to become a beginning of freedom for the oppressed,
of comfort for the sorrowing,
of friendship for the forgotten;
to become a beginning of beauty for the forlorn,
of sweetness for the soured,
of gentleness for the angry,
of wholeness for the broken,
of peace for the frightened and violent of the earth.
Help me to believe in beginnings,
to make a beginning,
to be a beginning,
so that I may not just grow old,
but grow new
each day of this wild, amazing life
you call me to live
with the passion of Jesus Christ.