Broken…

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It is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.
Mary Oliver

 

The morning light peers across the horizon. The night has passed.

It is serious to be alive on this fresh morning.

Overnight, bombs have fallen. Overnight, children have wandered in search of their parents. Overnight, hunger continued to blanket a huge and ever growing swath of our world.

The broken is before us.

Can I help, can I help move toward a world that is safe and whole? To be whole and safe… can be done one person at a time, one neighborhood, one city. The only way to understand how this world became so fragile is to dive in.

Fresh and broken- a new day begins.

Snow… falling much like stars

Last night, an owl
In the blue dark tossed
an indeterminate number
of carefully shaped sounds into
the world, in which,
a quarter of a mile away, I happened
to be standing.
I couldn’t tell
which one it was –
the barred or the great-horned
ship of the air –
it was that distant. But, anyway,
aren’t there moments
that are better than knowing something,
and sweeter? Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness. I suppose
if this were someone else’s story
they would have insisted on knowing
whatever is knowable – would have hurried
over the fields
to name it – the owl, I mean.
But it’s mine, this poem of the night,
and I just stood there, listening and holding out
my hands to the soft glitter
falling through the air. I love this world,
but not for its answers.
And I wish good luck to the owl,
whatever its name –
and I wish great welcome to the snow,
whatever its severe and comfortless
and beautiful meaning.

Mary Oliver

A wider world

The World I Live In by Mary Oliver

“I have refused to live
locked in the orderly house of
reasons and proofs.
The world I live in and believe in
Is wider than that.
And anyway, what’s wrong with Maybe?
You wouldn’t believe what once or
twice I have seen.
I’ll just tell you this:
only if there are angels in your head will you ever,
possibly, see one.”

A doorway into thanks…

Praying by Mary Oliver

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few

small stones; just

pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try

to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which

another voice may speak.

Alive


It is a serious thing, just to be alive on this fresh morning, in this broken world.
Mary Oliver

What is left? Prayer…

So this is how you swim inward. So this is how you flow outwards. So this is how you pray.
Mary Oliver

On this quite night we come to the most important moments of our Advent journey. We feel the time for slumber with all projects complete and hearts and homes prepared. We were asked to be on alert and to get ready. We have watched for the signs and completed the tasks

But all the preparation leads us to this moment. For like midwives we must stand near, ready for the ultimate job. In/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/751/11099331/files/2014/12/img_1937.jpg prayerful presence as this young baby is born we are here at highest alert – to assist if needed. This is why we have been waiting. This is the moment, all of our preparation leads to ‘now’.

May we stay calm – to draw our breath as it swims inward and exhale as it flows outward; the rhythm of birth and the practice of prayer.

 

The Path of Palm Sunday

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I offer a previously written reflection as it remains true for today. Welcome to Holy Week.

This day is always filled with confusion and inspiration. Its chaos and its strange, awkward flow – always challenge liturgists who strive to ‘connect the dots’ between triumphal entry and brutal death. Too much for one service we try to create a flow of worship, where it appears none was intended. Frustrated – we force this story and its impact to fit our form and time.

It is chaos — and yet, when I step back from the function, I sense a possible reason. Was it not chaos for all involved during that week? Who knew – disciples and all the hopeful – that this glorious entry into the city of all that was sacred, an entry that sung of victory and God’s blessing – who knew all would turn so horrible and tragic. The chaos must have been overwhelming. Packed into a week – they went from certainty to despair. Packed into an hour and a half we share that sense of wrenching confusion – we enter with palms waving and exit in silent awe. Exhausted we leave – wondering how all of these moments can happen so quickly.

Our time of wonder is as long as a life. We walk the road this next week, feeling the connection, the compassion and the violent shift. May there be insights in these days, hours and moments. May we realize all creation’s role as God enters our own sacred places.

For Palm Sunday, a poem by Mary Oliver

The Poet Thinks about the Donkey

On the outskirts of Jerusalem

the donkey waited.

Not especially brave, or filled with understanding,

he stood and waited.

*

How horses, turned out into the meadow,
leap with delight!

How doves, released from their cages,

clatter away, splashed with sunlight!

*

But the donkey, tied to a tree as usual, waited.

Then he let himself be led away.

Then he let the stranger mount.

*

Never had he seen such crowds!

And I wonder if he at all imagined what was to happen.

Still, he was what he had always been: small, dark, obedient.

*

I hope, finally he felt brave.

I hope, finally, he loved the man who rode so lightly upon him,

as he lifted one dusty hoof and stepped, as he had to, forward.