Saturday, July 10, 2021

Gospel Text as Written by the Mountain 10 July 2021

“It does not matter what you believe ‘about’ resurrection. What matters is that you ‘be’ resurrection.”

Spending this week in an adult version tree house, eye to eye with the peaks of towering pine and rocky mountains, for the most part the outward and visible evidence of who I think I am is left behind, if not in Arizona then certainly in my car, a one hundred yard 75 degree climb from the cabin across slippery pine needles and wild flowers. Filthy fingernails, bedraggled hair, stained shirt and muddy boots belie the image of this woman primped in a pristine black suit crowned with a stiff clerical collar, nails, hair and shoes properly polished.

Warmed in a spot of sunlight I wonder,  what keeps me from being comfortable in my naked beingness? What makes me think that I want or need something more than I have or I am? Perhaps that is the wrinkle. I think I should want something more.

Yesterday while doing the James Finley walking meditation -  inhale “God breathing in,” exhale, “God breathing out,” repeat -  while hiking to 13 thousand feet in the Indian Peak Wilderness, this question rose from within. “Well God, if you are breathing me (this is what Richard Rohr refers to as mutual indwelling) perhaps you will ‘talk’ with me? Tell me, what am I supposed to believe about Jesus?” Strange as this sounds and bowing to the fact that I was hiking above 12 thousand feet and oxygen was in short supply, it was as if someone was walking with me, communicating directly without words. 

“It does not matter what you believe ‘about’ resurrection. What matters is that you ‘be’ resurrection.” Whoa. That snared my feet and stopped my breath. I did not see that coming! ““Be” resurrection? Me? What does that look like?” And I heard,  “Living prayer.” “What?”

Right now you are praying while puffing your way to the top of this mountain. As you pray you are a living, breathing revelation of divine presence. Your prayer is the communion of humanity and divinity making whatever is happening sacred, a sacrament. This is how at every turn of the trail you see beauty, how every breath is laced with glittering perfume, how you experience deep peace even as you labor to climb this mountain. So, ‘be’  resurrection. Be the communion of humanity and divinity much as was Jesus by simply receiving each moment as it presents itself (breathing in) and responding precisely as needed in every circumstance (breathing out). There is no need for you to look for something more to do or deal with. Just ‘be’ resurrection.”

Be” resurrection by dying to the idea that I should want or do or be something more. This is new and renewed life. Being now. With that I feel breath enter every cell and space of my being. The sun is warm on my feet. Silence is so thick it sings. All is well, I am well.


                                             Mojo and Caribou Cabin Tree House

James Finley on Grounding in God      Listen to 6 minutes of James Finley describing prayer practices.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Psalm 84 Morning Prayer on the Mountain 26 June 2021

Psalm 84.5 

Fulfilled are those who know

That in each moment

The One dwells within us

And in each moment

We dwell within the One.     (Translation Rabbi Yael Levy, in Directing the Heart)


Everything is Smiling

Arms raised in orans

Ponderosa pine are praying

Everything is smiling 

Around me

Within me.

Sitting on soft dirt

Beside chance medicine circle 

How many hands placed the stones

Pinecones conceiving

Mary’s ripe almond mondorla?

Balmy vanilla air

Kisses the longing

The something more

Within me the praying pines

The medicine circle

Arms raised in orans

I am

Ponderosa pines praying

Mary’s ripe almond mondorla

Everything is smiling. 

Around me

Within me. 

Friday, June 18, 2021

Ordinary Holiness Friday, 18 June 2021 On Being


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Thursday, June 10, 2021

Gospel and other ordinary things for the week of 13 June 2021

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reflections on Ordinary Holiness

 with a nod to Mark 4.30-32   

    Flashlights & Mustard Seeds

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Connecting to Ordinary Holiness: A Sabbatical Journey

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Saturday, May 29, 2021

Hebrew Testament text for Trinity Sunday 30 May 2021

 Isaiah 6:1-8      In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; 

the whole earth is full of his glory.”

The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

Reflection        There is something about Trinity Sunday that confounds our intellect. One God, Three Persons, undivided and distinct, trinity and unity. What are we to think?

Where intellect fails experience prevails. As we rise to witness the broad sweep of the history of God’s people, we are dazzled with a multiplicity of visions, visions of Divine and human encounters punctuate our story.  One of those visions appears in the Hebrew Testament account of the prophet First Isaiah’s experience.Trinity 

Isaiah avers, “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings…” Great drama. Then with the earth shaking and the Temple filled with smoke Isaiah hears, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Quite an experience.

The religious life of the ancient Jewish nation is centered in the Temple in Jerusalem. When the future of his country looks especially bleak, it is the Temple to which Isaiah turns seeking wisdom to guide him.  Isaiah was born during the immoral reign of King Uzziah. Even though Isaiah has a keen knowledge of political affairs and mastery of poetic language, he turns to God in his time of trouble. Putting his faith in God rather than himself, Isaiah has a vision, a vision that assures him that despite his nation’s dismal state, God remains present and active in history.

Face to face with the vision of God’s glory, Isaiah is quite shaken.  His stomach must have leapt to his throat and he protests, “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips…” Whereupon a seraph, a Spirit of God,”holds a live coal that had been taken from the altar” to Isaiah’s lips, a ritual act to illustrate the inner cleansing of Isaiah’s protesting heart and mind. 

Isaiah realizes that in spite of being less than holy and living in a nation erupting with corruption, he is redeemed so when he hears God’s invitation, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” he responds, “Here am I; send me!” As it is said, the rest is history. The course of Isaiah’s life is set as he dares to preach and counsel three kings before dying a martyr.

I believe Jesus’ story parallels that of Isaiah. At his baptism the vision of the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling upon him sets the course of his life and ministry, compels him to preach, teach and heal the lives of many, putting himself crosswise with religious and political officials before dying a martyr.

Isaiah and Jesus put their faith in the experience of Divine Presence that invites their incarnate response, “Here am I.” “Not my will, your will be done.”  Benevolent Father calls to faithful Son through the effectual action of the Spirit.  The fullness of God is made known in the interdependent relationship of the transcendent, incarnate and demonstrative. One God in Trinity. 

With clouds of smoke and quaking ground, not to mention a global pandemic, Transcendent God confirms the interconnected interdependence of all creation.

With care for the least, the lost and the lonely, Immanent God reveals Divine Presence and Action in flesh and bones every day.

With blooming breath the Spirit of God breathes life and liberty through all of humanity. Everyone and everything is included in Trinity.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Creator, Redeemer, Source of All Being.

One, Holy and Living God. 

As it was for Isaiah and Jesus, so too is the state of our nation, shamefully corrupt. The elite are built up and protected while the poor are oppressed and rejected.  If we keep doing the same thing, nothing is going to change. And so it is time for us to pray that God’s seraphs touch our lips with the live coal from the altar, redeeming our lives and  compelling us to claim our place with the Trinity praying, “Here am I. Send me” to care for all your people and creation. 

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Friday, May 21, 2021

Gospel text for the Feast of Pentecost, 23 May 2021

 John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15        Jesus said to his disciples, ”When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Reflection        A grain of wheat falls to the ground, is broken and must 'go away' before it rises a new harvest. A temple is destroyed. A season passes before a new temple is raised up. Both agriculture and religious wisdom find their roots in the truth of maturation over time. 

In the Jewish narrative a forty-nine day “growing” season begins with the Waving of a Sheaf of ripe grain and a sacrifice that culminates when the Jews receive Torah at Sinai.  The season is called Counting the Omer. Beginning on the second day of Passover Jews count each of the forty nine days leading to the First Fruits Festival, also known as Shauvot or Pentecost. Each of the forty nine days in the Jewish mystical tradition Kabbalah counts as an opportunity to reflect on and develop positive qualities; loving kindness, might, beauty, victory, acknowledgment, foundation and kingdom. Thus do Jews cultivate their minds, maturing spiritually to receive Torah, divine revelation and guidance given by God.*

Likewise in the Christian narrative a forty-nine day “growing” season begins with the waving of palms beckoning Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem and his sacrifice that culminates with humanity receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This is called the Season of Easter which involves more than a forty-nine day celebration following Resurrection Sunday. Much as forty days of Lent prepare Christians new and old to make or renew their baptismal vows, the forty-nine day Season of Easter invites us to mature spiritually, to prepare our minds to receive divine revelation and guidance given by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  

Are you noticing parallels here? Both Jewish and Christian traditions realize the essential importance of the passage of time for the maturation of human beings. It takes time and deliberate care for us to prepare our minds to receive the transmission of wisdom. We must be spiritually mature to receive the Spirit of Truth, whether through Torah or the Holy Spirit, and this takes effort over time.

The Spirit of Truth is given to all people to transform their consciousness and thereby their lives  regardless of ethnicity, language or religious tradition. The Spirit of Truth comes to guide us into all truth. “Us” is not referring to a particular tribe or group. Us is all people. All people tell stories about who and how we are in the world. All of our stories are dressed in the particularities of time and place.  At the same time all of our stories are rooted in ubiquitous truths such as that of the grain that must be broken and mature before it can be harvested. Therefore, that which is true undergirds and overarches all that is experienced and expressed in the infinite variety of human culture and creativity. 

Recalling Jesus’ words, “Peace I leave with you; my Peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.” (John 14:27-28) The First Temple goes away.  Jesus goes away. A grain of wheat falls to the ground, is broken, 'goes away' and matures before it rises as a new harvest. Life is a matter of becoming spiritually mature by consenting to the fertile dirt of time and the windy breath of God. And so we count our days on earth, a means of becoming wise. 


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