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A Place for Sanctuary. Daily Dose. (June 28 – July 1)

Tuesday — This week we are remembering, and taking to heart, “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.” Irish Proverb (“ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine”)
But this is never easy, because we don’t always agree. To put it mildly. Sadly, to the point of eagerly dismissing and loathing one another.
We all hurt. And yet. Irvin Yalom reminds us, “Only the wounded healer can truly heal.”
So. Here’s the deal: Loving (bluntly, giving a damn) costs a lot, but not loving always costs more.
Now, what does it mean to bring this wounded and real (hair loved off) self to the table today? 

Today, I’ve been reading, listening, thinking, walking, answering email… and wondering, is there any civil way to even have tough conversations?
I am so grateful for the Sabbath Moment community… a wonderful blend of Democrat and Republican. Christian and non-Christian. Catholic and Protestant. Jewish, Buddhist, and still searching. Or, still on the journey. Straight, gay, lesbian, black, white, brown. And every single one with a heart. A heart that bleeds. A heart that cares. A heart that gives a damn and wants to make a difference.
And I wish for everyone, this blessing: Dear God, in a world filled with ceaseless motion, help me to find and practice balance. Give me the strength to not put on blinders to all that is hurtful and wrong in the world. Instead, let me make a meaningful and healing difference as I move forward from a place of peace. Amen.

So, I’m down. But I’m not out. Because now more than ever we need voices of sanctuary and hope and blessing.
I can’t pretend, or roll over and play dead. Something has been split open and exposed that was real, and has to be dealt with. And that requires compassion. Beginning with myself. Be gentle with yourself today.
I could hunker down because I know how to do that. And I can let the despair get the best of me because I know how to do that too. But this isn’t the time for any one of us to be trapped by fear, judgment, demonization or division. (And Lord knows how easy it is for fragile men to project that male fragility onto God and onto the world around us… Lord have mercy.)

So, what am I going to do?
Tomorrow I will wake up
With my eyes open
I will do the good work of loving those whose paths I cross. Everyday.
I will write Sabbath Moment every day. For my own sanity. And because we need places to replenish. And heal. And rebuild. Because we need one another more than ever. And I will fight for sanctuary for the broken and the lonely. And I will fight for sanctuary for those who have heartrending choices to make.
And I choose to be a voice for compassion and mercy and second chances and healing and hope and grace and sanctuary and inclusiveness and restoration and kindness and bigheartedness.
I will remind us that…
Grace wins
Hope wins
Compassion wins

Here’s the good news: None of the above is tied to a political party or a religion.
Join me. Be a voice where you live.
Be the giver and dispenser of blessings.
And, in a shout out to Leonard Cohen,
Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There’s a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in…

Because deep down there is a light that cannot be extinguished by hatred or judgment or cynicism or fear.

Wednesday — Reading this today did my heart good…

God is love
or so we are told
God is love
so Jesus showed
God is love
and loves us
and wants us to love in return
creating a circle of love
a perichoresis
that swirls
creative, restoring empowering
drawing us in
into the depths of love
and then we love others
intimate with God
intimate with ourselves
we become intimacy catchers
people who see others
really see
hear others
really hear
people who connect with others
and walk with them
through everything
through joy and celebration
through questions and doubt
through fear
and anger
and pain
knowing
it is all about love
this immanent transcendent
reality we call “God”
this way of life we call “Kingdom”
but sometimes it seems
it is not about love
or connecting
or seeing
or hearing
it is about merit
it is about power and control and punishment
it is about ideological passion
it seems that it is possible to forget that God is love
and begin to think that God is
hard and judgmental
retributive
and even cruel
and suddenly
empathy and compassion are gone
healing and hope too
in their place is coercion
rigidity
and cruelty
and suddenly faith is no longer about the righteousness
the love of God
flowing through us
to those celebrating, struggling, fearful people around us
suddenly the righteousness of God becomes
self-righteousness
and we put ourselves in the place of God
and everything goes terribly wrong
we judge when God would forgive
we coerce when God would reach out in love
we oppress when God would set free
we become blind to the pain of others
we close our hearts
we step on the hurting
shame the poor
neglect the homeless
we create pain
we feed hopelessness
all the while convincing ourselves
that we are earning merit with this cruel and vindictive God we have created
this God we seem to believe
is as unable to enter into the pain of others
as we are
but
God is love
and God loves
and God will walk with us all
sticking with us
and loving us
when sometimes all the choices
are hard
and grace is the only way out
(Thank you FB blog Dancing Faith)

And speaking of doing my heart good…
A Seattle woman celebrated her 101st birthday by throwing out the first pitch at the Mariners game.
Mabel Cross had planned to go skydiving for her 100th birthday, but health issues derailed her plans. A year later, Cross’ family asked her what she’d like to do.
Her response? “I’d like to be a pitcher,” Cross said.
You go Mabel…

I will do the good work of loving those whose paths I cross. Everyday.
I will write Sabbath Moment every day. For my own sanity. And because we need places to replenish. And heal. And rebuild. Because we need one another more than ever. And I will fight for sanctuary for the broken and the lonely. And I will fight for sanctuary for those who have heartrending choices to make.
And I choose to be a voice for compassion and mercy and second chances and healing and hope and grace and sanctuary and inclusiveness and restoration and kindness and bigheartedness.
I will remind us that…
Grace wins
Hope wins
Compassion wins

Thursday — This week we are remembering, “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.” Irish Proverb
Loving (bluntly, giving a damn) costs a lot, but not loving always costs more… much more.
Now, what does it mean to bring this wounded and real (hair loved off) self to the table today? 

A blessing for telling the truth
(no matter how bitter or sweet)
Blessed are you, resisting the urge to reframe.
You who are sick and tired of silver linings.
Blessed are you, speaking honestly
about what is right in front of you:
This is hard.
Things might not get better.
This really has gone horribly.
There may not be a different way.
You who risk honesty,
especially when the world around us craves a brightside.
Blessed are we in our gratitude and our pain,
our pleasures and our limitations.
Blessed are we, the truth-tellers.
Whose candor finds a chorus that echos back: “Same.”
May we feel ourselves answered
by this language of love,
changed where we can,
and confirmed where we can’t.
But loved loved loved all the same.
Amen.
Thank you Kate Bowler

When you love something, you ask; How I can I care? Give? Make a difference?
Bottom line… I get to choose.
Today, did I show up; all of me, even (and especially) the broken and wounded parts?
Today, did I speak and act from my heart (because love and forgiveness and healing is born there)?
Today, did I make choices to help create a healthy and safe and sustainable world?
Today, did I put down the need (temptation) to find solace in labels or righteous indignation?
Today, did I make space for empathy, forgiveness, inclusion, compassion and healing?
If so, then I would call that a good day.

Let’s give The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston the last word, “Thank you, Great Spirit, for entrusting me with another day. Thank you for giving me another chance to do what I can do. I will strive to be worthy of your trust by being kindness in action. I will be mindful of what I am doing. I will be conscientious in my compassion. With your help, I will be a source of love and hope for every person and creature on this planet who share these hours with me.”

Friday — “Home is a place to become yourself.  It’s somewhere you can close a door and open your heart.” Theo Pelletier
Home is about being “at home” in your own skin. And here’s the good news: this isn’t an assignment or a project. And gratefully, we find inspiration and motivation when we remember that, “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.” 

I’m grateful for Maya Angelou’s invitation, “My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. Continue to allow humor to lighten the burden of your tender heart.”
Okay, I like that part about the heart. Count me in.
You see, too often we’re tempted to park our identity—our home—in a creed or a dogma (and from there we tend to label anyone who is different).
Something about our culture that loves “binaries”, so we often feel we must choose which side we are on, regardless of the pain that is inflicted upon those whose voices are drowned out by the cacophony of either/or.

So. This is my wish / prayer for every one of us: to create a space for being at home, without the need to keep score or compare or dishonor or hide. Honoring and embracing the gifts that defy and counteract scorekeeping: compassion, empathy, camaraderie, reconciliation, inclusion and kindness.
Sometimes we are aware of this need for home when we’ve lost our way. Or when life is too baffling.
And we all know of the many things (weights) that take us away from home… anger, busyness, self-importance, unforgiveness, discouragement, despair, heartache.
And what I’ve learned, in my own life at least, is that in every instance this new weight becomes the definition for our identity. It tells us who we are. And it requires that we focus on the periphery issues, on whatever is needed to impress, or manipulate, or achieve, or use, or hurt, or perform.
Or, easily fueled by being never satisfied. I like this from Joyce Rupp, “One of my joys is sitting by the Des Moines river to observe the blue herons. I let my mind drift to their behaviors, imagining their minds conjuring up some of our human thoughts: The blue heron has landed on the sand bar, folded his wide wings close to his thin body, stands silently observing his watery surroundings. A large pelican lifts, soars above the river, black-tipped feathers floating, a dreamy white cloud in flight. The heron with wings of breath-taking blue sighs, ‘I wish mine were pure and white.’ A moment later, he gazes again with envy at the pelican and groans, ‘I need to put on some weight.’”

And we’re back to keeping score. And we have forgotten… “in the shelter of each other” and that no one of us is on this journey alone.
There we are disconnected from our self.
At home, in my own skin (even the broken and wounded me), I can choose to care and give and yes, work to affect change. But this is important; without the impulse to demean or diminish another.
No, we cannot undo all these pesky weights… However, we can allow ourselves to fall into the embrace of Grace. And that, that makes all the difference.
Yes, in the words of Antoine de St. Exupéry, “Perhaps love is the process of my leading you gently back to yourself.”

Here’s our Prayer Blessing…
God, lover of life, lover of these lives,
God, lover of our souls, lover of our bodies, lover of all that exists…
In fact, it is your love that keeps it all alive…
May we live in this love.
May we never doubt this love.
May we know that we are love,
That we were created for love,
That we are a reflection of you,
That you love yourself in us and therefore we are perfectly lovable.
May we never doubt this deep and abiding and perfect goodness.
We are because you are.
Richard Rohr

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