This week, what if… wired to care, we see in this life, this day, even in the very muddle of the very ordinary, even in the very chaos, the permission to trust our sufficiency, embrace our wounds as they become sacred wounds, and become places of empathy, compassion, kindness and healing? Yes, because grace is alive and well.
I’m grateful for these voices that did my heart good…
“Many years ago, before we had children, an old family friend who was a therapist offered a gentle bit of advice to my partner, Ian, who was wrestling with his future after leaving the Peace Corps early: Don’t look for every moment to be a 10, she told him. Sometimes you have to celebrate the fours, five and sixes.
When Ian repeated it to me, we laughed. It felt like settling, if not an outright failure, not to see something better. Up to that point we had always looked beyond where we stood to other, brighter moments. It would become a bit of a family joke between us: If something went awry we’d say, ‘Can you celebrate a one or a two?’
I’m no longer laughing. I’ve come to see the wisdom in not just seeking but finding joy in the mundane, in the unremarkable, even in the frankly boring, particularly in this era of global—and personal—illness. I realize I am far from unique in my efforts to appreciate the moment. It is the essence of mindfulness, the stuff of my (often failed) efforts to meditate. But is has allowed me to stand still when I might otherwise never stop moving.” (Sarah Wildman, Every Moment Can’t Be a 10 Out of 10, New York Times)
Theologian Harvey Cox explores how parables invite the hearer to encounter God in an everyday and ever-changing reality: Stories were Jesus’ stock-in-trade, the main medium by which he conveyed his message. The parables occupy fully 35 percent of the first three Gospels. But one of their most surprising features is that they are not about God. They are about weddings and banquets, family tensions, muggings, farmers sowing and reaping, and shrewd business dealings. God is mentioned in only one or two… Rabbi Jesus obviously wanted us to look closely at this world, not some other one. It is here and now—all around us in the most ordinary things—that we find the divine presence. (Harvey Cox, When Jesus Came to Harvard: Making Moral Choices Today)
And speaking of the “ordinary” that can be amazing… You will rarely get a better time than tonight to check out Jupiter. Jupiter makes its closest approach to Earth since 1963 today, coming about 367 million miles from our planet, according to NASA. At its farthest point, Jupiter is around 600 million miles away from Earth.
The bottom line: Good binoculars (and a stable mount) should afford the chance to see “three or four” of Jupiter’s Galilean moons, NASA astrophysicist Adam Kobelski said earlier this month. “Galileo observed these moons with 17th century optics.”
(Axios’ Jacob Knutson)
Wednesday — The west coast of Florida (Manasota Key) has been my vacation getaway for many many years. And I have good friends who call it home. As have many in their area, they have left the state, traveling north, to find safety away from the path of hurricane Ian. Today, I’ve been watching weather updates, and talking with friends.
And I want to thank Sojourners for this story… and gift.
It is a Hymn for those devastated by hurricanes and violent storms. This hymn was written by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, to help churches support the relief efforts in response to the flooding in Puerto Rico and nearby islands. And it an invitation reminding us that no one of us is one this journey alone, and that even in chaos we can become places of sanctuary, compassion, kindness, healing and restoration.
O God of All Creation
O God of all creation, as ocean waters warm,
we grieve the devastation that comes with violent storms.
We pray for people struggling — who need your help and grace
on every flooded island and in each flooded place.
We pray for all your children, so dearly loved by you,
who know such great destruction as winds and rains crash through.
We pray for all those hurting, who grieve for what is gone —
for neighbors, friends and siblings who struggle to go on.
We pray, O Lord, for churches that help to build anew.
We pray for rescue workers and all the good they do.
We pray for those with vision who serve as they restore —
who make homes more efficient and stronger than before.
O Christ who calmed the waters and stilled the stormy seas,
You teach us: “Love your neighbors!” and “Humbly care for these!”
Now lead us by your Spirit to gladly lend a hand —
on every struggling island and in each hurting land.
Tune: Samuel Sebastian Wesley, 1864 (MIDI) “The Church’s One Foundation” (Aurelia 126.96.36.199 D)
Text: Copyright © 2022 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Permission is given for free use of this hymn to support relief efforts.
Watching the storm impact in Florida. At times in awe at Mother Nature. Parts electrifying, and parts very frightening. And the full scale of the damage will take some time to assess.
And in watching, it is the invitation to remind us that no one of us is one this journey alone, and that even in chaos we can become places of sanctuary, compassion, kindness, healing and restoration.
Many have been, or are still in the path of the hurricane, and we reach out to all with our hearts.
Two prayers today stuck with me… Let’s pass them on…
Blessing In The Storm
I cannot claim
to still the storm
that has seized you,
the waves that wash
through your soul,
that break against
your fierce and
But I will wade
into these waters,
will stand with you
in this storm,
will say peace to you
in the waves,
peace to you
in the winds,
peace to you
in every moment
that finds you still
within the storm.
God of the heavens: nature and all that You have created are truly awesome. Often, we; take these wonders for granted. Teach us to cherish all of your gifts.
Try as we might, we know that we cannot control the oceans, the mountains, the weather. We also firmly believe that ever since the time of Noah, You do not send floods, make the earth shake, or dispatch weather formations, such as hurricanes, as warnings or punishments.
So we ask, as this hurricane approaches land and approaching our brothers and sisters, that You shelter all who will be in its path. Watch over everyone, their loved ones, friends, and fellow people, many of whom are preparing to evacuate. Guard them as they prepare, perhaps to leave their homes again. Give them strength, courage, and resolve to ride out this storm; answer their prayers and ours that they be blessed with goodness and be spared from harm.
Baruch ata Adonai, Elohanu Melech Haolam she kocho u-gevurato maleh olam.
Blessed are You, Source of Life and Nature, whose awesome power and strength fill our world and inspire us to be strong in the face of all of life’s difficulties.
Rabbi Fred Guttman
After the storm, assessment of damage, grieving losses (some very significant), gratitude for near misses, and stories of people helping people, cleaning up, rescuing, finding care, creating sanctuary and listening.
With stories we can hit the reset button. In order to remember our way. A reminder that we are designed to live with empathy, altruism and cooperation.
Marilynne Robinson’s reminder, “That reservoir of goodness beyond and of another kind that we are able to do for each other in the ordinary cause of things.”
Yes. Because it’s a reminder that we do indeed belong to one another. When we forget that, we lose our way. And we see only what we want to see. No wonder we live afraid.
Talking about his music, Bruce Springsteen wrote, “I never believed that people come to my shows, to be told anything. But I do believe that they come to be reminded of things. To be reminded of who they are, at their most joyous, at their deepest, when life feels full. It’s a good place to get in touch with your heart and your spirit. To be amongst the crowd. And to be reminded of who we are and who we can be collectively. Music does those things pretty well sometimes, particularly these days, when some reminding of who we are and who we can be isn’t such a bad thing.”
Yes, collectively. No one is on this journey alone.
And, there is more… Thich Nhat Hanh’s reminder…
I am a child of God who believes
that we are all children of God
and we are all part of each other.
May we all know peace.
Whenever we forget that everyone is a child of God, who begins with unique divine DNA (“an imago Dei that begs to be allowed, to be fulfilled, and to show itself,” writes Richard Rohr), we lose sight that we are wired to care. Wired to give a damn. Collectively. Wired to not let anyone fall through the cracks of suffering, distrust or hatred.
What if… wired to care, we see in this life, this day, even in the very muddle of the very ordinary, even in the chaos of storms, the permission to trust our sufficiency, embrace our wounds as they become sacred wounds, and become places of empathy, compassion, kindness and healing? Yes, because grace is alive and well.
And our hearts now with our friends in South Carolina, as Ian turns their way.
Here’s our Prayer Blessing…
May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God.
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen.