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Daily Dose (April 16 – 19)


As a boy, stories from the Bible were a staple in my education. Remember the Old Testament story about Moses, on a mountain in a desolate place, on the edge of gloom? A bush begins to burn. And a voice speaks from that burning bush. “Take off your shoes,” it said. “You are on holy ground.”
Now, in the church of my youth, this was not suggestion. This was God after all, so it was a command to be broken at great peril. Because, if God is holy, show some respect. If not, you’re going to get Smote. (I can still hear the severe tone in our pastor’s voice. This taking the shoes off wasn’t meant to make us smile.)
I now believe that those words were not a command at all. I believe they were an invitation.
You are on holy ground. Therefore, in order to touch, to feel this ground, let’s remove whatever blocks or inhibits or prevents.
Take off your shoes. Savor the ground.
Grounded… literally sinking into life. Sanctuary does not remove us from life. But allows us to be fully alive smack dab in the middle. I hope for you this week, you pause and see, and let your heart be glad. Let us not lose sight of wonder.

I’m grateful for this from Br. David Steindl-Rast, “There is only one condition for seeing life sacramentally: ‘Take off your shoes!’ Realize that the ground on which we stand is holy ground. The act of taking off our shoes is a gesture of thanksgiving and it is through thanksgiving that we enter into sacramental life.
Going barefoot actually helps! There is no more immediate way of getting in touch with reality than direct physical contact. To feel the difference between walking on sand, on grass, on smooth granite warmed by the sun, on the forest floor; to let the pebbles hurt us for a while; to squeeze the mud between our toes. There are so many ways of gratefully touching God’s healing power through the earth. Whenever we take off the dullness of being-used-to it, of taking things for granted, life in all its freshness touches us and we see that all life is sacramental. If we could measure our aliveness, surely it is the degree to which we are in touch with the Holy One as the inexhaustible fire in the midst of all things.” (Thank you Grateful Living)


Regaining the wonder of the child that is alive and well inside.
Reclaiming Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s affirmation, “One could say that the whole of life lies in seeing.”
Okay, I can begin here; letting go of my list now and again, wouldn’t hurt. There are times when the list tells me only what I’m supposed to (or should) see. And I can easily walk by miracles.

I Meant to Do My Work Today
I meant to do my work today—
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.
And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand—
So what could I do but laugh and go?
By Richard Le Gallienne

On my walk this morning, I marveled at the unveiling theater, our trees beginning to leaf. I stop to visit one of the vine maples (Acer circinatum). The branches enveloped in new leaf buds. The lobes on the leaves not yet open, as if arms wrapped and folded, a posture of prayer or haven, and unassuming even in their cheerful yellow-green (chartreuse?). All of this with drops from last night’s rainfall.
It does my heart good.

And I loved this recent article from Ed Yong (Birds Open Our Eyes And Ears) about his love for birding. One person told me, “’you’re birding like a retiree.’ I laughed, but the comment spoke to the idea that things like birding are what you do when you’re not working, not being productive. I reject that. These recent years have taught me that I’m less when I’m not actively looking after myself, that I have value to my world and my community beyond ceaseless production, and that pursuits like birding that foster joy, wonder and connection to place are not sidebars to a fulfilled life but their essence.”
Ah yes, the wonder of the child.


What does it mean to embrace the gifts of the child within?
Can you tell me the last time you were invited–given the permission–to be vulnerable, curious, lighthearted, inquisitive, spontaneous, intuitive and playful?  To be filled with wonderment and laughter?
And if I invited you today, would you say yes?

I know. We live in a world tells us to moves on.
Or “grows up.”
I “googled” childlike. The first two pages referred me to articles or sites about “childishness.” Go figure. We still haven’t moved past that?
I remember when I was young I was encouraged (maybe persuaded?) to grow up.
To be an adult.
To give up my childlike ways.
But since when did childlike become a jeopardy or a hazard?
Did you know that there is a simple test in order to determine when one is unable to trust someone else (or our self for that matter)? Without trust, we feel the need to place restrictions. We prescribe a lot of “don’t do that” kind of rules. (Like, “don’t be soooo childlike.”)
I suppose that we are fearful about keeping control. Or losing it. I’m not sure which. I do know that in the business of the church, we excel at this. The rules part. And the fear part.
Sabbath Moment this week is dedicated to the wonder of the child within us (a capacity stays with us forever, regardless of our age.
And I hope that we do, at times, continue to behave childlike. (Jesus seemed to think it was a good thing–something about entering the Kingdom of Heaven and all that.) Childlike behavior may even help one stay pure at heart, and to live life simply. And simplicity is always a wonderful thing. It just may be that we’re not childlike enough.
Carl Jung called it the “Divine Child” and Emmet Fox called it the “Wonder Child.” Some psychotherapists call it the “True Self” and Charles Whitfield called it the “Child Within,” and someone later coined the phrase, “the Inner Child.”  Whatever name you use, it refers to that part of each of us which is ultimately alive. It is where our feelings come to life. When we experience wonder, and joy, sadness, anger, fear, or affection, that child within us is coming to life. Not in order to be measured or to impress, but to embrace and to be embraced.
Is it possible that we don’t trust our own goodness?

I write this from Connecticut, where I will be joining the Greenwich fellowship of clergy. We’ll be talking about spiritual and emotional hydration. And maybe, childlike wonder.


This week, let us not lose sight of wonder. The power if childlike wonder. It fuels our capacity for mindfulness, embracing now (the sacrament of the present moment).
I’ve enjoyed a good ‘practice what you preach’ day, a luncheon with clergy in Greenwich, CT and then the permission to savor walking and reading and napping and enjoying the spring blooms in this neck of the woods.
And a good sabbath moment day for favorite quotes about wonder and wholeheartedness.

I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
(Thank you Dawna Markova.)

Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them. The Little Prince, Saint-Exupéry

A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. Rachel Carson

This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek. Terry Tempest Williams

And we’ll give Garrison Keillor the last word, “There never was a bad nap. I pass this wisdom on to you, as an old man who has experienced more disappointment than you’ll ever know and it took me 75 years to learn how to deal with it: you lie down, close your eyes, and wake up feeling better.”

Prayer for our week…
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
Mary Oliver

Photo… “Hi Terry, A possible photo (majestic dandelion) for your Sabbath Moment daily email. I was delighted by this spring sighting of the first dandelion. Many think of it as a weed, but this day on my walk I saw it in its majestic beauty of God’s creation, with God’s light shining on it. Peace & Grace,” Lin Cashman… Thank you Lin… And I’m so grateful for your photos, please send them to [email protected]

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