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Daily Dose (Feb 6 – 9)

Tuesday —

This week, we embrace—and are embraced by—the gift of grace.
After 30 years of preaching, the Rev. Howard-John Wesley stood in front of his congregation (Alexandria, VA) and admitted: “I am tired in my soul.”
“I feel so distant from God,” he continued. “One of the greatest mistakes of pastoring is to think that because you work for God, you’re close to God.”
“It’s time for a break,” he tells them.
It’s time for sanctuary. Time for healing.
We do get anxious and discombobulated. Or, just plain tired. So, this kind of honesty is liberating. Because every single one of us could use some healing.
So. What’s the “medicine”?
And where does grace fit in?

While working as a family physician in a Native American hospital in the Southwest, Carl Hammerschlag was introduced to a patient named Santiago, a Pueblo priest and clan chief, who asked him where he had learned how to heal. Hammerschlag responded almost by rote, rattling off his medical education, internship, and certification. The old man replied, “Do you know how to dance?”
To humor Santiago, Hammerschlag shuffled his feet at the priest’s bedside.
Despite his condition, Santiago got up and demonstrated the proper steps. “You must be able to dance if you are to heal people,” he admonished the young doctor. “I can teach you my steps, but you will have to hear your own music.”
Dance as healing. Well, they didn’t teach me that in seminary.
Dancing uncovers the joy that is buried deep inside. And joy spills light, making space for others to find their dance.
And here’s the deal: When we dance, the voice of Grace is our music.
We are not afraid of vulnerability.
We feel the arms of replenishment and renewal.
We don’t need our identity tied to a label.
And… we honor our shared humanity. That we are indeed on this journey together.
“You must be able to dance if you are to heal people,” Santiago said. “I can teach you my steps, but you will have to hear your own music.”
Let us remember that we live in a world that needs healing, from the gentle arms and hands of grace. And every gift of grace… every smile, every laugh, every moment of kindness, every bit of gentleness and tenderness, and yes… every dance… lets a little more healing light spill into our world.

For our friends in California, we are watching the deadly storm with flash floods and winds and power outages. Please stay safe, and on the lookout for people who need support. 

Wednesday —

Grace has always been easy for me to preach.
Grace has never been easy for me to receive. Or be embraced by.
So. How do we tap into, or access this reservoir of love?
And how do we hear God whisper, “I’ll never take back my unconditional love for you?”

It never hurts to step away from the notion of any test or assignment.
As I get older and hear stories, I marvel and take heart in this: It’s the gift of Jesus in skin that make the difference. The small gestures of grace…

With Lenten season just around the corner, and Easter not far off, here’s one of my best memories about that time of year…
After church, as a kid, after we sang “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” and we were told that Jesus is still alive, we would go to my Grandmother’s house to hunt Easter eggs and stuff ourselves with chocolate.
My favorite part of the day? My grandmother’s hug, when she would whisper in my ear, “Do you know how much I love you?”
Now that, that is the true power of the resurrection.
When I was young, faith was about believing the right things.
I no longer think that is true.
Now I know.
Faith is about love.
And grace.
And inclusion.
And yes, conga drums.

This week from Richard Rohr, did my heart good, “To participate in the reign of God, we have to stop counting. We have to stop hoarding in order to let the flow of forgiveness and love flow through us. The love of God can’t be doled out by any process whatsoever. We can’t earn it. We can’t lose it. As long as we stay in this world of accumulation, of earning and losing, we’ll live in perpetual resentment, envy, or climbing.” (We Cannot Serve Two Masters, Daily Meditations)

“The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, human beings will have discovered fire.” Pierre Teillard De Chardin

Thursday —

This week, we embrace—and are embraced by—the gift of grace.
And I am grateful for this from Steve Garnaas-Holmes.

It began as ordinarily
as a brilliant sunrise ought to:
huge, lazy salmon swam through the trees
flaming on the horizon,
the eyebrows of the eastern sky
raised as if it was about to say
something magnificent,
and then the flamboyant sun,
everything on fire with flushed cheeks,
everything a gleaming treasure,
you just wanted to take its face in your hands
and kiss it—
and then a cloud, and it went suddenly grey,
gold and peach drained
into shabby bits and shadows,
the poorly erased side of a barn,
the scumbled trunks of trees,
the colors of dead grass and sidewalks.
And that—that—was the miracle:
all that light pressed into dull things,
all that glory shrunk down
into ordinariness,
all of heaven hidden in earth,
something vast contained,
in what I now behold
moment by moment:
the hand, the table, the door,
the person at the door.

Here’s what does my heart good. In Steve’s words, “all that glory shrunk down into ordinariness”… yes and amen, the gift of grace is alive and well in the sacrament of the present moment. The ordinary, the hiding place for the holy.

(From Steve Garnaas-Holmes’ ministry: Unfolding Light… a daily reflection rooted in a contemplative, Creation-centered spirituality.) 

Friday —

This week, we embrace—and are embraced by—the gift of grace.
One of the liberating gifts of grace is this: it doesn’t fit tidily into any box.
You know, as if it needs the appropriate (suitable) environments.
And I am so grateful for this good news: Grace is alive and well even, and extraordinarily, in times of darkness and uncertainty.
Yes. That’s the power of grace. It is alive where we least expect it.
Even in those times and places of discombobulation uncertainty, grace invites (and allows) us to be a space open to healing, seeing, awe, sanctuary, mercy… and second chances and hope and inclusiveness and restoration and kindness and bigheartedness.

It did my heart good this week re-reading the story about an inscription found scratched on a wall of a cellar in Cologne, where a number of Jews hid themselves during the second world war.  

I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love,
even when even when it is not apparent.
And I believe in God,
even when he is silent.
I believe through any trial,
there is always a way
But sometimes in this suffering
and hopeless despair
My heart cries for shelter,
to know someone’s there
But a voice rises within me, saying hold on
my child, I’ll give you strength,
I’ll give you hope. Just stay a little while.
I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love
even when there’s no one there
But I believe in God
even when he is silent
I believe through any trial
there is always a way.
May there someday be sunshine
May there someday be happiness
May there someday be love
May there someday be peace….

There have been many articles about the inscription… and I appreciated this translation of the original.
I believe in the sun, even in the darkness.
I believe in God, even if God is silent.
I believe in compassion, even when it must remain hidden

And I’ve enjoyed the song, I Believe, by Mark Miller. Enjoy it here. 

Let’s continue to spill the light my friends…

Prayer for our week…
A Prayer for Resting in God’s Love
God of Goodness, I come into your presence
so aware of my human frailty
and yet overwhelmed by your love for me.
I thank you that there is no human experience
that I might walk through
where your love cannot reach me.
If I climb the highest mountain you are there
and yet if I find myself in the darkest valley of my life,
you are there.
Teach me today to love you more.
Help me to rest in that love
that asks nothing more
than the simple trusting heart of a child.
Author Unknown

Photo… “Good morning, Terry – Thank you for continuing to offer your gifts of hope, faith, and love to our world. At dusk last Thursday, I noticed fog rolling in over Yates Mill Pond in Raleigh. Geese were sending–as Mary Oliver writes in ‘Wild Geese’–‘harsh and exciting’ calls from above, as they descended into their own sanctuary. These seven geese remind me of the seven gifts of the Spirit–as well as the Celtic view that the Holy Spirit is sometimes a wild goose, not a gentle dove. Thank you again for your consistent reminder that we all have–as Mary Oliver continues, an important place ‘in the family of things.'” Michael Citrini (Raleigh, NC)

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