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A Place for Sanctuary. Sabbath Moment Daily Dose (Sept 28 – Oct 1)

Tuesday — Where do we park this thing called hope?
And how do we replenish it?
Sometimes, in our topsy-turvy world hope seems to shrink, or evaporate. And we assume that is our given reality. But let’s pause here… This is important: hope is not something we acquire or even learn, or add to our life. And this isn’t a contest or race…
Why? Because the good news is that hope is already in our DNA. Yes, it may be buried, but it is still there.
So. Hope is something we honor. There is power in this awareness. Even (and especially) in the muddle. This means that we can be present, and sit with, sorrow, pain or unknowing, and not be undone by them. They are big. But not bigger than hope.

Watching Whale Rider reminded me that there are times when we could use some heroes. Or at least a dose of wisdom, to keep our hope alive.
This week, it’ll mean re-watching X-Men: Days of Future Past. True, it begins with a very bleak look into our future, wondering, “Are we destined to destroy ourselves?” But it is a movie about free will, and ultimately about the possibility of redemption.
The turning point in the film (major spoilers ahead—you have been warned) comes when young Charles comes face-to-face with his older self.
Young Charles: So, this what becomes of us. Eric was right. Humanity does this to us.
Old Charles: Not if we show them a better past.
Young Charles: You still believe?
Old Charles: Just because someone stumbles and loses their way, it doesn’t mean they’re lost forever. Sometimes we need a little help.
Young Charles: I’m not the man I was. I open my mind and it almost overwhelms me.
Old Charles: You’re afraid, and Cerebro knows it.
Young Charles: In all those voices… so much pain.
Old Charles: It’s not their pain you’re afraid of—it’s yours. And frightening, as it can be their pain will make you stronger if you allow yourself to feel it. Embrace it. It will make you more powerful than you ever imagined. It’s the greatest gift we have that we can bear pain without breaking, and it’s born from the most human power: Hope. Please Charles, we need you to hope again.
Yes. We always need to hope again.
Sign me up. Where do I begin?

Let’s begin with our calling…
No matter where we labor or toil, our calling is to spill the light.
And the good news? For this we don’t have to pass a test, or qualify, we have only to be willing.
Jesus made it simple, “Let your light shine.”
Not, when you get your act together.
Not, when you feel noble.
Not, when you think you’re good at it.
Not, when you find a specific “vocation”.
Not, after you’ve chased all the gloom away.
Just let your light shine. Because the light is already there… empathy, compassion, kindness and presence. Inside of you. Now.  

Quote for your day… “Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.” L.R. Knost

Wednesday — Where do we park this thing called hope?
And how do we replenish it?
Hope is not something we acquire or even learn, or add to our life. And this isn’t a contest or race…
The good news is that hope is already in our DNA. Yes, it may be buried, but it is still there.
So. Hope is something we honor. There is power in this awareness. Even (and especially) in the muddle. This means that we can be present, and sit with, sorrow, pain or unknowing, and not be undone by them. They are big. But not bigger than hope.

The children’s book Old Turtle and the Broken Truth (written by Douglas Wood) tells an imaginary story of how the world came to be so fragmented when it is meant to be whole, and how we might put it back together again.
In a far-away land that “is somehow not so far away,” one night a truth falls from the stars. And as it falls, it breaks into two pieces–one piece blazes off through the sky and the other falls straight to the ground. One day a “truth” falls from the sky and breaks.  One day a man stumbles upon the gravity-drawn truth and finds carved on it the words, “You are loved.”
It makes him feel good, so he keeps it and shares it with the people in his tribe. The thing sparkles and makes the people who have it feel warm and happy. It becomes their most prized possession, and they call it “The Truth.”
Those who have the truth grow afraid of those who don’t have it, who are different than they are. And those who don’t have it covet it. Soon people are fighting wars over the small truth, trying to capture it for themselves.
A little girl who is troubled by the growing violence, greed, and destruction in her once peaceful world goes on a journey-through the Mountains of Imagining, the River of Wondering Why, and the Forest of Finding Out–to speak with Old Turtle, the wise counselor.
Old Turtle tells her that the Truth is broken and missing a piece, a piece that shot off in the night sky so long ago. Together they search for it, and when they find it the little girl puts the jagged piece in her pocket and returns to her people.
She tries to explain, but no one will listen or understand. Finally a raven flies the broken truth to the top of a tower where the other piece has been ensconced for safety, and the rejoined pieces shine their full message: “You are loved / and so are they.”
And the people begin to comprehend. And the earth begins to heal.

This story keeps my hope alive. (Borrowing from my friend Larry Murante’s song, Nelson (about Nelson Mandela), “He took a bite out of apartheid… Nelson keeps my hope alive.”)
Stories are more important than food sometimes.
Stories make space to invite us to be more human; inclusive, empathetic, listening, kind.
If I don’t make space, I shut down. And give way to a restrictive narrative of fear. And mistrust.
Stories that keep my hope alive.
So, again, today, I’ll give the final word to Pai (from Whale Rider), “But we can learn and if the knowledge is given to everyone, then we can have lots of leaders and soon everyone will be strong, not just the ones who’ve been chosen.”

Thursday — Where do we park this thing called hope?
And how do we replenish it?
Stories are more important than food sometimes.
Stories make space to invite us to be more human; inclusive, empathetic, listening, kind.
If I don’t make space, I shut down. And give way to a restrictive narrative of fear. And mistrust.
Stories keep my hope alive.

And we see it, every day… in acts of kindness and compassion. And in heroes who have gone before, who still shine a light and invite us to shine.
“I was fascinated and challenged by Dorothy Day’s piety,” Julie Hanlon Rubio writes.  Day went to daily Mass, prayed with a breviary and a rosary, and could not live without frequent retreats and confession. But piety, Day reminds us, is not enough. To be Christian, one had to adopt the precarity of voluntary poverty and “live with (the poor), share with them their suffering too. Giving up one’s privacy, and mental and spiritual comforts as well.”
The bottom line? Live as if the gospel is true and possible.
In Robert Coles’ biography, he tells of taking his students to see Day. They asked how she wanted to be remembered. I love this part. Day spoke first of her life with the poor, (and, are you ready for this?) of how she tried to serve good coffee and good soup to those who came to the Catholic Worker, but also of learning from those she served.
Here’s the deal: It doesn’t take much. And yes, we make a difference one connection with passion and compassion at a time.

This story from Elizabeth Jones (Sabbath Moment friend from Oregon. This story is connected to her picture in today’s SM).
“I have a friend, a chemotherapy nurse in a children’s cancer ward, who’s job it is to pry for any available vein in an often emaciated arm to give infusions of chemicals that sometimes last as long is 12 hours and which are often quite discomforting to the child. He is probably the greatest pain giver the children meet in their stay in the hospital. Because he has worked so much with his own pain, his heart is very open. He works with his responsibilities in the hospital as a ‘laying on of hands with love and acceptance.’ There is a little in him that causes him to withdraw, that reinforces the painfulness of the experience for the children. He is a warm, open space, which encourages them to trust whatever they feel. And it is he whom the children most ask for at the time they are dying. Although he is the main pain-giver, he’s also the main love-giver.” (Ram Dass and Paul Gorman, How Can I Help?)

Yesterday I mentioned my friend Larry Murante’s song, Nelson (about Nelson Mandela). Here’s a bit more… I’ll give Larry the last word:
I would have died
In that prison
What an awful sin
Twenty seven years
they took away from him
Nelson Mandela
He put one over on them
He took a bite out of Apartheid
Made ’em whole again
Keeps my hope alive
He Keeps my hope alive
Nelson,
Keeps my hope alive…
Yes it’s true change takes a village,
but someone needs to pave the way
One brave soul
is really all it takes
to put it all in perspective
to put ‘em all in their place
It’s a holy perspective
It’s a state of grace
It’s Amazing Grace

Friday — Where do we park this thing called hope?
And how do we replenish it?
Stories are more important than food sometimes.
Stories make space to invite us to be more human; inclusive, empathetic, listening, kind.

“Love is the only way to rescue humanity from all ills.” Tolstoy wrote at the end of his life in his forgotten correspondence with Gandhi about human nature and why we hurt each other, as the global tensions that would soon erupt into World War I were building.
How? I have an idea. Let’s start one meal at a time.
“For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick, and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Gospel of Matthew)

On a rainy Saturday night, in April 1945, a train pulled into Horni Briza’s train station. Stationmaster Antonin Pavlicek was appalled by the conditions of those on board. After prolonged arguments with the Nazi officer in charge of the train, Pavlicek managed to organize an astonishing humanitarian effort the next day by the local townspeople, who brought food, drink – and even baby clothes when they heard the cries of newborns – to the train wagons.
His first instinct, shock.
His second, kindness.
When Mr. Pavlicek saw how grateful the prisoners were for this small kindness and realized what terrible condition they were in, he had an idea. It has been by sheer chance that their train had stopped in Horni Briza but –as a devout Catholic—he wanted to do what was morally right. So, at 6:30 the following morning, Sunday, 22 April, instead of going to mass he paid a visit to Josef Zoubek, the director of the kaolin factory, and Antonin Wirth, the landlord of the Tovarni Hostinec, the local inn. He asked the two men how quickly they could prepare a large quantity of food to be given to the prisoners.
Of course, the SS Unterscharfuhrer was resistant, who saw “no point in feeding those destined to die.” After more negotiation, an agreement was struck that a canteen would be made available at the town’s expense to serve one hot meal to the half-starved women. The prisoner’s plight quickly spread.
Ten-year-old Jaroslav Lang said, “To begin with we didn’t even know there were prisoners on the train…we ran home to our mother and asked for some bread to give them. She was very afraid but still she gave us a little something.” Everyone was living on coupons at the time because of the shortages, but they gave up their own rations for those on the train. (Adapted from Born Survivors, Wendy Holden)

No one of us can make it alone.
When life is on tilt, where do our marching orders come from?
Start here: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
Fear says, “I’ll make you safe.”
But love says, “You are safe.”

Quote for your day:
Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.  Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Here’s our Prayer Blessing…
Morning prayer.
We wait in the dawn
Until Your light is within us
Lord, let your deep joy
Shine out from our eyes
Grant that your wisdom
Will inspire us with brightness
Let the splendour of your glory
Glow out through our actions
Come and burn within us
Until we radiate your light
Capture our cold hearts
Set us ablaze with your love
Change us and we shall changed
Lord, fill us with the light of life…
–David Adam

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