I’m back home after a weekend on Vashon Island. I enjoyed my time as guest preacher this morning with an appreciative group at Burton Church. Truth be told, over the past four years, I’ve preached more to sheep and geese, than people. So, I’m always very grateful to see smiling human faces.
And yes, while on Vashon, I did stop by, to say hello to the sheep. As I pulled my car up near their pasture, what a treat to see them scurry over toward the fence. It made me smile big. And I don’t doubt they anticipated “treats” of some kind, but I told myself it was because they missed me. And my sermons. So, I asked if I could practice my Sunday sermon. And then told them, “Thank you for the gift of your presence during two difficult years.”
“The feeling is mutual,” they said to me.
In my church sermon, I mentioned the emails I receive each week that have a version of the question, “Can you help me, or explain, or understand this enigma?” (You know, the parts of life that just don’t make sense?)
And given that much of today’s news seems fueled by fear and uncertainty, I wonder some days if our own passion and heart is being leached from us. Our mind races. To elsewhere and otherwise, to the past or the future.
Bottom line: we are not here. And it numbs the part of our life and our spirit that is essential.
This morning in church, I told those gathered, we need to remember the gift of enough. The permission to be here now.
From that place—presence—we can choose.
From that place, we are no longer detached, or victims.
Because presence (the permission to be here now) is the currency for embracing, listening, and reclaiming that which has been forgotten.
So. Let us begin here: We know there is power in the word enough.
We carry this capacity to honor the present into every encounter and relationship, meaning that we honor the dignity that is reflected by God’s goodness and grace. Every encounter, every relationship, is a place to include, invite mercy, encourage, receive, heal, reconcile, repair, say thank you, pray, celebrate, refuel, and restore.
We all need a time and a place that allows us—gives us permission—to pause and to embrace the gift—to befriend our own heart.
Even when our world (personal, or world at large) is heavy, or feeling unraveled, we can be grateful for…
Eyes open to the sacrament of the present moment, knowing that the ordinary is the hiding place for the holy.
Eyes open to the sacred; in compassionate gestures and hospitality and small heroes and big hugs (real or virtual).
Eyes open to the deep river running in each of us.
Eyes open to hope found in clarity with no need for arrogance, cruelty, fighting, or paranoia.
Eyes open to the invitation to give up the control that we clutched.
And is it okay to freely admit that the boxes we put life in (our expectations and our ways to manage) are inadequate.
So, I also tell the sheep that having our world shaken isn’t a bad thing. Scary, yes. But transformation is closer than we know. (Of course, when I say it, I channel Carson on Downton Abbey, perfectly gracious and unflappable.)
I like Richard Rohr’s take, “We do not have to figure it all out, straighten it all out, or even do it perfectly by ourselves. We do not have to be God. It is an enormous weight off our backs. All we have to do is participate! After this epiphany, things like praise, gratitude, and compassion come naturally—like breath. True spirituality is not taught; it is caught once our sails have been unfurled to the Spirit. Henceforth our very motivation and momentum for the journey toward holiness and wholeness is immense gratitude for already having it!”
The sacrament of the present moment still anchors us. Centers us. Calms us. Invites us to pay attention to the things that really matter.
So. Let us remember, the light is in each of us (the permission to embrace the affirmation of the gift of enough)…
If we let the affirmation take root… We can make a difference. We can choose. We can act. We can risk. We can fail. We can forgive.
We can redeem. We can offer hope. We can bear witness. We can be the light of the world. On this planet we call home.
I loved the movie, Beasts of the Southern Wild, about poor families in a Louisiana bayou community called the “Bathtub” (cut off from the rest of the world by a levee). The movie follows six-year-old Hush puppy, “I’m a little piece of a big big universe. Once there was a hushpuppy and she lived with her daddy.”
In one scene as a storm approaches, they’re looking for safety in their motorboat. Her daddy tells her, “You’ll gotta learn how to take care of people smaller and sweeter than you are… This boat’ll take you exactly where you need to be. It’s that kind of boat.”
Yes. The gift of enough.
While on the island, I enjoyed the annual Burns Supper, a night to relish Scottish traditions, and celebrate the renowned poet Robert Burns with a classic combination of haggis, neeps, tatties, reciting of poetry, and a warming dram.
Burns’ greatest works were a vivid insight into the aspirations and anguishes of the less-privileged, his hopes for equality and a better world. Words that still carry their powerful meaning today. His greatest works were a vivid insight into the aspirations and anguishes of the less-privileged, his hopes for equality and a better world. (Oh, and his best song? Auld Lang Syne.)
We’ll soon be making my Power of Pause audio book available to all. Please enjoy the first few chapters here.
Quote for our week…
“I have come to realize that a mother lode of strength lies waiting in all of us, unmined gold yearning to gleam in the sunlight,” Former Trappist George Fowler
Today’s Photo Credit: “Full moon time.” Zach Hershey… Thank you Zach… And thank you to all, I love your photos… please keep sending them… send to terryhershey.com
Yes, your gift makes a difference… Donation = Love…
Help make Sabbath Moment possible. I write SM because I want to live with a soft heart; to create a place for sanctuary, empathy, inclusion, compassion and kindness… a space where we are refueled to make a difference. SM remains free.
(NEW address by check: PO Box 65336, Port Ludlow, WA 98365)
Letters that do my heart good…
–Thank you, Terry Hershey for reminding me of the good stuff, the wonder and for inspiring me! I do pass it along to uplift and celebrate! May your impact widen even more. PS: Regards from South Africa. Lynne
–Beautiful! filled with wonder and awe! Definitely our walk rituals give us that which is why I enjoy walking alone or with a friend in silence…it is Wonder Full. Thank you. Anita
–And I remember another wonderful example of wonder: the lady on the ferry – “LOOK”. We still talk about that story and it always makes us smile. Thanks for all you give. Jan and Ron
–Terry, This morning’s SM was especially great, I thought. Your messages are always helpful for me on Monday mornings, but this one, for some reason, spoke to me particularly well. Peace be with you for the week ahead. Andrew
POEMS AND PRAYERS
Do we really need much more than this?
To honor the dawn.
To visit a garden.
To talk to a friend.
To contemplate a cloud.
To cherish a meal.
To bow our heads before the mystery of the day.
Are these not enough?
Let it in, let it all in
Let it all in to your heart
All that is, all that is gift
You don’t’ have to take it apart
Everything we do is like breathing
We’ve been holding our breath for too long
Could you trust your life to the seasons and let the wind take you along
Let it out let it all out
Let it all out of your mind
Let it go, we don’t have to know
The answers to all that you find
There’s an emptiness that comes from having too much
Too much without any soul
Let out the lifeless the stale and the stuck
And let in what makes you more whole
Let in what makes you more whole