Friday, October 26, 2012

Christ Visible

The 13th Century Persian Mystic, Rumi, writes:

"A mouse and a frog meet every morning on the river bank.
They sit on the ground and talk.

Each morning, the second they see each other,
they open easily, telling stories and dreams and secrets,
empty of any fear or suspicious holding back.

To watch and listen to those two
is to understand how, as it's written,
sometimes when two beings come together,
Christ becomes visible."

Source: The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Candle Against the Wind

Candle Against the Wind

by Wendell Berry

I know that I have life
only insofar as I have love.
I have not love
except it comes from Thee.
Help me, please, to carry
this candle against the Wind.

(originally published on the web site Inward/Outward)

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Prayer by Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471)

Grant me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know,
To love what I ought to love,
To praise what delights thee most,
To value what is precious in thy sight,
To hate what is offensive to thee.
Do not suffer me to judge according to the sight of my eyes,
Nor to pass sentence according to the hearing of the ears of ignorant men;
But to discern with a true judgment between things visible and spiritual,
And above all, always to inquire what is the good pleasure of thy will.
In Christ's name I pray,

Thomas a Kempis was born Thomas Hammerken  in Kempen, Germany and distinguished himself as a priest, monk, and writer.  His chief contribution is his manual of Christian discipleship entitled The Imitation of Christ.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Real Community in a Virtual World

Several weeks ago I noticed something “trending” on Face Book. For some time a clergy friend of mine, Joey Reed, was posting an evening prayer. My wife found Joey’s prayers first, then  pointed them out to me, commenting on how beautiful and expressive they are. Soon, I noticed that another clergy friend of ours, Jeff Rudy, had begun posting a morning prayer. Knowing these two as I do, I suspected this was planned, a subtle effort to bring their friends together twice a day in common prayer. A pastoral sneak attack!

I bought into their plan and have come to truly look forward to their prayers. Joey and Jeff eloquently express the heart of God and the hearts of people. Their prayers are honest and real, not affected or contrived. Often, quite often, their prayers captured exactly what I want to say or need to say to God that day.

 One particular day I found myself totally lost in the middle of the day. Stressed out and over committed. I stopped and prayed for pause and focus. As I often do, I recorded my prayer in my journal. The next day I returned to that prayer midday, and this gave me an idea. What don’t I join in Joey and Jeff’s ministry and offer a midday prayer on Face Book. Well I did just that, and I’ve continued to post a prayer each day around 12:30. Why 12:30 and not noon? Well, remember this is “stealth” pastoral care. I figure folks are moving around, driving to lunch, heating up soup, or making a sandwich at noon. But, by 12:30 they’ve settled in and probably have picked up their smart phone to see what their friends are up to on Face Book.

The response to this experiment in common prayer has been amazing to me. Joey, Jeff, and I tag each other’s posted prayers and I’ve seen them shared many times. Friends have messaged me “thank you’s”, in fact I received one of those while writing this post. My prayer is that we can keep this going. That our community building efforts on Face Book, built around common prayer, grow not in size but in strength.

Thanks Joey Reed for starting this trend. Thanks Jeff Rudy for building on Joey’s idea. And thank you both for letting me join you in fostering prayerfulness and real community in a virtual world.