One life, one life, one life . . .

In each bruising tragedy:  missing and murdered indigenous women, the thirst for drinkable water, the displacement of the Rohingya, in those attacks in Edmonton and now, in Las Vegas, I pause to give names to people. I sink into my heart to make spaces in the crowd so it is no longer a crowd but countless individuals that must be counted, that do have a name.  Of course this is an impossible task but one, I believe,  must be taken up, over and over again, stitches unraveled and knit up again.  We must learn one another’s names.

Sometimes in the almost unbearable counting, I think of this poem Pedagogy of Conflict  by Padraig Ó Tuama of the Corrymeela Community in Ireland.  Here is it’s beginning.

“When I was a child,
I learnt to count to five:
But these days, I’ve been counting lives, so I count
one life
one life
one life
one life
Because each time is the first time that that life has been taken. [ . . . ]”



Holy One,

May we come to this moment
As though we were a garden
And You the softening rain
As though we were an orchard
And You the swelling fruit
As though we were sand
And You the tide offering herself to the shore.

May we come to this moment
As though we were a body
And You our beating heart.
May we come open,
to be softened, ripened,
by You.


Summer Lectio: A sacred reading of your summer


Just through the farthest kitchen window this morning I saw the first turned leaf.  Seeing it there through glass and across the room I felt as though I rested in two times, the summer that is and the fall that is to come.  So many things come to be in the summer; the pace of work slows in the sun, there are more days like Sabbaths, family come by from far away and the soft toes of those infants in our life, children, grandchildren, friends, those soft toes touch the grass and we see their faces of wonder and are delighted.

Of course this is stirred into the terrors of the world, the sharp spark of hate, the aridity of indifference, the wreck of war and fire and famine, but in summer there are these days like Sabbaths and we let them rinse through us, slowing and softening us to receive what is needed for our courage, creativity and compassion.

So many things come to be in the summer and, as we come to the moment when the first leaf has turned toward fall, I invite you to sit with your summer and read it like a text.  I invite you into Lectio Divina, the sacred reading of these days.

Prepare for this Lectio by finding and shaping an hour that is just for you.  Bring with you, in imagination, or with tangible mementos (photos, flowers, shells, tickets from plane rides or theatre, sandals or sneakers or your favourite summer hat),  the text of your summer.  Create the threshold with music or tea or a cool drink in a special glass.  Savour what is.   Settle into the moment.   Be with your experiences of summer as a sacred text.

You may listen to the guided Lectio here, pausing it to give yourself all the time you need.   Or you may follow the words printed below it.   Continue reading “Summer Lectio: A sacred reading of your summer”

“The Frames of Your Belonging”


Image by Pexel

I love this phrase set within John O’Donohue’s larger blessing.  “May you listen to your longing to be free/May the frames of your belonging be generous enough for your dreams.”  I can identify with the longing to be free and I know both the sense of security and the desolation that come with choosing a frame too small for my dreams.   I know there are endless worthy frames that are not for me.

Continue reading ““The Frames of Your Belonging””

“One Small Step in the Direction of Love”


As I come to the conclusion of a year in which I chose to let go of those things by which I might most easily recognize myself, and be recognized: my life in pastoral leadership with a congregation, my attendance at Sunday worship, my familiar spiritual practices, I pause on the threshold to look back.  Today I glimpse the soft trail of the spiral’s ending just as it casts off into beginning again. And I find this question, rising up to the surface once more.  “What would it look like, in this moment, to take one small step in the direction of Love?”

This reflection too is a spiral.  It holds, at the centre of its curving, the seed of an earlier post.  It holds the question posed me by a wise woman. It wasn’t an asked question. It was truly given. I have carried it with me in the place that is the last to close up in fear or anger, in fatigue or frustration, in the pressure of near impossible
choices, in the moment when I have nearly lost myself.  

What would it look like to take one small step in the direction of Love?

It’s sometimes possible to make this almost imperceptible of movements when everything else feels too much to ask of yourself, when everyone else’s good suggestions have become a burden. Deep in the folds of your heart this small question rests.

What would it mean, in a nearly imprisoned moment, or in an expanse of fearsome freedom to take one small step in the direction of Love?

This question led me into the year just past, accompanied me,  and now breathes me into the choices of the year to come.   I long to answer each possibility before me with this question, What would it look like . . . ?

What would it look like? This tiny step, fragile as dew on the grass; soft and holy as sun on the shoulder of the day.

What would it look like, again and again and again?