Summer Lectio: A sacred reading of your summer

Fall Leaf for Lectio

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”

“One Small Step in the Direction of Love”

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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?

 

 

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Holy Wednesday

 

Wednesday of Holy Week seems one of the days orphaned from its ritual parents. Swung soundlessly between  the arms of Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday it feels unmarked in my community.    I understand the text of anointing with spikenard is often associated with this day in the liturgy and the negotiations of Judas Iscariot with the Sanhedrin.  So, following my earlier post of the I offer again these words to breathe as Christ breathes,  to touch the world’s joys and betrayals.

Sorrowing and Creating One,
You know

There has been so much taking
Of life
Of trust
Of sparkle
Of hands touching
Of dignity.

There has been so much injury
Of body
Of words
Of love
Of home
Of hope.

There have been so many images
Fast and slow
Vivid and grainy
Repetitious
and static
and terrible

And so much closing
Of minds
Of hearts
Of borders
Of doors
Of eyes.

So, we are here

For You
still
Holy

in the midst of us

We touch
in a heart beat
as we are touched.

We breathe
healing we are graced to grace with
we receive
and carry
gently as a warm egg

into these days.

The Skin and Heart of It

It’s the day after the vivid day of palms; and I stand on the edge of emptiness, in the aftermath that is also preparation.  I hold what keeps me tethered to the movement that will free me.  I turn, as I so often do in this time, to a text I can feel in my fingertips, in the palms of my hands and in my heart.  I turn to a story of the woman anointing Jesus (Mark 14: 3-9)

I turn today holding the sight of fragile bodies attacked by gas, or guns, people walking over borders in snow, single suitcases carrying a lifetime.  I turn holding the sight of women spare as cursive, curved over their beloved starving children.  I can feel this text too in my fingertips.

I enter this week when the fragile, broken body of the Compassionate One will bend over the beloved world, the skin and heart of it, and I enter it through this story.

This text we may read and pray is for me such a strong affirmation of our bodies and our beings and the gifts we bring to one another.  An affirmation also of Love’s insistence that we listen to the holy depth within us, listen to know that particular part of ourselves we are called to pour out over the body of Christ and the skin of the world.

This is a text that describes such risk and audacity.  Who would imagine that poured perfume would be the perfect gift for that particular moment of Love’s life?  Who but you and the one to whom you give it can know the holiness of your gift?

We stand on the lip of Holy Week and I long for us to enter that week in response to Love’s call.  Each of us will enter carrying our own jar.  Each of us will pour it out on the worn skin of compassion in a particular way.  We find the way that allows us to stay close. We search the offering that knows and soaks each holy day in a way that may transform it.

We find some small audacious or quiet way to honour the One who will suffer, suffer not to grimly pay some debt, to complete some awful transaction, but to be in our bodies and consciousness the fullest experience of a life lived, of Love, in joy and in anguish.

You can read Mark 14: 3 – 9 here  http://bible.oremus.org

You may enter it more deeply through the following meditation.

Heart to Heart: Lent One

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I’m keeping company this Lent with a group of wise women.  We’re considering courage, from the old French word coeur meaning ‘heart’.  We’re coming together to be a Lenten community that nurtures the practice of living heart-to-heart, asking ourselves what practices will encourage us to resist strategies of invulnerability.

How will we consider our hearts through the metaphor and the meaning of being heart to heart with Jesus as he sets his face to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-56)?  Laying our ear against the heart of the Compassionate One, or standing heart to heart we internalize his pulse.  Through the joined beat of our hearts we practice courage in the world.

We read together the wonderful book for children (and adults) The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers.  And we stepped close to the One who says, Stay with me, through the prayer practice sometimes called Ignatian contemplation.

I invite you to enter listening first to the text and then the words of imagination.