A FRIDAY MEDITATION -Is there more?

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
 my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land where there is no water.
~ Psalm 63:1

Have you ever felt such a longing aching desire for something but you couldn’t figure out what?   Sometimes, I do.  Today.  There is a yearning for something. Sometimes it’s just a sense of something niggling at me. Something more. Today, it is strong. As I sit in my prayer chair I pray, “God, I need something but I don’t know what it is.”

As a child, there were times like this.  You’ve heard the stories about when I lay on my back in a yard filled with dandelions, if grandma hadn’t already picked the greens to cook for supper, watching clouds and feeling what?  Content.  Yes, but part of the sky also.  Part of something bigger.  Something more.

There were other places, too.  As a teenager, I would climb an ancient cherry tree.  Sometimes, to get away from the hustle and bustle of a life filled with people in a tiny house.  Sometimes, to reflect on things going on with my life at the time.  Sometimes for solitude.  The question, “Is there more than this?”

As a young adult with children – picnics, rocks by a stream, paths to unknown places. A life filled with busyness with little solitude or reflection.  Fear and depression filled many days.  More?  I don’t know where to find it.

Later with children mostly grown, driving through Gore range – such beauty and longing.

Coming home from church and starting to change clothes, the question – or was it a thought, “There has to be more to the Christian life than this.”

And again, later.  On top of Grand Mesa at Land’s End, standing in a field of wildflowers with the Grand Valley spread out way below and tears streaming down my face.  What is it?  I don’t know.

Riding in a car in New Mexico after a conference, nose pressed to the window looking at the sky covered in brilliant stars.  I couldn’t get enough of it.  Longing, hungry.  Is there more?

These have been and are, I believe, times when God is calling.  They are times when God is aching, too. God wants more.

My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.” ~
Song of Solomon 2:10-13

How do I respond when God calls for more?  What helps me connect?  How do I pay attention?  Maybe I’m alone in a cherry tree. Maybe sitting by a stream or floating in a raft on a lake.  Maybe I’m standing in a field of wildflowers on a mountain or a prairie. Sometimes, on my back in the grass watching clouds – not so much, now. Sometimes, I go to my favorite retreat house where I’m going soon.  Often, I go to my prayer chair in my prayer room.  I go to a place where there is silence and some solitude so I can go into the arms of the Lover and hear his voice. Or just be with him.  Because there is More. I guarantee it.

Where do you go when God is calling? Where and how do you find More?

For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
~ Psalm 62:5-6

 

A FRIDAY MEDITATION – Blessings not Cursings

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving spirit may so move every human heart [and especially the hearts of the people of this land], that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. ~ Prayer for Social Justice, The Book of Common Prayer

Ugh. I wasn’t going to write about this – the political stuff running rampant – the hateful, fearful rhetoric surrounding the political campaigns which will most likely continue for some time.  I wasn’t going to do it. But what is a follower of Jesus to do about this? How do we respond? How do I respond?

“Bless instead of curse.”

The phrase wanders around in my head as I sit with the question.  We know that we are to pray for our leaders no matter who gets elected.  Even when it’s hard.  Even when we don’t want to. I think it was Frederick Buechner who said, “Go where your best prayers take you.”  If we do that where will we go?  What will we do?  What will I do? Does it not depend upon what our best prayers say?

“Bless instead of curse.”

Does that mean that I am not get caught up in hateful speech no matter what we believe or about whom we believe it? I think so, even though I may not agree with what they do or say. Recently, I have been praying for God to bless our presidential candidates. I pray that God will touch each of them with his holy spirit and guide them in the days to come.  I pray for God’s will to be done in their lives. The Book of Common Prayer gives this prayer, “O Lord our Governor, bless the leaders [and potential leaders] of our land, that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations of the earth.” The people are to respond, “Lord keep this nation under your care.”  Or we can say, “Amen.” We can start here.

“Bless instead of curse.”

Today while praying I heard God say, “Now you bless them?” Oh! That puts a different slant on things, doesn’t it? What is an apprentice of Jesus to do, here? Does it just mean that I/we say, “Bless so and so?” Donald and Hillary in this case and it is this case. How do I do this? Jesus not only said bless and not curse, but do good to them, also.  What does that mean?  It doesn’t mean, “Bless your little heart, you pour little misinformed one.”  But I believe it means that I am to bless them with all good. Oh boy, do I have my work cut out for me. Maybe you, do too.

Will blessing make a difference in the outcome? I hope so. I pray so. I believe that’s why God said so. But I know it’ll make a difference in me.

“I bless you with knowing the joy of the Lord that is your strength.

I bless you with knowing joy in his faithfulness in profound and life-giving ways.

I bless you with remembering times when he showed you his faithfulness.

I bless you with enlarging your spirit to know profoundly and deeply that your Father is pleased with you.

I bless you with receiving the truth of your identity, legitimacy and birthright.

I bless you with knowing who you are in your Father’s eyes and in drinking deeply of the joy that he has in who you are.” ~ Sylvia Gunter, Blessing Your Spirit

Grace and Peace, Donna

A FRIDAY MEDITATION – “Uncle!”

You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”—Psalm 10:17

MY MORNING PRAYER

GOD!  Oops, I mean, Dear God.  I cry, “UNCLE!”  Oh, wait, that’s an old timey expression.  In case you don’t remember it (ha, ha, ha – that’s sarcasm), I say, “ENOUGH!! I’ve had enough.  Really!  I’m tired. Really tired.  I’m broken.  I’m having those chasing nightmares which also means I’m running. There is too much to pray for.  Now France. I am a broken mess.  I’ve. Had. Enough.

God, why are you smiling?  I’m serious.

“Because I love you, my little one.”

But the world is a broken mess, too.  Have you seen what has been happening?  Hate. Fear. Anger. Violence.  Etc. When I ask you to fix things, you keep telling me to fix things.  That it’s my job.  I’m telling you I can’t. I’m too small. I have no energy. I want a miracle.  I want you to intervene.  Period.

You’re smiling again.

“Yes, because I love you my broken little mess.”

“Now, be still.  I’m here.  Look at me and listen. Only here with me will you have peace.  Only in my arms will the world have peace. And forgiveness.  And love. And joy. So consider this, what do you believe would happen if all who prayed, even the broken messes, prayed for peace in the world? Every day?Think about this. Remember Abraham? In Genesis 18? Do you remember that he asked me to save Sodom and Gomorrah if he found 50 righteous people?  Then he got worried about finding that many and asked for 45 righteous people instead. Do you remember that he gave up bargaining when he got to ten people? After that he quit asking me and went home.  Did he think it was impossible? What if he had asked for one righteous person? Ponder that for a minute. Your prayers, as well as the collective prayers of all the others who pray, is part of what I mean when I tell you to fix things. I use those. Prayer changes things. Don’t despair.”

That reminds me of what Thomas Merton said.  He said, “What is the use of praying if at the very moment of prayer, we have so little confidence in God that we are busy planning our own kind of answer to our prayer?” I guess I want it the way I want it to be. Right??

“Hang in there with me.  Be still.  Be at peace. Ok?”

Ok. Thanks for listening, God.

“Now, why are you smiling?”

Because I love you, too, my great, big, God. I love you, too.

“I bring not only my own weariness but the tiredness of people who struggle this night [and day].  I bring not only my own pain but the sufferings of those who cry out. Hear my soul’s prayers for rest, O God, hear my heart’s plea for healing.” ~ J. Philip Newell, Celtic Benediction

For the peace of the whole world we pray, “Lord, have mercy.”

A FRIDAY MEDITATION – Dependence Day

I had not intended to write anything today because I’m on a moving into my house break, but I ran onto this which I wrote last year for Independence Day.  It is only four days after and I think it works as a repeat.
“’You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.’—Galatians 5:13

“Today is the called the birthday of the USA. We celebrate our independence from England, declared by 13 American colonies named the United States of America, on July 4, 1776. The Revolutionary War began in 1774 and lasted until 1783. Those who left England left for various reasons, but many to escape religious persecution.

“William Penn, an English Quaker, left England in 1682 and founded Pennsylvania with a land grant that was owed to his father, then deceased. His goal was to create a colony that allowed for freedom of religion in order to protect himself and fellow Quakers from persecution. An aside – my sixth great-grandfather, Richard Linville, his wife and two sons left their home in Sussex Co., England in 1682/3 to join this colony. Penn called Pennsylvania the ‘holy experiment’ and wrote a constitution that would limit the power of government. This constitution had many of the rights that would eventually be granted the citizens of the US through its constitution.

“I have been meditating on independence/dependence and freedom/oppression for the last day or two. Independence appeals to Americans. We take it so far these days that we have become separated from our fellow citizens in so many ways. We don’t want to be dependent on anyone. Ever. I am blessed to be an American and there is so much I could reflect upon, but I don’t want to focus on this. I want to focus on Jesus.

“Jesus turns it all upside down. Jesus calls us to total dependence on him. He says, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.’—John 15:5. Someone said, ‘Far from being self-reliant, we are totally and eternally dependent on the One who died to set us free. Every day is our ‘dependence day.’” I like that. We celebrate it every Sunday.

“God’s ‘holy experiment’ calls us to a whole new way of living. He also gave us a ‘constitution’: “You shall have no other God’s…etc.” These 10 commandments tell us how to live in the new society. Jesus summed them up when we told us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This new colony is a new Kingdom, and we have a new King.
“The Daughters of the King pray every day for the spread of Christ’s Kingdom. I do that, but I have learned over the years, especially after Jesus told me, that the spread of his Kingdom requires me to actively work in the spreading of it as well. The Holy Spirit will give us the power to do this in the ways that Jesus calls us. I have a friend whose entire Rule of Life is: “Love God; Love my neighbor.” It’s simple. He does what is in front of him as he spreads the Kingdom.

“’N. T. Wright wrote, “The final kingdom, when it comes, will be the free gift of God, a massive act of grace and new creation. But we are called to build for the kingdom. Like craftsmen working on a great cathedral, we have each been given instructions about the particular stone we are to spend our lives carving, without knowing or being able to guess where it will take its place within the grand design. We are assured, by the words of Paul and by Jesus’s resurrection as the launch of that new creation that the work we do is not in vain.’  Happy ‘Dependence Day’” ~ dlw July 4, 2015