When death comes by Mary Oliver
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
In her book Journey Inward, Journey Outward, Elizabeth O’Connor says of the importance of self-reflection: “We must be engaged with ourselves, if we are going to find out where are, and where it is we want to go.”
One of the ways that we know where we are, and where we are going is by landmarks and signposts. This is true in the natural world as much as it is in the spiritual one.
Spiritual signposts are often favorite stories we tell about your our life, pivotal moments where we have encountered God. Like a regular signpost or landmark, these spiritual counterparts are meant to mark our directions and remind us of where God is leading us. They help us in our journey towards wholeness.
This is a message I gave a couple years ago and coming across it today I feel it’s worth sharing again. We in the church have a paradoxical relationship with the bible. Many inside and outside the church have misgivings about certain texts or whole swaths of texts, while other texts serve as basic idioms and metaphors in our culture so much so that we don’t even notice it anymore. Is the Bible still a relevant book for us? I contend yes, but not in the ways we’ve often been taught. I argue that there is a Quaker way of reading the bible that bypasses at least some of our modern hang-ups, and I suggest that the Bible really is the people’s book. It is a collection of stories that give witness to God’s liberating work throughout human history. Seen in this light, we can find ways to enter into the story as our own and become participants in God’s transformation of ourselves and the world.
Friends Committee on National Legislation started a campaign to cut the pentagon’s budget – in 2011 it was a staggering $664.84 billion, which is 60% of the overall federal budget – so that we do not have to make drastic cuts on important services like education, healthcare, nutrition assistance and housing that keep our communities thriving. Since 2011 the price-tag for defense has sky-rocketed from 287 billion to where we are today, no wonder our country is broke (Link). As a Christian and Quaker preacher, I want to see us invest in eliminating poverty in our country.
FCNL has asked individuals to post their image with their name and an area that they feel our government could do better at putting our money into rather than in Defense. This is mine.
Make yours here.
This is a link to today’s episode of Fresh Air looks at the subject of Cyber-Bullying. I can’t recommend it enough to parents, teachers and ministers alike. Emily Bazelon of Slate Magazine is interviewed about the subject because of her new book “Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy.” The book details her research on a number of bullying cases and how schools, parents, and social media websites handled the crises as they arose. Then she gleans a number of key insights that she shares in the interview that are really helpful.
Intro: For this morning’s message I’d like to talk about the Journey Inward based on Isaiah 6 by first telling a story that some of you may have heard or read.
In 2010, my good friend Shelly Fayette, priest at Good Shepherd Episcopal, and I started a joint venture we call God Pub. It’s not often that Quakers and Episcopals join forces to create a space where folks could come together to discuss questions about God and faith in a setting that encourages listening and dialogue. Rarely is there a division between the group, yet it’s always interesting to hear people say things like, “Well, Episcopals thing/do…” or “As a Quaker, I…” A joint venture like this really adds to the texture of the conversation when we draw from our different backgrounds and experiences.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Read the rest of the Luke 4 here
A 2012 NY Times article by Kaye Blegvad discusses what she calls the new homesickness. A recent Gallup World Poll found that:
One-quarter of the earth’s adults (1.1 billion in all) want to move temporarily to another country in the hope of finding more profitable work. An additional 630 million people would like to move abroad permanently.