The cry of innocence

20131229-000847.jpg(picture from Innocence/Brother, Give Us a Word

This day is always painful for me. Not three days after celebrating the birth of a baby – a baby who came to ease pain and bring justice, we face the first reaction to his arrival. Clearly a threat to those in control, to those in power – the announcement of Jesus birth brought on a reaction of horror.

Feeling a real threat to his rule, Herod ordered the slaughter of ever child under the age of two throughout his region. All those babies killed because of one person’s insecurity. This act of anger and selfish greed is hard to comprehend and brings a sadness with no words.

We remember these children today. Lost due to the threat of God’s arrival, their cries echo in the air of history.

Could we hear about this event and use it as a reminder of the forces against all that is good in humanity. Acts of selfish deceit always surround us. The powerless continue to be at the mercy of those who lack compassion and wield power. For the sake of those innocent lives taken so long ago and for all children suffering from mean and selfish acts throughout our world today, let us stay alert and offer our protection no matter the risk.

The telling of the Good News has begun to float anew throughout the world. May we speak and act on the promise of that news – God’s kingdom is here in our midst – a kingdom filled with compassion and mercy.

Thought for a Sabbath morn


The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of His wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of Your Mind.
Khalil Gibran

Many of us will enter a doorway to sacred space this morning. As you stand on its threshold listen closely – God’s whisper is near to fill your heart with the wisdom of creation. Receive its renewal and grace knowing it is not meant only for you. When you return to the threshold ready to leave that sacred space, prepare to carry what you have received into a world where hope is scarce. Be ready to offer the good news where there is little news of any goodness. Share its promise through your actions, using words only when necessary. (paraphrased from St. Francis)
Blessings on this day of Sabbath.

a field where we meet as people of faith…

As I write, the Episcopal church of America has come together for its 77th General Convention. Bishops and deputies from all over this country and throughout the world have joined for nine days of hard work, renewing worship, a wonderful chance to share resources and time to reconnect with good friends.

Three years ago I boarded a plane with my dear friend, Frankie, and journeyed to Anaheim California for the 76th General Convention. I remember that time with a grateful heart and a spirit stirred with questions and passion – seeking inspiration on how we look ahead to express our faith by word and action in this time of history. No one can prepare you for this experience. Grand halls and meeting rooms overflow with people as topics are discussed that affect the life and practice of our faith community.

There are many disagreements. Yet today we are standing on the edge of a new horizon. A horizon that calls us to expand our vision and prepare for change. Our divisions continue to stress our conversations and the spirit, as always, moves us forward. Our church has come together again, knowing that the changes before us will be challenging, requiring sacrifice and grace. My prayer – we can find a common ground–rich with the fruit of God’s Spirit and supplied with the tools needed to build a bridge that will carry us safely across this time of transition.

I am reminded of the wise words by Rumi: ‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.’  It is in this field that I believe we are called to gather.

The picture I share below was taken from the last General Convention.

In a moment outside of time I experienced the ‘field’, Rumi describes with such grace. Offering the homily during noonday worship – the Archbishop of Canterbury shared reflections charged with hope and concern, and I felt the tension of our common faith and current differences. The larger (world-wide) Anglican church was watching this convention with critical eyes. Passion and opinion was everywhere.

As is norm, during the service we were welcomed to exchange the peace – I was close to the front greeting those around me. Turning, I faced this man of great stature, who with a sense of awkward isolation was looking my way. Dressed in all his splendor and towering above a room filled for worship, the Archbishop of Canterbury dropped to his knees and reached over the edge of the stage to share God’s peace with me. “Thank you for coming.” I said. “Thank you for having me.” was his response. Surrounded by the noise of disagreement and unrest, for a moment all was quiet. Unaware of anything else I found myself where no words were needed – our world was full.

Since that time this picture has been a reminder for me–a reminder that God’s ability to bridge division should never be underestimated. We are called again and again to seek out one another in that field of quiet peace. This is what we are given and this is what we build on.

A Good Day…

this is a re-blog. it was an important reminder then and again today.

Carrie's Bench

take a few minutes…

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Entering Holy Week

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. Og Mandino

Journeys can be so confusing. Even when we are following a trusted guide, it is not always clear as to where we are going and why. Our expectations need to be re-examined and adjusted.

Entering this Holy Week, I am once again reminded of how life’s journey so often takes unforeseen turns. Throughout all of his ministry, Jesus spoke of the difficult times ahead. As he and his disciples approached Jerusalem for the celebration of Passover, all expectations for true triumph were at their highest point.

How could they know what was to happen? Even though Jesus had told them to prepare for grieving and hardship – how could they have ever imagined the events that were so near? They were filled with memories of miracles and inclusion, inspired by direct teaching and entrusted to be the ambassadors of God’s Good News. Everything pointed toward a new way, supported and encouraged by God’s presence among them.

And… they were right to anticipate a radical shift in living and believing. Through the passage of time, Jesus’ example would continue to inspire and direct the faithful to share, by word and example, another way of living in this world. A way that would raise our attentions to justice and draw our actions to mercy.

But first… Jesus would lead them through a time – dark and tragic. The path on this journey was set. It would be a while before ‘hope’ would lift the darkness and shed the light of faith’s resurrection.20120402-044651.jpg

The week has begun. Jerusalem’s gates have welcomed Jesus, his beloved friends and followers. We, too, find ourselves in the mix, with our own expectations. May we be open to unforeseen turns and welcome new revelations.