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.

To experience holy silence


What an amazing picture. A little child in the midst of an ancient practice. So intent, even to the detail of his fingers. It is hard to imagine what kind of world surrounds this child’s experience.

This picture reminds me of the many times a young one has stood before me, hands open to receive communion or to reach for a blessing. They watch and listen as if the meaning of this worship is clear. With imaginations, fresh and unencumbered, children instinctively know the importance of these words and actions. They may fidget, create art on paper with crayons and speak out in a moment of silence but they are paying attention. In a flash, they express their own faith throwing us off balance–reminding us that we are in a place where the unexpected happens.

During times set aside for worship, we (yes, even clergy) often are distracted by thoughts of our schedules and activities for that day and beyond. These thoughts become our fidgets, our coloring activities, our own shout-outs in the midst of holy silence. To become quiet in mind and spirit is not easy task. With all the stimulus that fills our lives, finding a time for quiet is a challenge on its own and sometimes just not possible.

I look again at the picture of this child. Not only does it bring a smile but it can bring a moment of stillness and peace. What brings a moment of calm when noise and chaos surrounds you? No one image works for all people but we can find something that will carry our holy silence until we can hold it once again. It may be a picture, a memory, a person or a prayer. Whatever you ‘see’ – let it travel with you through your busy days. May it offer a moment that calms and quiets you in mind and spirit.

The Fruits of Faith

picture taken by Dave MacDonald

picture taken by Dave MacDonald

This morning many people will come together to pray, reflect, seek forgiveness and offer gratitude. This is what we call ‘church’ or ‘temple’ or a variety of other names for our places of worship. Does this weekly experience awaken us? Does it inspire and inform our life in the world when we leave our sanctuaries? Is this is what most people think they are doing when they enter a time of worship?

I fear that many people enter and leave their sacred places with little connection to what they have said or why. Much of what we say and do is taken for granted. We sing hymns with words so familiar they are often dry of inspiration. We move through the ritual by repetition and habit. A habit is so deeply ingrained that to suggest a slight alteration raises anxiety and distrust. In the brief time we gather for renewal and reflection, we do so with little concern to open our mind and hearts.

How easy it is to be lulled into the familiar. Words which are spoken and prayed can lose much of their meaning. It has been my experience that many seekers today look for expressions of faith where words and rituals are rich with meaning and can be applied in daily life. Most often these expressions come from the roots of our faith traditions and are explained in ways that deepen faith and understanding. Imaginations are awakened and action inspired.

Yes, this takes commitment and the willingness to open and develop relationships. This time of ‘worship’ instills in us the faith of our fore bearers. And as we remember – we are taught how our own lives and faith can impact the world today.

These thoughts were inspired by a reflection written by Steven Charleston. It offers a wonderful example of how sacred time nurtures our faith. It describes the critical role both ‘relationship and ritual’ have in our spiritual care and growth. As you read, consider these questions: Who do you look to as teacher and spiritual guide? What is important to inspire and encourage your faith journey?

Thank you, Bishop Steven Charleston

From four sacred directions, I saw the elders assemble, winter haired wisdom, come to speak by evening fires, before night could claim the light for the stars alone. From four sacred directions, the people came, to hear the ancient stories, to sing the ancient songs, before dawn could claim their voice for the wind alone. From four sacred directions, the spirits gathered, love to bind our wounds, hope to heal our hearts, faith to clear our minds, truth to set us free, gathered by prayer, gathered by God, to mend the circle, before time could claim our vision for the past alone.

I Sing A Song…


artwork taken from here

And one was a doctor, one was a queen, one was a shepherdess on the green –

I come to this day each year in quiet awe for all the blessed people etched into the heart of our faith. This heart is strong and ever-growing. Each year more holy ones move within its beating space ready to offer us their story. We are renewed and encouraged by their example and wisdom – these people known to us as saints.

There are many saints who lived long ago and then there are the ‘saints’ we have known in this life. Humbled, I name a few; David, Harrison, Cathy, Vickie, Mary, Eva, Sam, Sid and forever my dear Beth. Some new names and some whose memory remains bright. It is good to have this holy day of All Saints. For one day of the year, I rest my need to figure out the mysteries of God and faith. I start the day with a promise to spend time remembering each saint that comes to mind. Ever thankful for their presence in my life – bright examples of God’s creativity, each called to reflect God’s sacred light.

A day to walk with the saints who have gone before us. A day filled with moments of surprise and tender memories. So I put on my comfortable shoes. carry some extra Kleenex and start into the day singing:

“For the saints of God are folk just like me, And I mean to be one too.