Yesterday as I was out with Tritty I met my neighbor on the road walking with his son. My neighbors son moved to Boston and had become a pediatric heart doctor. He was always a very fine boy and he had grown into a very fine young man. He had recently become a father and he asked us to stop by to see him. I asked him what he had named his son. He answered Matthew. It gave me reason to pause because my nephew Matthew passed away seven years ago a few days after Christmas. After a third relapse Matthew succumbed to Leukemia at the tender age of sixteen.
Later that evening my family gathered at Matthew’s home for a wonderful Christmastide celebration. The house was packed with the aunts, uncles and children of four families. The food, drink, music and gifting created a festive air of joy but the mirth of the season is always tempered by Matthews absence and the association of his death with Christmas. This time of year is particularly difficult for Matthew’s father. They were exceptionally close and my brother-in-law carries Matthew’s absence in a somber heart that seems to grow a bit larger this time of year. As the evening passed I related my story about meeting my neighbors son on the road that day and the appearance of Matthew. This news uplifted my brother-in-laws spirit. He smiled and said “thats Matthew letting us know he’s around.” Matthew continues to be a real presence in the lives of those who knew him and loved him. In a most real sense he continues to dwell with us.
Emmanuel, means God is with us. God dwells with us. Many believe this to be patented nonsense. They point to the endless string of calamitous events and abhorrent tragedies that plague humanity. If God was loving why does the Benevolent One allow such misfortune to befall his children? If The Omnipotent One is all powerful why does he not come to their aid? If God is the embodiment of love why does the power of evil and the treachery of man seem to multiply and grow laughing in the face of an impotent God? I must admit as a person of faith it can be difficult to answer these questions. Asked in the spirit of truth they are not easily dismissed. A Pollyannish response is not sufficient to halt the eroding power of pessimism, the ambivalence of fatalism and the cynicism it voraciously breeds.
What is our answer?
We have sifted through the rubble strewn streets of Port-Au-Prince.We have extracted our beloved ones from their prisons of concrete and twisted rebar. We worked until utter exhaustion overcame us. We labored in the fervent hope that our exertions would not be in vain to find and liberate one more soul awaiting deliverance. We administered inoculations to ward off the plague of cholera. The awful stalk of the grim reaper has been arrested. The indiscriminate threshing of souls has abated. The construction of new dwellings arise out of the rubble to house those saved from the prisons of concrete and the sickle of disease.
America’s wars rage on. The conflict has mercifully ended for some combatants. Some will experience the joy of a reunion with families, others will find rest in an eternal heavenly peace. A fragile peace reigns for yet another day on the Korean Peninsula. Dispassionate reason has cooled the temper of belligerence as blessed ones continue to witness for peace to end the abomination of all these unjust wars.
The egregious ecological wound of The Gulf of Mexico is beginning to heal. The good work of vigilant environmental stewards deeply engaged in the work of restoration remain in attentive loving service to our gracious Mother Earth.
The economic distress of the unemployed has been salved with government service and the kindness of family and friends.
The plight of the evicted has been eased. The foreclosures on millions of families has peaked, homes have been opened to those seeking a places to live, shelter workers keep the light of rooms brightly burning so the those in need of a bed may find one.
Sudanese huddling on the windswept desert of the Great Rift Valley, Mexican immigrants crossing hostile borders of the Sonoran desert and the terror stricken LGBT community will come to realize that it will get better. That their situation is not hopeless. The ardor of intolerance will abate and the peace of reconciliation will reign on the throne of understanding and acceptance. All will find sanctuary.
Israeli’s and Arabs with a dogged determination come to the table yet again to talk about the prospects for peace in Palestine.
Missionaries of hope spread the message of peace and reconciliation.
Healers without borders doctor to the distressed.
Carpenters are building hospitable habitats for the homeless.
Teachers are reaching troubled children and adults most needing to hear kind, thoughtful instruction.
Emmanuel! God is with us. Yahweh is forever faithful. The Beneficent One moves across the trouble waters of time to unite Gods Children in a single river of humanity, where justice flows and the Good Shepard finds all lost sheep. Allah softens the hearts of the zealous. God informs a sober reason to the obstinate. The Holy Spirit swaddles all in a blanket of divine love. The Prince of Peace is with us.
As I walked through the doors for Christmastide services I was asked by a church brother if I would sit in with choir. Like the Prophet Samuel I heard the call and answered “here I am.” It was a special unanticipated grace to process into the church on Christmas Eve. The Lord asked me to make a joyful noise and walk with him on this Holy Night. It is a blessing to walk with the Lord as a real presence.
After the nights services as I was leaving the church I witnessed two brethren sitting side by side in the now empty pews. They were father and son. About the time that Matthew died, the boys mother, the mans wife passed away after a heroic fight against cancer. As they sat in the presence of their God, father and son were present for each other. I imagined them also to be in a rapturous communion and loving embrace of their very present mother and beautiful wife.
God is with us.
Our expectant hope is realized.
The Word has been made Flesh.
God has broken through.
God remains ever faithful.
God dwells with us.
A good and present helper
guide our hands
open our hearts.
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Today marks the arrival of Diwali. Diwali is widely celebrated by the Hindu, Jain and Sikh religions. Diwali, known as the Festival of Light, is commemorated over five-day period around the mid point of the autumn season.
Diwali speaks to the timeless human desire for victory to triumph over evil. Diwali celebrants light lamps in the hope that goodness continues to illuminate our hearts and homes to assure that the light of goodness remains ascendant over the darkness of evil. Diwali asks everyone to be stewards of goodwill by mindfully tending lamps to eradicate the darkness of evil and light the way for the spirit of truth revealed and made manifest in the good light of divine love.
We welcome the season of Diwali and wish all celebrants a most meaningful and spiritually fulfilling experience.
You Tube Video: Origin of Diwali
Risk: darkness, light, good, evil
Today the High Holy Days begin with the observance of the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah 2010, marks the 5771 year on the Jewish Calendar. Rosh Hashanah , The Day of Awe, is a day of awakening. The Shofar is sounded to rouse those from a sleep of spiritual and moral ambivalence calling all to a season of personal introspection and examination. The new year provides an opportunity to identify character flaws, meditate on the impact of our actions, make amends and take corrective steps that honors affirmative relationships and breeds transformative growth.
The High Holy Days will conclude in ten days with the observance of Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement. The culmination of a period of deep examination and action, Yom Kippur offers all a clean slate to begin again. Opportunities to start anew are truly a divine grace that should be eagerly embraced with intentional gratitude. An opportunity to make amends with those we have injured, forge news bonds of trust, restore integrity and stand upright and unstained in the presence of God is a miraculous grace.
Year 5772 will not arrive for some currently present to mark this years Rosh Hashanah. Indeed some of us will not see tomorrows sunrise. The day of transfiguration has come. We must examine ourselves to discover what must heal. We must engage our neighbors to understand what rifts must be repaired. We must open our eyes to banish the darkness of self serving pursuits. Doing so will allow us to stand in the restorative light of God’s unconditional love. It is up to each of us to take the needed action to reinvigorate, restore and set things right. Lift up your ears and hear the piercing peal of the Shofar. This Day of Awe calls to us.
You tube music video: The Klezmatics Araber Tants
Risk: opportunity, restoration
A new year begins
of the future
It is possible to realize
the seemingly improbable
Visualize the ideal
begin the ernest work
of the necessary
Yoko likes to say
“peace is yours
if you want it”
Do you want it?
We must have it.
The Lords peace
rests on you.
May you carry
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gonna commence a journey
gotta get on the way
provision and direction
will appear along the way
gotta open brand new doors
become a bit unhinged
gonna loosen the damn tethers
that forge the chains within
gotta sail uncharted waters
lose sight of familiar land
gonna become a fearless sailor
track footprints on exotic sand
some jagged mountains beckon
sheer cliffs gotta be scaled
the ascent gonna bring blessed growth
not to try is to miserably fail
gonna explore hidden valleys
with courage, grit and resolve
all risks are opportunities
problems that gotta be solved
gotta leave my tiny comfort zone
with great dispatch and haste
a new life is mine to have
gonna banish fear with grace
Happy New Year
I predict that 2010 is gonna be the most important year of our lives.
It’s gotta be, because its the only one we got.
Peace and Prayers Beloved
You Tube Music Video: Auld Lang Syne Red Hot Chilli Peppers
You Tube Music Video: Beach Boys, Sail On Sailor
Tonight marks the arrival of Kwanzaa. People of good will everywhere welcome this opportunity to bring more light into a world enshroud in darkness. Kwanzaa celebrates community as a vessel to receive and dispense the flow of hope and service required to minister and serve others. It is a wonderful reminder on the importance of community and excellent opportunity to strengthen the bonds of the individual within communities.
The Ancestors Prayer
Our great African parents who are among us we humbly offer our thanks
for the many blessings you have given.
We extend our love to its ultimate state of being –
For the suffering that you have endured so that we may not suffer so.
Mothers of our great African nation Fathers of our African selves –
We invoke you to furthur lead and guide us to a higher understanding
Of our true greatness –
And a more encompassing dedication of love for our African people.
Parents of all African children;
Guide us toward a greater unity –
Guide us in a stronger African Value System and lead us into the zenith of respect and love for our people, through education and the
“Family Communal Structure”
We swear upon the heritage and legacy that you have left us to uphold and sustain our rightful status on this earth, and to continue the struggle for the total mental and physical liberation of all African People.
The following is a Christian prayer offering for Kwanzaa
O come all you faithful, rejoicing and victorious! Come, let us adore the Lord of life and goodness, as we celebrate Kwanzaa and the African American heritage. Come and give thanks and praise for the journey. Jesus, by your mercy, grant us the grace to cherish this life. Guide us to uphold the dignity and respect of life from the moment of conception to its natural end at death. Lead us to be to true to our nature as you created us. We ask these things because we have our roots in the divine origin of Creator, Savior, and Sanctifier, Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Peace to all this Kwanzaa Season.
You Tube Music Video: Seven Principles of Kwanzaa
May the light of peace guide you.
May the warmth of gratitude envelop you.
May the grace of giving embolden you.
May the joy of the season be with you.
May the spirit of love move you.
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a curious necessity
a vulnerable fragility
how fragile it is
unwashed and unhealed
a promise made
all will be cured
come into the light
the spirit implores
I kiss your face
a unique beauty
by blessed light
my need for love
the grace of your light
our shared divinity
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peace and prayers beloved
Risk: darkness, isolation
We give thanks for all who have enriched our lives with their presence;
may we honor them by always being present for others.
We give thanks for those who selflessly serve in our armed forces,
for the quiet sacrifices of their family and friends
and for those who witness for peace and work to end the conflicts of war.
We are thankful for the tears of the poor
and their example of fortitude in the daily struggle to live
and for those that extend a handkerchief
and offer a vision of hope and a pathway to advancement.
We are thankful for our rich abundance
and the blessed spirit that leads us to generously share it with others.
We are thankful for wise thoughtful teachers
and students that are eager to use that wisdom to better the world.
We are thankful for courageous truth tellers
and the hard truths they speak
and to people of good will that are open
and willing to listen and act on those truths.
We are thankful for the care givers
and their veneration of life
and to those who receive care
and fill the heart of the giver with fathomless gratitude.
We are thankful for people of humility and good will
and their blessed example of quiet service and grace.
We are thankful for children as an embodiment of our hopes
and the future flowering of our greatest aspirations.
We are thankful for our animal friends
and their example of trusted companionship
and unconditional love.
We are thankful for sobriety
and our ability to discern, see, discover
and experience the daily graces life confers upon us.
We are thankful for those who are no longer with us,
may our time on earth be a blessing to others as they were to us.
We are thankful to a higher power that keeps us right sized,
humble and grateful for one more day on life’s path.
Wishing All the Beloved a Grace Filled Happy Thanksgiving
Peace and Prayers
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