Times And Places

"All time that is given to thee, it shall be asked of thee, how thou hast dispended it." - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"The world of oneness is beyond the senses. If you seek oneness, you must strive to go there." - Rumi

"In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer." - Psalm (NIV)

I am less stubborn than David.
I prefer to walk away than to bitterly sit in a space I’m unwanted,
   praying down hardship on those who have wronged me.
I recognize my reflection in those around me -
   and that I can become the reflection of those I’m surrounded by.
Can I gain wisdom from this poet-prophet-warrior-king?
How did David pray in times of peace?

I haven’t been prudent and efficient with my time.
But I’m doing what needs to be done - if haltingly.

I have felt Your healing hand in my life and heart.
I have felt Your presence in my days.
Please heal and redeem:
   my vision for the future
   my livelihood and finances
   my place in the community of believers
   my education and expertise
   my role as father to my son

I know You finish what You start.
I know You are faithful and kind.
   Breathe dedication, steadfastness and kindness 
   into the depths of me.
        Amen.

Far-flung Space

"This darkness and this cloud is, howsoever thou dost, betwixt thee and thy God [….]" - The Cloud Of Unknowing

”[…] the far-flung space that is beyond existence.” - Rumi

"My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing and make music with all my soul." - Psalm (NIV)

Creation: the antidote to that dark cloud.
A light at the window.
A firefly on a summer’s night.

I know that swirling cloud well.
And the sparks of sound and light that dispel it.

Father, help me to know You further.
Help me to run by Your Spirit farther.
Help me to rise on these wings higher.
       And become closer in will and likeness to You.

You are perfect. I am not.
Thank You for the grace that bridges that far-flung space between us.
       Amen.

Stirring

"Lift up thine heart unto God with a meek stirring of love; and mean Himself, and none of His goods." - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"This world of sense and color’s narrower still; it is more narrow than the narrowest jail." - Rumi

"Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right." - Psalm (NIV)

Oneness.
Color and sense.
We view the realm of spirit and light.
A dream.

Flames:
   the sum of a sequence of momentary combustion.
   Where fuel and oxygen combine to produce light and heat.

The air is like the Spirit of God.
   Uncontainable and vast.
We are candle wax.
   Stationary and dull.
Christ’s sacrifice: a wick
   bridging wax and oxygen
   after the match-fire of repentance.

Continue to move me towards oneness.
Produce light and warmth from my life.

Thank You for Your forgiveness and grace.
Please continue to watch over my loved ones.
Thank You for Your continued providence.
Please establish the works of my hands.
       I love You,
       Amen.

The Lake, The Shore

"Look now forwards and let be backwards; and see what thee faileth, and not what thou hast, for that is the readiest getting and keeping of meekness." - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"O God, exhibit to the soul that place in which the wordless discourse flourishes, so that pure souls may fly headlong towards the far-flung space that is beyond existence." - Rumi

"He sent darkness and made the land dark - for had they not rebelled against his words?" - Psalm (NIV)

Here is the water.       Here is the shore.
One cannot say moment to moment
   where water stops and shore begins -
      yet, here is the water,
         and here is the shore.

Here I am.       Here You are.
Who can speak of “I” and You” when sitting in Your presence?
The shore sinks beneath the waters and becomes the lake’s bed.
The lake cradled in shore.
The shore engulfed in lake.
My being relies on Your presence.
I am neither lake nor shore.
   I am the fish swimming and breathing in You.
My very home, livelihood and breath has its being in You.

       ”Swim deeper, little one.”

The last twenty years have been a whirlwind of gain and loss.
Obedience and rebellion.
Pride and humiliation.
Joy, sorrow, creating, destroying, clinging, and letting go.
(and letting go and letting go and letting go and letting go)

There is cost.       There is reward.
There is planting.       There is reaping.

Here is the water.       Here is the shore.
Her is the fish, ignorant of water and shore, 
   the powers, climates and forces which interact with his environment.
Led by currents and instincts through water,
   by shore,
      between reeds and underwater flora.
The fish loves the lake and loves the shore -
   swimming deeper
      becoming part of lake, the currents, the landscape.

       ”Swim deeper, little one.”
       Selah.

Wandering Strangers

”[…] thou mayest learn to lift up the foot of thy love; and step towards that state and degree of living that is perfect [….]” - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"Each prophet and divine friend has a path, but all the paths that lead to God are one." - Rumi

"When they were few in number, few indeed and strangers in it, they wandered from nation to nation [….]" - Psalm (NIV)

I have wandered and indeed feel like a stranger
   (even among my closest friends.)
This, the solitary state teaching me to raise love
   and direct it towards
      divine purpose.
       ”Only a few find it.”
The woven path forms strong ties to Your grace.
Please continue to light the way ahead
   and provide the means to accomplish Your will.
Imminent and distant.
Alike and dissimilar.
We are in your likeness yet You are unknowable.
I can feel Your paradoxes growing within my life.
Be near in these peaceful and gentle times.
Thank You for Your unending grace.
       Amen.

Rejoicing As Seeking

”[…] our Lord hath of His great mercy called thee and led thee unto Him by the desire of thine heart.” - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"Do not think Him inactive and inert." - Rumi

”[…] let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.” - Psalm

Seeking is accomplished in the act of rejoicing.
Rejoicing is not the final step after finding.
How can we find You if not within joy?
   It is no secret that life is difficult:
   full of struggle and suffering.
"But your heart is strong, rejoice,
connect your soul to the Divine Joy!”
   Your grace reaches beyond us.
   Your light brings hope during the bleakest.
   Your strength can save us from the most dire.
I praise You because You are worthy of praise.
My heart rejoices in Your presence.
Thank You for this path of joy and light!
       Amen.

Messenger: Wind. Servant: Fire.

”[…] able him to contemplative living by the virtuous means of active living.” - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"The hand of God is needed for that, reader, for all absurdities: ‘Be and it was.’" - Rumi

"He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants." - Psalm (NIV)

Shadows can swarm.
Trapped air can become stale.
A strong man: the culmination of
   his last seven minutes of breath.
Fire is spread by wind
   (and also snuffed by it.)
Heat creates updrafts.
  The energy of modern civilization.

We have harnessed the wind.
We have bent fire to our will.
We create tools and machines from their energy.
We use them to travel great distances.

There is no fire without the essence of wind.
No wind without the sun’s magnificent heat.
"Let there be light." - and all things followed.
"Be" - and it was.

Instill Your fire and wind within me.
       Selah.

The Horse & Camel

"It is a rare being who is restrained by self-direction, who does not invite reproof, as a good horse does not invite the whip." - Buddha

"How should the camel’s being be slimmed down except by means of discipline and practice?" - Rumi

”[…] who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion[….]” - Psalm (NIV)

The sermon today was about listening.
   ”Speak Lord, for I am listening.”

It is not easy to retain self-control.
I am undisciplined.
My life: a falling leaf,
   caught up by the wind.
If I listened carefully,
   could I become the tree limb?

Father,
Speak into my life.
I am listening.
Breathe redemption into this year.
Tame me.
Correct me.
Love and guide me.
Thank You for Your constancy and redeeming love.
Thank You for Your forgiveness and understanding.
       I love You.
       Amen.

Every Valley

"A woman behaving badly loses her femininity. A giver sharing grudgingly loses his generosity. Deeds done from bad motives remain everlastingly tainted." - Buddha

"With His hand the impossible is done; in fear of Him the obstinate are quiet." - Rumi

"They were hungry and thirsty and their lives ebbed away." - Psalm (NIV)

Unfulfilled needs.
Unknown ways forward.

God’s providence endures.
God’s faithfulness is steady.

Shape what seems impossible into a reality.
Weave Your will as golden thread
   through the tapestry of our lives.
      (I am at a loss. I don’t know a way forward.)
I will praise You even in this time of difficulty and uncertainty.

Thank You for another day resting in Your providence and grace.
Thank You for the good things You’ve mixed into this life.
I have food, rest, music, love, family, shelter, art, creation and friendship.
       You have blessed me.
       Thank You.
       Amen.

Summer To Autumn

"He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea." - Psalm (NIV)

Needs & Debts.
Regrets & Aspirations.
The circumstances aren’t as important
   as the trajectory of my thoughts
      and the constancy of my will.

"Not my will, but Thine."

In ways, I have shirked my servant-hood.

The sky is covered in a thin veil of gray/white/baby-blue clouds.
High-frequency ripples glide like kites across the dimpled lake.  
Autumn arriving in early August.
   (My little boy is gone again.
      Far from reach or reason.)
An airplane like a cursor scrolling across the sky.
   (A distance like a curse.)

These changes.
Confusion. Sadness. Loss. Joy. Providence. Kindness.
You heal and renew.
You comfort and bring aid.

Father,
Please provide the resources to meet my needs.
Please make a way for my son and I to be together longer and more often.
Please bring healing to my thoughts and heart
   (especially around Career, Dreams & Servant-hood.)
Please bless the works of my hands.

You are holy. I am not.
Grant forgiveness and peace. 
Restore us to righteousness.
       Amen.