Heaven’s Lamp

"What seekest thou, and what wouldst thou have?" - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"O you, the lamp of heaven, like the sun." - Rumi

"Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word." - Psalm

Thank You, Merciful Father,
   for the joys You bring to life.
The connections You make
   between the temporal and the everlasting.
The divine in the tangible.

Please continue to redeem my life.
Please grant strength and wisdom
   to accomplish what You’ve set before me.
Thank You for Your inspiration and inward renewal.
Grant me discernment
   in leaving behind unnecessary encumbrances.
Help me to think right thoughts
   and be mindful of peace and kindness
      in my daily interactions.
Thank You for Your forgiveness
   and please help me to forgive others.
       I love You,
       Amen.

Our Bodies & The Stone

”[…] to love Him and praise Him for Himself.” - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"Again, the bread they ground between the teeth became the wise man’s mind and soul and reason." - Rumi

"I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways." - Psalm (NIV)

A cloud of forgiving to float upon
   like tiny-winged cherubs
   or swift-footed Hermes.
Freedom is turning the ground-up past
   into a soul of wisdom.
Forgiveness is turning loss and perceived harm
   into future kindness and providence.
On this treacherous road up the Holy Mountain,
   it is best to walk facing forward
   and minding our footfalls.
And sometimes, to maintain three points of contact
   between our bodies & the stone.
   (the stone the builders rejected)
"Faith, Hope, Charity"
"Love, Joy, Peace"
"Justice, Mercy, Humility"
       Selah.

Of Loss

”[…] it is not called a cloud of the air, but a cloud of unknowing, that is betwixt thee and thy God.” - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"A grain of wheat was buried underground, then from the ground the ears of wheat were raised, and then again they ground it with millstones. Its value grew as soul-sustaining bread." - Rumi

"I will not die, but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done." - Psalm (NIV)

The candle’s wick needs trimmed
   so as not to use its light and heat too quickly.
The incense’s fire must be extinguished 
   so that its aroma can fill this sacred space.
The fruit-bearing vine must be pruned unscrupulously
   so that its fruit receives the bulk of vital sap.
The grain of wheat is buried,
   cut down,
      and ground into powder
         to produce life-sustaining bread.

Candle’s loss is wick and wax.
Incense’s loss is light and heat.
Vine’s loss is leaf and limb.
Wheat’s loss is life, progeny, self-hood and identity.

   The light of the world.
   The fragrance of saints’ prayers.
   The fruits of the spirit.
   Our daily bread, the Word of God.

In this dark cloud of unknowing, can I only see my loss?

Knower Of Light and Seer Of Darkness,
   breathe farsightedness into my limited understanding.
That I may know Your love and grace within loss.
       Selah.

True Hearts & Counterfeit

"But fast after each stirring, for corruption of the flesh, it falleth down again to some thought or some done or undone deed." - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"His Soul’s the very touchstone of all coinage, and He shall see true hearts and counterfeit." - Rumi

"How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?" - Psalm (NIV)

Thankfulness regardless of circumstance.
Joy despite suffering.
Peace in times of struggle.
Kindness in the face of animosity.
Self-control regardless of weakness or strength.
Compassion in the face of affliction.

Please grow the qualities of Your saints within me.
Exact Your holiness through these clay hands
   and sing Your grace through this dust and gravel voice.

I love to sing Your praises.
To make music in Your name.
       Amen.

He Raises, He Lifts

"In one little time, as little as it is, may heaven be won or lost." - The Cloud Of Unknowing

"As I am not myself, this breath is His." - Rumi

"He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap [….]" - Psalm (NIV)

Lift me from the dust, God Most High.
Turn these ashes to make this garden
   bloom, grow and be fruitful.
Thank You for Your kindness and grace.
Thank You for Your care and providence.
   Direct this life to Your ways
   and fulfill Your vision within me.

There is struggle.
There is suffering in the world.
Bring us peace.

There is hatred.
There is hostility in the world.
Teach us loving kindness.

There is desperation.
There is famine in the world.
Give us our daily bread.

Continue Your redemptive work in my life
   and all the lives and souls dwelling on this Earth.
       Amen. 

Broken Bread, Trodden Grapes

"To be considered truly an elder, a man must practice truthfulness, righteousness, harmlessness, restraint and self-control, be free of stain and rich in wisdom." - Buddha

"How can unbroken bread give nourishment? How can untrodden grapes turn to wine?" - Rumi

"You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend." - Psalm (NIV)

This space where You have led me.
This low-ceilinged fate.
You said, “Blessed are you who are poor.”
   The Kingdom of Heaven.
   My heart feels like well-worn stone.
   My body aches and atrophies.
   This, too, is part of Your plan.
   This poverty, this brokenness.
   These crushed ambitions are
      also part of the process.
I recognize Your sovereignty to do what You will.
   Jonah was a prophet
   His sin. The whale that swallowed him whole.
   It dragged him alive down into the murky deep.
   Never to be seen. Until change occurred.
Did that fateful darkness become his dearest friend?
Did he feel a sense of loss when he met the ground again?
   Light Of Life.
   My faith and patience draw short.
      My soul is stretched. My pockets empty.
      My debts amass as my cupboards drain.
Redeem my way.
Exact the change You desire.
Before this darkness becomes my dearest friend.
And I stand dumbfounded by the light
   of loving faces.
       Amen.

The Undivided Soul Arises

"Possessions destroy the fool, but not those who see beyond them." - Buddha

"As blossoms fall and fruits begin to grow, so when the body breaks, the soul arises." - Rumi

"Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." - Psalm (NIV)

The wind-blown waters weave and wave.
Sails slip past windows.
Treetops tingle and tangle.
The sky: a gentle wash from gray to white
   to baby-bonnet blue.

   I miss the man I had become.
   I’ve taken steps backward.
   Un-built the house to fix the leaking faucet.
   Uprooted and re-tilled the garden.

Cat tails tip and whip.
House sparrows sing and sit.
The wind-blown waters weave and wave.
Teach me, and I will understand.
       Selah.

Worthless Coin

"That person, knowing the truth, walks steadfastly on the path." - Buddha

"How could that sea of grace receive from me so readily such worthless coin as that?" - Rumi

"His tent is in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion. There he broke the flashing arrows, the shields and the swords. The weapons of war." - Psalm (NIV)

I am desperately clinging
   to this fragile jar of brackish water.
I am urgently defending
   a bitter swill.
I have built
   invisible walls.

Be my rock.
Break this wretched vessel.
Help me share in the communion of the saints.

You who knows my every need.
You who hears the whispers of this unsteady heart.
You who loves and abides with me still.

Thank You for Your grace and providence.
Plant me firmly near streams of living water.
       Amen.

Always With You

"Avoid mental agitation. Be restrained in mind. Giving up wrong thoughts, think good thoughts." - Buddha

"Such senses and such vision as our own are but a single drop in that pure ocean." - Rumi

"Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory." - Psalm (NIV)

Thank You for Your healing.
Thank You for Your hope.
   Please redeem my place
      in life, in community, in finances, in love,
      in family, in friendships, in art, in music.
Thank You for Your vision.
Clarify my direction and guard my footfalls.
       I join all nature and the earth
       in my desire for redemption.
       I love You,
       Amen.

The Froth of Froth of Froth

"He has vanquished the hindrances - lust, anger, sloth, and torpor, skepticism and distraction of mind - and he emerges the noble one, unscathed." - Buddha

"Before that pearl this shell is no more than the froth of froth of froth." - Rumi

"I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel." - Psalm (NIV)

Father, thank You for Your faithfulness and kindness to me.
Please continue to provide for my daily life
   and bring the resources,
      ambition and fortitude
         to fulfill Your will.
These days are difficult.
Hope and praise are hard to sustain.
I have nothing if not from You.
It often feels as though nothing I do succeeds.

Please redeem this life and use it for Your glory.
       Amen.