Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why Fear Pleasure? (Sunday, September 25, 2011)

Why fear pleasure?

Why are we afraid of pleasure
as though the God we know
was that mean, severe
punisher of our souls
we gave up long ago?

Why are we afraid of joy
as though the God we know
were that tight and dried-out spirit
giving only to his favorites
and withholding grace from the rest of us?

God to some of us is all abundance all joy
gifts of grace unimaginable waiting
including pleasure and laughter
in the living of our days.

God is not a puny soul
living drunkenly for himself alone
God's grace is our model
as is God's freedom and abundance.

We seek a life of truth
and of connection
neither squandering our days like fools
nor slavishly hoarding them like martyrs

But spending them wisely and mirthfully
with deeds that serve the cause of justice
and words that cause the hearts around us
to leap with pleasure
and smile back at us
in a warm embrace of love.

3/25/99          9/25/11

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Yearning To Be Made New (Sunday, September 18, 2011)

We yearn to be made new,
to rise from bed each morning
a New Man or New Woman, all that we are called to be,
meeting each new challenge and each joy
with full engagement of heart and mind and soul.

But, of course, we carry around with us each day
all that we have ever been before;
we bring along with us all the hidden crystals

of that whom we have already been:
the countless risings and fallings,
the errors, short-sightedness, stuckness, unkindness
that we have faced too many days
and have often added to.

It takes a leap of faith
for societies or for any of us to change.
It takes actually changing, too:
finding the courage and the faith
to do things differently than we always have before,
to act as though (for it will never be true if we don't)
that this is the first day in a brand new age.

Our hearts may grow weary at the thought;
our minds grow full of fear.
But to return to the cold and static way it was before
might well be nothing more than spiritual dying.

11/1/98          9/18/11

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th

As there can be no new birth without pain,
could it be that this awful week-- the sadness,
the horror we have glimpsed and felt
even the anger,
could yet usher forth in history’s time
new ways of being human upon this earth?

Hope dies last they say:
is it possible for us to be innocent enough still
to believe that the lives of those dear, precious souls
(our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, friends)
yet may be redeemed in flowers of peace, justice, and beauty
from the dust and ashes of humanity’s folly?
Not always in shimmering sunlight
the Spirit moves,
and not always in the bright light of day
Life its lessons teaches;
But often, too, in the deepest midnight when darkness descends,
on the border between darkness and daylight
we look perhaps most clearly into our souls.

These souls of ours were not made to soar to heaven
directly, not looking back, but to collect the dust
of earth as they move toward fulfillment.
That dust of molten steel and charred hopes
is now sacred soil, and always our pain
is a blessed sacrament.

The stone-dark midnight and the rainy morn
will give way in time to the sunlit day;
the freshened breeze will entice again with its sweetness;
just a hint of coolness will pervade the air,
reminding us of what a pleasure it still is to be alive.

For it is from the Hand of Life that all blessings flow;
the Hand of Life and frail human hands:
hands held close with those who have come before,
hands held tight to those who are still with us:
All we can do at a time like this is cling together,
--hold on and hope and pray--
and know in our hearts,
that when the dust finally settles,
no forces seen or unseen,
no puny human powers or principalities,
no terror-mad souls, or hatred or spite
can ever separate us from the love of God;
can block that precious sunlight of God’s new day
from these tired, eager eyes.

9/11/01 - 9/16/01