“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”
~ Mary Oliver
“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”
~ Mary Oliver
The final secret, I think, is this: that the words “You shall love the Lord your God” become in the end less a command than a promise. And the promise is that, yes, on the weary feet of faith and the fragile wings of hope, we will come to love him at last as from the first he has loved us—loved us even in the wilderness, especially in the wilderness, because he has been in the wilderness with us. He has been in the wilderness for us. He has been acquainted with our grief. And, loving him, we will come at last to love each other too…
“It feels so insignificant, and yet this is the liberating secret: I am precisely the gift God wants—in my full and humble surrender to my ordinariness—which ironically is my eternal specialness. All I can give back to God is who I really and fully am! That is all God wants. Yet this seems so boring and pedestrian to us, if we want to be high flyers.”
~ Richard Rohr
The crowning evidence that Jesus was alive
was not a vacant grave, but a spirit-filled fellowship.
Not a rolled-away stone,
but a carried-away church.
~ Clarence Jordan (1912-1969)
“Do not abandon
yourselves to despair.
We are the Easter people
is our song.”
~ POPE JOHN PAUL II
(1920 – 2005)
“Well-schooled in a false sense of control, we usually cling to the illusion of power as we struggle with the paradoxes of life. Each of us knows those times when we dig in our feet, stiffen our body, tighten our jaw and demand rational explanations for unexplainable events…. As we encounter experiences for which there are no answers, no rational explanations or solutions, we arrive at a point where, in faith, we are asked to stand in a Mystery that far exceeds our human understanding.”
~ Doris Klein, Journey of the Soul
“Although it is important and even indispensable for our spiritual lives to set apart time for God and God alone, our prayer can only become unceasing communion when all our thoughts—beautiful or ugly, high or low, proud or shameful, sorrowful or joyful—can be thought in the presence of the One who dwells in us and surrounds us… The main question, therefore, is not so much what we think, but to whom we present our thoughts, because to pray unceasingly means to think and live in the presence of Love.”
~ Henri J. M. Nouwen
Another morning and I wake with thirst
for the goodness I do not have. I walk
out to the pond and all the way God has
given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord,
I was never a quick scholar but sulked
and hunched over my books past the hour
and the bell; grant me, in your mercy,
a little more time. Love for the earth
and love for you are having such a long
conversation in my heart. Who knows what
will finally happen or where I will be sent,
yet already I have given a great many things
away, expecting to be told to pack nothing,
except the prayers which, with this thirst,
I am slowly learning.
~ “Thirst” by Mary Oliver
“You hollow us out, God, so that we may carry you, and you endlessly fill
us only to be emptied again. Make smooth our inward spaces and sturdy,
that we may hold you with less resistance and bear you with deeper
~ Jan Richardson
“I beg you, Lord, let the glowing and honey-sweet force of your love draw my mind away from all things that are under heaven, that I may die for love of the love of you who thought it a worthy thing to die for love of the love of me.”
~ Francis of Assisi (died 1226)
Forgiveness is the answer
to the child’s dream of a miracle
by which what is broken is made whole again,
what is soiled is again made clean.
The dream explains why we need to be forgiven,
and why we must forgive.
In the presence of God,
nothing stands between [God] and us—
we are forgiven.
But we cannot feel [God’s] presence if anything
is allowed to stand between ourselves and others.
~ Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961)
O Lord, who has mercy upon all, take away from me my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone,
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore thee,
a heart to delight in thee,
to follow and to enjoy thee,
for Christ's sake.
Ambrose of Milan (339-397)
Sometimes I wondered if
I had any faith.
I sat down and thought about it.
And when I had had enough
of that I got up
and went on my way.
And that—the getting up
and going—was faith.
~ Mary Jane Irion
Love people even in their sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all of God's creation, the whole and every grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.
~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Source: The Brothers Karamazov
“This is why I want a Church which is poor and for the poor. They have much to teach us. Not only do they share in the [sense of the faithful], but in their difficulties they know the suffering Christ. We need to let ourselves be evangelized by them…”
~ Pope Francis
Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel)
"If you don't know who you are,
anyone can name you,
and if anyone can name you,
you will answer to anything."
~ African Proverb
Rev. Dr. Brad Braxton is Director of the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life (CSAARL) and the Supervisory Curator of Religion at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Lecture by Dr. Braxton: Lifting the Veil: Religion, Reparations and Reconciliation, based on 2 Cor. 3 & 2 Cor. 5 (2/10/19 9:30am FBC Sanctuary)
The transcendence that the church preaches is not alienation; it is not going to heaven to think about eternal life and forget about the problems on earth. It’s a transcendence from the human heart. It is entering into the reality of a child, of the poor, of those wearing rags, of the sick, of a hovel, of a shack. It is going to share with them. And from the very heart of misery, of this situation, to transcend it, to elevate it, to promote it, and to say to them, “You aren’t trash. You aren’t marginalized.” It is to say exactly the opposite, “You are valuable.”
~ Mons. Oscar Romero
“We are not integrated. We are distraught. We feel honestly the pull of many obligations and try to fulfill them all. And we are unhappy, uneasy, strained, oppressed and fearful we shall be shallow. For over the margins of life comes a whisper, a faint call, a premonition of richer living which we know we are passing by. Strained by the mad pace of our daily outer burdens, we are further strained by an inward uneasiness, because we have hints that there is a way of life vastly richer and deeper than all this hurried existence, a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power. If only we could slip over into that Center!”
~ Thomas Kelly
A Testament of Devotion
Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
February 4, 1968