Monday, April 26, 2010

The Longing Way Home - Prologue


For a long time I've been thinking of writing a book on longing as an essential link to God. I even began writing it about a year ago and for several reasons postponed continuing it. Recently it occurred to me to start writing the book again but this time as my Blog on which successive chapters would be presented as Posts. I'm writing now to tell you I'm going to give that idea a try. Before I begin, I want to suggest, or perhaps warn you, that this means my Posts won't be any shorter and possibly could be longer.

So if what you want are short Posts, my writing is probably not for you and you can log on to other posts more to your liking. It also means that my purpose in writing is to share ideas and experiences about what I consider to be critical life and faith issues about the meaning of life from a religious or theological view. That means it won't necessarily be boring or tedious but neither will it be a quick, easy read. However, my hope and intent is that each Post it will be worth the time and thought it takes to be helped, stimulated, even inspired and blessed by what I write.

If so, stay with it and respond any way you find appropriate. If it isn't, your likely response will be to shut me down but I'd be grateful if you'd let me know why. One additional note about this effort to write a book as a Blog is that I want to blend personal memoir with spiritual reflection. I'm not sure if, or how, that will work but the point is to make the book incorporate my life experiences into my reflections and thoughts. Any comments about that are welcome.

The title of this Post is the proposed title of the book. I've started each of my Posts with a prayer. The book's Prologue, this first Post, is such a prayer.


A Prologue
O Holy One, Creator of all and everything,
when you first snapped unquenchable light,
scattering the glistening dust of it as far as forever,
white whirling scythes of galaxies cleaving the darkness,
O Lord you knew, didn’t you? Yes, you knew
that light would set us against our own darkness,
this insistent pelting, this dazzling inhaled air,
this silent pulsing energy would unleash longing’s urge
and pull our souls like sap, like slowly fermenting wine,
through cell, fin and claw, tail, thumb and tongue
until life became weeping, singing self-aware.

Of course, you knew that light would spin our longing,
would set creativity, imagining, climbing like vines
along the double-helix string of gene and promise;
that it would glisten our eyes with unflinching hope
and lump our throats at beauty we can scarcely bear;
that longing would be what life would wrap itself around
and by it we'd gradually discover wonder to be its truest guide.
Yes, at the genesis you knew, lest light be waste and life absent.
Longing is in us, rising red-warm as blood - you stirred it there.
It surges with wiser passion as day’s light slants and cools,
and gratitude turns insistent, longing to praise real as love.

Life’s autumn light is long and slow, as are the longings of age,
a slanting, not a blazing one, and so, clearer and more steady,
a gentler embrace for mind, heart, soul to more easily gather
to hear unspoken stories, hum unscored songs, see dim visions.
Longing leans to touch the thin veil 'tween known and unknown,
and sketches on the here what it senses of the “could be” there,
signals like the scent of a summer garden on a pitch-dark night.
The sin, if it be that, has always been failing to inhale, to attend,
to heed the undying light that agitates and complicates the dust,
that sigh-sings its secrets into the bud, tells its stories to the blood.
Now, out-back in autumn’s weary, browning yard the stubborn roses
make their last, determined witness to the whiff of beyond what is.
Mums, a weary, waning petaled congregation, lift their secret liturgy.
These scruffy yet mute sentinels still display the strange summons
of longing reaching toward the promise, even in the dimming light,
of a season yet to come, a greater beauty, a more glorious garden,
the sought of all seeking, author of its stories, composer of its songs,
the You who's call, like a mother's, ever lingers in the air to come home.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Help Me Out Here!

O God of children and clowns, as well as martyrs and bishops, somehow you always seem to tumble a jester or two of light through the cracks of my proud defense and into the shadows of my sober piety.
Grant me, no, an enchantment of heart that, for a moment, the calliopes of your kingdom may entice my spirit, laughing, out of my sulky self-preoccupation into a childlike delight in the sounds and silences that hum of grace; so I may learn again that life is never quite as serious as I suppose, yet more precious than I dare take for granted even for a moment, that I may be released into the possibilities of the immediate ... and rejoice to travel light, knowing there is little I have of need except my brothers and sisters to love, you to trust, and your stars to follow home.
Excerpt from Guerrillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle Ted Loder

Here's a short post at last.

A few days ago a friend of mine told me the story (by now you may have heard it but never mind) of a certain Horace Johnson who prayed all the time to win a million dollars in the lottery. He began praying for that in high school, continued all through college, then on into his marriage and working life, every day without fail. He prayed regularly through the scrimping years of his children's' childhood and adolescence, their needs, struggles, education, weddings and the arrival of his grandchildren.

One night as he was praying that after all this time, God, please would enable him to win the lottery, a light suddenly surrounded him and out of the light he heard a voice say, "Horace, help me out here. Buy a ticket!"

Okay, it's just a funny story. But is that all it is? Doesn't its point have at least a dozen applications? Whoever wrote the Letter of James in the Bible, put one of them this way: "What good, is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? ... If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food ... and yet you do now supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? ... For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead."

Care for the poor? Health care for everyone? Create jobs for the unemployed? Assist senior citizens? Initiate a green economy? Turn back global warming? Reduce nuclear weapons? Invest more attention and funds in public education for everyone? Achieve full gender and racial equality? Nurture personal and world peace? Live the gospel? Believe, yes. Pray, certainly. But buy a ticket. Sign up. Pay up. Stand up. Join up. Help out here.

Enough for now. The key here is deciding how the point of the story applies to and for you!

Think about it. Ted