Welcome

Christ Presbyterian is a spiritual incubator, caring for members as we listen for the voice of the Spirit calling us to service.  We affirm that as a spiritual community we seek growth, not perfection, and welcome all in love.  We are hopeful that each of you will form a stronger bond with God and the community of Christ on your journey.

Thought for Contemplation

Suggested practice for day 40 of Lent.

Holy (Black) Saturday 

Pray for your enemies.

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Suggested practice for day 39 of Lent

Good Friday

No TV day

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

Transformative Suffering

Redemptive Suffering
Friday, April 18, 2014

The “cross,” rightly understood, is precisely and always untoresurrection. It’s as if God were holding up the crucifixion as a cosmic object lesson, saying: “I know this is what you’re experiencing. Don’t run from it. Learn from it, as I did. Hang there for a while, as I did. It will be your teacher. Rather than losing life, it is gaining life. It is the way through.”

The mystery of the cross has the power to teach us that our suffering is not our own and my life is not about “me.” Redemptive suffering is, I believe, a radical call to a deeper life and deeper faith that affects not only the self, but also others. We should pray for the grace to bear our sufferings as Christ bore his for us.

Hopefully, a time will come when the life of Christ will be so triumphant in us that we care more about others than about our own selves, or better, when there is no longer such a sharp distinction between my self and the other self. Remember that conversion is more than anything else a reconstituted sense of the self. As Paul puts it, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

The suffering that we carry is our solidarity with the one, universal longing of all humanity, and thus it can teach us great compassion for and patience with both ourselves and others (see Colossians 1:24).

Adapted from Job and the Mystery of Suffering, pp. 178-179

Gateway to Silence:
God is in this with us.

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Suggested practice for day 38 of Lent

Maunday Thursday

Attend the Passover dinner and Tenebrea at CPC tonight (6:30pm)

or another worship service in your area.

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

Transformative Suffering

Partnering with God
Thursday, April 17, 2014

Many people rightly question how there can be a good God or a just God in the presence of so much evil and suffering in the world—about which “God” appears to do nothing. Exactly how is God loving and sustaining what God created? That is our dilemma.

I believe—if I am to believe Jesus—that God is suffering love. If we are created in God’s image, and if there is this much suffering in the world, then God must also be suffering. How else can we understand the revelation of the cross and that our central Christian logo is a naked, bleeding, suffering man?

Many of the happiest and most peaceful people I know love “a crucified God” who walks with crucified people, and thus reveals and “redeems” their plight as his own. For them, Jesus is not observing human suffering from a distance; he is somehow in human suffering with us and for us. He includes our suffering in the co-redemption of the world, as “all creation groans in one great act of giving birth” (Romans 8:22). Is this possible? Could it be true that we “make up in our own bodies all that still has to be undergone for the sake of the Whole Body” (Colossians 1:24)? Are we somehow partners with the Divine? At our best, we surely are.

Adapted from Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps,
pp. 120-122
and Job and the Mystery of Suffering, p. 181

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Suggested practice for day 37 of Lent

Eat mindfully today

http://zenhabits.net/mindful-eating/

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

Transformative Suffering

Suffering Can Bring Us to God
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The genius of Jesus’ ministry is that he reveals that God uses tragedy, suffering, pain, betrayal, and death itself, not to wound you, but in fact to bring you to God. So there are no dead ends. Everything can be transmuted and everything can be used.

After all, on the cross, God took the worst thing, the killing of God, and made it into the best thing—the redemption of the world! If you gaze upon the mystery of the cross long enough, your dualistic mind breaks down, and you become slow to call things totally good or totally bad. You realize that God uses the bad for good, and that many people who call themselves good may in fact not be so good. At the cross you learn humility, patience, compassion, and all of the Christian virtues that really matter.

Jesus says, “There’s only one sign I’m going to give you: the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Luke 11:29, Matthew 12:39, 16:4). Sooner or later, life is going to lead you (as it did Jesus) into the belly of the beast, into a place where you can’t fix it, you can’t control it, and you can’t explain it or understand it. That’s where transformation most easily happens. That’s when you’re uniquely in the hands of God.

Suffering is the only thing strong enough to destabilize the imperial ego. It has to be led to the edge of its own resources, so it learns to call upon the Deeper Resource of who it truly is, which is the God Self, the True Self, the Christ Self, the Buddha Self—use the words you want. It is who we are in God and who God is in us. At this place you are indestructible!

Adapted from The Authority of Those Who Have Suffered (MP3 download)
and A New Way of Seeing, A New Way of Being: Jesus and Paul,
Disc 2 (CD, MP3 download)

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Suggested practice for day 36 of Lent

Read a poem

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

Transformative Suffering

Holding the Pain
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Don’t get rid of the pain until you’ve learned its lessons. When you hold the pain consciously and trust fully, you are in a very special liminal space. This is a great teaching moment where you have the possibility of breaking through to a deeper level of faith and consciousness. Hold the pain of being human until God transforms you through it. And then you will be an instrument of transformation for others.

As an example of holding the pain, picture Mary standing at the foot of the cross. Standing would not be the normal posture of a Jewish woman who is supposed to wail and lament and show pain externally. She’s holding the pain instead, as also symbolized in Michelangelo’s Pietà. Mary is in complete solidarity with the mystery of life and death. She’s trying to say, “There’s something deeper happening here. How can I absorb it just as Jesus is absorbing it, instead of returning it in kind?” Until you find a way to be a transformer, you will pass the pain onto others.

Jesus on the cross and Mary standing by the cross are images of transformative religion. They are never transmitting the pain to others. All the hostility that had been directed toward them—the hatred, the accusations, the malice—none of it is returned. They hold the suffering until it becomes resurrection! That’s the core mystery. It takes our whole life to comprehend this, and then to become God’s “new creation” (Galatians 6:15). The imperial ego hates such seeming diminishment.

Unfortunately, we have the natural instinct to fix pain, to control it, or even, foolishly, to try to understand it. The ego always insists on understanding. That’s why Jesus praises a certain quality even more than love, and he calls it faith. It is the ability to stand in liminal space, to stand on the threshold, to hold the contraries, until you move to a deeper level where it all eventually makes sense in the great scheme of God and grace.
Adapted from The Authority of Those Who Have Suffered (MP3 download)
Gateway to Silence:
God is in this with us.

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Suggested practice for day 35 of Lent.

Offer someone a sincere apology

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

Transformative Suffering

Transforming Our Pain
Monday April 14, 2014

All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain. Great religion shows you what to do with the absurd, the tragic, the nonsensical, the unjust. If only we could see these “wounds” as the way through, as Jesus did, then they would become “sacred wounds” and not something to deny, disguise, or export to others.

If we cannot find a way to make our wounds into sacred wounds, we invariably become negative or bitter. Indeed, there are bitter people everywhere. As they go through life, the hurts, disappointments, betrayals, abandonments, the burden of their own sinfulness and brokenness all pile up, and they do not know where to put it. If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.

Exporting our unresolved hurt is almost the underlying storyline of human history. Biblical revelation is about transforming history and individuals, so that we don’t just keep handing the pain on to the next generation. Unless we can find a meaning for human suffering, that God is somehow in it, and can even use it for good, humanity is in major trouble.

Adapted from Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, pp. 25-26
and Job and the Mystery of Suffering, pp. 90-91

Gateway to Silence:
God is in this with us.

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Suggested practice for day 34 of Lent.

Take a walk

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Suggested practice for day 33 of Lent.

Read John 8:1-11

http://bible.oremus.org

A Purification

At the start of spring I open a trench
in the ground. I put into it
the winter’s accumulation of paper,
pages I do not want to read
again, useless words, fragments,
errors. And I put into it
the contents of the outhouse:
light of the sun, growth of the ground,
finished with one of their journeys.
To the sky, to the wind, then,
and to the faithful trees, I confess
my sins: that I have not been happy
enough, considering my good luck;
have listened to too much noise;
have been inattentive to wonders;
have lusted after praise.
And then upon the gathered refuse
of mind and body, I close the trench,
folding shut again the dark,
the deathless earth. Beneath that seal
the old escapes into the new.

Wendell Berry
Source: Collected Poems: 1957-1982

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Suggested practice for day 32 of Lent.

Pray for peace

Hope
Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.
 ~ Anne Lamott

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Suggested practice for day 31 of Lent.

Educate yourself about a saint
www.catholic.org/saints

Layers of Violence and Tenderness

“People are mostly layers of violence and tenderness wrapped like bulbs, and it is difficult to say what makes them onions or hyacinths.”

Eudora Welty, 20th century

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Suggested practice for day 30 of Lent.

No sugar day

Where else is there sweetness in you life?

My Symphony

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurrying never. In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.

William Ellergy Channing
Source: Masterpieces of Religious Verse

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Suggested practice for day 29 of Lent

Confess a secret

Forgiveness
“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
 
Mark Twain, 19th century

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Suggested practice for day 28 of Lent

Bake something

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Suggested practice for day 27 of Lent.

Write a Thank You note to a mentor

Keeping Quiet

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Pablo Neruda
Source: translated by Alistair Reid in Extravagaria

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Suggested practice for day 26 of Lent.

Light an actual candle

I am…

“I am a servant of the Truth not the functionary of the body. I am a lion of the Truth, not the lion of passions”

– Rumi

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Suggested practice for day 25 of Lent

Light a virtual candle

http://rejesus.co.uk/spirituality/post_prayer/

The Length and the Width

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.

Diane Ackerman

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Suggested practice for day 24 of Lent

No shopping day

Flowers

“The earth laughs in flowers.”

—e.e. cummings

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Suggested practice for day 23 of Lent

Read Psalm 121

http://bible.oremus.org

Hungry for God

We have food to share with a world that is hungry, even famished. Spiritual wanderers—those spiritually starved and denied—show up at our doors, not because they like our buildings or even because they like us, but because they are hungry. Hungry for forgiveness, for rest and peace. Hungry for mercy and grace. Hungry to explore and grow. Hungry for the good news of new life, of abundant life. Hungry for God to do a new thing.

Amy Oden
Source: God’s Welcome: Hospitality for a Gospel-Hungry World

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Suggested practice for day 22 of Lent

Try morning and evening prayer

http://dailyoffice.wordpress.com

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Suggested practice for day 21 of Lent

Introduce yourself to a neighbor

Time to Stop

Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop. We do not stop when we are finished. We do not stop when we complete our phone calls, finish our project, get through this stack of messages, or get out this report. We stop because it is time to stop. Sabbath requires surrender. If we only stop when we are finished with all our work, we will never stop—because our work is never completely done.

Wayne Muller
Source: Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest

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Suggested practice for day 20 of Lent

Tell someone what you are grateful for

Worn Smooth

Like a jagged rock thrown into a flowing stream, the church once “troubled the waters.” Now, however, it seems as if the church has slowly, often imperceptibly been worn so smooth by the culture that it no longer creates any disturbance at all.

Charles Campbell
Source: The Word on the Street

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Suggested practice for day 19 of Lent

Ask for help

Love and Fear

Love makes us vulnerable and open, but then we can be hurt through rejection and separation. We may crave love, but then be frightened of losing our liberty and creativity. We want to belong to a group, but we fear a certain death in the group because we may not be seen as unique. We want love, but fear the dependence and commitment it implies; we fear being used, manipulated, smothered and spoiled. We are all so ambivalent toward love.

Jean Vanier
Source: Community and Growth

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Suggested practice for day 18 of Lent.

Internet diet

Everything you want

Everything you want is on the other side of fear.

Jack Canfield

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Suggested practice for day 17 of Lent.

Forgive someone.

Trying Hard

We try so hard as Christians. We think such long thoughts, manipulate such long words, and both listen to and preach such long sermons. Each one of us somewhere, somehow, has known, if only for a moment or so, something of what it is to feel the shattering love of God, and once that has happened, we can never rest easy again for trying somehow to set that love forth not only in words, myriads of words, but in our lives themselves.

Frederick Buechner
Source: The Magnificent Defeat

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Suggestion for YESTERDAY day 16 of Lent. Oops.

Invest in a canvas shopping bag

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Suggested practice for day 15 of Lent.

Bring your own mug for your coffee today.

Fire

What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
require attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
grows
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

Judy Brown
Source: Teaching With Fire edited by Intrator and Scribner

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Suggested practice for day 14 of Lent.

Pay a few sincere compliments

Only by Love

Only by love can people see me, and know me, and come unto me. Those who work for me, who love me, whose End Supreme I am, free from attachment to all things, and with love for all creation, they in truth come to me.

Bhagavad Gita

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Suggested practice for day 13 of Lent

Read Psalm 139

http://bible.oremus.org

A Never-ending Call

God’s call, vocation, is twofold. God calls us saying, ‘Come, follow me.’ We arrive and then we must follow. We find but must go on seeking. God’s call is a never-ending call, to the unknown, to adventure, to follow him in the night, in solitude. It is a call incessantly to go further, and further. For it is not static but dynamic (as creation also is dynamic) and reaching him means going on and on. God’s call is like the call to become an explorer; it is an invitation to adventure.

Ernesto Cardenal
Source: Love

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Suggested practice for day 12 of Lent

Pray for people and situations in the news today

To Be

We mostly spend [life] conjugating three verbs: to Want, to Have and to Do. Craving, clutching and fussing, on the material, political, social, emotional, intellectual, even on the religious plane, we are kept in perpetual unrest: forgetting that none of these verbs have any ultimate significance, except so far as they are transcended by and included in, the fundamental verb, to Be: and that Being, not wanting, having and doing, is the essence of the spiritual life.

Evelyn Underhill
Source: The Spiritual Life

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Suggested practice for day 11 of Lent

Call an old friend

God’s Vision

Christian spirituality means eating together, sharing together, drinking together, talking with each other, receiving each other, experiencing God’s presence through each other, and in doing so, proclaiming the gospel as God’s alternative vision for everyone.

Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza
Source: In Memory of Her

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Suggested practice for day 10 of Lent

Bring some food for the Food Bank to church tomorrow

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Suggested practice for day 9 of Lent

Do someone else’s chore

Prayer Is an Egg

Don’t do daily prayers like a bird
pecking, moving its head
up and down. Prayer is an egg.

Hatch out the total helplessness inside.

Rumi
Source: translated by Coleman Barks

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Suggested practice for day 8 of Lent
No complaining day!
Calling Out to God
The secret essence of the soul that knows the truth is calling out to God: Beloved … strip me of the consolations of my complacent spirituality. Plunge me into the darkness where I cannot rely on any of my old tricks for maintaining my separation. Let me give up on trying to convince myself that my own spiritual deeds are bound to be pleasing to you. Take all my juicy spiritual feelings, Beloved, and dry them up, and then please light them on fire. Take my lofty spiritual concepts and plunge them into darkness, and then burn them. Let me only love you, Beloved. Let me quietly and with unutterable simplicity just love you.Mirabai Starr
Source: Dark Night of the Soul: St. John of the Cross
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Suggested practice for day 7 of Lent
Select 5 items of clothing to donate to CPC’s  (our your local) clothing collection bin
Is Now
Eternity is not to be pursued.
Run, and it shortens; arrive, and it is shut:
Forward or backward, nothing but the folds
Of time; that you will tighten, fumbling them.Eternity is only to be entered
Standing. It is everywhere and still.
Slow, and it opens: stop, and it is whole
As love about your head, that rests and sees.Eternity is now or not at all:
Waited for, a wisp: remembered, shadows.
Eternity is solid as the sun:
As present; as familiar; as immense.Mark Van Doren
Source: Collected and New Poems 1924-1963
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Suggested practice for day 6 of Lent

Look out the window until you see something beautiful you hadn’t seen before.

To Be Radical

The more radical a person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can better transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side.

Paulo Freire
Source: Preface to Pedagogy of the Oppressed

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Suggested practice for day 5 of Lent

Take 5 minutes of silence at noon

Simply Surrender
St. Therese of Lisieux

Jesus does not demand
great actions from us
but simply surrender
and gratitude.

Source: The Story of a Soul

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Suggested practice for day 4 of Lent

Give a donation to a

non-profit of your choosing

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Suggested practice for day 3 of Lent

Don’t turn on you car radio today.

Listen. Pray. Love.

Listen to the Spirit…. Love…love…love, never counting the cost. Go into the marketplace and stay with me. Pray, fast. Pray always, fast. Be hidden. Be a light to your neighbor’s feet. Go without fear into the depth of man’s heart. I shall be with you. Pray always. I will be your rest.

Catherine Doherty
Source: The Little Mandate

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On this second day of Lent we suggest this practice:

Pray today with a friend or loved one.

Calling Us to Wholeness

The salient fact about the community we yearn for, and that calls us into wholeness, is that it cannot exist for itself. It exists only in relationship to the world. In recent years we have awakened to the fact that the people of this world are largely destitute—without food and clothing and shelter, and without structures that nourish an inward life. Unless a group of persons reach beyond themselves to touch and be touched by some of this need, its members will not know community.

Elizabeth O’Connor
Source: The New Community

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Please join us at Christ Presbyterian Church tonight at 7:30pm for our
ASH WEDNESDAY TAIZE WORSHIP.
Begin the Lenten journey toward Resurrection with Scripture, Silence, Prayer and Song.

In Disguise

Souls who can recognize God in the most trivial, the most grievous and the most mortifying things that happen to them in their lives, honor everything equally with delight and rejoicing, and welcome with open arms what others dread and avoid.

Jean Pierre de Caussade
Source: The Sacrament of the Present Moment

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The Consequence

Joy is not a requirement of Christian discipleship, it is a consequence. It is not what we have to acquire in order to experience life in Christ; it is what comes to us when we are walking in the way of faith and obedience.

Eugene Peterson
Source: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

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Finding One’s Own Happiness

I have been intensely and imaginatively happy in the quietest places. I have been filled with life from within in a cold waiting room in a deserted railway junction. I have been completely alive sitting on an iron seat under an ugly lamppost at a third-rate watering place. In short, I have experienced the mere excitement of existence in places that would commonly be called as dull as ditch-water.

G. K. Chesterton
Source: The Spice of Life

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Welcome Morning

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry “hello there, Anne”
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard,
dies young.

Anne Sexton
Source: The Awful Rowing Toward God

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Discrimination

“If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve their conscience by believing that they have our acceptance and concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything … that smacks of discrimination or slander.”

-Mary McLeod Bethune

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God Incognito

We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with God. God walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labor is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake.

C. S. Lewis
Source: Letters to Malcolm Chiefly on Prayer

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What Life Does

I often want to say to people, ‘you have neat, tight expectations of what life ought to give you, but you won’t get it. That isn’t what life does. Life does not accommodate you, it shatters you. It is meant to, and it couldn’t do it better. Every seed destroys its container or else there would be no fruition.’ But some wouldn’t hear, and some would shatter themselves on principle.

Florida Scott-Maxwell
Source: The Measure of My Days

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To Love at All

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become breakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

C. S. Lewis
Source: The Four Loves

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The Word I Hear

Why am I drawn to desert and mountain fierceness? What impels me to its unmitigated honesty, its dreadful capacity to strip bare, its long, compelling silence? It’s the frail hope that in finding myself brought to the edge…I may hear a word whispered in its loneliness. The word is ‘love,’ spoken pointedly and undeniably to me. It may have been uttered many times in the past but I’m fully able to hear it only in that silence.

Belden Lane
Source: The Solace of Fierce Landscapes

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Grains of God

I must learn to let go of the familiar and the usual and consent to what is new and unknown to me. I must learn to ‘leave myself’ in order to find myself by yielding to the love of God. If I were looking for God, every event and every moment would sow, in my will, grains of God’s life that would spring up one day in a tremendous harvest.

Thomas Merton
Source: New Seeds of Contemplation

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Fixing the Whole World

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, 20th century

A very comforting thought on Pastor Susan’s return from Palestine.  Go to Pastor Susan’s Blog to read about her olive tree planting trip.

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May the suffering be suffering free…

“May suffering ones be suffering free and the fear-struck fearless be. May the grieving shed all grief — and the sick find health relief.”

-Zen chant

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A Love Like That

The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me.”

Look what happens
with a love like that.
It lights the whole sky.

Hafiz
Source: translated by Daniel Ladinsky

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Receiving Love

Receiving love brings us to a place of vulnerability. That is why it is so difficult. So often we live in the illusion that it is much easier to love than to be loved. We may think we can exercise a bit of control in loving another, but there is no control in being loved. The ones who truly love us walk into our hearts, often unnoticed, unannounced, and then reveal to us how genuinely loveable we are. And nothing feels more vulnerable than that.

Judy Cannato
Source: Field of Compassion

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Waging Peace

“Wage peace. Never has the word seemed so fresh and precious: Have a cup of tea and rejoice. Act as if armistice has already arrived. Celebrate today.”

-Judyth Hill

I’ll be waging peace on Valentine’s day planting olive trees in Palestine again today.

~Pastor Susan

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Closing Doors

Our growing capacity to look the other way when confronted by poverty in the public sphere lead us to accept not only the segregation of our neighborhoods and public places, but also the segregation of our consciousness and being. When we close the door or turn away from the stranger, a door closes in us as well.

Stanley Saunders and Charles Campbell
Source: The Word on the Street

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When I say it’s you I like

“When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”

Fred Rogers, 20th century

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Who You Are

Your problem is, you don’t know who you are. Let me tell you who you are. You are a ray of God’s own light. You say you seek God, but a ray of light doesn’t seek the sun; it’s coming from the sun. You are a branch on the vine of God. A branch doesn’t seek the vine; it’s already part of the vine. A wave doesn’t look for the ocean; it’s already full of ocean.

Martin Laird
Source: Into the Silent Land

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The Important Question

“The important question to ask is not, “What do you believe?” but “What difference does it make that you believe?” Does the world come nearer to the dream of God because of what you believe?”

Verna J. Dozier, 20th century

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Keeping Faith

It is not difficult to keep faith with a God of justice when the freedom movements are successful. But it is when the revolution fails, despair sets in, and the dreams are shattered—and, on a personal level, when people have to face a future of unemployment, poverty, and isolated caring for severely disabled dependents—that the discovery of a God who suffers with is, who becomes vulnerable with is, is what sustains our hope.

Mary Grey
Source: The Outrageous Pursuit of Hope

Very important thought for Pastor Susan who is in Occupied Palestine this week.  See her Pastor’s blog.

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Threshold

In invisible line surrounds us.
Though unseen it’s as real
as one that is drawn in the sand.
Cross it,
and we are in a new realm
entanglement in a love affair,
blessedness of God’s life and grace.

Mary crossed the threshold with her “fiat,”
Abelard and Heloise in their embrace,
the founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence.

Each of us decides—perhaps each day—
to cross or remain behind that invisible line,
that threshold into a new horizon
that forever changes our destiny.

Robert Morneau
Source: The Color of Gratitude and Other Spiritual Surprises

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Living Is a Great Deal More

Living is a great deal more than simply not dying. It is carrying out a mission, committing oneself to fashion some meaning that will attain eternity. Time does not create enough space for us to completely realize the meaning of life. Our desires, our hopes, our love, our capacity to communicate, and our powers of understanding surpass and transcend everything that might present itself to us. In wanting the world, human beings seek the Absolute that is God and that surpasses the limits of this world.

Leonardo Boff
Source: Way of the Cross—Way of Justice

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A Pilgrim Church

Let us not forget: we are a pilgrim church, subject to misunderstanding, to persecution, but a church that walks serene because it bears the force of love…. The Christian religion does not have a merely horizontal meaning, or a merely spiritualized meaning that overlooks the wretchedness that surrounds it. It is a looking at God, and from God at one’s neighbor as a brother or sister, and an awareness that “whatever you did to one of these, you did to me.”

Archbishop Oscar Romero
Source: The Violence of Love

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Peace with Your Enemy

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

Nelson Mandela, 20th century

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People are like stained-glass windows

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the [night] sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, 20th century

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Surprise Me

One can move into life with openness. It is as if one says to the world, and to life, and to one’s self, and to God, “Surprise me!” This simple shift of attitude can make the difference between boredom and beauty.

Gerald May
Source: Simply Sane

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Choosing Joy

Joy is what makes life worth living, but for many joy seems hard to find. They complain that their lives are sorrowful and depressing. What then brings the joy we so much desire? Are some people just lucky, while others have run out of luck? Strange as it may sound, we can choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event, but one may choose to live it quite differently than the other. One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despair and be destroyed by it.

What makes us human is precisely this freedom of choice.

Henri Nouwen

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Only Light

Through violence you may murder a murderer but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate. Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that.

Martin Luther King Jr.
Source: Where Do We Go From Here? Chaos or Community?

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Christianity and the Future

“Christianity is wholly and entirely confident hope, a stretching out to what is ahead, and a readiness for a fresh start. Future is not just something or other to do with Christianity. It is the essential element of the faith which is specifically Christian.”

-Jürgen Moltmann

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Mindful

Every day
I see or I hear
something
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It is what I was born for—
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world—
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant—
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations,
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these—
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

Mary Oliver
Source: Why I Wake Early

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The world and the church are changing

“[T]he world and the church are changing more rapidly than we can comprehend some things are the same: the world and the church desperately need [our] energy, imagination, passion, impatience, intelligence, and love one of the great biblical themes is that God calls all of us to walk into the future without knowing exactly where we are headed, to let go of old securities and certainties and trust the God who promises to be with us wherever we go.”

John Buchanan, 21st century

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If you are online this snowy morning, check out and join in the conversation on facebook at www.facebook.com/CPCEmergingChristianCommunity with a wizard/atheist.

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One Persistent Demand

Part of being human is to experience moments of true perception about those things that touch you so intimately that suddenly you see…. Such moments don’t come often. Hold on to them. Cherish them until they become so much a part of you as to be second nature. For there is only one persistent demand made upon us by the Spirit. It is that we are receptive. That we keep our eyes open, our minds unclosed. It is, in short, that we retain all our lives our sense of wonder.

Michael Mayne
Source: The Sunrise of Wonder

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Invest Life

“I must not just live my life; I will not just spend my life. I will invest my life.”

Helen Keller, 20th century

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Is Now

Eternity is not to be pursued.
Run, and it shortens; arrive, and it is shut:
Forward or backward, nothing but the folds
Of time; that you will tighten, fumbling them.

Eternity is only to be entered
Standing. It is everywhere and still.
Slow, and it opens: stop, and it is whole
As love about your head, that rests and sees.

Eternity is now or not at all:
Waited for, a wisp: remembered, shadows.
Eternity is solid as the sun:
As present; as familiar; as immense.

Mark Van Doren
Source: Collected and New Poems 1924-1963

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Transformative vision of God

[Jesus] proposed a transformative vision of God. God isn’t the one who condemns to poor and weak. God isn’t the one who favors the rich and righteous. God isn’t the one who ordains the rich to be in the castle and the poor to be in the gutter. God is the one who loves everyone, including the people the rest of us think don’t count.

- Brian McLaren

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Justice and power 

Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just.

Blaise Pascal, 17th century

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Turn and Give Thanks

I turn to God and give thanks for whatever gifts I am able to appreciate: perhaps just the breath in my lungs or how dearly God loves me…. What I manage to be grateful for may be very small, but that little glimpse may be enough to open the door to gratitude. The more grateful I feel, the more that interior abundance naturally wants to overflow into acts of generosity. Because God is so generous to me, I want to be generous to others.

Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Source: Newsletter of the Shalem Institute Fall 2006

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Expecting Mystery

A sense of Mystery can take us beyond disappointment and judgment to a place of expectancy. It opens in us an attitude of listening and respect. If everyone has in them the dimension of the unknown, possibility is present at all times. Wisdom is possible at all times. The Mystery in anyone may speak to them and heal them in the grocery store. It may speak to us and heal us too. Knowing this enables us to listen to life from the place in us that is Mystery also.

Rachel Naomi Remen
Source: My Grandfather’s Blessings

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Fallow Time

There is a fallow time for the spirit when the soil is barren…. Face it! Then resolutely dig out dead roots, clear the ground, … work out new designs by dreaming daring dreams and great and creative planning. The time is not wasted. The time of fallowness is a time of rest and restoration, of filling up and replenishing. It is the moment when the meaning of all things can be searched out, tracked down, and made to yield the secret of living. Thank God for the fallow time!

Howard Thurman
Source: Deep Is the Hunger

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The Real Voyage
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”Marcel Proust, 20th century
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“All the goods of this world are finite and limited and radically incapable of satisfying the desire that perpetually burns within us for an infinite and perfect good.”
Simone Weil, 20th century
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Gratitude
“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh, 20th century
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Secular and Sacred
There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.
Madeleine L’Engle
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Activate Our Hearts
Lord Jesus, assuage our blindness and activate our hearts, so that we may find your presence hidden in ourselves. May we unveil the mystery of Christ-with-us and work toward the true restoration of the whole world in your image. Let your light shine in our hearts so that we may always know the truth of your love. Amen.
Thomas Merton
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No Boundary
Each thought, each action in the sunlight of awareness becomes sacred. In this light, no boundary exists between the sacred and the profane.
Thich Nhat Hanh Source: Peace Is Every Step
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Happy New Year
New Year Prayer ____
“It’s not addition that makes one holy but subtraction: stripping the illusions, letting go of pretense, exposing the false self, breaking open the heart and the understanding, not taking my private self too seriously.”
Richard Rohr, 20th century
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Symbol of Christ-- the Light of the World

Symbol of Christ– the Light of the World

I will light candles this Christmas.

Candles of joy, despite all the sadness.

Candles of hope where despair keeps watch.

Candles of courage where fear is ever present.

Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days.

Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens.

Candles of love to inspire all of my living.

Candles that will burn all the year long.

~ Howard Thurman