A Fuller Flock

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Photo by Joe Grant © 2018

As he went ashore, he saw an immense crowd; and he was deeply moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.  Mark 6:34

Seeker,
Who restores your trust in the kindness of humankind?

Listen, learn, be led!
This is how we come to know
who to love, how to serve, and as a faithful flock be fed.

On the crosswalk
I saw him
step right in front of me.

Head bent, as in prayer,
dark-hooded, ebony-faced,
bravely he flashed a look.

In one eternal instant
brown eyes met grey,
and what might be menacing appeared monastic.

I’m not a statistic
I’m not the inches in somebody’s column…
I am at odds with all that requires me to be a symbol.
I insist on being real.  Kathy Galloway

Fear breeds mistrust,
presenting parasitic opportunities
to make some predators and others prey.

How many of your younger sisters and brothers
are daily endangered in predatory cities?
How much life is threatened by soulless predation?

And who will tend such troubled souls,
and attend to lives without opportunity or refuge?
Who cares for the trafficked, fragmented flock of the Holy One?

Beware pastoral pretenders, trapped in trappings,
who wield authority by blaming and shaming,
lambasting the lost, ignoring the wounded.

We too become predators
when we allow diabolical dread and rapacious greed
to divide us and lead us astray.

The Holy One is my shepherd, I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

Engaging deeper expectations, prophetic people meet rejection.
Persecuted by the presumptive powers they threaten,
they are caricatured as wolves.

Such prophets are not people ahead of their time.
They are simply single-hearted souls
who have penetrated the signs of these times.

Called in crisis,
they sound alarms with urgency,
but only because there is much to be alarmed about.

How can modern Christianity have so solemnly folded its hands while so much of the work of God was and is being destroyed? Wendell Berry

Focused by the lens of faith,
their surgical critique illuminates what is not,
to highlight what and who we might become.

Prophetic people are truth-dwellers.
Gathering the scattered, they refuse to inhabit the gloom
by choosing to walk together toward what can and will be.

With the medicine of mercy
they brew a tonic of hope
and begin to rebuild what has been ruined.

May you embrace every prophetic opportunity
afforded you this day
to be folded back into this fuller flock.

One light; many candles.
One sky; many stars.
One sea; many rivers.
One Love; many hearts. Noel Paul Stookey

joe

Choose Tenderness

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Photo by Joe Grant © 2018

My servant will not break a bruised reed
or quench a smoldering wick until justice reigns.
And in this name will the nations hope. Matthew 12:20-21

Seeker,
Can you envision the world that could be?

Another week, another season,
on our quest for rhyme and reason
while another day breaks that many did not see.

As hours and eons run their course,
we make our spinning pilgrimage
and worry as we wonder:

Where are we all headed,
with such haste and fury?
What good newness needs to be ushered in?

Spirituality is about seeing.
It is not about earning or achieving.
It is about relationships rather than results or requirements. Richard Rohr

Can we visualize a more loving global community,
peace-filled and forgiving?
Such re-visioning begs courageous imagination.

Imagination precedes realization,
for each fantastic new creation
is first conceived by imagining.

No longer need we resign ourselves
to self–fulfilling prophecies
that diminish care and damage life’s fragile fabric.

No more must we glamorize violence,
glorify gain or sacrifice God’s precious children
to martial idols that manufacture death.

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
1 John 3:2

If we could just see
family in every face,
we might even love other children as our own dear ones.

Then, doubtless, the crying needs
of the Living, in myriad form,
would trump the mongering and monetizing of fearfulness.

From fear springs violence – yes, not the other way around.
Fear invented wars, weapons, and all the violence weapons can cause.                David Steindl-Rast

It is love alone, and love alone,
that casts out fear.
And only deeper-wider belonging disarms hearts.

In the days yet to come,
each time Life affords you the opportunity,
may you take the tender way.

May you speak with gutsy love,
from heart to heart;
choosing to forgive more readily, holding onto hurt lightly.

Once you start to awaken, no one can ever claim you again for the old patterns.
Now you have realized how precious your time here is.  John O’Donohue

In the brief, bright remaining moments,
with the limited breath you’ve been given,
may you speak your truth gently and forgive freely.

May you say “Yes!” to kin and kindness,
and to listening, and listening more,
as you incline toward Nature’s meekness.

May tears tender you
as you tend
to your patch of fragility.

So, with the shine in your eyes,
may you bestow blessings unspoken
upon all you survey.

More love, more love alone by its power
the world we will conquer, for true love is God.
If ye love one another then God dwelleth in you,
and ye are made strong to live by the word. Shaker Hymn

joe