Sri Lanka: Hope with a Heavy Heart

Sri Lanka: Hope with a Heavy Heart

For Sri Lanka

Bombs go off
In hotels and churches
I don’t understand why we do what we do
The day was for glory
The morning sun brightly
Shone down on each
Whatever we knew
But blasts did ring out
People did perish
Nearly three hundred
Plus five hundred more
People dying
While others left crying
Understandable quite
Given the news
We need more love
Understanding
And peace talk
Not likely soon
Going this way
So, it is
In our world filled with anger
I just don’t understand it
I wonder do you?
If you don’t either
Then let’s start do better
Loving each other
However we come
And, let’s teach our children
So they too might grow up
Loving and learning
Living anew
In the meantime let’s pray
As we name those who lost lives
As much as it hurts
One at a time
And maybe then hope
Will move into action
And we’ll begin to better
Love all humankind

I just don't understand gif - Fargo

I’m overcome with sadness about the news of the bombings in Sri Lanka.

If you are overcome too. You are not alone.

People enjoyed holiday or religious services not knowing the unimaginable pain about to befall them.

I’m left asking the question, why? Why is there so much pain in the world? Why can’t we understand love is the answer? Why?

Have you ever thought about that? Why, is there so much bad in our world? 

The truth is however, whatever you think, the only person you can ultimately control is you. The same truth goes for me.

You can share love regardless of what’s happening around you and so can I.

Again, my hope rests not in what we can’t do but in what we can – Together – Knowing I’m not alone and neither are you. 

Sure, it can feel that way sometimes, maybe even often, but you’re here reading and I’m here writing. Let that be the beginning of our hope.

So, ask yourself, 

Where can I bring love into an all too sad world?

How can I be more kind to myself and to others directly in front of me?

Maybe if we all do this, we can bring change one small step at a time.

What do you think? Please leave a comment and let me know. 

I’d also be grateful if you’d share my words. The more people, the better. That’s how inclusive love works, right?

Wherever you are this day, I hope you’ll join me in reflection as we share this part of our journey together and remember, in the realm of justice and love,

“Love accepts you, no exceptions.”

Peace Love and Acceptance

 

Are You Struggling? (Easter Glory)

Are You Struggling? (Easter Glory)

Easter glory

Easter glory

Morning Sun

Come out and show the way

To where he is

My Rabbi Savior

They’ve taken him away

But, death no more has hold on him

I hear I’m free now too

Come out he did

Now, so can I

He Lives

And, so can you.

kintsugi bowl

I’m posting my Monday blog early this week because of Easter. I’ll see you Thursday for my next post. Thanks for reading!

Have you ever thought about the power of redemption?

Do you ever struggle with things seemingly beyond your control?

I have. We all do, right? Whatever it is, we struggle. Food, life, health, love, loss… The list seems endless. Whatever it is you’re struggling with, you’re not alone. Press on.

Because, as I’ve been thinking about my struggles lately, I’ve also been pondering how the redemptive work of love can help. Whether you believe theologically as I do or not, maybe it can help you too, since I believe our shared love works the same way for all of us. So, please feel free to use whatever language you’re comfortable with as you consider my words.

Anyway, I’ve been struggling. As you can read in my last post, Love Wins Even if You’re Struggling, I often struggle with, among other things, the physical difficulties of my disability. I also believe love is bigger than whatever we face but that doesn’t always make it easier. As I often say, “It’s awfully difficult to see God when you can’t get up off the floor.”

Maybe this is one of those “On the floor” times for you. I’m sure you can relate even if you’re not there now. Struggle is pretty universal even if we all struggle in different ways. So, wherever you are struggling today, you’re not alone.

Still, or again, Love is bigger. (This is a reminder for me as much as anyone!)

Further, I find, redemption is not as much about salvation from punishment, especially in some future sense, as it is about the restoration of ourselves and our world. That’s why I love the art of kintsugi. It restores brokenness with gold and returns the object to wholeness. That’s what the power of love does for us.

Love is the gold of our kintsugi and our source of love, which I call God, is our great Kintsugi Master.

For me, as a Christian, that’s the significance of Easter. I am restored to new life.

There will still be broken times. I just don’t have to get stuck there. Kintsugi makes a piece better than brand new. So, it is with us and love, even in our all too broken world.

How can you practice restorative love today?

Wherever you are, please join me in reflection as we share this part of our journey together and remember, in the realm of justice and love,

“Love accepts you, no exceptions.”

Peace Love and Acceptance

Love Wins Even if You’re Struggling

Love Wins Even if You’re Struggling

Awake with Jesus: A Poem of My Night
Awake with Jesus
As the others slept
I could have and I will
The night would not hold me
In the garden I’d stay
Awake with Jesus
All the way to the hill
Yes, I might deny him
Scared, I’m sure
But asleep you’d not find me
Awake with Jesus
As the others slept
Because of my leg
But, still…

Calm Love

Good Friday: Love Rules the Day
As darkness spread across the land
And, it seemed to be bird in hand
The crowds were quiet
Their voices still
Imposing human
Over God’s good will
But God wasn’t daunted
So, neither should we
Change is coming, Eternally
Though, not just then
It is happening here
It’s happening both far and near
Take heart and hope, whatever they say
Right where you are, love rules the day.

Cross - Ashes

Today, isn’t a typical writing day for me. However, I’ve had the vulnerability of the characters in the scripture really present in my mind lately.

I will talk more about this in future posts as I’ll continue to explore the humanity on full display in holy writing. But, some of this really makes the most sense as we approach Easter, rather than after, so here I am.

I’ve continued to struggle with sleep which is largely a result of my post knee surgery life and so I’ve decided to put this struggle into verse. Why not? I’m awake.

More on that later too but for now you get a look into this world of mine as well as my belief that love is still somehow bigger even as I struggle. Maybe my words will resonate for you too. I’d love to hear from you.

Where are you struggling?

Where do you find love in spite of this struggle?

At the very least you get two poems from my sleep deprived brain so let me know what you think.

Wherever you are in all this, thanks for joining me on this part of our journey together and remember, in the realm of justice and love, “Love accepts you, no exceptions.”

Peace Love and Acceptance

 

 

 

Judas is Me

Judas is Me

Judas Full of Questions

Judas

Full of Questions

Wanting to Keep the Peace

Judas

Full of Questions

A God?

A Man?

Like Me?

Judas

Full of Questions

Status Quo Keeper

Not a Big Dreamer

Judas

Full of Questions

Money Over Life

Sold Out Love for a Price

Judas

Full of Questions

Simply Could Not See

Judas

Full of Questions

Too Often is Me

Judas

I find myself thinking a lot about the biblical bad guys of the Easter season lately. Judas in particular comes to my mind as we approach Good Friday. He’s bad guy number one by most accounts, right? Well, this may be shocking for some people to read but I think Judas gets a bad rap.

Does he sell out Jesus? Sure. There were many who quickly turned on Jesus in the week since Palm Sunday. There were certainly no more jubilant crowds showing “Hosanna!” Judas was one of many. But, there’s more.

Judas thought Jesus was a good teacher. He did follow Jesus after all. He wanted to give money to the poor too. It’s not likely Judas didn’t do any good during his time. So, he kept a little back. Jesus tells a rich man to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor. He couldn’t do it. (Luke 18:22-23) Could I? Could you?

Most importantly, however, Judas wanted to live. The Roman army was in town to keep the peace by any means necessary. Judas knew if Jesus, and the crowds surrounding him, got too loud that’s when they would all parish. No questions asked.

The Pharisees, read the most religious of the day, worried the same thing. Jesus of course replied to their pleas that even if the crowds went silent, the stones would cry out. (Luke 19:40) Judas knew this. Something had to give.

And, I wonder, “How many times do I try to tame the words of Jesus to fit what is comfortable for me?” If I was following somebody not knowing where it was leading would I put my life on the line? I have the benefit of seeing the biblical playbook and I still admit to not following as closely as I’m asked. So, if you’ve ever felt less than secure in your faith walk, you’re not alone. It’s not easy!

Let’s just not be too hard on poor Judas. My guess is he just fell into the “Good Moral Teacher” camp. There are many people there. I actually feel kind of bad for him. His story doesn’t end well no matter which biblical narrative you read.

The question is not how much am I like Judas, ultimately, anyway. The question is how much am I willing to be different? Will I follow Jesus even when doing so is uncomfortable? Will you?

It’s a question we must all answer for ourselves daily.

Ask yourself,

  1. In what way can I step just a little bit beyond my comfort zone for the cause of love?
  2. How can I grow in community with others building on our shared commitment to love?

Even if not always easily answered, it’s questions like this that move us forward; individually and together.

So, be kind to yourself. …And to poor Judas too…

Wherever you are, please join me as we begin this part of our journey together and remember, in the realm of justice and love, “Love accepts you, no exceptions.”

Peace Love and Acceptance

Notre Dame: Our Hope and Prayer

Notre Dame: Our Hope and Prayer

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Our Mother

Blazing

Broken

Like our hearts as we watch you burn

Your roof

Your grand spire

Like kindling

The flames apparent victorious as we pray

To you

For you

Restore our faith

Give us hope as we search forward together

Sifting beyond our pain

May this be our answer

To find a better more mutual way

That our fall

Like your fall

Only temporary abate as we rebuild

Collective

Unified

Loving again as words into action

Notre Dame

Our Mother

Pray for us as we pray for you

white concrete building
Photo by Adrienn on Pexels.com

 

Yesterday, the world watched anguished as Notre Dame Cathedral burned. So much history, so much beauty, literally gone up in smoke.

Like many things in our world, the pain seems too much to bear. This seems especially cruel when happening to a grand masterpiece. Art is our sustainer. It gives a vision for better days.

There is order to our lives. We expect things to come and go, sure, just not like this. Hundreds of years of splendor gone before our eyes. It is out of order.

Even amidst our pain, of course, there is a small measure of good news. I read that several statues were removed just days ago as the cathedral was under restoration for example. Even now, that news offers some solace.

However, there is greater comfort for me, even as I struggle, and I hope for you too. It’s something you’ll read about regularly in this space as it is my heart-song. That is, love is bigger. Collective love even greater than the sum of its parts.

Love is always working to redeem the world’s brokenness. Even as flames ravaged seemingly victorious love worked quietly in their shadows. Except, love is never really quiet.

Love only grows. Unlike those destroying flames, love can never really be contained.

So, it is for us too when we join forces with love. May this be our chance.

May our love, yours and mine, move us from the shadows of dark days and destroying flames into boundless love. May we be unifying, love bringers together into our out of order world.

When everything else is gone, and all our days are done, love remains. (1 Corinthians 13)

Wherever you are, please join me as we begin this part of our journey together and remember, in the realm of justice and love, “Love accepts you, no exceptions.”

May this be our hope and prayer today.

Peace Love and Acceptance

 

 

 

 

Take Heart: Love is Bigger

Take Heart: Love is Bigger

Take Heart

When the world imparts like some grand game

And, it seems like things will always be the same

Take Heart

When the powers that be

Exploit the power they have

It seems really hopeless

This world makes you sad

Take heart

 The Power of Love is not up to these

Though that’s not something they want you to see

Take Heart

 But still it is

They’re just out of touch

Don’t let them sell you

They’re not offering much

Take heart

 The true power’s up to you and to me

The power that brings eternity

Take Heart

 We have the numbers

We can bring change

We’re better together

We can have it today

Take Heart

 Let love be our mission

That’s how it’s done

Living it out

The fight will be won

Take heart

Sometimes, I find myself troubled by the actions, or non-actions, of others. You can read more about my personal experience of this in my last post, Bitterness: There’s a Better Way.

However, my feelings on this subject don’t stop just at a personal level. We see lots of self-focused behavior in our world today. No matter your leanings in any particular area, if you are an everyday person, I’m sure you’ve witnessed this too.

Perhaps, like me, you get discouraged. I look around our world today with great sadness. Exclusion seems to have won. Not true. I urge you take heart. It can seem like darker forces will last forever but I’m here to tell you the greatest truth of Love.

What does or doesn’t happen is up to you.

I don’t say this as some kind of empty platitude. I know many people whitewash the truth in this way. I’m not one of them. The work of love is not easy work but it is participatory. Further, the few at the top will always be the few. There couldn’t be a top any other way. We always have numbers on our side. That’s what makes their type of power so precarious. Together we can always do better with love.

All it takes is you, then another, and another. That’s the beauty of Love.

As I noted in my post, Inclusive: Another Word for Love, “Many small steps can take you around the world if you put them together but it’s still just one step at a time.”

four hands doing love signs
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

So, as you begin your day, your week, or you simply begin to move forward from wherever you find yourself right now, I ask you to ponder some questions with me and, one step at a time, move them into action.

1. What’s one way you can incorporate the power of love into your life? How can you be more loving to yourself and others around you?

2. What’s one way you can reach out to another person building on the collective power of love? Call it a love coalition. Don’t worry about having the most immediate or complete answer because the next person might. Maybe you’ll come up with an answer together. That’s why it works this way. Awesome!

Wherever you are, please join me as we begin this part of our journey together and remember, in the realm of justice and love, “Love accepts you, no exceptions.”

Peace Love and Acceptance

 

 

Bitterness: There’s a Better Way

Bitterness: There’s a Better Way

Bitterness

God help me lose this bitterness

That dwells inside of me

Teach me to release this pain

And in your love to see

May I break, put down these chains

And finding peace, may you sustain

Yes, in your restoration gain

 A way to love’s path be.

Lord help me lose this bitterness

That dwells inside of me

May you find a way to heal

And set this prisoner free

Last weekend, my wife, Jennelle, and I performed in the Festival of Shorts for Inclusive Theater on Western New York (ITOWNY) which you can read about here in my last blog post, Inclusive: Another Word for Love.

What I discovered in them is a group of wonderful kindred spirits whom I am lucky to now call my friends. I’m grateful. However, I discovered something far more troubling inside myself amidst this experience too.

I wasn’t supported by most of my longer term friends, especially after I have supported many of them for years while asking little in return, and it hurt. It hurt a lot.

Yes, a couple showed up. A few others expressed regret for not being able to attend. I appreciate them. Nevertheless, the stemming pain of the greater silence from others is still real.

I began to feel angry as this pain took hold of my soul. “How could they?” and “What should I…?” I thought. These words welling up from the recesses of my brain. Until it hit me.

Calm Love

This isn’t about them. It’s about me.

I shouldn’t do anything more than release these feelings. For my own benefit. Bitterness only harms me after all. Likewise, I am the only person over whom I have any control and, therefore, I have a choice.

I can choose to dwell in the negativity of the actions of others or I can lean into the shared love of the people around me.

Trust me when I tell you the second option is better.

Maybe you’ve held on to bitterness or anger resulting from past hurts too.

Sadly, we are surrounded by human brokenness often through no fault of our own.

I encourage you, let it go and maybe consider the following questions.

  1. What is the negative baggage weighing you down?
  2. What’s one thing you can do to help you release it and perhaps even find something more uplifting at the same time?

I’ll tell you this, replacing negative (people, thoughts, and actions) with positive is life giving. Maybe that’s why God tells us not to worry quite so much and to forgive. It’s for our benefit.

Please join me as we begin this part of our journey together and remember, in the realm of justice and love, “Love accepts you, no exceptions.”

Peace Love and Acceptance