Mar 31 2012

Amazing Love

If this coming week is about anything, it’s about amazing Love.

A practice that I recently read about and started doing sounds a little syrupy, but the results are quite beautiful, I promise: When you see someone, friend or stranger, think “I love you and I’m thankful for you.”

I found that an afternoon spent walking the streets of Seattle and doing this made the pink cherry blossoms more vivid and the sun more radiant. And people seemed…well…more solid, more real…since I was not so lost in my own ruminations. I found myself imagining the lives they were living and praying for them.

But in greeting people I knew, the practice made me realize how little I verbalize my love for people.¬† I wondered why I’m so reticent to look a friend in the eye and feel the full force of my gratitude, enough to let the words tumble out, in all their shy joy.

God spoke the Word, calling the cosmos into existence.  God spoke Love and it created a vast, pulsing home for a zillion  billion worlds. What could our Word of love create?

I remember a fellow student at St John’s, Walter Kiefer, said that we have no idea the power of love. If we would but delve deeply, we would find its capacity to heal and transform more powerful and solid than anything else that exists.

This week, as you practice silently greeting people with love and gratitude, I invite you to pick one person, allowing the Spirit to call them to mind as you read this, and let them know you are thankful for them. You may be the angel that refreshes them in their Gethsemane.

(Art: Gethsemane, Anthony Falbo)

Mar 23 2012

Friday Florilegium

I’ve been immersed in Karl Barth on prayer for the past 6 weeks, gearing up to write another dissertation chapter. Here are two tidbits:

“[There is a] tendency to omit, to leave aside as not too important, the question of what the Christian is commanded to be and to do in his personal life, and to turn instead to what he is to be and to do outside, in the church, and the world, in answer to the problems that await him there. This procedure usually avenges itself. What we are or are not in the innermost circle, what we do or fail to do there, what we do rightly or wrongly, will always be ultimately decisive for what we are and do in the outer circles. Faithfulness or unfaithfulness, seriousness or lack of seriousness in the one will sooner or later bring about the same in the others.” [And I would add, joy or joylessness.]


“God comes as the Holy One. He comes and creates righteousness, zealous for his honor as Creator and burning with love for his creature. He creates the righteousness which is the right order of the world that belongs to him.

He comes, and in creating righteousness, he abolishes the unrighteousness of people both in their relationship to him and also in their relationships to one another.

He comes and sets aside not only unrighteousness but also the lordship of the lordless powers, scattering them to the winds like the mists of the hypostatized fictions that they are, restoring to man the freedom over his abilities of which they robbed him, re-instituting him as the lord of the earth which he may and should be as the servant of God.

God comes, and with him comes that “peace on earth among men with whom he is pleased” (Lk 2:14), that is, among those who are elected, created, loved, saved, and kept by him. This peace on earth, actualized when God himself comes as King and Lord and creates and establishes it, is the kingdom of God.”

Mar 16 2012

Friday Florilegium

Were our mouths filled with a singing like the sea, and our tongues awash with song, as waves-countless, and our lips to lauding, as the skies are wide, and our eyes illumined like the sun and the moon, and our hands spread out like the eagles of heaven, and our feet as fleet as fawns. Still, we would not suffice in thanking you, lord God of us and God of our fathers, in blessing your name for even one of a thousand, thousand, from the thousands of thousands and the ten thousands of ten thousands of times you did good turns for our fathers, [and mothers], and for us.

–from the New American Haggadah, translated by Nathan Englander

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