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Friday, April 15, 2011

Episode 48: April 25 - The Night After Easter

'Twas the night after Easter,
      and locked in a room,
The disciples sat wondering
      there in the gloom.

The women had told them
      that Christ had arisen;
But that went against
      all sense and all reason.

If Christ were alive
      and was seen by the women
Why had he not first
      shown himself to the men?

They sat and awaited
      a knock at the door.
If he came, would they know him?
      Would he look like before?

And suppose it were soldiers
      who knocked at the door?
Not knowing the answers,
      they stared at the floor.

But they needn't have wondered
      how they would tell,
If at the door
      came a knock and a yell.

For no knock ever came,
      and no footsteps were heard;
Jesus came to the room
      without speaking a word.

Then what to their wondering eyes
      did appear?
It made them all speechless,
      and filled them with fear!

"Peace be with you,"
      he said with a smile,
Then said it once more
      for it took them awhile
To regain their senses
      and let it sink in
That Christ was alive
      and here with them again!

The reason he came
      was not just to please them;
But to give them his power,
      from fear to release them.

So he wasted no time
      as he stood there aglow,
But gave them a mission,
      and told them to go.

Then he breathed out his breath
      and his Spirit upon them,
And quick as he came,
      he suddenly left them.

Their souls, which were weary,
      were now filled with mirth,
And they had a new message
      to tell all the earth.

Episode 47: April 24 - Prayer To The God We Are Afraid To Know

Eternal Spirit,
far beyond knowing,
yet known to us in our
deepest innermost being:

You who are beyond the outermost reaches
      of the universe,
we reach out to you with words
      of one of the languages of this small planet
      and presume that you understand,
only to discover that you understand
      far more than we can speak
      of the inner longings and desires of our hearts,
      far more than we intended
      of the evil that lurks in the dark corners of our souls.

We ask you to reveal yourself, and you turn
and reveal ourselves to us
      far more than we ever wanted anyone to see
      including you . . . including ourselves.

We seek to master the complexity
      of who you are,
and you come to us in the simplicity
      of one who broke bread, drank wine, and said
      “Love one another like this,” and then
      washed our feet.

We ask to see the full light of your presence;
you wisely shine it on us in small quantities
lest we be so blinded
we lose sight of you altogether.

Eternal Spirit,
far beyond knowing,
continue to make yourself known to us
as much as we can stand.  Amen.

Episode 46: April 23 - He Won't Be There

They’re going to go to the wrong place:
the women tomorrow morning
and the men.
He said he wouldn’t be there:
      “…and on the third day be raised.”                   (Matthew 16:21)

But they go there anyway, innocently enough
on the part of the women.
Then the men:
What’s the matter didn’t you believe the women?
      Or Jesus?
He said he wouldn’t be there.
They said he wasn’t there.
Yet that’s where you go to look for him.

Don’t let me be too critical.
We do the same thing.
All the time.
Always looking for God in the wrong places:
      empty tombs.
      empty forms.
      empty words.
      empty rituals.
Not that they have to be empty, of course.
But if they have become so for you
why keep looking there?

I didn’t find God there last time I looked,
but I’m going to look there again, because
once upon a time I
      --or my grandmother or somebody--
found God there
so that must be the place to look.

“He is not here, he has risen.”    (Luke 24:5)
Then where will I find him?
In unexpected places.
Look for God where you wouldn’t expect
to find God.
Be ready to be surprised by God.

Consider the women (as told by Matthew)
Surprised by the empty tomb.
Surprised by the messenger.
Surprised by the Risen Christ himself.
Holy surprises!
Popping up at every turn!
Where next?

Yes, that’s it.  Where next?
In my life?  In your life?
In that stranger walking toward you?

It’s going to be very tempting tomorrow
to go look in the empty tomb.
Don’t be surprised if he’s not there.
But stay alert, because
if he’s not there,
who knows where he might pop up next?

Episode 45: April 22 - Not If God Can Stop You

Reading a book
one line jumped out:
"God will not let us go to hell in peace."                     (Distant Fire, p. 9)
I knew it!
That fits!
That sounds like God!

Two other pictures.
One:  God as judge--
God sends us to hell.
that doesn't fit...
a house divided..

Two:  God as indifferent--
God allows us to go to hell.
We choose our own fate.
That doesn't sound like God.

Another view:
There is no hell.
But we know better,
don't we.

We keep trying to go there.
And God keeps trying to stop us.
God doesn't ignore us.
God will not leave us alone.
God will not let us enjoy our sin.
God keeps stirring our conscience,
disturbing our peace.

If you're going to go to hell,
you'll have to fight God
all the way
to get there.

"God will not let us go to hell in peace."

Episode 44: April 21 - It Wasn't a Denial

have we been wrong about you?
We have blamed you for
when all the time you were
“I do not know the man.”

I wanted to know.
Later I would.
But then
I wanted him to be
what I wanted him to be.
And I did not know the man.

I tried to know.
“So I should forgive up to seven times?”
“Show me how to walk on the water.”
"Explain this parable to us."
He replied
"Are you also still without understanding?”

I tried to understand.
First, "You will never wash my feet."
Then, "also my hands and my head!"
“Later you will understand,” he said.
I did not know the man.

I thought I knew.
“Who do you think I am,” he asked.
“You are the Christ,
the Son of the Living God.”
He blessed me for that, though
I did not know what I was saying.

 “I am going to Jerusalem where
I will be put to death.”
“Never,” I said,
“That will not happen.”
“Get behind me,” he said.
I did not know the man.

Up on the mountain:
magnificent manifestation.
“Let me build three shrines,” I said.
I did not know the man.

They came to arrest him.
I pulled a sword.
“Put it away,” he said.
I did not know the man.

I stood by the fire.
They asked if I knew him.
I moved away.
“Surely you knew him.”
The cock crowed, and I wept
I did not know the man.

Episode 43: April 20 - Blood On My Hands

Oops, the communion juice got on my fingers.
I have “blood” on my hands—the blood of Jesus.
Oh, don’t we all!

Pilate didn’t want the blood of Jesus on his hands:
Pilate … took some water and washed his hands, saying,
"I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves."
(Matthew 27:24)
Someone incited the crowds:
"His blood be on us and on our children!"               (Matthew 27:25)
Well it is.  Believe me, it is.  It’s on all our hands.
No single group.
Want it or not, his blood is on us.
"I am innocent of this man's blood.”
No you’re not.  You are one of us.
We all are children of the crucifiers.
“There is no one who is righteous, not even one.”
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
(Romans 3:10, 23)
It is for us that he died.
It is because of us that he had to die.

We thought it was him.
We thought there was something wrong with him.
He was the one being struck down by God.
What did he do that was so terrible?
Nothing.  We are the ones.

Episode 42: April 19 - Answering Pilate's Question

“What is truth?”
That’s a good question,
are still trying to answer.

Jesus said,
“I am the truth”
the truth?
A living, breathing, moving,
divine/human being?
“I am the truth?”

No wonder people
still prefer

gave us truth:
immutable, unchangeable, absolute
carved in stone

not slippery truth.
That’s truth
you can pin down.
We like that.

Of course,
we were able
to pin Jesus down.
Nailed him down
We don’t like truth
that moves.

Episode 41: April 18 - Holy Week

This is it.  The final week.
Is this where we get all our questions answered?
Or all our answers questioned?

There is a story about a psychologist
who had seven theories on child-raising
and no children.
Some years later he had seven children
and no theories.
That’s what having children does to you.

When I was young
I thought I had all the answers to life.
Now, some years later
I’m not even sure I know
what all the questions are.
That’s what life does to you.

Is this the end
or the beginning?
Or neither?
Maybe there is no beginning or ending.

Palm Sunday looked like a great new beginning.
Good Friday looked like the final end.
In fact, neither was either.
All their answers were thrown into question.
That’s what Jesus does to you.

We want endings and beginnings, but maybe
real life is lived always in the middle.
That’s what it feels like.
No matter what begins.  No matter what ends.
I’m always right in the middle of everything.

That doesn’t mean I still wouldn’t
like to have some answers.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Episode 40: April 17 - An Opportune Time

This could be the moment.

There may be another chance in the garden.
But this just might be the opportune time.

When the temptations in the wilderness were
finished (or so it appeared) 
Luke tells us the devil “departed from him
until an opportune time.”                                                (Luke 4:13)
One of the more menacing lines in Scripture.

What kind of time is opportune?
When is one vulnerable to temptation?

When you are down:
      in need, in trouble, in desperation.
      You’ll do anything to get a way up.
      Or try any escape to find a way out.
Jesus already passed that one.
      How down and desperate was he after
      starving for 40 days.

When you are in the middle.
      Life is good.  Life is smooth.
      You’re guard is down.
      You can wander off track before you know it
Jesus passed that one everyday.
      He was always alert to whatever tricks
      anyone might throw his way.

When you are up.
      Riding the crest of the wave.
      Everybody loves you. You can do no wrong. 
      Or can you?
This is the opportune moment to catch Jesus.
      Ride that wave.  Listen to the crowds.
      Give them what they want.  They’ll make you a king.
      Wear that crown and lead the march to victory.
      Come on, Jesus.  Hosanna! 

“Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple,
and when he had looked around at everything…
he went out to Bethany with the twelve.”                      (Mark 11:11)

No rally?  No stirring speech?  No demonstration?
What a missed opportunity.  No.
There was no giving in to the opportune moment 
that would have tempted him away from his true mission.

I wish I had that kind of restraint.
I wish I had that kind of trust in God.
To be able to understand that
what looks like a moment of opportunity
is in fact a distraction
from the true path.

Episode 39: April 16 - One

would not want
to compare the will of
to a broad path.
at times it seems
there is room
to meander a little
going outside the boundaries.

At other times
the path narrows.
rise on the sides.
There is only
one way to go.

might choose not
to go at all,
for that invisible hand
placed firmly
in the small of the back
pressing forward.

doesn’t talk much,
at times
there is no doubt
what God is saying.

(Bonus question:  Is this about us, or about
Jesus facing Palm Sunday?  Or both?)

Episode 38: April 15 - Transition

Walking out of the garden,
Adam said to Eve,
"We are living in a time of transition."

History is measured
between the times of transition.
But today transitions come so fast
there is no time in between
to measure.

We have spoken of God
as the God of stability:
—the rock
—the fortress
—the mountain.
Where is God now?

God is also the God of transitions
who led Abraham and Sarah
Miriam and Moses
into new lands,
and called
Magdalene, Peter and Paul
into a new age.

Don't worry!
God does not fear change,
God initiates it!
"Go...I am with you."

Episode 37: April 14 - What Gets In My Way?

What will other people think?
Is anybody looking?

It’s not what other people will think.
It’s what I think
other people will think.

nobody is paying that much attention.
But just in case they are
I better be careful.

So in order to avoid
doing something someone might be
upset by.
I miss the chance of
doing some things someone might be
benefitted by.

It occurs to me
it is pretty much impossible
to love as Jesus loved
if worrying about what other people think
gets in the way.

Episode 36: April 13 - Do Something About It

What on earth is going on?
And why doesn't God do
something about it?

To which God replies,
"What on earth is going on?
And why don't you people do
something about it?"

Well, it's not my fault
the world is in such a mess.
I didn't do anything.

"Precisely my point!"
replies God.
"The world is
going to hell in a bucket
because you think it is not.
Because you think it is not
your responsibility
to do something about it."

What on earth
are we going to do?
God, save your people!

God rephrases:
"What are you going to do,
my people,
to save the earth?"

We are waiting for God
to step into the world and do
something about it.
And God will!
God is waiting for us
who live in the world to do
something about it.

Episode 35: April 12 - Jack

I only knew him for a few months.
We worked together on a building project.
For a mission.
A shelter for homeless travelers.
He could have been one himself.
His life had not been easy.

"It's a little disturbing."
He confided one day.
"It's the first time in my life
I haven't had an ulterior reason
for what I'm doing.
It isn't for religion either."

Good, I said to myself
Now you're getting the idea.
Jesus' idea.
Jesus was against
ulterior motives.  Including
religious ulterior motives

Doing something for somebody else
so I can get something from them
is ulterior.  So is
doing something for somebody else
so I can get something from God.

Jesus' idea was
doing something for somebody else
because that person-needs it.
That's all.
Not to be rewarded, even by God.

It was a strange idea Jesus had.
If we catch ourselves actually doing it
it's usually a little disturbing.

Episode 34: April 11 - Evidence

"Nobody loves me anymore."
She spoke from the bed that is
now her home.

"That's not true,"
I wanted to reply.
But I couldn't.
What evidence do I have?

She has evidence.
Those who used to love her
are gone.
Every long day that passes
without a visitor
is evidence
that nobody loves her anymore.

"Some people still love you.”
I could say it . . .
but can I prove it?
Who will give the evidence:
a visit,
a card,
maybe even a flower?

"What reason do I have to live?"
she asked,
Maybe the reason
is so we can learn
how to say,
"I love you"
not just with words
but with evidence.

What is her name?
She has many names.
You probably know one of them.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Episode 33: April 10 - And I Saw God

There are moments
—how can I speak of this?—
there are moments
too big to talk about
too big for words
too big to explain.

To speak of it
is to reduce it
to size:
that which has no
To put it into
is to put it into
a box:
that which cannot be

There are moments when
the unknowable
the unseeable
the untouchable
touches us, and
we see
we know
we experience
the infinite
in a finite

How can we speak of it?
How can we explain it?
How can we . . . ?
We cannot.  And yet . . .
how can we NOT
speak of it?

Episode 32: April 9 - Review

O.K.  Here’s where we have come so far.
1.  Life is a mystery.  (We searched ourselves for understanding, and journeyed through the wilderness.)
2.  God is a deeper mystery.  (We contemplated the unseen Mystery, and seeing the Mystery in Jesus.)
3.  The key is love (to understanding the mystery of life and the Mystery of God.)
4.  You have received a great gift (the love of God) and it is in your hands to pass along.

Now, what do we do?
Yes that’s the question. 
We asked it on Ash Wednesday.

Dust and breath;
matter and spirit.
That’s who we are.

And how do we live?
            Dust and breath?
            Matter and spirit?

Answering that question
is your assignment
for the rest of your life
(as it always has been.)

Next week we’ll look at a few examples.  Not that they will answer the question,
but they will be something to consider.

Episode 31: April 8 - Spiraling Along

As was said:
You participate in a spiral
of people reaching out
to ever increasing numbers.

There is also a spiral within
the more you are in union with God,
the more you can love with the love of Christ.
the more you love with the love of Christ,
the more you grow in union with God

Thus are you able to know
“the riches of the glory of this mystery,
which is Christ in you,
the hope of glory.                                             (Colossians 1:27)

(according to John
or was it John putting words in Jesus mouth?)
also liked to talk in circles.
“They who have my commandments and keep them
are those who love me,
and those who love me will be loved by my Father
and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”        (John 14:21)
“Those who love me
will keep my word
And my Father will love them
and my Father will come to them,
and we will make our home with them.”                    (John 14:23)

Get into that circle.
It’s a good place to be.

And keep spiraling along.

Episode 30: April 7 - Keep Up The Good Work

Faith or works.  Works or faith.
It’s an ancient debate.

Here’s the point:

If you don’t have faith
that you are loved by God through grace
then you get caught up
in trying to earn God’s love
by proving you are worthy
through good works that you do.

If you know by faith
that you are already loved by God
then you are
to do good works
as an expression of your faith and love.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works.”                                                   (Ephesians 2:8-9)
(Good works don’t enable God to love us.)

“For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.”                                             (Ephesians 2:10)
(God’s love enables us to do good works.)

So keep it up.

Episode 29: April 6 - You Can't Do It Alone

Here’s why
you can’t do it alone.

John said:
If you are going to
love as Jesus loved,
you have to be in union with God.
If you are going to be in union with God,
you have to know Jesus
and love as he loved.

That’s circular.
How do you
step into that circle?
It happens
when your life is touched
by someone
whose life has been touched
by the love of Christ.

First Jesus loved the disciples.
Only then could he say to them,
“Love one another as I have loved you.”
And they were so filled with that love
that they could love others.
And they could write it all down
so they could touch other lives
including yours.
And people around you
were so filled with that love
that they could tell you about it
and touch your life with it
and open the circle for you to step it.

And so it moves on
now not so much as a circle
but more like a spiral.
in which you participate
being loved
and loving others.

Keep up the good work.

Episode 28: April 5 - As Jesus Loved You

When Jesus said,
"Love one another as I have loved you,"                           (Jn 13:34)
he was saying that
what Christ is to you,
you are to be to other people.
You are to be
(as Martin Luther said)
a little Christ to other people.
You are to be one in whom the mystery is revealed. 
You are to be one who loves people so much that their fear is overcome. 
You are to be one who loves people in such a way that they can accept the mystery,
embrace it as Jesus did, and find life. 
You are to be one who,
when you love somebody,
they know God loves them.

Is that what it means to be a Christian?
Remember when you signed up?
That was in the contract.
It was?  Oh boy.
Can we review those things again?

Episode 27: April 4 - God Can Be Seen

What?  God can be seen?
John said, “No one has ever seen God.”
Remember that?
John also said
“Whoever has seen (Jesus) has seen the Father.”           (John 14:9)
Remember that?
Then John went one step further.
“No one has ever seen God,
but if we love one another, God lives in union with us, and God’s love is [seen] in us."    (1 John 4:12)

What?  God can be seen in us?
That’s what Jesus said.
You mean John said.
Jesus first.

Early on Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy:
“love your neighbor as yourself.”                                  (Deut. 19:18)
At the end he raised the bar:
“Love one another as I have loved you.”                       (John 13:34)

No longer am I exhorted to love others
as I imperfectly love myself.
I am commanded to love others by imitating
the perfect love of Jesus.

Love one another as I have loved you.
What is he saying?
See one another as I have seen you.
Help one another as I have helped you.
Befriend others as I have befriended you.
Teach one another as I have taught you.
Lift people up as I have lifted you.

That’s all it takes.  Just do that and
God can be seen.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Episode 26: April 3 - In Face of the Mystery

“The Lord is in his holy temple,
Let all the earth keep silence.”                                 (Habakkuk 2:20)
Silence indeed!
For God is silent.
Ear cannot hear,
eye cannot see,
sense cannot feel
what is there.
What is there?

The universe surrounds me
like the dark of night.
It is not empty
yet it does not speak.
There is a presence
that cannot be seen.
At the heart of the universe,
in the pulsing of life,
is a mystery
deep as the night
silent as the sky.

In the delicate unfolding
of a flower.
In the far-flung galaxies
of the universe.
In the closeness of two lovers
or a mother and her child.
In life.
And in death.
There is a mystery

Eye cannot penetrate the darkness
to see what is there.
Ear cannot hear the distant music.
It is the very darkness itself
the eye is trying to see.
It is the very silence itself
the ear is trying to hear.
It is the dark, silent mystery
which has given us birth.

That which is.
but cannot be seen,
has caused all to be,
having no being.
yet there.

And life is lived,
unless lived in the shallows,
in the face of that
For the mystery within
with the mystery beyond.

Looking at that
which cannot be seen,
listening to that
which cannot be heard,
brought into being by that
which is beyond being,
seeking to know that
which cannot be known,
I face the vast deep
and say, “yes!”

Episode 25: April 2 - Light Has Come

It has happened!
The light has come!
“The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light.”                                               (Isaiah 9:2)

Why has it come?
Are we to stare at it?

Have you ever looked
at the sun?
Or even a light bulb?
It hurts your eyes.
May even blind you.
You’re not supposed to stare
at the light.

The light shines.
But not on itself.

The light has come
so you can see
your neighbor
the world
and God
in a whole new light

In other words:
If you see the light of Jesus
you’re going to start seeing
a lot more than

That’s why the light has come.
Do you see?

Episode 24: Apri 1 - Here's The Key

Jesus said
—and demonstrated with his life—
that the key to penetrating the Mystery is

We are talking about living
in the face of the deep unknown.
And Jesus said the key to that is love.

We are asking what the mystery is,
and how we are to be related to it. 
And Jesus says the answer is love.

We are talking about understanding life,
about living life with a sense of meaning. 
Jesus said the key to that is love.

Jesus did it. 
Jesus loved. 
And loving, Jesus lived in such intimacy
with the mystery
that John could say
whoever has seen Jesus, has seen the face
of the mystery. 
Whoever has understood Jesus,
understands the mystery.
Maybe not everything, but
all you really need to know
for now.

What do you see when you look at Jesus?

Episode 23: March 31 - How Do We See Jesus?

Of course
what John meant by
“we have seen Jesus” was
we actually saw him.
We walked with him
      talked with him
            ate with him.
He was real.  O.K.?
Not an abstract idea,
myth, legend or someone’s speculations.
A concrete human being of
real live flesh and blood.  We saw him.

Of course
what John also meant was
we (and this time he includes
all of his readers, most of whom
--like us--
had not seen Jesus in the flesh)
WE have seen Jesus with
the eyes of understanding.

When we look at Jesus,
when we “see” Jesus
we have a new understanding of the Mystery
before which
and in which
we live out our lives.

Do we now have full understanding of all
the mystery of the unseen God?
No, but
in some important ways
the Mystery
--that which is beyond seeing—
has become visible to us.

Episode 22: March 30 - Jesus Said "Yes"

God is a Mystery.
Unseen Spirit.

Jesus said yes to
the Mystery.
Jesus dared to name the Mystery
And even on occasion
was brash enough to call the Mystery
That word “Abba”
—which translators fear to touch
because it is too intimate—
is the equivalent of daddy or da-da.

Is that what it’s supposed to be like?
To feel as intimate and safe with God
as a baby snuggled in daddy’s or mommy’s arms?
Was that what Jesus had?
Was that Jesus’ secret?

So intimate was Jesus
with the mystery
that John could say
whoever has seen Jesus
has seen the face of the
Unseen Mystery.

I’ll ask it again:
What do you see when you look at Jesus?

Episode 21: March 29 - Who Has Seen God?

“No one has ever seen God.”
Yes, John, we heard you.
Did you hear the rest?
No one has ever seen God,
but we have seen Jesus.
And Jesus said,
“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”                 (John 14:9)
Is that the answer?
Look and see.

God is one big unseen mystery.
So what are you going to do?  Quit?
Or continue the journey—
stay with the struggle—to make some sense
of it all.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus’
says an old song.
Is that the answer?
Well, look
and see what you see
when you look
at Jesus.

What do you see when you look at Jesus?

Episode 20: March 28 - Has Anyone Seen God?

There’s this problem
in our search for God.
“No one has ever seen God.”                                        (John 1:18)
In case you missed that in John’s Gospel:
Its repeated in the First Letter of John.
“No one has ever seen God.”                                      (1 John 4:12)

Dust and breath/matter and spirit.
We know intimately the dust and matter part.
How do we get hold of the breath and spirit?

We need to capture it in something:
      a box, a building.
      a book, a creed.
Then we’ll know we have it right!
Or will we?  Who decides?

“Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say … people must worship in Jerusalem," said the woman.                                                                         (John 4:20)
Jesus answered, “Neither on this mountain
nor in Jerusalem.                                                           (John 4:21)
God is spirit, and those who worship
must worship in spirit and truth."                                    (John 4:24)

Don’t you see, Jesus?
That’s exactly our problem.
We can’t see spirit.  We can’t get hold of truth.
We need something more concrete.
Like those tablets of stone
you gave to Moses.
Yeah, that was a great idea.

I don’t know about this spirit stuff.
I just can’t see it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Episode 19: March 27 - Time Out

Two children
played next door,
and I heard them use
a wonderful word—
a magic word—
“Time out!  Time out!”

One ran
and the other chased.
The one who chased
drew closer—
The one who ran
grew breathless—
“Time out!  Time out!”

And the running stopped
so each could
catch his breath
before they ran

It is a magic word
for the magic age
of childhood
A magic word
that does not work
for grown up
         real life

“Time out!  Time out!”
We run,
but cannot run away,
chased by time
we cannot slow.
We must run ahead
or be run down,
and fear that death
(boredom, loneliness, or
loss of identity)
will catch us if we stop.

God gives us no time out
but strength to run
and not grow faint;
no escape from time
but life that triumphs
over time.

“Call not,
‘Time out!  Time out!’
but know that
all time is in my hands,
and so cease your running
and turn to receive
         and health,
                  and peace.”

Episode 18: March 26 - You Have To go Through It

When I was a tour guide
through the wilderness of grief,
(we called it a grief recovery group)
one of our cardinal principles was
“You can’t get past grief
without going through it.”

People want to avoid grief.
They want to go around grief.
They want to ignore grief.
They want to deny grief.
They want to speed past grief.
Some people try to drown grief
(you know what I mean.)

One woman drowned it for 15 years.
She thought it was working until
she got clean and sober.
And there it was staring her in the face.
She joined our group
and went through her grief to
get to the other side.
It worked.

Whatever lonely wilderness your life path
takes you through,
don’t be lonely alone.
Allow a friend or two to hold your hand.
Even if they don’t understand,
and don’t know what to say,
allow then to be there anyway.
Insist that they be there anyway.
It will help you get through it
which is the only way to get past it..

Episode 17: March 25 - I Find That I've Been Found

How many people go on long journeys
      --literally or figuratively—
to “find” themselves.
Does it work?
Maybe for some.
Others find themselves only
when they return
Maybe they had to go on the journey
in order to find themselves
at home.

Some people lose themselves in their work.
Others get lost in drink or drugs.
Others . . . (fill in the blank.)

Jesus had another idea:                                                          (Matthew 16:25)
“those who want to save their life will lose it,
and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

Where do you get lost . . .
and found?

Episode 16: March 24 - From the Journal of a Wanderer - 3

Now I remember who I am.
I have been put back together again.

There are some experiences in life
that take us apart…

In those wilderness moments we may
forget who we really are
deep down inside.
We no longer act
out of the center of our being
but react
off the surface,
and may even feel
that is who we are.

Then there are experiences that
put us back together…

Coming out of the wilderness
I remember who I am again.
Life is back on the track.
I am free to be
who I really am
deep down inside.
And it feels good!

Episode 15: March 23 - From the Journal of a Wanderer - 2

Wandering through the wilderness
I had forgotten who I am.
It didn’t matter.
Getting from one day to the next
Getting to the other side
Getting the job done
I forgot that who I am mattered

Where was God?
I could not find God.
Not that God wasn’t there.
How could I find God when
I couldn’t find myself?
Where was I?
I could not find myself
alone in the wilderness.

Coming out of the wilderness
I found myself among friends.
Do you understand?
It is among friends
that I found myself.
And God was there too.

Episode 14: March 22 - From the Journal of a Wanderer - 1

The readings for the next three days are excerpts from the journal of one who wandered through a wilderness in life and got lost . . . and found.


For six months he wandered through
the wilderness.
more and more lost.

What had pushed him out there?
Forces from without.
What drove his seeking?
Forces from within.

He did not choose to go through
barren places;
the path he chose
went that way.
He had his reasons.

It was not the wilderness
he was choosing;
the path he chose
went that way.
What were the reasons?

Thats all that matters
after so long in the
“Who are you?”
It doesn’t matter.
Then he reached
the other side.

He had survived.
Was that all that mattered?
Why had he survived?
Why was it important to survive?
Who was he?

And finding himself
among friends
he remembered who he was
and why he had come out
and what the reasons were.

Returning home,
and those he loved
were a little more

Episode 13: March 21 - Wilderness

There seems to be a pattern
(1)   Mountain top
(2)   Wilderness
(3)   Living the new life

First there is an exciting
of a new way of life.

Then the unmerciful
of every fiber of your existence.

Only then is there the
of the life envisioned.

Jesus followed the pattern:
mountain top (baptism)
wilderness (40 days)
living the life (ministry.)

I’ve been through it too
in my own way.
And I see the value of it all.
But I do have a question.

Isn’t once in the wilderness
Why do I have to go through
the whole pattern
each time life is