Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much
seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
(Prayer of St. Francis)
A Franciscan Blessing
May God bless you with discomfort,
At easy answers, half-truths,
And superficial relationships
So that you may live
Deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression,
And exploitation of people,
So that you may work for
Justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears,
To shed for those who suffer pain,
Rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand
To comfort them and
To turn their pain to joy
And may God bless you
With enough foolishness
To believe that you can
Make a difference in the world,
So that you can do
What others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness
To all our children and the poor.
“May all your expectations be frustrated, may all your plans be thwarted, may all your desires be withered into nothingness, that you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and sing and dance in the love of God who is the Father, Son and Spirit.” (Brennan Manning)
(See the other posts here)
The other week we spent an evening at the Balloon Glow the night before the Great Forest Park Balloon race. We went with my sister and her family, and picnicked on a field over looking the balloons as they were inflated.
We were surrounded by a sea of people in varying skin tones and a couple of different languages.
I didn’t know their stories but I was overcome by God’s love for them all, just as they were.
Not for anything they had done. Not for anything they hadn’t done. Some individuals within that mass of people had probably done unspeakable acts towards fellow humans. Others (or the same ones) had probably done beautiful things acts towards fellow humans.
God’s love for them was not because of or in spite of anything they did. It just was. Simply because they existed.
I was deeply aware in that moment that God had been with every single one of us every single moment of our lives. Always a loving presence as real as our breath.
I’m not always good at sabbath rest. Sometimes I think the things I am involved in are more important. Sometimes the to do list is overwhelming.
But I can understand the importance of rest. Sabbath says I am not God. Sabbath says God is enough.
As I wrestle with living out God’s the prayer “thy Kingdom come,” I always come back to the realization that I do not have to earn God’s love.
I don’t serve others because I’m trying to win some celestial prize. I love because I was first loved. I serve because I was first served.
I rest because I am completely and utterly human.
(See the rest of the 31 Days of Kingdom Living here)
If this Monday finds a full week ahead colliding with your finite limitations,
May you have the grace to stop and see the light falling just so across the whirling days.
May the messiness remind you of the wise man that once said: Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests. (Prov. 14:4)
And may a messy home be a sign, not of failure, but of a life well lived.
For now, just pictures. Words later.
May the scales fall from our eyes this week so that we may truly see.
That the Kingdom of heaven is right here in the bewilderment of our days. Not in the fictitious immaculate ways we think our life should behave.
May we be reminded that in the dance of repentance, our failures become gifts in the hands of a Loving God.
Compassion and gentleness are born not of perfection but in shared humanity.
When we think of Jesus’ call to childlike faith, may we remember that childhood contains wonder, whimsy and beauty.
But it also contains emotional outbursts, selfish moments and mess upon mess. And a child who is left alone for three minutes might color across white toy shelves.
Or tear apart the vacuum and dump the contents everywhere. At which point they might decide to smear their hummus all over it. (Just to give a hypothetical example).
May we remain humble and open to the constant unraveling of the answers we thought we knew. And may the questions lead us closer to the spaciousness of God.
Every step across of this calendar week, may grace and peace be yours in abundance.
His bright glory fills the whole earth…
(Isaiah 6:3– The Message)