Thursday, February 21, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Every year this mysterious incident takes place as residents of the capitol city wake up on Valentine's Day to a blizzard of hearts posted throughout the town. Many of the hearts were still visible on Saturday. To learn more about this unusual tradition click here. We drove home in a light rain and 50 degrees. We leave later this week for Florida and 80 degrees. How wonderful to be able to experience such extremes within a week.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Today marks the beginning of the Lenten Journey for me and all those who are struggling to walk with Jesus in this life. Prayer is an important element in this journey and the above story is a reminder that the practice of prayer is more important then the words of prayer. To listen is to focus on the other without distraction and to be prepared to respond to what is being heard. Mother Theresa's words are a reminder that the Divine is as interested in focusing on us as we are in focusing on the Divine. Prayer is the act of being present, available, open, and sensitive to God's Spirit. Isn't this attitude essential to the growth of any relationship? Going for a walk with my spouse of 40 years is a joy not because of what we might say during the activity but because we are walking together, breathing the same air, seeing the same sights, and enjoying the presence of the other. This is similar to what happens in the act of prayer.
Now I am not saying that words are not important but that they follow the act of listening not proceed it. Achieving an attitude of receptiveness is foundational to the prayerfull conversation. Without that foundation prayer becomes a list of wishes and wants. Glenn Liebman writes in today's Albany times Union; "There will be a lot of theories why the Giants won the Super Bowl, but I will let you in on the real secret. Two hours before the game, I took my son and his friend to the Giants' practice field at UAlbany and both said a prayer for the Giants." While I am thankful for the Giants' victory I don't believe it was because of divine intervention. These kind of prayers treat God as Santa Clause and we are terribly disappointed when our wishes are not granted.
Even answered prayer can fall far short of delivering the results that we want. I am reminded of the story of the four Rabbi who had a weekly theological discussion in which three of the Rabbi would gang up on the one and try to convince hin that they were right. One day the odd man out got so frustrated that he prayed out loud, "God, if I am right, send a sign to convince my collegues." Immediately, on this clear day, a cloud formed blocking the sun and there was a single boom of thunder. Then the cloud disappaited as quickly as it had formed. The three Rabbi remarked that it was simply a weather phenomena and didn't prove anything. So the other Rabbi prayed again, "Lord, if I am right please send another sign." No sooner were the words out of his mouth then the sky became completely covered with storm clouds, there is a boom of thunder and one lightening strike. The three Rabbi responded in disbelief. "Why even this could be explained by natural laws. It doesn't prove anything." The other Rabbi was about to send out another prayer pleading for a bigger sign when a voice boomed out of the heavens. "Hey, he's right!" After a moment of stunned silence the three Rabbi turned to the other and said; "So, now the vote is three to one."
Author Anne Lamont suggests three kinds of prayer. "Help me! Help me!, Thank You! Thank You!, and Wow!" I like prayers that our honest like this one by Richard J. Foster;
Monday, February 04, 2008
Super: over and above, extra, exceeding in intensity, surpassing all or most others of its' kind
However you define it, this Super Bowl win by the Giants was Super! I have been a loyal and devoted Giants fan since age 10, that's over half a century. I can remember cheering quarterback Y.A. Tittle for his courage under pressure.
Friday, February 01, 2008
Imagine if the spiritual people, the dream keepers of the sacred, archetypal stories that arise from our collective unconscious, were to embrace one another and celebrate the ancient beauty of our various traditions. Imagine if we spiritual people held hands across the world and called for peace instead of causing religious wars, which is what we are doing right now.
If that were to happen, the people of our world might see us differently. They might see the beauty and necessity of caring for our myths and traditions. Even brother and sister scientist would celebrate our ancient stories which are, after all, our earliest attempts to understand the world around us.
Peace would be our hallmark, and we would preach that it is the birthright of everyone born on this planet. And we would be set free to pursue truth in all of its wondrous forms.
Wouldn’t that be amazing?
You can read this essay in its entirety by clicking here.
The above peaceful image is from late October on a secluded Adirondack Lake.