Waking up to pain is relentless. If I could name one thing in this life I am tired of, it is pain. Every now and then, I have a completely full pain-free day and I am amazed at the freedom and internal joy that can bubble up. That is not to say that I cannot have freedom and joy on days that are pain-full, but that it just has a little bit longer journey. There really isn't anything that can be done but to journey onward. And so I do. And so do so many.
Pain comes in many forms. Physical pain. Emotional pain. Spiritual pain. There is truth to the idea that "all life is suffering." Now, in Buddhism, the idea is that suffering happens because of attachment to desire. That does happen. Suffering also just happens. Because of physical ailments or other things within or beyond people's control.
A big part of the suffering of the world is that we do not know how to respond to the suffering of others.
We see it all.
My pain witnessed here.
The homeless we walk past.
The hurting souls with sorrowful eyes.
Images and cries from Aleppo.
The people of Mother Emmanuel in Charleston.
Those people shot and killed unfairly.
Those people removed from airplanes for speaking Arabic.
Those kids in detention whose lives are unspeakable.
The news, Facebook, Twitter, every social media feed, seems to be filled with those who are suffering. And we have no good response to suffering. Somehow, we have got it twisted.
They deserve it.
If they didn't speak their language.
If they made better choices.
If they only were on a diet.
They should have left earlier.
We stand outside the system and protest. The system must change! Then the suffering will cease. Will it?
Part of the suffering is the dehumanization of it all. A change in a system will not allow you to see me better. That is a change that only you can make.
A change in the system will not allow me to see you better. That is a change that only I can make.
Ultimately, if we all make that change, we will change the system. But the change starts within.
How will you change today?
Today's practice brings music from Audrey Assad, a poem from Lynn Unger, and a sacred quote from Rumi. This is followed by readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Buddhist tradition. And as always, we have our BIBOLOVE practice from Soyinka Rahim. (BIBO = Breathe In, Breathe Out). Our prayers for this week focus on Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, and Togo.
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--shhhh
I Heard the Bells by Audrey Assad
by Lynn Unger 12.20.16
Let’s be clear about this:
It isn’t the same as being sick
and getting better. It isn’t
changing your mind at the last minute
or pushing away from the brink.
The only way to be born again
is to die. The Phoenix doesn’t just
go up in a blaze of glory. It
feels the fire lick up and sizzle
every feather, until each quill becomes
a column of flame carried straight to the core.
Whatever the legend of re-birth, there is always
time in the fire, under the ground,
hanging on the cross or the tree.
Don’t skip over that part of the story.
If you would be reborn, you have to die.
But what then? After the dying
how are we to rise again into new life?
The earth, the hero, the god, you and I—
how does any of us find our way back
from the Valley of the Shadow?
The same way we die:
Walk into the light.
Curated from Facebook
Jewish Daily Reading: Daily Study from Chabad
Christian Daily Reading: Revised Common Lectionary Daily Reading
Muslim Daily Reading: Daily Verse from The Only Quran
Buddhist Daily Reading: Daily Zen
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know!
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi
Weekly prayer focus comes from the World Council of Churches prayer cycle. We know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. We focus on one set of countries per week with the same prayer, lifting them up.
Focus countries: Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo
Let us pray.
We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while decrying the desecration of hope.
For signs of hope and peace, we pray for
- Faith community workers for their mission endeavors.
- Those who search for ways to provide clean water.
- The education ministry of faith communities.
- Coffee and cacao, palm groves and coconut, yams and peanuts.
- The indigenous woven cloth and work in bronze.
For the oppressed and weary, we pray for
- Peace, unity, and political and economic stability throughout the region.
- Unemployed young people.
- The many people in these countries who live in desperate poverty, and efforts to create better living conditions.
- Healthcare workers who provide medical help and education to those living with HIV and AIDS.
- Children who are trafficked for cheap labor or otherwise exploited.
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to
For the transformation from ME to WE
Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.
May Peace Prevail on Earth. Amen. So mote it be.