We had a great retreat! We focused on restorative justice in our context. The wonderful people of Seattle Restorative Justice led our small but mighty group through many exercises. I think I might just have to get my facilitator certification. But then, when I was ready to get back online, I got back to power outages in Seattle. So one more day of "off-line" it was!
Today's practice is inspired with music by Stevie Wonder, a poem from William Blake, and wisdom from Brené Brown along with scripture from several traditions. I have also been reading the devotional from Reconciling Ministries Network. Today, Daniel Crusius asks us what we dream of.
"Do you dream of a day that undocumented immigrants will have full healthcare and protection under the law? Do you dream that transgender prisoners will receive the care they need and are free from violence and harassment? Do you dream of a day that foreign aid is increased to end global poverty, disease, and the water crisis? Do you dream of a day when it is safe to be black? Do you dream of a day that our Palestinian brothers and sisters and siblings are equal to our beloved sisters, brothers, and siblings in Israel?"
Sometimes, dreaming seems so hard. I have seen more than one of my friends expressing how tired they are of holding the bar of compassion, mercy, and justice. It is as if their soul is crying out, "How long?"
It's a fair question. How much longer must we confront evil and injustice in all its isms? Racism, sexism, genderism, ableism, heterosexism, all the isms. Whenever a "Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)" comes out, it puts us further behind! These RFRAs are simply codifying the ability for people religious to participate in isms. And I'm here to tell you, that religious texts can support all the isms in the world if you desire to interpret it that way. But that makes Love very small.
#itstime for Love. Let go of the isms. We all have them.
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBO: Breath In, Breath Out--sigh
Love's in Need of Love Today by Stevie Wonder
Send yours in right away
Hate's goin' round
Breaking many hearts
Stop it please
Before it's gone too far
Auguries of Innocence By William Blake (excerpt)
For full, typed-out scripture, follow this link
1 Kings 17:17-24
Quran Surah 2.178-185
Daily Buddhism Reading
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know!
“The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It's our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.” ― Brené Brown
For the oppressed and weary
Especially for #blacklivesmatter and
for the LGBTQIAP community.
For signs of despair and violence,
for the children in Peru being used to clean the oil spill in the Peruvian Amazon
for the horrific environmental damage being done to the Amazon
for the rivers in Lebanon full of rotting trash
for US victims of gun violence in the last 72 hours,
250 incidents, 76 killed, 175 injured
For signs of hope and peace,
for the freeing of two Australian journalists
for the passing of medical marijuana use in Virginia
for the move by Tesco to give all its unsold food to charities in the UK
for the discovery of a bacteria that can eat plastic bottles
For Myanmar and Thailand
For those who suffer, are homeless, or are sick
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.
"Amen" means "may it be so."
"May peace prevail on earth." is an addition inspired by Michael Dickel
BIBOLove is an addition attributed to the work of Soyinka Rahim, InterPlay practice, BIBOLove
1 King 17:17-24
Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text
17After a while, the son of the mistress of the house fell sick, and his illness grew worse, until he had no breath left in him. 18She said to Elijah, “What harm have I done you, O man of God, that you should come here to recall my sin and cause the death of my son?” 19“Give me the boy,” he said to her; and taking him from her arms, he carried him to the upper chamber where he was staying, and laid him down on his own bed. 20He cried out to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, will You bring calamity upon this widow whose guest I am, and let her son die?” 21Then he stretched out over the child three times, and cried out to the LORD, saying, “O LORD my God, let this child’s life return to his body!”
22The LORD heard Elijah’s plea; the child’s life returned to his body, and he revived. 23Elijah picked up the child and brought him down from the upper room into the main room, and gave him to his mother. “See,” said Elijah, “your son is alive.” 24And the woman answered Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD is truly in your mouth.”
The Voice version
7-8The Sunday night before our Monday departure, we gathered to celebrate the breaking of bread.
Imagine you are celebrating with them: We are in an upstairs room, with the gentle light and shadows cast by several lamps. Paul is carrying on an extended dialogue with the believers, taking advantage of every moment since we plan to leave at first light. The conversation stretches on until midnight. 9A young fellow named Eutychus, seeking some fresh air, moves to an open window. Paul keeps on talking. Eutychus perches in the open window itself. Paul keeps talking. Eutychus drifts off to sleep. Paul continues talking until Eutychus, now overcome by deep sleep, drops out of the window and falls three stories to the ground, where he is found dead. 10Paul joins us downstairs, bends over, and takes Eutychus in his arms.
Paul: It’s OK. He’s alive again.
11Then Paul goes back upstairs, celebrates the breaking of bread, and— just as you might guess— keeps on conversing until first light. Then he leaves. 12( I should add that Eutychus had been taken home long before, his friends more than a little relieved that the boy was alive!)
Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text
A psalm of David.
O LORD, hear my prayer;
give ear to my plea, as You are faithful;
answer me, as You are beneficent.
2Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
for before You no creature is in the right.
3My foe hounded me;
he crushed me to the ground;
he made me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
4My spirit failed within me;
my mind was numbed with horror.
5Then I thought of the days of old; I rehearsed all Your deeds,
recounted the work of Your hands.
6I stretched out my hands to You,
longing for You like thirsty earth. Selah.
7Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit can endure no more. Do not hide Your face from me,
or I shall become like those who descend into the Pit.
8Let me learn of Your faithfulness by daybreak,
for in You I trust;
let me know the road I must take,
for on You I have set my hope. 9Save me from my foes, O LORD;
to You I look for cover. 10Teach me to do Your will,
for You are my God. Let Your gracious spirit lead me
on level ground. 11For the sake of Your name, O LORD, preserve me;
as You are beneficent, free me from distress.
12As You are faithful, put an end to my foes;
destroy all my mortal enemies,
for I am Your servant.
Quran Surah 2.186-194
Quran: A Simple English Translation
186 When My servants ask you about Me, say that I am near. I respond to the call of one who calls, whenever he calls to Me: let them, then, respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be rightly guided.
187 It has been made lawful for you to go to your wives on the night of the fast: they are like a garment for you, and you are like a garment for them. God is aware that you were deceiving yourselves and He has turned in mercy towards you and pardoned you. So you may now consort with them and seek what God has ordained for you. Eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct from the black. Then resume the fast until nightfall, and do not approach them during the nights of your devotional retreat in the mosques. These are the limits set by God, so do not approach them. Thus He makes clear His commandments to mankind, so that they may guard themselves [against evil]. l
188 Do not consume one another’s property by unjust means, nor offer it as a bribe to the authorities, so that you may deliberately and wrongfully devour a part of other people’s wealth.
189 They ask you about the phases of the moon. Say, ‘They are a means of determining time for the regulation of people’s affairs and for the pilgrimage.’ Piety does not consist in entering your houses from the rear. Indeed, one who guards himself against evil out of fear of God is the truly righteous one. Enter your houses by their doors and be mindful of God, so that you may prosper.
190 And fight in God’s cause against those who wage war against you, but do not commit aggression— for surely, God does not love aggressors.
191 Slay them wherever you find them [those who fight against you]; m drive them out of the places from which they drove you, for [religious] persecution is worse than killing. Do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque unless they fight you there. If they do fight you, slay them— such is the reward for those who deny the truth— 192 but if they desist, then surely God is most forgiving and merciful.
193 Fight them until there is no more fitna [religious persecution] and religion belongs to God alone. If they desist, then let there be no hostility, except towards aggressors.
194 A sacred month for a sacred month: violation of sanctity calls for fair retribution. Thus you may exact retribution from whoever transgresses against you, in proportion to his transgression. Fear God and know that God is with those who are mindful of Him.
Commentary from Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
The Quran was revealed over a 23 year period and, evidently, many commandments were revealed with reference to specific situations, such as when the Prophet and his followers had been assailed by enemies. Certain verses, such as this one, give permission to fight. Many take these verses to mean that the Prophet and his Companions were commanded to wage war against non-Muslims. But the Prophet never engaged in armed aggression. Whenever he fought, it was purely in self-defence. (The Prophet engaged in combat only three times in his lifetime and that too for half a day on each occasion.). These verses obviously use words such as ‘jihad’, ‘fight’, etc., as expressions of emphasis rather than legal commands, otherwise the Prophet would certainly have gone on the offensive.
Such commandments can also be found in other religious scriptures, such as the Gita and the Bible. For example, Krishna tells Arjuna in the Mahabharata to go ahead and fight (Bhagavad Gita, 3: 30). Similarly, Jesus says in the Bible, ‘I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.’ (Matthew, 10: 34). But these statements were made in quite specific circumstances.
The Quran emphasizes that permission to fight is given only to those under attack war is permissible. Guerilla warfare, aggressive attacks, undeclared war, including terrorism and suicide bombings, are all strictly unlawful in Islam and negate the true teachings of the Quran and the Hadith, which are based on peace and non-violence.
Daily Buddhism Reading
Then Arjuna, looking at the battle ranks of Dhritarashtra’s men, raised his bow as the weapons were about to clash, and said to Krishna, “Drive my chariot and stop between the two armies, so that I can see these warriors whom I am about to fight, drawn up and eager for battle. I want to look at the men gathered here ready to do battle service for Dhritarashtra’s evil-minded son.”
After Arjuna had spoken, Krishna drove the splendid chariot and brought it to a halt midway between the two armies. Facing Bhishma, Drona, and the other great kings, he said: “Look, Arjuna. From here you can see all the Kurus who are gathered to do battle.”
Arjuna saw them standing there: fathers, grandfathers, teachers, uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, fathers-in-law, and friends, kinsmen on both sides, each side arrayed against
“As I see my own kinsmen, gathered here, eager to fight, my legs weaken, my mouth dries, my body trembles, my hair stands on end, my skin burns, the bow Gandiva drops from my hand, I am beside myself, my mind reels. I see evil omens, Krishna; no good can come from killing my own kinsmen in battle. I have no desire for victory or for the pleasures of kingship. What good is kingship, or happiness, or life itself, when those for whose sake we desire them— teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law, and other kinsmen— stand here in battle ranks, ready to give up their fortunes and their lives? Though they want to kill me, I have no desire to kill them, not even for the kingship of the three worlds, let alone for that of the earth. What joy would we have in killing Dhritarashtra’s men? Evil will cling to us if we kill them, even though they are the aggressors. And it would be unworthy of us to kill our own kinsmen. How could we be happy if we did? Because their minds are overpowered by greed, they see no harm in destroying the family, no crime in treachery to friends. But we should know better, Krishna: clearly seeing the harm caused by the destruction of the family, we should turn back from this evil. When the family is destroyed, the ancient laws of family duty cease; when law ceases, lawlessness overwhelms the family; when lawlessness overwhelms the women of the family, they become corrupted; when women are corrupted, the intermixture of castes is the inevitable result. Intermixture of castes drags down to hell both those who destroy the family and the family itself; the spirits of the ancestors fall, deprived of their offerings of rice and water. Such are the evils caused by those who destroy the family: because of the intermixture of castes, caste duties are obliterated and the permanent duties of the family as well. We have often heard, Krishna, that men whose family duties have been obliterated must live in hell forever. Alas! We are about to commit a great evil by killing our own kinsmen, because of our greed for the pleasures of kingship. It would be better if Dhritarashtra’s men killed me in battle, unarmed and unresisting.” [1.32– 43]
[1.43– 47] Having spoken these words, Arjuna sank down into the chariot and dropped his arrows and bow, his mind heavy with grief.