This day, I am leading an "art play day" in detention. It is for a purpose--The International Prisoner's Family Conference is having an art show at their May conference. Somehow, I convinced the administration at KCJDC and the conference that they should allow youth to enter art into the show. Normally, the conference art contest is open to adult prisoners and families of adult prisoners. When I saw that, I was like, "Whoa! No fair!" We have 70,000 youth that are incarcerated across the US and they can't even enter an art contest? Pfft." Fixed that problem.
Today's practice is inspired with music titled James Brown, a blessing from John O'Donohue, and sacred wisdom from Albert Camus along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Bhagavad Gita. The photo is by Andreas Klodt. I also decided that I'm not up to the news this morning, so I'm going to double down on John O'Donohue and offer one of his beautiful morning prayers.
I have also been reading the devotional from Reconciling Ministries Network. Today, Rhys Caraway cries out for churches not of condemnation but for sanctuaries of love. The attempted suicide rate among the transgender community is upwards of 40%. This astronomical. And among the specific female to male population, it is 48%. Almost half. But a recent study was done that shows that if families, schools, and churches support and accept their transgender youth, these rates plummet. I don't think we could expect anything else from a sanctuary: a safe place where you are supported and accepted. And sanctuary should be the norm, not the exception. It is literally a matter of life and death.
#itstime to become sanctuary for the most vulnerable among us.
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBO: Breath In, Breath Out--sigh
Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved by James Brown
Wait, wait, wait, wait
You better become a
Part of the call
You gotta have patience
Or you won't be called
You gotta have patience or
You don't have the call
For an Exile by John O'Donohue
When you dream, it is always home.
You are there among your own,
The rhythm of their voices rising like song
Your blood would sing through any dark.
Then you awake to find yourself listening
To the sounds of the traffic in another land.
For a moment your whole body recoils
At the strange emptiness of where you are.
This country is cold to your voice.
It is still a place without echoes.
Nothing of yours has happened here.
No one knows you,
The language slows you,
The thick accent smothers your presence.
You sound foreign to yourself;
Their eyes reflect how strange you seem
When seen across a cold distance
That has no bridge to carry
The charisma in which you friends
Delight at home.
Though your work here is hard,
It brings relief, helps your mind
In returning to the small
Bounties of your absence.
Evening is without protection;
Your room waits,
Ready to take you
Back like some convict
Who is afraid
Of the life outside.
The things you brought from home
Look back at you; out of place here
They take on a lonely power.
You cringe at the thought
That someone from home
Might see you now here,
In this unsheltered room.
Now is the time to hold faithful
To your dream, to understand
That this is an interim time
Full of awkward disconnection.
Gradually you will come to find
Your way to friends who will open
Doors into a new belonging.
Your heart will brighten
With new discovery,
Your presence will unclench
And find ease,
Letting your substance
And promise be seen.
Slowly a new world will open for you.
The eyes of your heart, refined
By this desert time, will be free
To see and celebrate the new life
For which you sacrificed everything.
For full, typed-out scripture, follow this link
Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16
Qur'an Surah 2.256-260
Bhagavad Gita 2.53-61
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know! The readings are from the Jewish Lectionary, the Christian Lectionary, and reading the Qur'an and Bhagavad Gita straight through.
“We all carry within us places of exile, our crimes, our ravages. Our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to transform them in ourselves and others.”
― Albert Camus
Matins by John O'Donohue
Somewhere, out at the edges, the night
Is turning and the waves of darkness
Begin to brighten the shore of dawn
The heavy dark falls back to earth
And the freed air goes wild with light,
The heart fills with fresh, bright breath
And thoughts stir to give birth to color.
I arise today
In the name of Silence
Womb of the Word,
In the name of Stillness
Home of Belonging,
In the name of the Solitude
Of the Soul and the Earth.
I arise today
Blessed by all things,
Wings of breath,
Delight of eyes,
Wonder of whisper,
Intimacy of touch,
Eternity of soul,
Urgency of thought,
Miracle of health,
Embrace of God.
May I live this day
Compassionate of heart,
Clear in word,
Gracious in awareness,
Courageous in thought,
Generous in love.
O'Donohue, John (2008-03-04). To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings (p. 7). Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. Kindle Edition.
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
Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
2Command Aaron and his sons thus: This is the ritual of the burnt offering: The burnt offering itself shall remain where it is burned upon the altar all night until morning, while the fire on the altar is kept going on it. 3The priest shall dress in linen raiment, with linen breeches next to his body; and he shall take up the ashes to which the fire has reduced the burnt offering on the altar and place them beside the altar. 4He shall then take off his vestments and put on other vestments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place. 5The fire on the altar shall be kept burning, not to go out: every morning the priest shall feed wood to it, lay out the burnt offering on it, and turn into smoke the fat parts of the offerings of well-being.
6A perpetual fire shall be kept burning on the altar, not to go out. 7And this is the ritual of the meal offering: Aaron’s sons shall present it before the LORD, in front of the altar. 8A handful of the choice flour and oil of the meal offering shall be taken from it, with all the frankincense that is on the meal offering, and this token portion shall be turned into smoke on the altar as a pleasing odor to the LORD. 9What is left of it shall be eaten by Aaron and his sons; it shall be eaten as unleavened cakes, in the sacred precinct; they shall eat it in the enclosure of the Tent of Meeting. 10It shall not be baked with leaven; I have given it as their portion from My offerings by fire; it is most holy, like the sin offering and the guilt offering. 11Only the males among Aaron’s descendants may eat of it, as their due for all time throughout the ages from the LORD’s offerings by fire. Anything that touches these shall become holy.
Jewish Publication Society of America (2000-12-01). Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text (pp. 160-161). Jewish Publication Society. Kindle Edition.
Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16
The Voice version
1You are my shelter, O Eternal One— my soul’s sanctuary!
Shield me from shame;
rescue me by Your righteousness.
2Hear me, Lord! Turn Your ear in my direction.
Come quick! Save me!
Be my rock, my shelter,
my fortress of salvation!
3You are my rock and my fortress— my soul’s sanctuary!
Therefore, for the sake of Your reputation, be my leader, my guide, my navigator, my commander.
4Save me from the snare that has been secretly set out for me,
for You are my protection.
15I give the moments of my life over to You, Eternal One.
Rescue me from those who hate me and who hound me with their threats.
16Look toward me, and let Your face shine down upon Your servant.
Because of Your gracious love, save me!
Ecclesia Bible Society (2012-04-09). The Voice Bible, eBook: Step Into the Story of Scripture (p. 646). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
The Voice version
38After all this, Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple who kept his faith a secret for fear of the Jewish officials, made a request to Pilate for the body of Jesus. Pilate granted his request, and Joseph retrieved the body. 39Nicodemus, who first came to Jesus under the cloak of darkness, brought over 100 pounds of myrrh and ointments for His burial. 40Together, they took Jesus’ body and wrapped Him in linens soaked in essential oils and spices, according to Jewish burial customs.
41Near the place He was crucified, there was a garden with a newly prepared tomb. 42Because it was the day of preparation, they arranged to lay Jesus in this tomb so they could rest on the Sabbath.
Ecclesia Bible Society (2012-04-09). The Voice Bible, eBook: Step Into the Story of Scripture (p. 1321). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Quran Surah 2.256-260
Quran: A Simple English Translation
256 There shall be no compulsion in religion: true guidance has become distinct from error. But whoever refuses to be led by Satan and believes in God has grasped the strong handhold that will never break. God is all hearing and all knowing.
257 God is the patron of the faithful. He leads them from darkness to the light. As for those who deny the truth, their supporter is Satan, who brings them out of light into darkness. They are the heirs of the Fire, and there they will remain forever.
258 Have you not heard of him who argued with Abraham about his Lord because God had bestowed the kingdom upon him? Abraham said, ‘My Lord is the one who gives life and brings death.’ He answered, ‘I [too] give life and bring death!’ Abraham said, ‘God brings up the sun from the east, so bring it up yourself from the west.’ Then the disbeliever was confounded. God does not guide the wrongdoers.
259 Or of him who, when passing by a town the roofs of which had caved in, exclaimed, ‘How will God restore it to life after its destruction?’ Thereupon God caused him to die, and after a hundred years, brought him back to life. God asked, ‘How long have you remained in this state?’ He answered, ‘I have remained a day or part of a day.’ God said, ‘No, you have remained in this state for a hundred years. Now look at your food and your drink; they have not rotted. Look at your ass. We will make you a sign to mankind. Look at the bones— how We set them together, then clothe them with flesh!’ When it had all become clear to him, he said, ‘Now I know that God has power over all things.’
260 When Abraham said, ‘Show me, my Lord, how You revive the dead!’ God said, ‘Do you not believe?’ Abraham answered, ‘Yes, indeed I do believe, but just to reassure my heart.’ Then God said, ‘Take four birds, and train them to come back to you. Then place them separately on each hilltop, and call them: they will come flying to you. Know that God is almighty and wise.’
Khan, Maulana Wahiduddin; Goodword (2013-12-11). Quran: A Simple English Translation (Goodword ! Koran) (Kindle Locations 781-796). Goodword Books. Kindle Edition.
Indifferent to scriptures,
your mind stands by itself, unmoving,
absorbed in deep meditation.
This is the essence of yoga.
How would you describe the man
whose wisdom is steadfast, Krishna?
How does the wise man speak?
How does he sit, stand, walk?
When a man gives up all desires
that emerge from the mind, and rests
contented in the Self by the Self,
he is called a man of firm wisdom.
He whose mind is untroubled
by any misfortune, whose craving
for pleasures has disappeared,
who is free from greed, fear, anger,
who is unattached to all things,
who neither grieves nor rejoices
if good or if bad things happen—
that man is a man of firm wisdom.
Having drawn back all his senses
from the objects of sense, as a tortoise
draws back into its shell,
that man is a man of firm wisdom.
Sense-objects fade for the abstinent,
yet the craving for them continues;
but even the craving vanishes
for someone who has seen the truth.
At first, although he continually
tries to subdue them, the turbulent
senses tear at his mind
and violently carry it away.
Restraining the senses, disciplined,
he should focus his whole mind on me;
when the senses are in his control,
that man is a man of firm wisdom.
Mitchell, Stephen (2007-12-18). Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation (Kindle Locations 443-446). Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. Kindle Edition.