There are some days that when I open the newspaper, my head feels like it will explode. Today was such a day. The big headline as soon as I went to the newspaper (BBC) was "Brussels attacks kill at least 31. In huge white font with a thick black background. Like it was screaming at me. Well, I admit that a few, choice words slipped loose from my lips. Then, I was so thankful for the practice I have built. I had inadvertently built a theme of transcending the desecration of hope. Even the scripture readings from all the traditions seemed to lend themselves towards a reading of hopeful transcendence. And so it is. We do need to transcend our divisive natures and reach towards a sort of unified diversity.
Then I found the last news article I read for today. It was so cute. A couple, the Knox's, sent a blast text out announcing the birth of their child. One receiver was a wrong number. Dennis Williams replied saying, "Wrong number, sorry!" The couple replied by texting a photo of their baby. Dennis, who had never heard heard of the Knox's, decided to put together a baby care package and show up to celebrate the baby.
Now that is hope. That is putting down division. That is stepping up into creating new community. It may not wipe out the primal scream of the newspaper headline, but it is healing.
Today's practice is inspired with music by K'naan, a poem from Ralph Waldo Emerson, and sacred wisdom from Margaret Fuller along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Bhagavad Gita. The photo is mine.
I have also been reading the devotional from Reconciling Ministries Network. Today, Denise Donnell summarizes the way new conversations happen today:
"It doesn’t take long [after a conversation starts], however, to realize that in many instances, the other party is only asking questions to determine in which category I should be placed. He has already summed up parts of me based on my physical appearance. Now he is listening for more information that will help him affix a label. I don’t take it personally. Lots of people do it. It’s a by-product of the social climate in the world in which we live."
In our divisiveness, we label one another with categories that just don't really have ultimate concern. She writes, "Black. Woman. Fat. Ugly. Gay. Poor. Angry. Lesbian. Illiterate. Homeless. Unemployed. Prisoner. Transgender. Aggressive. Lazy. Thug." I would add, Conservative. Liberal.
What if our ultimate concern was carrying hope? Carrying it together? And when times were tough, carrying hope for each other? Let me hold hope for you when the world seems hopeless.
#itstime to move beyond labels and to carry hope.
PS: A bit of information about the song Wavin' Flag from K'naan (excerpted from Cambio):
The song was originally written for Somalia and K'naan's aspirations of its people for freedom. The lyrics are truly inspirational and represent the plight of the people of Somalia. The tune carries such an uplifting message of hope, while still reminding the listener that things desperately need to change.
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBO: Breath In, Breath Out--shhh
Wavin' Flag by K'naan
So we strugglin'
Fightin' to eat
And we wonderin'
When we'll be free
So we patiently wait
For that fateful day
It's not far away,
But for now we say:
Give me freedom, give me fire, give me reason, take me higher
See the champions, take the field now, you define us, make us feel proud
Thanks to the morning light,
Thanks to the seething sea,
To the uplands of New Hampshire,
To the green-haired forest free;
Thanks to each man of courage,
To the maids of holy mind,
To the boy with his games undaunted,
Who never looks behind.
Cities of proud hotels,
Houses of rich and great,
Vice nestles in your chambers,
Beneath your roofs of slate.
It cannot conquer folly,
And the light-outspeeding telegraph
Bears nothing on its beam.
The politics are base,
The letters do not cheer,
And ’tis far in the deeps of history—
The voice that speaketh clear.
Trade and the streets ensnare us,
Our bodies are weak and worn,
We plot and corrupt each other,
And we despoil the unborn.
Yet there in the parlor sits
Some figure of noble guise,
Our angel in a stranger’s form,
Or woman’s pleading eyes;
Or only a flashing sunbeam
In at the window pane;
Or music pours on mortals
Its beautiful disdain.
The inevitable morning
Finds them who in cellars be,
And be sure the all-loving Nature
Will smile in a factory.
Yon ridge of purple landscape,
Yon sky between the walls,
Hold all the hidden wonders
In scanty intervals.
Alas, the sprite that haunts us
Deceives our rash desire,
It whispers of the glorious gods,
And leaves us in the mire:
We cannot learn the cipher
That’s writ upon our cell,
Stars help us by a mystery
Which we could never spell.
Finish reading the poem here
–Ralph Waldo Emerson, The World-Soul first published in Poems (1847), contained in:Complete Works, vol. 9, pp. 30-33 (Riverside ed. 1910)
For full, typed-out scripture, follow this link
I Corinthians 1:18-31
Qur'an Surah 2.234-242
Bhagavad Gita 2.38-42
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.
“Reverence the highest, have patience with the lowest. Let this day's performance of the meanest duty be thy religion. Are the stars too distant, pick up the pebble that lies at thy feet, and from it learn the all.”― Margaret Fuller
For the oppressed and weary
Especially for #blacklivesmatter and
for the LGBTQIAP community.
For signs of despair and violence,
for those in Brussels affected by the attack
for those in Nigeria affected by the withholding of $25 billion
for Jia Jia, a Chinese journalist who was detained
for US victims of gun violence in the last 72 hours,
232 incidents, 86 killed, 154 injured
For signs of hope and peace,
for the work of Soni Sori, a peace activist and acid burn survivor
for redoubling of efforts towards peace between FARC and Columbia
for Rolof Mulder, building hospitals in shipping containers
for Mars, General Mills, and Campbell's as they move to GMO labeling
For Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam
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
Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text
17Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt—18how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on the march, when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the stragglers in your rear. 19Therefore, when the LORD your God grants you safety from all your enemies around you, in the land that the LORD your God is giving you as a hereditary portion, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!
Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text
I seek refuge in You, O LORD;
may I never be disappointed.
2As You are beneficent, save me and rescue me;
incline Your ear to me and deliver me.
3Be a sheltering rock for me to which I may always repair;
decree my deliverance,
for You are my rock and my fortress.
4My God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and the lawless.
5For You are my hope, O Lord God,
my trust from my youth.
6While yet unborn, I depended on You;
in the womb of my mother, You were my support;
I sing Your praises always.
7I have become an example for many,
since You are my mighty refuge.
8My mouth is full of praise to You,
glorifying You all day long.
9Do not cast me off in old age;
when my strength fails, do not forsake me!
10For my enemies talk against me;
those who wait for me are of one mind,
11saying, “God has forsaken him;
chase him and catch him,
for no one will save him!”
12O God, be not far from me;
my God, hasten to my aid!
13Let my accusers perish in frustration;
let those who seek my ruin be clothed in reproach and disgrace!
14As for me, I will hope always,
and add to the many praises of You.
I Corinthians 1:18-31
The Voice version
18For people who are stumbling toward ruin, the message of the cross is nothing but a tall tale for fools by a fool. But for those of us who are already experiencing the reality of being rescued and made right, it is nothing short of God’s power. 19This is why the Scripture says:
I will put an end to the wisdom of the so-called wise,
and I will invalidate the insight of your so-called experts.
20So now, where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the skilled debater, the best of your time? Step up, if you dare. Hasn’t God made fools out of those who count on the wisdom of this rebellious, broken world? 21For in God’s deep wisdom, He made it so that the world could not even begin to comprehend Him through its own style of wisdom; in fact, God took immense pleasure in rescuing people of faith through the foolishness of the message we preach. 22It seems the Jews are always asking for signs and the Greeks are always on the prowl for wisdom. 23But we tell a different story. We proclaim a crucified Jesus, God’s Anointed. For Jews this is scandalous, for outsiders this is moronic, 24but for those of us living out God’s call— regardless of our Jewish or Greek heritage— we know the Anointed embodies God’s dynamic power and God’s deep wisdom. 25You can count on this: God’s foolishness will always be wiser than mere human wisdom, and God’s weakness will always be stronger than mere human strength.
26Look carefully at your call, brothers and sisters. By human standards, not many of you are deemed to be wise. Not many are considered powerful. Not many of you come from royalty, right? 27But celebrate this: God selected the world’s foolish to bring shame upon those who think they are wise; likewise, He selected the world’s weak to bring disgrace upon those who think they are strong. 28God selected the common and the castoff, whatever lacks status, so He could invalidate the claims of those who think those things are significant. 29So it makes no sense for any person to boast in God’s presence. 30Instead, credit God with your new situation: you are united with Jesus the Anointed. He is God’s wisdom for us and more. He is our righteousness and holiness and redemption. 31As the Scripture says: “If someone wants to boast, he should boast in the Lord.”
Quran Surah 2.234-242
Quran: A Simple English Translation
234 If any of you die and leave widows, the widows should wait for four months and ten days. When they have reached the end of their waiting period you will not be blamed for what they may reasonably choose to do with themselves: God is aware of what you do.
235 It shall be no offence for you to hint at a proposal of marriage [to divorced or widowed women] or to cherish them in your hearts. God knows that you will bear them in mind. But do not enter into any secret arrangement with them, beyond conveying some indication to them of your inclination. Do not proceed with tying the marriage-knot before the end of their waiting period. Know that God has knowledge of all your thoughts. Therefore, take heed and bear in mind that God is forgiving and forbearing.
236 You will not be blamed [for not paying the dower money] if you divorce women when you have not yet consummated the marriage or fixed a dower money upon them, but make fair provision for them, the affluent according to his means and the straitened according to his means; this is binding on righteous men.
237 If you divorce them before the marriage is consummated, but after their dower money has been settled, give them the half of their dower money, unless they [the women] agree to forego it, or the man [the husband] in whose hand lies the marriage knot foregoes it. To forego is nearer to righteousness. Do not neglect any chance of behaving benevolently towards each other. God is observant of whatever you do.
238 Be ever mindful of prayers, especially the middle prayer; and stand up before God in submissive devotion. 239 When you are exposed to danger, pray on foot or while riding; when you are safe again, remember God, for He has taught you what you did not know.
240 If any of you die and leave widows, make a bequest for them of a year’s maintenance without causing them to leave their homes; but if they leave of their own accord, you will not be blamed for what they may reasonably choose to do with themselves. God is almighty and wise.
241 For divorced women a provision according to what is fair shall also be made. This is an obligation binding on the righteous.
242 Thus God makes His commandments clear to you, so that you may understand.
Daily Buddhism Reading
Indifferent to gain or loss,
to victory or defeat,
prepare yourself for the battle
and do not succumb to sin.
This is philosophy’s wisdom;
now hear the wisdom of yoga.
Armed with this understanding,
you will shatter your karmic bonds.
On this path no effort is wasted,
no gain is ever reversed;
even a little of this practice
will shelter you from great sorrow.
is single-pointed, Arjuna;
but the thoughts of the irresolute
are many-branched and endless.
Foolish men talk of religion
in cheap, sentimental words,
leaning on the scriptures:
“God speaks here, and speaks here alone.”