Usually, when I awaken, the only one up is me. But the last few days have led to me sleeping later than normal and my young adult children have risen! Alleluia! (They have risen indeed!) It is nice to see them as they prepare for their day and I prepare for mine. Sharing concerns and interests.
The rising concerns are the soon to start college session, building community, schedules, and jobs. Along with a special concern for mental illness and homelessness among my youngsters. The apple really does not fall far from the tree. Although their approaches are different. I am proud of both of them simply for who they are.
That is sort of what happens in my work with incarcerated youth. I have a generalized love for each young person I encounter based on something bigger than my own concerns. I don't know how it happens. I blame God! Of course, for people whom God is not a thing, then maybe it is the interconnectedness of all things that pulls me towards connection with the lost, the least, and the lonely. It is this that gives me eyes to see the suffering and ears to see the rampant institutionalized racism.
Combating systemic racism means that we need to look at the end results of practices with clear eyes and see that even though white and black use drugs at the same rates, black people are arrested at a much higher rate. Why? And even though white youth and black youth sit before judges with the same charges, more black youth are "declined" or treated as adults in the court system. And on, and on. The decision points within the justice system fall against youth of color time and time again whereas they support white youth at a higher rate. We have to be honest with ourselves and look at the results. Then look at fixing it, one step at a time. If you want to know what you can do in your local community, please contact me. I'm happy to enter into dialogue about what individuals and systems can do to interrupt this injustice.
Today's practice is inspired with music titled I Have Friends in Holy Spaces by Panic! At the Disco, a poem from Jenny on Befriending the Stranger, and sacred wisdom from Maya Angelou along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Bhagavad Gita. The photo is mine--a little stranger that visited me one day.
I have also been reading the devotional from Reconciling Ministries Network. Today, Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy reminds us that today is Good Friday, the day Jesus cried out, "Eli Eli lama sabachthani?" or rather, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" She further reminds me that those who have suffered, are in this position of crying out. Forsaken.
I wonder when we will hear the cries? When will we act with compassion? It can be overwhelming to think of the magnitude of horror in today's world. We hear it from everywhere. Forsaken. Syria. Nigeria. Ukraine. Alabama. North Carolina. India. Belgium. What are the things that can be done, today, to spread peace, nonviolence, and compassion?
#itstime to hear the cries so that not one more person is forsaken.
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBO: Breath In, Breath Out--shhh
I Have Friends in Holy Spaces by Panic at the Disco
You remind me of a few of my famous friends
Well, that all depends what you qualify as friends
You remind me of a few of my famous friends
Well, that all depends what you qualify as friends
On Befriending the Stranger by Jenny
It takes courage to befriend the stranger—
both in and out of the promised land.
For a meeting supplies the gift of friendship
which may not be returned to you.
Despite the sad fact that a favor
is not always returned by the receiver—
it’s part of what sanctifies giving:
for true giving is from the heart
and not calculating self-interest.
Yes, love from within is exercised without.
Think: when Abraham invited God into his tent
he thought he was inviting a mere stranger.
Love the stranger. He comes from God.
For full, typed-out scripture, follow this link
Qur'an Surah 2.249-255
Bhagavad Gita 2.48-52
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.
“A friend may be waiting behind a stranger's face.”
― Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter
For the oppressed and weary
Especially for #blacklivesmatter and
for the LGBTQIAP community.
For signs of despair and violence,
for the 25 women kidnapped by Boko Haram in Kano, Nigeria
for those affected by the change in law in North Carolina that targets transgender people
for the kidnapping of a priest from India by IS and the rumored upcoming execution
for US victims of gun violence in the last 72 hours,
260 incidents, 68 killed, 141 injured
For signs of hope and peace,
for the musicians in Côte d'Ivoire responding to al Qaeda in a song titled "Not a Bit Afraid"
for the effort to create a new constitution for Syria
for The House of One in Berlin where Muslim, Christian, and Jewish people share one building
for artist Morehshin Allahyari who is using 3D printing to give life to artifacts destroyed by IS
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
Keep your mouth from being rash, and let not your throat be quick to bring forth speech before God. For God is in heaven and you are on earth; that is why your words should be few. 2Just as dreams come with much brooding, so does foolish utterance come with much speech. 3When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. For He has no pleasure in fools; what you vow, fulfill. 4It is better not to vow at all than to vow and not fulfill. 5Don’t let your mouth bring you into disfavor, and don’t plead before the messengerb that it was an error, but fear God; else God may be angered by your talk and destroy your possessions. 6dFor much dreaming leads to futility and to superfluous talk.
7If you see in a province oppression of the poor and suppression of right and justice, don’t wonder at the fact; for one high official is protected by a higher one, and both of them by still higher ones. 8Thus the greatest advantage in all the land is his: he controls a field that is cultivated.
9A lover of money never has his fill of money, nor a lover of wealth his fill of income. That too is futile. 10As his substance increases, so do those who consume it; what, then, does the success of its owner amount to but feasting his eyes? 11A worker’sf sleep is sweet, whether he has much or little to eat; but the rich man's abundance doesn’t let him sleep.
12Here is a grave evil I have observed under the sun: riches hoarded by their owner to his misfortune, 13in that those riches are lost in some unlucky venture; and if he begets a son, he has nothing in hand.
14Another grave evil is this: He must depart just as he came. As he came out of his mother's womb, so must he depart at last, naked as he came. He can take nothing of his wealth to carry with him. 15So what is the good of his toiling for the wind? 16Besides, all his days he eats in darkness, with much vexation and grief and anger.
17Only this, I have found, is a real good: that one should eat and drink and get pleasure with all the gains he makes under the sun, during the numbered days of life that God has given him; for that is his portion. 18Also, whenever a man is given riches and property by God, and is also permitted by Him to enjoy them and to take his portion and get pleasure for his gains—that is a gift of God. 19For [such a man] will not brood much over the days of his life, because God keeps him busy enjoying himself.
Jewish Publication Society of America (2000-12-01). Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text (pp. 1446-1447). Jewish Publication Society. Kindle Edition.
Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text
1For the conductor, on the ayeleth hashachar, a song of David.
2My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? [You are] far from my salvation [and] from the words of my moaning.
3My God, I call out by day and You do not reply, and at night I do not keep silent.
4But You are holy; You await the praises of Israel.
5Our ancestors trusted in You; they trusted and You rescued them.
6They cried out to You and they escaped; they trusted in You and they were not shamed.
7But I am a worm and not a man; a reproach of man, despised by peoples.
8All who see me will mock me; they will open their lips, they will shake their head.
9One should cast his trust upon the Lord, and He will rescue him; He will save him because He delights in him.
10For You drew me from the womb; You made me secure on my mother's breasts.
11Upon You, I was cast from birth; from my mother's womb You are my God.
12Do not distance Yourself from me, for distress is near; for there is none to help.
13Great bulls have surrounded me; the mighty ones of Bashan encompassed me.
14They opened their mouth against me [like] a tearing, roaring lion.
15I was spilled like water, and all my bones were separated; my heart was like wax, melting within my innards.
16My strength became dried out like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my palate; and You set me down in the dust of death.
17For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me, like a lion, my hands and feet.
18I tell about all my bones. They look and gloat over me.
19They share my garments among themselves and cast lots for my raiment.
20But You, O Lord, do not distance Yourself; my strength, hasten to my assistance.
21Save my soul from the sword, my only one from the grip of the dog.
22Save me from the lion's mouth, as from the horns of the wild oxen You answered me.
23I will tell Your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise You.
24You who fear the Lord, praise Him; all the seed of Jacob, honor Him, and fear Him, all the seed of Israel.
25For He has neither despised nor abhorred the cry of the poor, neither has He hidden His countenance from him; and when he cried out to Him, He hearkened.
26Because of You is my praise in the great congregation; I pay my vows in the presence of those who fear Him.
27The humble shall eat and be sated; they shall praise the Lord, those who seek him; your hearts shall live forever.
28All the ends of the earth shall remember and return to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall prostrate themselves before You.
29For the kingship is the Lord's, and He rules over the nations.
30They shall eat all the best of the earth and prostrate themselves; before Him shall all those who descend to the dust kneel, and He will not quicken his soul.
31The seed that worships Him; it shall be told to the generation concerning the Lord.
32They shall come and tell His righteousness to the newborn people, that which He has done.
The Voice version
this kind of covenant with the people of Israel:
I will put My laws in their hearts
and write them upon their minds,”
then He adds,
17 I will erase their sins and wicked acts out of My memory
as though they had never existed.
18 When there is forgiveness such as this, there is no longer any need to make an offering for sin.
19 So, my friends, Jesus by His blood gives us courage to enter the most holy place. 20 He has created for us a new and living way through the curtain, that is, through His flesh. 21 Since we have a great High Priest who presides over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with true hearts full of faith, with hearts rinsed clean of any evil conscience, and with bodies cleansed with pure water. 23 Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. 24 Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds, 25 not forgetting to gather as a community, as some have forgotten, but encouraging each other, especially as the day of His return approaches.
The Voice version
When Jesus finished praying, He began a brief journey with His disciples to the other side of the Kidron Valley, a deep ravine that floods in the winter rains, then farther on to a garden where He gathered His disciples.
2-3 Judas Iscariot (who had already set his betrayal in motion and knew that Jesus often met with the disciples in this olive grove) entered the garden with an entourage of Roman soldiers and officials sent by the chief priests and Pharisees. They brandished their weapons under the light of torches and lamps. 4 Jesus stepped forward. It was clear He was not surprised because He knew all things.
Jesus: Whom are you looking for?
Judas’s Entourage: 5 Jesus the Nazarene.
Jesus: I am the One.
Judas, the betrayer, stood with the military force. 6 As Jesus spoke “I am the One,” the forces fell back on the ground. 7 Jesus asked them a second time:
Jesus: Whom are you searching for?
Judas’s Entourage: Jesus the Nazarene.
Jesus: 8 I have already said that I am the One. If you are looking for Me, then let these men go free.
9 This happened to fulfill the promise He made that none of those entrusted to Him will be lost.[a] 10 Suddenly Peter lunged toward Malchus, one of the high priest’s servants; and with his sword, Peter severed the man’s right ear.
Jesus (to Peter): 11 Put down your sword, and return it to the sheath. Am I to turn away from the cup the Father has given Me to drink?
12 So the Roman commander, soldiers, and Jewish officials arrested Jesus, cuffed His hands and feet, 13 and brought Him to Annas (the father-in-law of Caiaphas the high priest). 14 You may remember that Caiaphas counseled the Jews that one should die for all people. 15-16 Simon Peter and another disciple followed behind Jesus. When they arrived, Peter waited in the doorway while the other disciple was granted access because of his relationship with the high priest. That disciple spoke to the woman at the door, and Peter was allowed inside.
Servant Girl (to Peter): 17 You are one of this man’s disciples, aren’t you?
Peter: I am not.
18 All the servants and officers gathered around a charcoal fire to keep warm. It was a cold day, and Peter made his way into the circle to warm himself.
Annas (to Jesus): 19 Who are Your disciples, and what do You teach?
Jesus: 20 I have spoken in public where the world can hear, always teaching in the synagogue and in the temple where the Jewish people gather. I have never spoken in secret. 21 So why would you need to interrogate Me? Many have heard Me teach. Why don’t you question them? They know what I have taught.
22 While Jesus offered His response, an officer standing nearby struck Jesus with his hand.
Officer: Is that how You speak to the high priest?
Jesus: 23 If I have spoken incorrectly, why don’t you point out the untruths that I speak? Why do you hit Me if what I have said is correct?
24 Annas sent Jesus to Caiaphas bound as a prisoner. 25 As this was happening, Peter was still warming himself by the fire.
Servants and Officers: You, too, are one of His disciples, aren’t you?
Peter: No, I am not.
Pilate agrees to hear the charge, not wasting a Roman minute. He takes Jesus inside and begins asking Him about these charges. Pilate can’t handle the truth when he asks, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus is the King of the Jews, and that is the truth. But as Jesus knows, the world doesn’t recognize His kingdom. That’s because it is sourced in heaven above, not in Rome. His authority comes from God the Father, Creator, Sustainer—not from the Roman senate.
26 One of the high priest’s servants who was related to Malchus—the person Peter attacked and cut off his ear—recognized Peter.
High Priest’s Servant: Didn’t I see you in the garden with Him?
27 Peter denied it again, and instantly a rooster crowed.
28 Before the sun had risen, Jesus was taken from Caiaphas to the governor’s palace. The Jewish leaders would not enter the palace because their presence in a Roman office would defile them and cause them to miss the Passover feast. Pilate, the governor, met them outside.
Pilate: 29 What charges do you bring against this man?
Priests and Officials: 30 If He weren’t a lawbreaker, we wouldn’t have brought Him to you.
Pilate: 31 Then judge Him yourselves, by your own law.
Jews: Our authority does not allow us to give Him the death penalty.
32 All these things were a fulfillment of the words Jesus had spoken indicating the way that He would die. 33 So Pilate reentered the governor’s palace and called for Jesus to follow him.
Pilate: Are You the King of the Jews?
Jesus: 34 Are you asking Me because you believe this is true, or have others said this about Me?
Pilate: 35 I’m not a Jew, am I? Your people, including the chief priests, have arrested You and placed You in my custody. What have You done?
Jesus: 36 My kingdom is not recognized in this world. If this were My kingdom, My servants would be fighting for My freedom. But My kingdom is not in this physical realm.
Pilate: 37 So You are a king?
Jesus: You say that I am king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the cosmos: to demonstrate the power of truth. Everyone who seeks truth hears My voice.
Pilate (to Jesus): 38 What is truth?
Pilate left Jesus to go and speak to the Jewish people.
Pilate (to the Jews): I have not found any cause for charges to be brought against this man. 39 Your custom is that I should release a prisoner to you each year in honor of the Passover celebration; shall I release the King of the Jews to you?
Jews: 40 No, not this man! Give us Barabbas!
You should know that Barabbas was a terrorist.
19 Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted thorny branches together as a crown and placed it onto His brow and wrapped Him in a purple cloth. 3 They drew near to Him, shouting:
Soldiers (striking at Jesus): Bow down, everyone! This is the King of the Jews!
Pilate (going out to the crowd): 4 Listen, I stand in front of you with this man to make myself clear: I find this man innocent of any crimes.
5 Then Jesus was paraded out before the people, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.
Pilate: Here is the man!
Chief Priests and Officers (shouting): 6 Crucify, crucify!
Pilate: You take Him and crucify Him; I have declared Him not guilty of any punishable crime!
Jews: 7 Our law says that He should die because He claims to be the Son of God.
8 Pilate was terrified to hear the Jews making their claims for His execution; 9 so he retired to his court, the Praetorium.
Pilate (to Jesus): Where are You from?
Jesus did not speak.
Pilate: 10 How can You ignore me? Are You not aware that I have the authority either to free You or to crucify You?
Jesus: 11 Any authority you have over Me comes from above, not from your political position. Because of this, the one who handed Me to you is guilty of the greater sin.
12 Pilate listened to Jesus’ words. Taking them to heart, he attempted to release Jesus; but the Jews opposed him, shouting:
Jews: If you release this man, you have betrayed Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king threatens Caesar’s throne.
13 After Pilate heard these accusations, he sent Jesus out and took his seat in the place where he rendered judgment. This place was called the Pavement, or Gabbatha in Hebrew. 14 All this occurred at the sixth hour on the day everyone prepares for the Passover.
Pilate (to the Jews): Look, here is your King!
Jews: 15 Put Him away; crucify Him!
Pilate: You want me to crucify your King?
Chief Priests: We have no king but Caesar!
16 Pilate handed Him over to his soldiers, knowing that He would be crucified. 17 They sent Jesus out carrying His own instrument of execution, the cross, to a hill known as the Place of the Skull, or Golgotha in Hebrew. 18 In that place, they crucified Him along with two others. One was on His right and the other on His left. 19 Pilate ordered that a plaque be placed above Jesus’ head. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Because the site was near an urban region, it was written in three languages (Greek, Latin, and Hebrew) so that all could understand.
Chief Priests (to Pilate): 21 Don’t write, “The King of the Jews.” Write, “He said, ‘I am King of the Jews’!”
Pilate: 22 I have written what I have written.
23 As Jesus was being crucified, the soldiers tore His outer garments into four pieces, one for each of them. They wanted to do the same with His tunic, but it was seamless—one piece of fabric woven from the top down. 24 So they said,
Soldier (to other soldiers): Don’t tear it. Let’s cast lots, and the winner will take the whole thing.
This happened in keeping with the Hebrew Scriptures, which said, “They divided My outer garments and cast lots for My clothes.”[b] These soldiers did exactly what was foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures. 25 Jesus’ mother was standing next to His cross along with her sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 Jesus looked to see His mother and the disciple He loved standing nearby.
Jesus (to Mary, His mother): Dear woman, this is your son (motioning to the beloved disciple)! 27 (to John, His disciple) This is now your mother.
Now you know who “the beloved disciple” is: the last eyewitness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Mary has become family to John, fulfilling the dying wish of Jesus, his Savior. For those who are gathered at the foot of the cross, family is less about blood kinship than it is about covenant obedience.
From that moment, the disciple treated her like his own mother and welcomed her into his house. 28 Jesus knew now that His work had been accomplished, and the Hebrew Scriptures were being fulfilled.
Jesus: I am thirsty.
29 A jar of sour wine had been left there, so they took a hyssop branch with a sponge soaked in the vinegar and put it to His mouth. 30 When Jesus drank, He spoke:
Jesus: It is finished!
In that moment, His head fell; and He gave up the spirit. 31 The Jews asked Pilate to have their legs broken so the bodies would not remain on the crosses on the Sabbath. It was the day of preparation for the Passover, and that year the Passover fell on the Sabbath. 32 The soldiers came and broke the legs of both the men crucified next to Jesus.33 When they came up to Jesus’ cross, they could see that He was dead; so they did not break His legs. 34 Instead, one soldier took his spear and pierced His abdomen, which brought a gush of blood and water.
35 This testimony is true. In fact, it is an eyewitness account; and he has reported what he saw so that you also may believe. 36 It happened this way to fulfill the Hebrew Scriptures that “not one of His bones shall be broken”;[c] 37 and the Hebrew Scriptures also say, “They will look upon Him whom they pierced.”[d]
38 After 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.39 Nicodemus, who first came to Jesus under the cloak of darkness, brought over 100 pounds of myrrh and ointments for His burial.40 Together, they took Jesus’ body and wrapped Him in linens soaked in essential oils and spices, according to Jewish burial customs.
41 Near the place He was crucified, there was a garden with a newly prepared tomb. 42 Because it was the day of preparation, they arranged to lay Jesus in this tomb so they could rest on the Sabbath.
Quran Surah 2.249-255
Quran: A Simple English Translation
249 When Talut set out with his forces, he said to them, ‘God will test you with a river: whoever drinks from it is not with me and whoever does not drink is with me. There will, however, be no blame upon one who sips only a handful from it.’ But, except for a few of them, they all drank from it. When he and those who believed along with him had crossed the river, they said, ‘We have no strength today against Goliath and his warriors.’ But those of them who believed that they would meet God replied, ‘Many a small group, by God’s command has prevailed against a large group. God is indeed with the steadfast.’
250 When they met Goliath and his warriors, they said, ‘Our Lord, bestow patience upon us, make us stand firm, and help us against those who deny the truth.’ 251 And so by the command of God they defeated them. David killed Goliath, and God gave him kingship and wisdom, and imparted to him the knowledge of whatever He willed. Had it not been for God’s repelling some people by means of others, the earth would have been filled with corruption. But God is bountiful to mankind.
252 These are the revelations of God which We recite to you in all truth, for you are truly one of the messengers.
253 Of these messengers, We have given something additional among them. There are some to whom God spoke directly and others He exalted in rank. We gave Jesus, son of Mary clear signs, and strengthened him with the holy spirit. Had God pleased, those who succeeded them would not have fought against one another after the clear signs had come to them. But they disagreed among themselves; some believed, while others did not. Yet had God willed, they would not have fought against one another; but God does whatever He wills.
254 Believers, spend out of what We have given you, before the Day comes when there will be neither trading, friendship nor intercession. Truly, it is those who deny the truth who are the wrongdoers.
255 God: there is no deity save Him, the Living, the Eternal One. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belong whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is on the earth. Who can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows all that is before them and all that is behind them. They can grasp only that part of His knowledge which He wills. His throne extends over the heavens and the earth; and their upholding does not weary Him. He is the Sublime, the Almighty One!
Khan, Maulana Wahiduddin; Goodword (2013-12-11). Quran: A Simple English Translation (Goodword ! Koran) (Kindle Locations 760-780). Goodword Books. Kindle Edition.
Self-possessed, resolute, act
without any thought of results,
open to success or failure.
This equanimity is yoga.
Action is far inferior
to the yoga of insight, Arjuna.
Pitiful are those who, acting,
are attached to their action’s fruits.
The wise man lets go of all
results, whether good or bad,
and is focused on the action alone.
Yoga is skill in actions.
The wise man whose insight is firm,
relinquishing the fruits of action,
is freed from the bondage of rebirth
and attains the place beyond sorrow.
When your understanding has passed
beyond the thicket of delusions,
there is nothing you need to learn
from even the most sacred scripture.
Mitchell, Stephen (2007-12-18). Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation (Kindle Locations 435-442). Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. Kindle Edition.