Daily Practice for 2016.03.27


The art play date went well. One piece stands out in my memory as profound. Not for its perfection, but for its skill at communicating the feeling of being incarcerated. It depicted bars...really quite large fat bars. Inside one bar was a sad and sober person. Inside all the other bars were thoughts from inside that person's head. It very well communicated how trapped this teenager felt. Bound by the bars, lost in their own words, alone and without hope.

When we think of how a teenager arrives at this point in their life, we cannot point to the teen and say that they are just horrible. We can point to the systemic oppression that leads to a point in their life that they are escaping into drugs or just do not care any more, risking all violence and losing their imagination for living. One of the most astounding things I have discovered is the amount of incarcerated youth that have no imagination for living to the age of 21. They didn't do that on their own. We did that. Families, schools, healthcare, churches...We did that.

That's why, for me, one of the foundational beliefs in Christianity is so inspirational: the resurrection. With the resurrection, we have the metaphor that anything can be conquered, even the belief in death itself; anything can be transformed, even the most roughly lived life. Life can be so completely transformed as to be completely unrecognizable from what was lived before.  That is the hope that I carry for these youth even when they can no longer carry hope for themselves.

Today's practice is inspired with music from the Flobots, a poem from Pongo-Teen Writing from King County Juvenile Detention, and sacred wisdom from Marcus Borg along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Bhagavad Gita.  The photo is mine. I'm continuing my fast from the news today and offering another morning blessing from John O'Donohue.

I have also been reading the devotional from Reconciling Ministries Network. Today, Jarell Wilson reminds us that the first people to discover that Jesus was no longer in the tomb was the women--unordainable, unclean, and second class citizens. Today, the church still puts people into this category. Unordainable, unclean, second class. But it is no longer women, it is LGBTQ people.

#itstime to resurrect loving kindness.



Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.

BIBO: Breath In, Breath Out--roar


Rise by Flobots

So much pain we
Dont know how to be but angry
Feel infected like weve got gangrene
Please dont let anybody try to change me


Not My Real Sandals by 13 Year Old Boy

I haven't gone out there in a long time.
I don't understand why everyone here
has to wear the same clothes.
I suppose they want to make everyone feel the same.

I haven't stepped on real dirt for a long time.
Just yesterday, a lot of people here began to pick on me.
Someone bounced the ball off the wall
and hit me in the head on purpose.
It makes me feel homesick.

I haven't gone out there in a long time.
I hate the isoloation from the rest of the world.
I've had it at home.
My dad works graveyard.
When he's sleeping, I come home from school,
and my stepmom's working.
There's a lock on my door so I won't go out.

I haven't gone out there in a long time.
Sometimes I don't care.
I don't mind being in there.
I have things to do.
At home,
my little brother stomps on the ground,
and I get annoyed,
Now I miss it.

I haven't gone out there in a long time.
My little brother saw me get cuffed.
He couldn't get over it
until he heard my voice on the phone.
I didn't get to say goodbye to him.

I haven't gone out there in a long time.
My real mom died.
I feel like any other person would:
sad, angry, too much all at once,
all bundled up inside me.
I think I could have done something about it.
It was a drug overdose.
I could have stopped her.
That made me act out.

I haven't gone out there in a long time.
My crime was arson.
The only way they knew it was me was from
the matches in my pocket.
I'm at a behavioral school.
I have a problem with authority.

So I ended up isolated,
sleeping under a blurry window
behind these huge metal doors
I can't get through.

From Above the Water of My Sorrows: Pongo Teen Writing from King County Juvenile Detention

Sacred Text
For full, typed-out scripture, follow this link

Leviticus 7:22-38
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
John 20:1-18
Qur'an Surah 2.261-271
Bhagavad Gita 2.62-66

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.

Sacred Quotable

"Jesus lives. Jesus is Lord . . . Easter is about all of this. To reduce it to a spectacular miracle a long time ago and a hope for an afterlife is to diminish it and domesticate it. It is not about heaven. It is about the transformation of this world."--Marcus Borg, 2012


A Morning Offering by John O'Donohue

I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal in me
Welcome the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Wave of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

O'Donohue, John (2008-03-04). To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings (p.8-9). Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. Kindle Edition.

Lord’s Prayer:

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.

2016 03 27

"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


News Notes:
Mass shooting resource
Wars in the World
Prayer cycle of the world's countries
Good news

Today's Scriptures:

Leviticus 7:22-38

Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text

22And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 23Speak to the Israelite people thus: You shall eat no fat of ox or sheep or goat. 24Fat from animals that died or were torn by beasts may be put to any use, but you must not eat it. 25If anyone eats the fat of animals from which offerings by fire may be made to the LORD, the person who eats it shall be cut off from his kin. 26And you must not consume any blood, either of bird or of animal, in any of your settlements. 27Anyone who eats blood shall be cut off from his kin.

28And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 29Speak to the Israelite people thus: The offering to the LORD from a sacrifice of well-being must be presented by him who offers his sacrifice of well-being to the LORD: 30his own hands shall present the LORD’s offerings by fire. He shall present the fat with the breast, the breast to be elevated as an elevation offering before the LORD; 31the priest shall turn the fat into smoke on the altar, and the breast shall go to Aaron and his sons.

32And the right thigh from your sacrifices of well-being you shall present to the priest as a gift; 33he from among Aaron’s sons who offers the blood and the fat of the offering of well-being shall get the right thigh as his portion. 34For I have taken the breast of elevation offering and the thigh of gift offering from the Israelites, from their sacrifices of well-being, and given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons as their due from the Israelites for all time.

35Those shall be the perquisites of Aaron and the perquisites of his sons from the LORD’s offerings by fire, once they have been inductede to serve the LORD as priests; 36these the LORD commanded to be given them, once they had been anointed, as a due from the Israelites for all time throughout the ages.

37Such are the rituals of the burnt offering, the meal offering, the sin offering, the guilt offering, the offering of ordination, and the sacrifice of well-being, 38with which the LORD charged Moses on Mount Sinai, when He commanded that the Israelites present their offerings to the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai.

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 118:1-2, 14-24

The Voice version

Give thanks to the Eternal because He is always good.
    He never ceases to be loving and kind.

Let the people of Israel proclaim:
    “He never ceases to be loving and kind.”

14 He is my strength, and He is the reason I sing;
    He has been there to save me in every situation.

15 In the tents of the righteous soldiers of God,
    there are shouts of joy and victory. They sing:
    “The right hand of the Eternal has shown His power.
16 The mighty arm of the Eternal is raised in victory;
    the right hand of His has shown His power.”
17 I will not die. I will live.
    I will live to tell about all the Eternal has done.
18 The Eternal has taught me many lessons;
    He has been strict and severe,
    but even in His discipline, He has not allowed me to die.

19 Open wide to me the gates of justice
    so that I may walk through them
    and offer praise and worship to the Eternal.

20 This is the gate of the Eternal;
    the righteous children of God will go through it.

21 I will praise You because You answered me when I was in trouble.
    You have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the very stone that holds together the entire foundation.
23 This is the work of the Eternal,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes.[a]
24 This is the day the Eternal God has made;
    let us celebrate and be happy today.

Ecclesia Bible Society (2012-04-09). The Voice Bible, eBook: Step Into the Story of Scripture. Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

John 20:1-18

The Voice version

Before the sun had risen on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene made a trip to the tomb where His body was laid to rest. In the darkness, she discovered the covering had been rolled away. She darted out of the garden to find Simon Peter and the dearly loved disciple to deliver this startling news.

Mary Magdalene: They have taken the body of our Lord, and we cannot find Him!

Together, they all departed for the tomb to see for themselves. They began to run, and Peter could not keep up. The beloved disciple arrived first but did not go in. There was no corpse in the tomb, only the linens and cloths He was wrapped in. When Simon Peter finally arrived, he went into the tomb and observed the same: the cloth that covered His face appeared to have been folded carefully and placed, not with the linen cloths, but to the side. After Peter pointed this out, the other disciple (who had arrived long before Peter) also entered the tomb; and based on what he saw, faith began to well up inside him! Before this moment, none of them understood the Scriptures and why He must be raised from the dead. 10 Then they all went to their homes.

11 Mary, however, stood outside the tomb sobbing, crying, and kneeling at its entrance. 12 As she cried, two heavenly messengers appeared before her sitting where Jesus’ head and feet had been laid.

Heavenly Messengers: 13 Dear woman, why are you weeping?

Mary Magdalene: They have taken away my Lord, and I cannot find Him.

14 After uttering these words, she turned around to see Jesus standing before her, but she did not recognize Him.

Jesus: 15 Dear woman, why are you sobbing? Who is it you are looking for?

She still had no idea who it was before her. Thinking He was the gardener, she muttered:

Mary Magdalene: Sir, if you are the one who carried Him away, then tell me where He is and I will retrieve Him.

Jesus: 16 Mary!

Mary Magdalene (turning to Jesus and speaking in Hebrew): Rabboni, my Teacher!

Jesus: 17 Mary, you cannot hold Me. I must rise above this world to be with My Father, who is also your Father; My God, who is also your God. Go tell this to all My brothers.

18 Mary Magdalene obeyed and went directly to His disciples.

The hope of resurrection has often been a topic on the lips of Jesus. Now it is taking shape. Confusion gives way to conviction as Jesus appears alive over the next few Sundays. One by one He convinces His followers that God has raised Him from the dead.

Mary Magdalene (announcing to the disciples): I have seen the Lord, and this is what He said to me . . .

Ecclesia Bible Society (2012-04-09). The Voice Bible, eBook: Step Into the Story of Scripture. Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Quran Surah 2.261-271

Quran: A Simple English Translation

261 Those who spend their wealth for God’s cause may be compared to a grain of corn which sprouts into seven ears, with a hundred grains in each ear: for God grants manifold increase to whom He wills; God is infinite and all knowing.

262 Those who spend their wealth for God’s cause and do not follow their almsgiving with taunts and insults shall be rewarded by their Lord; they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve.

263 A kind word and forgiveness is better than a charitable deed followed by hurtful words: God is self-sufficient and forbearing.

264 Believers, do not cancel out your charitable deeds with reminders and hurtful words, like one who spends his wealth only to be seen by people, and not believing in God and the Last Day. Such men are like a rock covered with earth: a shower falls upon it and leaves it hard and bare. They will gain nothing from their works. God does not guide those who deny the truth.

265 But those who spend their wealth in order to gain God’s approval, and to strengthen their souls are like a garden on elevated ground. When heavy rain falls on it, it doubles its produce; and if heavy rain does not fall, then light rain suffices. God sees what you do.

266 Would any of you, being a man well advanced in age with helpless children to support, like to have a garden of dates and grapes, watered by rivers and containing all kinds of fruits, stricken by a fiery whirlwind and utterly scorched? Thus God makes His signs clear to you, so that you may reflect.

267 Believers, give charitably from the good things which you have earned and what We produce for you from the earth; not worthless things which you yourselves would only reluctantly accept. Know that God is self-sufficient and praiseworthy.

268 Satan threatens you with the prospect of poverty and commands you to do foul deeds. But God promises His forgiveness and His bounty. God is bountiful and all knowing.

269 He grants wisdom to whom He will; and whoever is granted wisdom has indeed been granted abundant wealth. Yet none bear this in mind except those endowed with understanding.

270 Whatever you spend and whatever vows you make are known to God, but the wrongdoers shall have no helpers.

271 If you give charity openly, it is good, but if you keep it secret and give to the needy in private, that is better for you, and it will atone for some of your bad deeds. God is aware of all that you do.

Khan, Maulana Wahiduddin; Goodword (2013-12-11). Quran: A Simple English Translation (Goodword ! Koran) (Kindle Location 817). Goodword Books. Kindle Edition.

Bhagavad Gita


If a man keeps dwelling on sense-objects,
attachment to them arises;
from attachment, desire flares up;
from desire, anger is born;

from anger, confusion follows;
from confusion, weakness of memory;
weak memory— weak understanding;
weak understanding— ruin.

But the man who is self-controlled,
who meets the objects of the senses
with neither craving nor aversion,
will attain serenity at last.

In serenity, all his sorrows
disappear at once, forever;
when his heart has become serene,
his understanding is steadfast.

The undisciplined have no wisdom,
no one-pointed concentration;
with no concentration, no peace;
with no peace, where can joy be?

Mitchell, Stephen (2007-12-18). Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation (Kindle Locations 459-465). Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. Kindle Edition.

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