Wow. It has been about a month and a half since I did the last daily practice. I've been struggling with a chronic illness that has manifested in a new way. This new way has required new medicine. And, as my last doctor said, "Lupron, that's nasty stuff." But the alternative is a risky surgery. The surgery is a normal one - hysterectomy. But I have two scars . So a long, slow, tired slog through six months of treatment or a risky surgery. That's the choice. I shall choose the long road at this point. The presenting issue was bleeding. The problem is a large amount of fibroid tumors in inoperable places. I bled for four months. I am here to tell you now that the hemorrhaging woman story in the Bible cannot be true. It must be a metaphor.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years.26She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. (Mark 5)
What can the woman, the hemorrhage, the twelve years, and the physicians represent?
- Woman: Outsiders
- Hemorrhage: Unclean
- Twelve: The tribes of Israel
- Physicians: Traditional religious experts
How about that? If I bring this forward, it is about how we respond to outsiders that were once considered unclean or untouchable. I wonder who I consider unclean? The Islamic State? Donald Trump? Dick Cheney? Could I offer myself to them for their healing? Of course, would they ever reach out for healing? But that is not the question before me. 🙂 If we reversed roles:
- Woman: ?
- Hemorrhage: The reason we "otherize" people
- Twelve: My church doctrine
- Physicians: My own expertise
Who is the woman for me? Would I be as open to her approach? Or would I berate the person for being so forward or not earning it?
Today's practice is inspired by music from Dolly Parton (an old tear-jerker/favorite), a poem from Wendell Berry, and sacred wisdom from Jean Vanier along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Bhagavad Gita. The photo is from Mike McSharry.
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--humm
Me and Little Andy by Dolly Parton
Late one cold and stormy night I heard a dog a' barkin'
Then I thought I heard somebody at my door a' knockin'
I wondered who could be outdide in such an awful storm
Then I saw a little girl with a puppy in her arms
Always in the distance
the sound of cars is passing
on the road, that simplest form
going only two ways,
both ways away. And I
have been there in that going.
But now I rest and am
apart, a part of the form
of the woods always arriving
from all directions home,
this cell of wild sound,
the hush of the trees, singers
hidden among the leaves—
a form whose history is old,
needful, unknown, and bright
as the history of the stars
that tremble in the sky at night
like leaves of a great tree.
Berry, Wendell. This Day: Collected & New Sabbath Poems (Kindle Locations 1192-1199). Counterpoint. Kindle Edition.
Jewish Daily Reading
Christian Daily Reading
Muslim Daily Reading
Buddhist Daily Reading
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know!
One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn't as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.”
― Jean Vanier,
I will be taking the weekly prayer from the World Council of Churches rather than writing a new prayer daily. At this point, we know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer. This allows us to work through the world country by country. I know it is not de rigeur to have repetitive content, but I believe that these prayers deserve to be repeated.
Focus countries: Botswana and Zimbabwe
Let us pray.
We know that the world fails to live up to healing love. We cast aside rather than invite in. Let us move towards signs of peace while remembering those who are in need.
For signs of hope and peace,
Health care workers who provide medical aid and education to those infected with the HIV virus.
The Christian Council of Botswana and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches.
Marimbas, drums, mbiras (instruments made with tuned strips of metal and played with the thumbs) and shakers.
Choir festivals where singers join together in praise of Christ.
Those working for a better democracy in Zimbabwe.
Uncles, grandmothers and cousins taking care of children whose parents have died of AIDS.
For the oppressed and weary
The leaders of government and their success in bringing economic progress, education and health care to their people.
Landowners and the land workers, and those who are displaced by land reform.
Reconciliation between the races in Zimbabwe, leading to a society of equality and respect.
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.
Photo: Mike McSharry, flickr.com, CC (BY)