Life Is Precious. Sabbath. Peace.

Oh, the weather is beautiful. Noisy in the neighborhood, however. Last night it was cackling with loads of college students; this morning the geese are running practice flights for their trip south.

It’s a wonderful time of year. At the beginning of every season, it seems, there’s a washing clean of the old… There’s a burst before the settling in. We’re having that right now. I always feel more alive during those passages. (I’ve always been a fan of the places in between!)

Today, I really want to hold on to that sense of being alive, to hold it up.

My friend, by no means a close friend, just a man I like, is alive. So easily things might have gone the other way. It’s always the little things that cause the accidents… says the woman who tripped over an acorn yesterday and went flying.

Life is precious. All life. My friend’s life. It’s too short, really to complain. But not too short to celebrate. Not too short to give thanks. Not too short to pack every single minute with joy and awareness of its abundance. We’re busy we think — we think until something makes us remember… right, show up, be present: now is the time.

My friends, about those Syrian refugees. They could use some support. Their lives are precious as well…

My last two decades have been shaped by deaths. This year, two years away from the last huge, significant death, I’m feeling a little steadier on my feet. I understand, all too well, that death happens. But it’s better when it doesn’t.

So look around your circle and celebrate. Life is here. That’s really what observing the Sabbath, keeping it holy, is all about — Life is right here. There is a wild and outrageous Peace in that. Celebrate fiercely. And let’s use that to fuel the work we have to do with others whose lives are not so lucky at the moment. Because we can.


What Speed Is Your Peace?

I’ve always been a speedy person. I have, as a friend points out, a busy brain.

When I was in my 20s. New York was perfect for me. A whole world moving at warp speed. So many new things to explore, to do.

And then… after seminary, it seemed like California was on my agenda. It probably would have been anyway… I’d been dreaming about working for Apple. It almost gives you whip lash doesn’t it, to think about the roads you might have taken and how different your road is now.

And it was slower. Until of course it wasn’t. I guess I’m blessed with being complicated as well as speedy.

And then there was Pennsylvania. As my parents were aging and dying, my life had to be slow enough to accommodate them. It was a hard, joyful, sad and marvelous journey lived at the pace of my elders.

Now the pace is different; in some cases, it’s not yet known. Death discombobulates… you tumble heart over head over tin cups. I’ve been a bit dazed for a while, so it’s been good to meander.

So, as I sit here this morning thinking about taking life slowly, there’s now a flurry about whether or not we’re not going to try and get a grant proposal in by tomorrow. Luckily, I can still move at New York speed when I have to!

Slow Peace is great. And when it concerns whether or not there is money for backpack food for children, I’ll take any kind of Peace i can get, including money from strangers!


Fog Dancers for Peace

My walking partner and I keep getting stopped on our morning walk by the beauty of the river. This morning we sat and watched the sun come up and spill across the river.

I struggle with the early mornings. But waking up and being present to such beauty is a lovely way to call my day into being. Let’s hear it for wonder.

Yesterday’s fog dancers did not drift across the river this morning, the sun was too bold; they are too shy… But this time of month as the nights are colder than the river, they will be back and back and back. You can count on them.

There’s beauty in every day, every season. We have to keep looking.

Here’s to the Beauty. Here’s to the Fog Dancers. Here’s to Peace.


Reading, Peace, Reading

When I was a tender seminarian I heard William Sloan Coffin (recently retired as minister at Riverside Church in NYC and formerly the Yale chaplain who started Clergy and Laity Concern during the the VietNam War) speak about being involved with what’s going on in the world.

Coffin talked about the importance of being involved. At the end someone stood up and said, great for you, you’re on the speaker circuit… You blow in, blow up and blow outta town (ah you gotta love a hall full of ministers!).

Coffin admired the hit and then asked… how many of you have read a book on something other than ministry? How many of you have read a serious book this year. Less than 25% raised their hands.

And he said, yeah… no excuse for that. That’s part of your ministry.

I admit his seeds fell on fertile ground. I love reading. And I believe it’s important. And I’m lucky that the UUs feel it’s important and that my congregation agrees. And so I take this time very seriously and stuff my brain — with things that pertain to what we’re up to and to what I think I and all of us might need to think of. And with things that are going on and we can’t help but look at. There’s so much to wonder about. So much hard (reading) work to do.

So reading. I find Peace in it. In its turn it stirs me to look for Peace. It’s a cycle I’m lucky to be able to indulge. Just a couple weeks of stuffing ahead, and then look out world! I’m back! Wake up world! Time to step up!


Tears in Paradise, Act for Peace

Two days home from a workshop on Undoing Racism, taught by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, I wake up to the news of the death of nine Black people by a white gunman. They were shot at church in a Bible Study.

I’d already sent out the day’s musing about how we who live in Paradise don’t make room for everyone, don’t insist that Paradise is abundant. And then this, proof.

It could be one crazy guy except we tolerate crazy white guys doing this. This is a thing. This is a trend. This is a movement. White people killing bunches of Black and Brown people. Will his religion be on trial the way the Boston Marathon’s religion was? Will we (finally) wonder what it is in White culture that causes so many to go so wrong? Because it’s about time we do.

And in all the pictures of the aftermath, people kneeling in prayer, people holding hands in prayer, not a white face in the picture. “And I didn’t hear nobody pray.” And oh right, I didn’t hear anyone say, there is an epidemic of white exceptionalism and it’s killing our neighbors. But it’s true. I didn’t see anyone say, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Ramadan starts today. Maybe while our Muslim sisters and brothers are refraining and reflecting, we might do the same.

I’m sure that some people like those in the AME church would be grateful to wake up in Not Hell. But Paradise is possible, if we understand the need to throw open the Garden gates and welcome the world. Do we believe in Life?

It’s time to wake up, step up, show up for Peace. It’s time to redefine and transform Paradise. Each and every one of us is needed for this hard and precious work.