A Burning Desire

Deborah Beach Giordano
© June 26, 2017

Jeremiah 20:7-13 ~ as interpreted by Deborah

O Lord, you enticed me, and I was seduced; you ravished me, and I succumbed.

And now I am a scandal, a source of mockery — for the moment I open my mouth, I cry out. Your words shoot forth in a violent stream, like lava from an erupting volcano; I cannot keep quiet. All I can talk about is You.

If I tell myself, “I won’t say anything about Him, I won’t even mention His name,” it is as if an inferno rages within me; my throat is in flames… It is impossible to contain.

God’s word reproaches me and mocks my silence day and night; a thousand whispers breathing fire, violence, and destruction.

Terrible danger lurks all around me! Even my close friends are waiting for me to stumble: “Perhaps he can be lured away, and we can convince him, and restore him to what he was.”

But God is with me like a dreadful warrior.

My persecutors will trip up and fail, and end in disgrace, ashamed of what they’ve done.

Almighty God, You challenge the righteous to live accordingly, You know the content and quality of every heart and mind. Please let me see You punish my enemies.

Praise God, the Holy, the Everlasting, who saves those in need from the power of evildoers.

Fully Involved

The prophet Jeremiah, never one to mince words, describes his experience of God as a seduction: a passionate, visceral, intimate encounter. It was overwhelming, all-encompassing, transforming. It touched the very core of his being, setting his soul on fire.

As firefighters say about a conflagration so intense that they have to stand back, he’s “fully involved.” Jeremiah can never return to what he was before; he is inflamed with the sense of God: it’s all he can talk about, all he can think about. And he wants — no, he needs — to tell everybody he meets.

It is a compulsion. To remain silent would cause a meltdown; the power of the Divine word burns within him: as he describes it, “it is impossible to contain.”

In a word: he’s become a darned nuisance. A religious fanatic who insists on bringing God into every conversation.

Be Reasonable

Jeremiah’s buddies try to reason with him and bring him to his senses. They want their old friend back again; this obsession with the Divine has made him nearly unrecognizable, and not much fun to be with. “Come on now, Jerry, dial it back a bit. There are other things in life besides God.”

You can guess how well that went over.

The prophet erupts in blazing anger. God is All in All, the Author of Creation, the Beginning, the End, the Eternal, the Source, the Power, the Glory!!!! These people are not friends but persecutors, demanding that he cut himself off from the Beloved, that he sever his Life line. He would not — and could not — do so: the power of the Divine boils up inside him, relentlessly. For Jeremiah to keep silent was as impossible as holding back the flow of a volcano.

Yet it was tempting.

The lure of simpler times, when his soul and spirit were placid and peaceful, when he wasn’t compelled to constantly think about God and talk about God and yearn for God must have been great. So great, in fact, that Jeremiah prayed for relief, casting those who tried to restore him to his former condition as evildoers, and denouncing them in the most emphatic (fiery, of course) terms.

Just Chill!

Is it any wonder that people avoided Jeremiah? Would you want to spend your time with some guy who talked about God incessantly — and never, ever anything else? After a while that gets pretty old.

Besides, there’s so much else to talk about! Politics, health care, housing prices, food, fashion, films and television… you know: interesting stuff.

But no, there’s old Jeremiah the wet blanket (well, maybe an electric blanket) with his constant harping on “God’s will”; calling for peace and justice, mercy and compassion, concern for those in need, love for our neighbors, blah, blah, blah. Endlessly. Ceaselessly. That’s all he thinks about.

And anything will set him off. He brings God into every discussion, makes God the centerpiece of all that we say and do and hope for and believe. Everything. For Jeremiah, God’s will must be our Ultimate Concern, and all else pales into insignificance.

What kind of life is that?

Yikes

Well….

As a matter of fact, it’s the kind of life we’re supposed to be leading: one that makes God’s will our first priority. We’re supposed to be “a holy people”; mindful of the grace-infused nature of all creation, honoring the sacrament of our lives and the lives of others. We are to work for justice, love kindness, and remember that we aren’t God (c.f., Micah 6:8).

As a faithful people, we are to behave as if what God wants matters. Seriously. All of the time. Not just on Sundays or when we’re saying our prayers. In all we say and do and hope for and dream of.

It turns out that it is Jeremiah who is the infinitely practical one, not those “reasonable” friends who want him to quiet down and conform. They are the voices of temptation, enticing us to go along to get along, and put all of that God business on the back burner.

But we are called to follow the Way of the Lord all of the time. Even when it isn’t convenient. To do less is to allow hatred and injustice to flourish; to surrender our vocation, to sever our Life line.

Who is Speaking?

The voices of temptation (which are often inside our own heads) want us to relax and not worry about what is “right” for a while. After all, it can be downright exhausting to be mindful all of the time. It is easier, you know, to just chill.

But the word of God is to be proclaimed at all times and in all places: in face-to-face meetings and text messages, in check-out lines and waiting rooms, in bike lanes and bars and coffee shops, on city sidewalks and in parking lots, in classroom discussions, phone conversations, government legislation, and Facebook postings, and even while driving in traffic. Everywhere. To everyone. Always.

This doesn’t require any overt proselytizing: we needn’t go tagging our emails with bible verses, erecting billboards, or inviting people to church. If our lives are fueled by God’s gracious compassion, if our hearts are on fire with holy love, if we act kindness, seek justice, and embody mercy, we won’t have to do any preaching; the Divine Word will say all that needs to be said.

Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,

Deborah  ♰

Suggested Spiritual Exercise

If your heart is aflame with God’s love, people will be drawn to the warmth.

“Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi

 

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The Threshold

a poem in honor of those escaping abusive relationships

     A doorway
that wasn’t there
yesterday
or the day before
or the day before
or the day before

an opening
in a wall
impenetrable
impervious
unyielding
yesterday
and the day before
and the day before
and the day before

an escape
possible
freedom
an option
perhaps

only an illusion:
a prison without bars
built on lies
lies
lies
lies

oblique mirrors
reflecting
a single image
over
and over
and over

through the countless years.

a threshold
a boundary
an opening
into
the strange
the unknown
the frightening

a step
shock
surprise
alarm
fear
confusion
sorrow and tears

a departure
an ending
grieving
yearning
yearning
yearning

for the familiar
the comfortable
the known.

a decision
made
again
and again
and again
and again
and again.

Deborah Beach Giordano
June 23, 2017

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When Violence Arises

Deborah Beach Giordano
© June 3, 2017

I wrote this prayer/cry to God in response to the attacks in London today, and reflecting on those in Alexandria, Tanta, Al-Fu’ah, Kafraya, Rashidin, and other places too:

Holy One, I just want to hide;
to take refuge
in a high and lonely place
where none can find me:

unpopulated,
insulated,
inaccessible,
protected,

safe
from hatred,
and horror,
and violence.

Like a nestling, resting
in a feathered loft
far above the noise,
and claws and teeth,

peace-filled
and untroubled,
unaware and unafraid
of what lies beneath.

If only I could fly
on the wings of a dove
to a tall mountaintop,
or shelter in a forest glen!

Yet even there
troubles will find me,
blood-stained hands
will touch me.

The vicious multiply
our sorrows,
worshiping their gods
of death and pain and fame,

lining our streets
with human sacrifice —
their names
will never pass my lips.

There is no good, God,
apart from You,
keep me secure, right here,
within Your heart;

I shall not flee,
I will not run away,
I will not succumb
to fear or hate or vengeance;

I shall not be moved,
my soul will not be twisted,
I will not turn from the Path
of love and life and light.

Therefore my heart is glad,
and my spirit rejoices,
for I will not fall into the Pit
I will not contribute to Evil.

You, O Beloved,
guide us in the Way of life
that leads to the fullness of joy
forevermore.

Amen.

Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,

Deborah  ♰

Suggested Spiritual Exercises

Be gentle with yourself in these violent times.

The most powerful answer to evil is to do good.

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

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Memorial Day Psalm

On Memorial Day

The earth sings to the Beloved:
a mournful hymn
for those who have died
on its countless battlefields:

“Too soon, too many,
our children sleep
within my breast;
their bodies still,
their voices silenced,
their families bereft;
their blood cries out
within me.
Give them Your peace.”

The nation sings to the Beloved:
a mournful hymn
for those who have died
on its countless battlefields:

“Bless, O God, bless
those who went forth
not in love of violence,
but in pursuit of peace,
to protect, to serve,
to defend,
and ultimately,
to give their lives.

“Bless, O God, bless
those who carried the burden
of our country’s commitments
to the last measure;
who offered themselves
in our stead,
who bled
and suffered
and died.
Give them Your peace.”

The dead sing to the Beloved:
the mournful hymn
of those who have died
on the countless battlefields:

“Bless, O God, bless
our families and friends,
comfort their hearts,
strengthen their resolve,
for they, too,
have made their sacrifice.
Give them Your peace.

“Bless, O God, bless
our brothers
and sisters
who lingered for months
and years,
under siege
from an implacable enemy
within;
slowly dying
from invisible wounds.
Give them Your peace.”

And we, who remember,
sing to the Beloved:
a mournful hymn:

“Bless, O God, bless
those who have lost their lives
on the earth’s countless battlefields;
and bless us, Beloved,
with clear understanding
of what we all have lost
and who bears the cost
when our nation goes to war.
Help us to earn Your peace.”

Amen.

Deborah Beach Giordano
Memorial Day 2017

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The Truth

 

Deborah Beach Giordano
© May 23, 2017

John 14:15-21 ~ as told by Deborah

“Jesus said, “If you love me, you will hold my teachings in your hearts. And I will ask the Father, who will give you another Advocate to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of Truth, invisible and inaccessible to the world, but which you will see and know, for it lives within you.

“I won’t leave you orphaned; I’ll be right back. In a little while the world won’t see me — but you will. Because I live, you also will live.

“That’s when you’ll realize that I am within my Father, and you are within me, and I am within you.

“Those who cherish my instructions love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

A Remarkable Guide

Jesus says that his followers are given “the Spirit of Truth” to guide us.

That’s pretty cool. Truth is the last word: the truth. The end-all, be all: what really is; the opposite of false.

And so, in the spirit of truthfulness, we can go forth, convinced that we are right. And of course, when you are right — you cannot possibly be wrong. Right?

Unless, of course, you are mistaken, confused, misinformed, or misled.

That can happen, as all of us are well aware. Human beings are not perfect. We make mistakes and can get excited and emotional and angry and fearful and generally foul up. We can be wrong.

We can be not-right.

That can happen when we mistake the “Spirit of truth” for a guarantee of accuracy; when we become convinced that our faith and belief assures us of a lack of mistakenness. We can believe the Gospel and still be wrong about some things.

There’s a difference between truth and being right.

There’s even a difference between truth and righteousness. The Truth — Christ’s truth — can lead us to righteousness; it can guide us toward compassion, to a striving-after kindness, to acts of generosity and gentleness. But being “right” is a whole different kettle of fish.

Perceiving ourselves as right inspires hubris: an inflated sense of authority and command — and conceit. If I know what is “right” then there is no room for discussion or argument; my word is the last word. If I’m “right” then those who disagree …. are wrong.

And anyone who is wrong (that is, holding an opposing view) is either stupid, stubborn, dangerous, or evil. They need to be convinced or controlled — or eliminated.

Being convinced that you are “right” can lead to attacks against others of the sort tragically enacted in Manchester, England last night. Innocent people, many of them children, died because, in the mind of one man, he was right — and they (their government, their religion?) were wrong.

Being convinced of one’s “righteousness” can lead to horrible, unconscionable acts. It can be used as a license to judge, condemn — and even to destroy.

The Truth that Christ spoke of is very different. Remember that what He sent wasn’t a concrete object, it wasn’t a concept written in parchment or carved in stone — the Truth was a spirit; the Holy Spirit.

Christ’s Truth is a living thing; it lives and breathes in us. It is Christ’s teachings incarnated in our lives: it is us living as our Lord lived. It is the Spirit of Holiness embodied in our world — in our bodies. It is love at work.

That is Christ’s truth — that living, breathing, inspiring Spirit: embodied love at work in our world.

This love isn’t soppy romantic twaddle; it is fiercely compassionate, determinedly kind, deeply committed to Wisdom — an intelligence that goes beyond “school smarts” and instead looks to understand: to learn with our hearts as much as with our heads.

That Spirit of Truth is needed in our world more than ever. We need to look to it, to listen to it, and to let it guide us in the Way we should go.

These are difficult times. It is not easy to follow the Lord when all around us voices are being raised, inciting us to react: to pursue “vengeance,” to prove our “right” with might, to condemn, control, and to destroy.

Our hearts are filled with sorrow, our minds overcome by the magnitude of hurt and destructive violence, and we grieve. We grieve for the injured, for those who mourn, and for all those whose passion to be right blinds them to the Truth.

Gracious, eternal God, fill our hearts with that Spirit that will guide us to holy living and lead our world to peace. Amen.

Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,

Deborah  ♰

Suggested Spiritual Exercise:

Pray to receive the Spirit of Truth. And to live accordingly.

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I Will Prepare a Place for You…

 

Deborah Beach Giordano
© May 15, 2017

John 14:1-6 ~ as told by Deborah

“Don’t go crazy with worry because I’m leaving. Have faith in God, and in me, too. There’s a lot of room in my Father’s house. I wouldn’t say that if it wasn’t true; after all, I’ve told you that I am going to prepare a place for you.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you with me, so that we’ll be together. And you know the way to the place where I am going.”

“But Lord,” Thomas said, “We don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

The Housekeepers Fan Club

I love hospital cleaning ladies. Or “housekeeping staff,” as they are called these days. By any name, they hold a special place in my heart.

The housekeeping staff are the rarely noticed and seldom recognized lynchpins of our health care system. They stand alongside nurses in my pantheon of medical heroes.

Their work is not only demanding, it is often dangerous. Housekeepers are exposed to contaminated needle-sticks (when a rushed or thoughtless medico tosses a used syringe into the trash), infectious diseases, every kind of human waste and discharge, broken glass, bloody bandages — all the while dealing with rude patients, contemptuous visitors, self-absorbed physicians, and administrators whose major interest and concern is how to reduce their hours.

The housekeeping staff are the ones who restore the Emergency treatment room to sterile conditions after a stabbing victim has been brought in, and they clean the O.R. after every surgery. They replace the linens on the beds, mop the floors — and wash down the walls — when patients have vomited, had diarrhea, or hemorrhaged.

Not pleasant to imagine; and far less pleasant when encountered in real life. These are aspects of the housekeepers’ everyday working lives.

But not many people notice.

Steep Learning Curve

My appreciation for these amazing ladies (and gentlemen) began in earnest many years ago when I was employed at a large metropolitan hospital — while I was still pursuing my first career. The nurses’ union had called a strike which other unions were honoring by refusing to cross the picket lines. “Exempt” employees were called in to support the minimum professional staff required to keep the hospital functioning. So I, along with other paper-pushers like me, were sent to the floors to prepare the rooms for incoming patients.

It was an awakening.

I managed to clean two rooms and part of a third before I stumbled down to the cafeteria where I sat, weeping over a cup of tea. I had never been so physically exhausted in my entire life. Nor so emotionally drained.

Rolling the cleaning cart along the hall, I had passed a family engaged in a heated argument over the responsibility for their ailing mother, saw a colleague wheeled into the ICU after cancer surgery, and rode down the service elevator alongside the body of an elderly man who had died on one of the medical floors. All this after I had changed linens, cleaned toilets, and mopped the floors (twice).

And nobody noticed.

Oh, the admitting office knew — they knew a room was available; but they knew nothing about the original condition of the room, or the outcome of the patient who’d been in it. She might have gone home with one of her squabbling children, or he might have been the man I accompanied on his final elevator ride; life or death was all the same: both resulted in a room that needed to be made available to a new patient.

Yet there, beneath it all — behind it all? above it all? — stand the cleaning ladies; making everything new again with persistent, back-breaking labor. We rarely think about them, and they do much of their work out of sight, but patients, staff, and visitors alike owe our lives to them.

The Lesson Continues

Fortunately for all concerned, the strike was resolved in a little over a week. Shortly afterwards I made a trip down to the Housekeeping Department to tell them how much I appreciated what they did. It seemed to me that their work didn’t receive adequate recognition (as it certainly hadn’t, from me, until a couple of weeks prior!). What I discovered there that morning surprised me even more.

I arrived early in order to catch the day shift before they set off on their morning rounds. The door was open and I could hear low voices inside. I passed through the outer office, glancing at the corkboard fluttering with safety precautions, job postings, and daily assignment sheets, and took note of the ancient green-metal desks and filing cabinets (this department had clearly missed out on the furniture upgrades our “upper” offices had recently enjoyed). The interior room held a table and several chairs, but no one was sitting in them. Instead, a small circle of women were standing to one side, holding hands and murmuring softly.

They stopped when they saw me, and Inez looked up, “Just a minute, dear, and I’ll be right with you.” I sank into one of the chairs and listened as they continued. They were praying. These ladies were praying for the patients — they were praying for their patients; some by name, but all were included. Then they prayed for the the health care teams and, last (but not least), for the hospital administration.

I remember fighting back tears. Never once had it occurred to me to pray for those who entered the hospital; not as I read the transcripts of grievous injuries and critical ER admissions, not when ambulances screamed into the drive, or Codes were called — not even when I saw my co-worker transported, pale and weak, out of Surgery. Although I considered myself relatively religious, while I was at work, I was focused on my job: this was business — it had never occurred to me to pray.

Taking the Work Seriously 

These women took their work seriously — not just their jobs as cleaning staff, but their calling to be Christians. They rightfully understood that our walk of faith is not “provincial”: it is not constrained by times or locations; it is not limited to Sundays or evening prayers, it is not confined to churches or chapels: wherever we are, we are to live as faithful, believing followers of our Lord. We are to walk in his Way. Always. Everywhere.

And ever since The Lesson of the Cleaning Ladies, I have been blessed to be able to hear that Jesus “prepares a room for us” with new ears. He’s been a member of the hospital housekeeping staff ever since.

The Way

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

Jesus is the Way we are to live — every day, wherever we are.

Many Christians tend to treat the American ideal of “the separation of church and state” as an Iron Curtain between our secular lives and our private ones. When we are home or in church, prayer is fine and dandy; when we are at work, our faith and belief is set aside — pushed into the background, and basically forgotten.

Imagine having access to a gift that can comfort and heal and bless — and not using it!

This failure impacts our own lives as much as any others: when we set aside our call to Be Compassionate, our actions may not be kind. When we postpone following the Lord until 5 p.m., we may instead find ourselves following the money.

I am in no way suggesting that we should go out into the workplace and proselytize. Nobody wants to be preached at or harangued or “invited” to an evening Bible study. It is enough, surely, to Walk in His Way; to be thoughtful, kindhearted, merciful, generous, and gentle. Those are, I can assure you, rare qualities in our present world.

If we live as our Lord taught, life will change — our lives, certainly, but others as well. Our attitude and our actions will reflect the radiance of Christ; tensions will be reduced, peace will become a possibility, hope will start to blossom. Remember how it was with our early forebears: in a world of violence and chaos, their abundant courage and persistent love amazed and inspired those around them, “What is the cause of their hope?”

Our hope is in the Lord.

Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,

Deborah  ♰

Suggested Spiritual Exercise:  Remember to pray.

 

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Psalm 23: a Song of Strength & Courage

 

Deborah Beach Giordano
© May 8, 2017

Psalm 23 ~ New King James Translation

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures:
He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for you are with me;
your rod and your staff comfort me.

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies:
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Caution: the first two paragraphs refer to end of life issues that some may find upsetting.

The Terrible Cycle

My mother-in-law is in the middle of what I call “the Hospital Cycle.” Those of you who have had elderly relatives or friends with advanced heart disease know the steps in this process: the trip to the emergency room, the scans, the tests, the hospital admission, the IVs, the oxygen line, the heart monitor, the soft-spoken, sympathetic nurses whose eyes tell you far more than words can say… Then the return home, or to a skilled nursing facility where, before long, the cycle repeats. It is the systematic, increasingly heroic effort to keep us alive, long after our strength has faded and our spirits have wearied.

Despite it all, the darkwinged angel waits patiently, knowingly. And so, in time, we die amid beeping monitors and blinking screens, our bodies perforated with wires and tubes and hoses, the scent of ammonia in our nostrils, our vision blocked by a privacy screen. The American Way of Death.

It’s not what anyone wants; yet it is the way we so often choose — or become swept up in: fighting the inevitable with every weapon in our considerable arsenal. We behave as though medicines and machines will give us eternal life; yet, in the end, medical miracles have their limits, and even the young may grow weak, and the strong will stumble and fall. (Isaiah 40:30)

We are mortal. That’s the inconvenient truth we have such trouble accepting.

Perhaps that’s why Psalm Twenty-three is so abidingly popular. It’s an image of tranquility, of calm confidence even as we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”

The Big Valley

That valley is not the exclusive province of the ill or the aged; each one of us walks through it, every day. As thinking, aware creatures, we understand that life is fragile and finite. Unlike dogs or cats or the squirrels who turn merry somersaults across the lawn, we know that our time here is limited. There is no guarantee of tomorrow, not for us or for anyone.

It is how we deal with that knowledge that matters.

And, with the remarkable creativity of our species, there is a large variety of options for doing so — primarily in ways of distracting us or disguising the fact of our mortality.

We can succumb to these temptations to lie to ourselves quite innocently; unknowingly, hardly realizing them as pale substitutes for hope or faith. Allowing these silly artifices to obscure what is truly important, we miss out on living our lives fully, meaningfully.

Temptations Galore

Jesus said, “What is the benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” ~ Matthew 16:26

We may find ourselves drawn into virtual reality; living our lives on-line, engaging in (irresolvable) political debates, signing petitions, focusing on “out there,” rather than in our own lives. While it is important to be a knowledgeable and involved citizen, how much time is “enough,” and what are we not seeing/hearing/doing while on the internet?

It’s equally easy to distract ourselves with stuff — most notably through the infamous “retail therapy” method. Shopping is easy, stores are filled with sights and sounds and smells and people: there’s no time to think, but simply be entertained. Equally we may become “collectors”: stamps, coins, shoes, lawn ornaments, teacups, bottle caps, ancient manuscripts, figurines…. the world is large, there is much to choose from! Having an outside interest should add spice to our lives, not be a substitute for them.

The Danger Zone

For some, the fact of our mortality is treated as a challenge. These are the folks who engage in dangerous behaviors, take unnecessary (“death defying”) risks, repeatedly putting their lives on the line; playing dodge-ball with the Grim Reaper. In the young this attitude may be simple foolishness, but “cheating death” can become an obsession — each success adds to the addiction, the thrill of the game and the conviction that one more round can be won.

Then there are the ways in which the desire to live forever can poison other people’s lives. There are the spiritual Svengalis who seek to control those around them by innuendo, intimidation, and threats; the clergy who preach damnation rather than the Gospel, proclaiming their own prejudices to be divine mandates; the parents who demand that their children excel in every field and endeavor, focused on “success” — never happiness, mining their children’s souls for the material to build for themselves a “lasting legacy.”

Most alarmingly, we may decide that the only reasonable choice in a world where death lurks around every corner is to shelter in place. Seeking safety first, we avoid all possible dangers and unpleasantness, any exposure to sickness or suffering; other people are too “high risk” for us to get involved. Timidly, fearfully, we tremble and watch life unfold from the sidelines like mice at a cat jamboree. And that is truly tragic.

Back to Basics

“Do not be afraid.” This admonition is repeated over and over and over throughout the Holy Scriptures. It must be in there for a reason.

Perhaps that is because fear poses a greater risk to us than all other dangers combined. Fear can make us do crazy things. It can drive us to make terrible choices; to hurt, to wound, to destroy. It can cloud our thinking and close our hearts, shutting out all compassion, sympathy, and mercy. Fear can squeeze the life out of us. It can poison our souls.

The solution is to live fearlessly; to greet each new day with tranquil courage and great expectations; to live in the moment cheerfully, certain that, whatever may come, All Will Be Well.

Of course that’s easy to say… much harder to do.

That’s where our Psalm comes in. It is a testament to tranquility, that not only speaks of peace, but brings it about as we take in the words. Here is my contemporary interpretation:

God is in charge; I will be ok;
I see beauty all around me,
I breathe deep, and relax.

My soul awakens.

I walk with grace and compassion because I am beloved.

Death is a mere shadow, it has no substance,
I will pass through it into the Light of God;
my life is sacred to the Lord, there is no cause for fear.

Abundant treasures are mine, that no one can take from me;
I am a priest, my soul God’s holy temple;
I am rich beyond compare.

All is well, now and forever,
God’s love and mercy are everlasting,
I dwell in peace, I am the Lord’s.

All is well, all is well, all will be well. We have nothing to fear. Not even death itself — least of all, death. The darkwinged angel is not an enemy, simply an escort who leads us through the shadow and into the radiant, eternal Light. And the angel serves, too, as a reminder: Live this life fully — with courage, joy, and compassion, and do not be afraid.

Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,
Rev. Deb  ♰

Suggested Spiritual Exercise:  Spend time with the Twenty-Third Psalm. Let it speak to your soul.

 

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