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Devotions, Reflections,
Poetry

There are some great books in Hope's downstairs library for spiritual considerations.  Feel free to browse and borrow.  Just sign the card on the inside of the cover or write a note.

Lutheran's Connect Devotional Website

 

Our theme this time is Wisdom. Throughout the biblical story, the dynamic figure of Wisdom seems to be both human and divine. She is a person we might meet and know, and the symbolic metaphor of all we yearn for. Wisdom embodies all that is good in the essence of how God made us, and she is also elusive, far wiser than we could ever be. In the Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom becomes identified with Jesus and in other contexts she is associated with Creation.


Join us Fridays through Mondays every weekend from July 22 to August 29, as we delve into the identity and meaning of biblical Wisdom. Along the way we will also explore the wisdom figures of other cultures and traditions. This summer, let's search together for the wisdom that feeds our souls and stirs our hearts into mission. May the wisdom of the Holy Spirit guide us as we go.

 

These devotionals can be seen at:

Wise Ones and Wisdom Seekers

(click here)

Archived devotionals can be located at the right side of the site

 

Eternity For Today

Sign up here for the e-edition of this devotional series

https://elcic.ca/dailydevotions/sign-up.cfm

Click here

 

Reconciliation with our Native Community

Among many topics the Hope Breakfast Group has been exploring the issues around reconciliation with the native community.  We have read and had guest speakers on the topics of UNDRIP, the truth and reconciliation commision, aboriignal spirituality and the legacy of residential school trauma. Here is a CBC site with information.  Warning: it is a very emotionally charged topic that speaks of abuse and trauma.

A school they called Alcatraz: Survivor reflects on sisters' deaths at Kuper Island Residential School

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/kuper-island-joseph-sisters-1.6475691

Click here

God As Her

Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Ph.D

Senior Minister for Public Theology and Transformation - Middle Collegiate Church, New York, NY

It makes sense that because white men created so much of religion, the image of God was an old white man with grey hair. However, this image needs a makeover because he’s no longer working.

My God is a curvy black woman with dreadlocks and dark, cocoa-brown skin. She laughs from her belly and is unashamed to cry. She can rock a whole world to sleep, singing in her contralto voice. Her sighs breathe life into humanity. Her heartbreaks cause eruptions of justice and love.

Of course, because God is a mystery, we don’t know everything about Her. So out of our imaginations and our yearnings, our hopes and our fears, we make stuff up. At our best, we project goodness, power, kindness, and love onto God. At our worst, we create a God who is punitive, angry, judgmental, and harsh. We do this because we are those things, and we think they make us safe.

 

Projection itself is not the problem. The problem occurs when we don’t examine those projections with a critical eye, with a hermeneutic of suspicion. The issue is that we write laws that codify the shadow parts of the god we create, in order to diminish others, to abuse others. The trouble starts when our god is too small, when we reduce our worst projections to fit in our pocket and keep this god on our team. When we neglect to confront this created god, we get the Crusades and the Doctrine of Discovery; the murder of indigenous people and Jews; apartheid and enslaved Africans; sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia—all in the name of the too-puny god that is the worst of ourselves.

I know I’ve got my projections. They are inspired by my imagination and by textual studies. In Hebrew, the words for womb and mercy have the same root, and the word for spirit is feminine: ruach. In Greek, the word pneuma [breath or spirit or soul] has a feminine article, the word Sophia stands for wisdom, and the word agape—God’s love for us—is also a feminine word. Therefore, my God is an incarnate feminine power, who smells like vanilla and is full of sass and truth, delivered with kindness. She’ll do anything for her creation; her love is fierce. She weeps when we do and insists on justice. She is God. She is Love.

 

This is the Time to be Slow

 

This is the time to be slow
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with new beginning.

 

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow - Sonja Cole .

 

I don’t know about tomorrow;

I just live from day to day.

I don’t borrow from its sunshine

For its skies may turn to grey.

I don’t worry o’er the future,

For I know what Jesus said.

And today I’ll walk beside Him,

For He knows what is ahead. .

 

Many things about tomorrow

 I don’t seem to understand

But I know who holds tomorrow

And I know who holds my hand.

 

. Every step is getting brighter

As the golden stairs I climb;

Every burden’s getting lighter,

Every cloud is silver-lined.

There the sun is always shining,

There no tear will dim the eye;

At the ending of the rainbow

Where the mountains touch the sky.

 

Many things about tomorrow

 I don’t seem to understand

But I know who holds tomorrow

And I know who holds my hand. 

Trembling

Rebecca Garber [April 15, 2021]

 

Let me tremble seeing the Divine wearing red

drumming the direct heart and body contact

 of love.

And make me dance joyfully, confidently

between and with the mysterious Sacred

while patiently dealing with the mundane

    leaning in to both the bitter and the sweet.

Help me release sadness and hurt from

past times, enabling many memories

to retreat into the back of my mind

freeing heart and mind, mind and heart

    to fully occupy eternity now.

Let me release traumas imbedded

within my very cells, so that they

no longer continuously replicate

as my body renews and replaces them.

 

Let me hear the release speak through

a wind chime tinkling in salty wind

 blowing across the Salish Sea

with its breath luxurious with seals

barking as they frolic and mate.

 

Let me revel as I move through times

of radical change, reveling in excitement

of embracing transformation, embracing

it without fear—always listening to one

particular bass voice singing

“I’ll be there as I was there

as I have always been to see

your life unfold”—holding a final surprise.

 

As She Lay Dying 

Rebecca Garber 

At the last, death crept in

with the slow timidity of

night at nearly summer

  solstice, and I sit there

holding her hand

while her motionless feet  walk

into mystery I cannot see

soon to know a secret

 never told

 

 Her respiration rate like

grains of sand too large to

pass through the waist of

an hourglass, nothing left

to do but wait, her hands

tiny like squirrel’s feet

her radio still sputtering

 as she dances along into

eternity.

 

She drinks a tot of scotch

then another, and one more

lighting up her face briefly

sips of creaturely satisfaction

her very last.

 In the face of nothing more

to do except wait, I read to

her the mystery she wants

(by morning, she’ll have

read one more). She slowly

says “I…am…afraid—really afraid.”

 

In the morning, all her vital

signs drop and she is there

only in her irregular breathing

outside there’s thunder and

lightning.

 

 Inside, she slips into a coma

we all talk, knowing that hearing

goes last. Everything slows down

until quietly, without a whimper

she succumbs to the inevitable

and her eyes open wide.

 The doctor closes them

 with a finger and a thumb.

 It is over.

 

ONE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY

Rebecca Garber

 

you formed me in the image of your creativity

inflated my lungs with your love

made my ears turn to the human voice

my eyes focus on faces, my body respond to touch

you wrapped me in acceptance at my baptism

 

but as i grew, fear surrounded me and blurred my vision

shame blunted my senses and crippled my walk

 

i could not find you there leading me

walking beside me, pushing me from behind

 

instead of looking outward, trusting good

fully inhabiting my body, i moved into the

isolation of my mind, turned my back on possibility

 

fear became a swirling fog

and i could not find my way

its thick darkness the companion that left me lonely

frozen ground upon which i stumbled

fell, and curled my arms around myself

losing hope, caving in, giving up

 

you fed me with bits of bread and wine

word—words of love, of safety, of enough

though i could only hear

the inner voices saying otherwise

 

you waited while i wandered in my wilderness

frozen, unable to think, to move, to want

except in lightning flashes of relief, kind faces

and one strong hand holding on, saying

i will stay, i will not leave, will not give up on you

 

bits of bread dropped in the dark led me back

eaten on my knees, salted with my tears

seasoned by my own sweat until day

slowly dawned in that bright white

intensity holding all possible colours

black earth aromatic, warming in the sun

welcoming my bare feet into a sacred dance

imprinted in my very DNA, my heart knowing

that all shall be well, all shall be well indeed

 

POEM PRAYER

Rachel Srubas


Some days I prefer
to ignore your assurances,
pave my own path, lose my own way,
cross quicksand if I have to --
anything but
relinquish my will.
Remember the blistering, narcissistic desert,
the devil who taunted you there?
You know it well - the desire, the drive
to conceive and control, predict and prevail.
You, too, have wrestled the egoistic impulse,
the credit-hoarding greed of spirit
that flares within and keeps me,
on some days, from offering praise,
stops me from seeking your face
or following your excellent way.
I'm left to my echoing solitude,
murmuring my own name.
Jesus, teach me to pray. Lend me your hand,
Talk to me of forgiveness until
all my dear falsehoods fall way.
Mend the cracked compass of my mind,
and guide me to my true desire.
- "from Oblations: Meditations on St. Benedict's Rule,

 

How  the  Light  Shines

Trisha  Elliott

O  God,  I  know  that  there is  a  time  for everything:

a  time  to  help  and  a  time  to  refrain  from  helping,

a  time  to  leap  to  action  and  a  time  to  wait  patiently,

a  time  to  care  for others and  a  time  to  care for myself,

a  time  to  be  busy  and  a  time  to  rest,

a  time  to  make  decisions and  a  time  to  discern  a  direction,

a  time  to  speak and  a  time  to  listen,

a  time  to  name  wrongs  and  a  time  to  admit I’m  wrong,

a  time  to  seek  joy and  a  time  to  be  found  by it.

Please,  God,  instill in  me  the  wisdom  to  know  what  time  this is

and  help  me  make  the  most  of  it.  

 To You

Langston Hughes

To sit and dream, to sit and learn,
To sit and learn about the world
Outside our world of here and now ----
Our troubled world ----
To dream of vast horizons of the soul
Through dreams made whole,
Unfettered, free ---- help me!
All you who are dreamers, too,
Help me to make
Our world anew.
I reach out my dreams to you.

 

Drinking From  the  Saucer

​John Paul  Moore

I've  never  made  a fortune,

And I'll  never  make  one  now

But  it  really  doesn't  matter

'Cause  I'm  happy  anyhow

 

As  I go along my  journey

I'm  reaping better  than I've  sowed

I'm  drinking from  the  saucer

'Cause  my  cup has  overflowed

 

I don't  have  a lot  of  riches,

And sometimes  the  going's  tough

But  with kin and friends  to love  me

I think  I'm  rich enough

 

I thank  God for  the  blessings

That  His  mercy  has  bestowed

I'm  drinking from  the  saucer '

Cause  my  cup has  overflowed

He  gives  me  strength and courage

When the  way  grows  steep and rough

I'll  not  ask  for  other  blessings  

for I'm  already  blessed enough

May  we  never  be  too busy

To help bear  another's  load

Then we'll  all  be  drinking from  the  saucer

When our  cups  have  overflowed    

 

 

                                       

HEALING FROM INTERNALIZED OPPRESSION

Eileen Garcia

 

I watched the Black Lives Matter Movement with mixed feelings.

 

After all, I came to Canada to embrace "white privilege". It is not fun to be part of a hated minority, to have your kin murdered or otherwise assaulted by an empowered black majority, even if you do understand the roots of their hatred and have supported their cause. Hatred may live on, even when the power structures change.

 

Living in a prejudiced environment and being the target of prejudice because of race, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, culture etc. is demoralizing at best and, at worst, it may completely destroy a person's capacity to love. Social rejection, and even hatred, may be part of the formative years. Reactive anger may become an imbedded part of the victim’s personality. Living with hatred damages the brain and the capacity to trust.

 

People who do not understand may say, "Why can't you just get over it?" The answer is that the assault on your person continues, imbedded in the social structures. It does not go away, even if you try to live exclusively in your minority's world. Unconscious insult is there whenever you pick up a book, turn on the T.V. or go for a walk. Even if hostility is absent, the victim’s necessary state of hyper-vigilance may trigger hostility as a passerby senses the anxious energy.

 

Yet letting down your guard can mean losing your life. Hyper-vigilance is exhausting. Suicide is common among hated minorities. Those who are strong in love may have to make the first move towards friendship and seek to understand the social walls that oppress. This can be hard work and requires patience. Even when there is no threat, it is hard to change a lifetime of habits.

 

The oppressed person may be perceived as "over-reactive". The “oppressor” may move or speak in a way which is natural to those in power and trigger fear. People become tired of having to reassure, they move on to easier company, thus reenforcing the victim’s identity as outcaste. Most people prefer the comfort of the very familiar, nothing changes.

 

In order to become part of changing prejudices, well-meaning individuals have to become aware of their own patterns and how patterns inter-lock. Fear of rejection may trigger rejection. Hidden anger may trigger revulsion. Recognizing and accepting these feelings and staying through uncomfortable situations may be difficult, but it is the only road to growth. Is there anything to be gained beyond greater justice and peace?

 

People who have been members of hated minorities can bring numerous gifts to a receptive community. The hypersensitivity which assured their survival may mean sensitivity to your unspoken need. They may be unusually creative or spiritual or tough. Once trust is built one is free to enjoy the gifts and limitations that come in any loving, reciprocal relationship. How do I as an outcaste help myself?

 

I sit daily with an image of Jesus and meditate on the word "Beloved". I rehearse in my mind beautiful memories. I sing Hymns and love songs to myself, write poetry and do some art. Nature heals me, loving friends help. Yet even now a small act of hostility or prejudice may trigger old tapes. I must work very hard to calm my old survival brain. I may need time out, but it does get easier.

 

I am also a victimizer by my own prejudices. How do I help to bring greater justice to others? I work to be aware of the beliefs and practices which automatically support me but which keep others in places of inferiority and injustice and I seek to change these. I will experience loss, but I believe Love is worth the effort. Recognizing and embracing my own places of powerlessness and fatigue can bring me into solidarity with those held less by society.

 

Old age can be an invitation to greater solidarity with, and compassion towards, those who endure a lifetime of rejection and disempowerment. If victims of racism and other forms of oppression united we would likely find ourselves in the majority. If we who are prejudiced against others would gather, I think we would find we had collected every human being and perhaps many animals. May we learn to love one another, one day at a time.