Then at last we see what hope is and where it comes from, hope as the driving power and outermost edge of faith. Hope stands up to its knees in the past and keeps its eyes on the future…shall is the verb of hope.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “A Room Called Remember”

cropped-david-monje-2199131.jpg

Sometimes it’s not just the knees.
Sometimes the past is waist deep
or swirling about the neck.
Sometimes hope is desperate,
sucking in great, choking drafts of history,
over it’s head, swept along
in rapids intent on burying it,
knocking it out on some jag of rock.

Hope knows, though;
it knows the past has
to settle out
to a stretch where strokes count,
where there is footing,
where there is a landing,
and a choice to get out
and take a path.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

We have the greatest weapons in the world, greater than any hydrogen or atom bomb, and they are the weapons of poverty and prayer, fasting and alms, the reckless spending of ourselves in God’s service and for his poor. Without poverty we will not have learned love, and love, at the end, is the measure by which we shall be judged.

Day, Dorothy. The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus (Plough Spiritual Guides: Backpack Classics) (p. 63). Plough Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

cropped-david-monje-2199131.jpg
More powerful than power itself is the choice to set it aside.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?”

Harper Bibles. NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Kindle Locations 76005-76007). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

Those who abandon everything in order to seek God know well that He is the God of the poor…the supreme expression of His justice is to forgive those whom no one else would ever have forgiven. That is why He is, above all, the God of those who can hope where there is no hope. The penitent thief who died with Christ was able to see God where the doctors of the law had just proved impossible Jesus’s claim to divinity.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

cropped-david-monje-2199131.jpg

Perhaps,
in our darkest hour,
the difference between
hope and despair
is our willingness
to recognize
the God of love
hanging on the cross
beside ours.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

I’m sharing a post, The Face of a Stranger, written by my blogging friend Pam Saldana. It’s not her typical topic: her blog is called All Things Thriller and she writes about a wide array of movies, books, and people typically near the edges. I love the way she tells a story, whether biographical or fictional, and I learn something new from every post she writes. This particular post about our westernized concept of who Jesus was and what he was like…well, I thought it fit in pretty well here…so I’m recommending it to you. Click here to read and enjoy!

@Pam – thanks so much for sharing your insight and gift for writing!

dw

 

I cannot be humble unless I first know that I am good, and know that what is good in me is not my own, and know how easy it is for me to substitute an evil of my own choice for the good that is God’s gift to me.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, Sentences on Hope

cropped-david-monje-2199131.jpg

The point in my life
where I began to believe
I was better than you
was the point where I forgot
or no longer believed
that God made us both
to be his children.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

The Passing

I am the firstborn in my family:
if I had been an Egyptian,
it would have been me.

How would the passing, even the prospect, feel?
Were they afraid?
scoffing?
wondering?
hoping, maybe? some?

What would it be
to be swept up in the arms of Israel’s god,
the god of our slaves,
those stronger than we,
those whom we feared?

Why did Pharaoh destroy us for these
to whom we happily gave our treasures?
“Let them go!” we said; “set them free!”

But he would not and so came the destruction
of our land,
our crops,
our livestock,
our water.

What would it be to pass into,
to be swept up in the arms,
the strong arms,
of Israel’s God?

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

Photo by IV Horton on Unsplash

 

Today I learned that one of my dear blogging friends has passed. I don’t know of anyone who has written more eloquently and transparently about addiction, recovery, illness, and gratitude.

I will miss him, miss his gentle spirit coming through his writing, miss his responses to my posts, miss his encouraging words. I can’t imagine the loss his family feels. I’ve included a post on grief below – I hope if offers some comfort.

I’m trying to think of words to say how much I want you, each reader, to experience what I have through his writing. I can’t think of any grand way to say it…simple words will have to do: read his blog…really, I mean it. You won’t be sorry. I’ve added his last 10 posts to the sidebar of this post to get you started.

Robert, thank you for your friendship. I wish we could have met on this side, but I look forward to meeting you on the other. Grace and peace to you…

dw

man walking in rain with black umbrella Walking with grief

In Common

So many grieving
Damage recent and long past
Near and far away

dw
Copyright © 2018

For those of us who grieve, Andy Raine of the Northumbria Community has written,

“Do not hurry as you walk with grief; it does not help the journey. Walk slowly, pausing often: do not hurry as you walk with grief. Be not disturbed by memories that come unbidden. Swiftly forgive; and let Christ speak for you unspoken words. Unfinished conversation will be resolved in him. Be not disturbed. Be gentle with the one who walks with grief. If it is you, be gentle with yourself. Swiftly forgive; walk slowly, pausing often. Take time, be gentle as you walk with grief.”

Claiborne, Shane. Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (p. 471). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.