THERE ARE ALL KINDS OF FEAR, and I certainly pray to be delivered from the fear of my brother; I pray to grow in the love that casts out fear. To grow in love of God and man, and to live by this charity, that is the problem. We must love our enemy, not because we fear war but because God loves him.

Day, Dorothy. The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus (Plough Spiritual Guides: Backpack Classics) (p. 34). Plough Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

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There is Love and there is Fear.

Fear is kin to Envy, Prejudice, Hate, and Violence.

Love is kin to Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

Love and Fear are not kin.
Love and Fear are enemies.

Fear hates Love; Love loves Fear.

Fear would kill Love.
Love would die to save Fear from itself.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

I took this photo on Sunday. I often sit right behind Samuel’s chair, right where I often sat when he was still in sanctuary in our church building.  We miss him every Sunday and still wonder what value our country got out of the taxpayer dollars ICE spent in its action to entrap, arrest, and deport him. We experience every day the damage that was done.

Over the past month I’ve been putting together this video for Samuel, using a photo published the day we surrounded the ICE van, a graphic produced shortly afterward as we fought against his deportation, and an arrangement of Amazing Grace I often play at a nearby cancer center. I offer it here as an encouragement to Samuel (who recently celebrated a birthday) and also to all of us who miss him.  It’s just over a minute long and has audio – please take a look (and listen).

 

If you’d like to find out more about Samuel, check out my original post and also this page that lists ways people can support him and his family.

Grace and peace to you…

dw

Look.
Look, patient beyond hurried moment.
Look, resistant through knee-jerk habit reaction.
Look, brave past intimidation mask.
Look, determined find human soul.
Look, soft imagine child within.
Look, surprised finding friend.
Look, humbled at God’s beloved,
image of God,
right there.
Look.

Copyright © 2018, becomingflame.com

I posted this poem before, but wanted to post it again in response to the sermon I heard in last Sunday’s service. One of the themes was about being seen as we are and seeing others as they are…and I just had to share this again.

(Delvin, if you see this post, I’m so grateful for your courageous, honest, thoughtful message. I’ve known the story of Jonah for many years but you brought it to life for me in a completely new and powerful way. And you spoke things this white, male, baby boomer needed to hear. Thank you.)

dw

p.s.  I’m off my normal posting schedule – life is busy with lots of great things to be busy with.  Grace and peace to you…

 

So the soul that hopes in God already belongs to Him, and to belong to Him is the same as to possess Him, since He gives Himself completely to those who give themselves to Him.

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

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We began this series on Hope with Thomas Merton telling us that hope takes everything away from us so that, in the end, we may possess everything. Here he gives us the answer to that riddle:

Hope’s mission is to lead us to the only sure hope, that the God Jesus called ‘Father’ is our God, we are his people, and he takes joy in giving us all that can truly be called Life. Any hope less than this is a distraction, a diminishing of this sure hope, the anchor of our souls.

dw

Copyright © 2018, becomingflame.com

For all who are in that place of pausing to perceive where their Good Shepherd is leading them next: you are practicing hope now so you can help the rest of us when we come to that place again. Grace and peace to you…

In a world where there is so much drudgery, so much grief, so much emptiness and fear and pain, our gladness in our work is as much needed as we ourselves need to be glad. If we keep our eyes and ears open, our hearts open, we will find the place surely. The phone will ring and we will jump not so much out of our skin as into our skin. If we keep our lives open, the right place will find us.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “The Calling of Voices”

 

Without hope, our faith gives us only an acquaintance with God.  Without love and hope, faith only knows Him as a stranger. For hope casts us into the arms of His mercy and of His providence. If we hope in Him, we will not only come to know that He is merciful but we will experience His mercy in our own lives.

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

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Faith without hope
is a dry throat
swallowing hard
to push down the panic
“What if I am wrong?”

Unless it is
seething hatred
at a world
that has no good news.

Mere acquaintance with God is terrifying.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

p.s.

This post from last year is a prayer I have prayed over the years, asking the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to help me be more than an acquaintance.