Upon our hope, therefore, depends the liberty of the whole universe. Because our hope is the pledge of a new heaven and a new earth, in which all things will be what they were meant to be.

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

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If my hope

Is the toe hold

The universe needs

To stay on the face

Of liberty;

Though barely a seam,

May it remain

As steadfast

As the One

Who made it

The anchor

Of my soul.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

Freedom is perfect when no other love can impede our desire to love God.

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

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From John’s gospel, Chapter 8:

31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Harper Bibles. NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Kindle Locations 79992-79998). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Grace and peace and freedom to you…

dw

 

 

This is the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil — disgust with the things we have misused and hatred of ourselves for misusing them.

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

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That tree, you know the one,
where Eve got sucker punched
and Adam melted away,
didn’t even stand up for her,
distracted, maybe, by the spectre
of knowing her nakedness
apart from her soul,
thus beginning the dehumanizing
of one image of God by another,
the desecration of created things,
the discounting of God who made them;

That tree, you know the one,
that bides its time
while we distract ourselves
knowing the distraction will quiet
and we will one day stare and swallow
at the noose our own demand
to experience something other than God’s provision,
the difference between Good and Evil,
has tied for us –
we the condemner and the condemned;

That tree, you know the one,
where our discounted God
hung on our behalf
to show us pure Good,
to cut us free.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

 

 

It would be a sin to place any limit upon our hope in God. We must love Him without measure. All sin is rooted in the failure of love. All sin is a withdrawal of love from God, in order to love something else. Sin sets boundaries to our hope, and locks our love in prison.

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

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Sin:
exchanging our greatest love
for something less,
hoping for less than what we have assurance of,
settling for even less than we hope for,
accepting a story of non-provision,
covetousness rewriting hope’s history
into a bleak tragedy
of love beyond our reach
just outside the bars
of the unlocked cell
we are dying in

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

Photo by chris panas on Unsplash

I’m so distraught today over how people are treating each other in our world. I pray that God would ‘change the prevailing winds’ – in my heart, in the hearts of his people, in our culture, in our politics. I’m overwhelmed and at a loss for words.

In the past when I’ve felt the way I do now, I’ve turned to music – to beg, to listen, to find comfort, to believe. Today I’m sharing here music I’ve titled The Strongest Prayer I Know (for the little ones). When I first wrote it, I had in mind the millions of little ones who  were not allowed to be born alive; afterward, I realized it is about many more ‘little ones’ – all who are neglected or despised and considered of little value. This music has often been my prayer when I have no more words to pray – other than “Lord, have mercy”.

There are three parts: the first is a repeated cry for God to hear; the second is Jesus giving us a quiet wake up call, a chance to listen and change our ways; the last is reminding us that, in the end, our Great Shepherd will lead his little ones to the place he has prepared for us.

Here is a link to the music, posted on my other site.  I invite you to listen and pray with me.

The Strongest Prayer I Know

Holy God, who entered our world as the Word,
the Word of truth, of love, of light, and of life,

When we speak words of error, hatred, darkness and death
have mercy:

May those listening see our lies for what they are,

And may you awaken our conscience and grant us repentance;
may you change our very hearts to make them clean, wholly loving you and our neighbor, whoever that neighbor may be.

When we speak words of truth, love, light and life
have mercy:

May those listening take heart and have hope,

And may you grant us the joy and gladness you have always purposed for us,
to be your people with your Word living with us and in us.

Holy God, may your Word be spoken and cherished in all places and by all people.

Through your Son, Word of God, Jesus,
amen.

dw, 7Jul19

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As some of you know, from time to time I compose prayers. This one has been brewing in me for quite some time, but I have recently felt an urgency to finish and post it. I pray it may be one of those very small seeds that grows and in some mysterious way provides a place of rest for weary souls.

Grace and peace to you…

dw

p.s. A list of other prayers posted on this site:

  1. I started becomingflame.com a little over 18 months ago, have kept with it, and I think the original About page still describes what I’m up to.
  2. I look forward to writing each post and to being surprised each time at what actually comes together.
  3. I read differently now, always being on the lookout for things to share here. I like that.
  4. The most difficult part of each post is finding a photo – it usually accounts for 90% of the time it takes me to finish and publish a post.
  5. I’ve learned that I don’t like writing prose – makes me feel like I need to explain everything as though I’m writing to an audience of brains instead of hearts-and-brains-connected. Just sayin’…that’s where I am right now.
  6. I’ve met dear people whom I’ve grown to love and who have contributed significantly to me through their writings and interactions. Someday soon I’ll share links to their blogs.
  7. I seem to have become a significant site for finding Mary Oliver’s poem “Praying” – that post is far and away the one most visited on my site, getting views almost every day. (What better honor could I have? I can’t imagine one.)
  8. I worry that my more conservative friends and family think I’ve gone over the edge, have “drunk the kool-aid”. All I can say is that I love Jesus more now than I ever have, that I feel more compassion for others than I ever have, and that I love sharing that here in language that is hopefully fresh and alive.
  9. I’m aiming for your hearts, because I think God is aiming for mine.
  10. Who say’s I need a 10th?

Grace and peace to you…

dw