Monthly Archives: December 2018

 

Hope deprives us of everything that is not God, in order that all things may serve their true purpose as means to bring us to God.

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

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What is this hope that dashes all hopes,
yet is the only sure remedy for hopelessness?

An anchor that holds us, drowns us,
baptizes us clean, clean,
cleaner than we ever wanted to be
(but always wanted to be)
in water that is life itself
if we will only drown ourselves in it,
suck it in knowing it is the death of us,
us as beings with the right to choose,
for our own selves,
what we hope for,
even if what we hope for
would be the death of us.

dw

Copyright © 2018, becomingflame.com

We would be,
all of us,
detained at heaven’s border,
seeking life,
fleeing death,
illegal immigrants all;

Detained and
forever separated
from our loved ones;

Were it not
for God’s outrageous mercy,
his willingness to spend
without limit
his very life
for us
so that we
could be
not only citizens of his realm,
but his very sons and daughters,
sharing his home,
his table,
his very life.

dw

Copyright © 2018, all rights reserved.

 

Samuel, we miss you and are praying for you and Julia and Daniel. We want to see your family together again; we want you to worship here with us again. God be with you.

We are…God knows, a people who walk in darkness. There seems little need to explain. If darkness is meant to suggest a world where nobody can see very well — either themselves, or each other, or where they are heading, or even where they are standing at the moment; if darkness is meant to convey a sense of uncertainty, of being lost, of being afraid; if darkness suggests conflict, conflict between races, between nations, between individuals all pretty much out for themselves when you come right down to it; then we live in a world that knows much about darkness. Darkness is what our newspapers are about. Darkness is what most of our best contemporary literature is about. Darkness fills the skies over our own cities no less than over the cities of our enemies. And in our single lives, we know much about darkness too. If we are people who pray, darkness is apt to be a lot of what our prayers are about. If we are people who do not pray, it is apt to be darkness in one form or another that has stopped our mouths.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “Come and See”

 

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I

This description of darkness sounds all too familiar to me.

I have an impulse to turn away from it, to not dwell on it lest it engulf me (as it has so many times).

I have a reluctance to admit how easily it can engulf me and for how long.

To be honest, I fear the depression it can bring on and how helpless I can feel in the throes of it.

I don’t want to risk feeling that dark, that hopeless, again.

II

God is Light.

Light doesn’t turn away from darkness.

It pierces it and exposes everything in it.

It looks into every corner to find what might be lost, to nourish what might be starving, to bring order where there is disorder, to give sight where there is blindness.

The darkness does not taint it, does not overcome it.

Light feels anguish at what it finds in the dark; anguish that breaks the heart and sweats blood.

Anguish is Love encountering the beloved in darkness; Light suffers anguish because the beloved is worth it.

Light, because of its anguish, brings warmth and hope and joy to the one engulfed in darkness.

III

God in me, with me, is that Light.

God in us, with us – Immanuel! – is that Light, doing even greater things through us, the many, who are following Him, the One.

The land once covered in darkness has seen a great light.

The land now covered in darkness can see a great light – if I, if we, follow the One in not turning away from it.

Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Grace and peace to you…

dw

The Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes those we don’t approve of and eats with them.”

And Jesus told them…”I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one person you don’t approve of who repents than over ninety-nine people you approve of who need no repentance.”

Luke 15

* My paraphrase, substituting for the words ‘sinners’ and ‘righteous persons’.

We who are disapproved are prized by the One who was disapproved.

We who are approved (and thus one with the disapprovers) miss out on the joy of heaven.

Lord, have mercy on us!

dw

p.s. My friend Samuel, one of the disapproved, is safe in Mexico with people who love him and care for him , including his son (!). God’s loving-kindness knows no borders and no bounds.