Jesus

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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