Categories
attention the real self

A million things

…to run anything in this world…is like being lost in a forest of a million trees…and each tree is a thing to be done… A million trees. A million things. Until finally we have eyes for nothing else, and whatever we see turns into a thing.

So how am I to say it, gentlemen? When he came, I missed him.

— The Inkeeper

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “The Birth”

I can’t begin to convey the magic of Frederick Buechner’s sermon “The Birth”. Sermon isn’t really the right word. It’s more like three interviews with people who witnessed the event: the Innkeeper, the Wise Men, and the Shepherds. The quote above is from the Innkeeper’s account, his witness, his confession – that’s what it is in the end – his confession. And it’s my confession, too; maybe it’s yours.


  • Are we lost in the forest of our concerns, so lost we can’t see the Light of the World around and among us?
  • He came to his own people and his own people…”missed” him.  Do we, like the innkeeper, have no room, no mental or emotional space, for Jesus to be born? Are we missing him? Are we aware we are missing him?
  • What can we do to not miss him? (Attention is the beginning of devotion.)
  • List out some of the ‘million things’ in your life. Note down times in your life when those things caused you to miss something important. Write down what Jesus means to you and what you might do to give him more space in your life.

I highly recommend Buechner’s book and that you read this particular sermon. What I have shared here doesn’t begin to do it justice.

Grace and peace to you…

dw

p.s. This is a refresh of a past post from early 2018

Categories
Other Writings Poetry

Never really alone

 

So in the room called Remember it is possible to find peace – the peace that comes from looking back and remembering to remember that though most of the time we failed to see it, we were never really alone.

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

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The voice didn’t say
You are utterly alone:
I would have heard the lie for what it was.

No, it said
You will always feel this alone;
You will always be misunderstood;
You will never have what you are longing for.
All is dark and there is no remedy.

And so, I felt that alone,
that misunderstood;
I felt the aching longing,
the hopelessness.
I felt the desolation of that voice.
I felt it as long as I listened,
many years.

“Show us a sign,” the people said.
“What sign shall I give to a people who don’t listen?” he said,
“There are signs all around you.
Wake up, pay attention, and see.
I am at hand, right here with you.”

The children could see –
the mouths of babes proclaimed it,
and still do.

What woke me from the desolating dream?
Grace, I’m sure;
the nearness of children;
the weariness of being weary;
giving up on giving up;
becoming aware the voice was just a voice;

Reaching out to touch the hem of His garment –
if I just touch it, I will be healed.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

Categories
Other Writings Poetry

Up to its knees in the past

 

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”

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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