Godlight to Soulight And Back Again

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Meister Eckhart’s Refectory

I relished some time with my old friend Meister Eckhart this morning.  I invite you into this meandering, while acknowledging that it is a bit out there (maybe more than a bit!)

 

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Homecoming: A Feast Of Sacred Poems

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Once again I am honored to introduce you to a freshly published volume of poetry penned by my friend Kay Mullen.  You can read more about it and order a copy at her  website.

I leave you now with a glimpse into kay and a taste of her poetry.

About Kay

[…in later life] Kay… earned a Master of Fine Arts from Pacific Lutheran University with a focus on poetry. She received a First Place in the Washington State William Stafford Award and was a Best of the Net nominee as well as a multiple Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Shark Reef, and Literature and Belief. Anthologies include Becoming: What Make a Woman, edited by Jill McCabe Johnson, and Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose About Alzheimer’s Disease, edited by Holly Hughes.

…Looking back on her writing she states: “I realize I intuitively strove to follow my birth mother’s music and artistic gifts somehow weaving them into my poems. My mother left me a legacy I discovered long after her death. She has become alive again in my poetry.” www.kaymullen.org

 

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Photo Credit:  https://www.pexels.com/search/nautilous%20shell/

www.kaymullen.org

A Tribute To Tina

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Tina strolls leisurely along the lake boardwalk with her happy little dog whose pink satin bow bounces with attitude as she leads Tina. Someone has to lead because Tina is intensely focused on the book she is reading.

When I saw Tina in the elevator yesterday I felt a burst of radiant well-being emanate from her. Light showcased clear brown eyes highlighted by tastefully applied makeup. Her long auburn hair fell loosely around shoulders pulled straight by some unseen string from above. Tears of joy waited for release as the realization emerged- Tina was well.

Focusing on a book was something Tina couldn’t do very well when she first moved into my apartment building. I would see her strolling around the grounds with her Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, sometimes twice in one day. She walked bent over, studying the ground as if expecting it to swallow her up at any minute. Her face was contorted and conversation resembled a rapid staccato frenzie of unrelated words.

Standing upright a year later, Tina has become for me an icon of what the human spirit can do. Witnessing her noble struggle has been a spiritual practice which reminds me how to reach down and pull out the strength to go on, the strength to survive and then to thrive. She is a monument to the art of letting go.

I am grateful to Tina, to my brave niece and to thousands of others, for showing me how to let go.

The Winds Of Change: A Spiritual Practice

 

 

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Photo Credits: https://utahstories.com/2018/12/a-short-introduction-to-utah-native-trees/

https://www.co.benton.or.us/sheriff/page/wind-storms

Steps Toward Liberation

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Members and staff of Seattle Mennonite Church recently sat down with members of the LGTBQ community to hear their need for respectful inclusion and their practical suggestions for responding to it.  My faith community took a step on our journey toward radical hospitality by changing the signs on our bathroom doors.  Pastor Amy’s blessing in our names holds us responsible for personal and communal conversion.  It is a step toward realizing our commitment to radical hospitality.

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www.seattlemennonite.org/

In worship Sunday we blessed our new all-gender restroom signs and some trans and rainbow pride stickers for our windows to the world and (re-)committed to our ongoing work of radical hospitality and of (un-) and (re-)learning. Then one of our amazing kids Sunday School teachers invited his class to make a list of “things people say are boy and girl things” and discussed who decides which are which (kid answer: we do). Then they made their own trans flag with those things. #church (Pastor Amy Epp, Seattle Mennonite Church)

Blessing for gender-inclusive and trans welcome signs

Based on Acts 10
by Pastor Amy Marie Epp

God who is all gender and no gender,
God who became incarnate in a body, who is no-body
God who created our bodies and identities
and is present in each of our bodies,
expressed through our identities,
Bless the work of the Gender Hospitality Ministry Team,
As, on behalf of our congregation
they seek to make explicit our welcome
of your beloved queer and trans bodies
into our worship and spaces.
May we truly proclaim, holy and what you have called holy.
May we proclaim welcome what you proclaim welcome.
May we, like Peter, see clearly the vision
that allows us to lean deep
into our identity as a body of radical hospitality
without partiality.
May these signs – markers for our doors and windows –
also mark us.
May they mark us and our doors as open.
Open to your Spirit and open to all who enter,
That your welcome may be our welcome.
And that even when we harbor fear and uncertainty
we may use these as an opportunity for understanding
– of ourselves and of our neighbor.
We pray in the name of Jesus,
whose Spirit is with us and welcoming us still.
Amen.

 

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Pay Attention

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For the third time on these pages I post this poem with hope and a prayer that nonviolence will replace violence, that deep self will replace ego.  I share the poem today in response to the possibility of yet another war in the Middle East.

 

Continuous War Sabers

 

 

Photo Credit for flags:  wikepedia.org

“Bend With Me, Sway With Me”

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The black wrought iron bench was toasty-warm today where I sat watching lake side trees sway against the gentle wind. I hear Michael Buble’s catchy lyric, “Like a flower bending in the breeze, Bend with me, sway with ease.” The wind today was coming from the Fraser River Valley in Canada, but it is spring, not winter. Normally wind comes from the south around here in the Puget Sound area and our trees know that. They are genetically disposed to sway with the southern winds. When those winds howl down from Canada in winter accompanied by cold temperatures, we can be in trouble. It happened one winter when I lived in a rural wood. I woke up to the sight of eighteen trees uprooted on the road behind me. They can’t handle seventy-mile-an-hour sustained northern winds.

Recent deaths of siblings and friends have felt like those seventy-mile-an-hour winds, causing me to wonder how long I will need to brace against death’s onslaught. I am coming to realize that the ageless human ritual of bracing against death is futile. It simply comes when it comes. Unlike trees in the Northwest United States, our souls are genetically disposed to withstand onslaughts from all sides. I want to bend and sway with the wind of death instead of wasting energy trying to control its arrival.

As I sit on this black bench in spring wind, the image of a Day of the Dead shrine on my home altar comes to teach me. The bone woman is dressed in a vivid red dress trailing a pink ruffle. Blue, yellow and pink feathers festoon her wide-brimmed hat. She dances with death, swaying and bending to the timeless music of life. I hope to be carried out of this life on a celebratory wind. No kicking and screaming. No raging. I want to “go gentle into that good night.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Photo by Seb on Unsplash

A Spiritual Practice For Aging

THE ABANDONED VALLEY

Can you understand
being alone so long
you would go out in the middle of the night
and put a bucket into the
well so you could feel something
down there
tug at the other end of
the rope?

Jack Gilbert in Refusing Heaven

RESPONSE
(for a loved one who wandered too far)

Old age is like
an abandoned valley
where you have to
venture out in the middle of the night
to find a well to sink your bucket
in search of someone to send it back.
Don’t wander far.
The well is closer
than you imagine.

© Rita H Kowats

Holy Week Meditation II

Here is a little something for us to sit with in preparation for Easter.

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Photo Credit clenched hand:  Photo by Oladimeji Odunsi on Unsplash

Photo Credit Open hands:  Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

Holy Week 2019

 

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It is time.
We sit on our designated hills
overlooking our private Jerusalems
watching the malignant intruder slither
toward the Holy City.

Holy Week?
So they say.
They say it is a holy thing
that one chooses to die for all.
So we remember and choose
to muddle through our own dry and tattered times.

Like stark, barren limbs
giving way to bursts of chartreuse leaves
and sweet-smelling blossoms
that waft on winds of promise,
we too shall bear luscious, ripe fruit.

© Rita H Kowats

 

 

Photo Credit for Magnolia tree: photo credit: jennifernish <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/15004954@N03/6968390159″>sneak peek at spring</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;