Draw near

With haggard hearts each voice imparts this plea for constancy.

Draw near, dispel confounding fear, with Heaven’s clemency.

Each tongue, by supplicating lung, invoke bright morning’s rise!

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     Call to Confession
Many of us are attracted to this place because here, in this Circle of Mercy, we find the freedom to question dogmas and orthodoxies of every kind. But not just the religious kind. There is another set of dogmas and orthodoxies which entangle our lives more than we know. Over and over our social, economic and political institutions tell us that:

    •only the strong survive
    •you get what you earn
    •friends are to be rewarded and enemies are punished.

Lent is the season for exposing these illusions; for confessing and being delivered from their power; and for learning another Way to live.

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Crumbling of Empire

Oh, Blessed One, Beloved Abba, whose womb squeezed forth all that is, humus and human alike, animate and inanimate together, sun and moon and galaxies, without end.

Oh, Sweet Deliverer, fruit of Mary’s annunciation, troubler of worlds and troubadour of heaven’s fidelity
whose call to the table gathers the lame and binds every shame with the promise of feast
for the lost, for the least, for the last, and all willing to sing this insurrectionary song.

Oh, Wisdom of Days, breath of life in lungs of clay; pregnant promise to Sarai and Abram. Flaming visage to Moses, whisperer to prophets and confounder of priests. Answer to Hannah’s lament and Elizabeth’s regret.

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Come what may

The Prophet Joel foretold the day when the young shall see visions and the old will dream dreams. And the writer of Hebrews implored, “Do not lose heart, for you are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.”

Come what may, come what may: we long for a summons that calls us by name.

Be careful what you ask for—these dreams and visions could get you in trouble.

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Come home

All of you with voices, sing out! All who lack melodic
     tongue, raise the roof with joyful noise! If you have
     hands, clap them. Feet, tap them. Fingers, snap them.

Let even your eyelids blink out praise to the One whose
     delight drenches earth and every creature.

When you’ve had your fill of huckster dreams and foolish
     schemes; when exhausted by self-help gurus and stock
     market voodoos; when weight loss and hair gain on
     easy monthly payments disappoint:

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Christ as Lord?

And what do we mean when we speak of the Lordship of Christ? Is this to say that the Holy One is the ultimate author of vengeance and retribution? Of demeaning power and humiliation?

No, a thousand times, NO! The Lordship of Christ speaks of the coming end of all lording, of the day when the cords of subjugation will unravel.

Is the Abba of Jesus simply a cruel human father writ large and limitless? Does the Power of Heaven reside in threat against any who refuse to bend the knee? Is the Creator, finally, a terrorist?

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Cheek to cheek

Thus says Yahweh, author and anchor of creation,
to the people of Promise whose memory has failed:

When you were but a babe, I cradled you. I swept you
into my arms and nestled you under my chin.

I suckled you and sang sweetly, cheek to cheek,
calming your restless hands and feet.

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Chords of comfort

To what wilderness have you strayed, oh people of the Way? To what distraction have you tuned your ears? Have you not heard? To what diversion have you loaned your eyes? Have you not seen? Oh people of Mercy:

Sing chords of comfort to worried minds, tender songs to wounded hearts. Raise a song of gladness!

The One who established the foundations of the earth has not abandoned. The One whose breast has nursed you has not forsaken. Oh people of Mercy:

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By Thy might

The Rock of the Righteous is our God:

Who marks the boundaries between justice and vengeance;

Who blazes the Way from enmity to peace;

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