Simple, but Urgent

I almost didn’t open Richard Rohr’s email about how to get through the next few months. So many voices telling us what to do, I resist advice. Perhaps you also tire of well-intentioned messages. But Rohr’s words ring true:

“Stand as a sentry at the door of your senses for these coming months, so ‘the blood-dimmed tide’ cannot make its way into your soul.”

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.


“If you allow it for too long, it will become who you are, and you will no longer have natural access to the ‘really deep well’ that Etty Hillesum (1914 – 1943), a young Jewish woman who suffered in the concentration camp, described.”

There is a really deep well inside me. And in it dwells God. Sometimes I am there, too … And that is all we can manage these days and also all that really matters: that we safeguard that little piece of You, God, in ourselves.—in Westerbork transit camp
Safeguard the well where God dwells within us. Rohr recommends for the next months that we impose a moratorium on how much news we are subject to, “for it will only tear us apart and pull us into the dualistic world of opinion and counter-opinion, not Divine Truth, which is always found in a bigger place.”

Instead, he suggests that we use this time for public service, volunteerism, mystical reading, and prayer.
Pastor Howard Thurman- African American philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader- gives us a good place to begin. And to return. -Renée

Our Little Lives
Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Thy altar!
The quietness in Thy Temple of Silence again and again rebuffs us:
For some there is no discipline to hold them steady in the waiting
And the minds reject the noiseless invasion of Thy Spirit.
For some there is no will to offer what is central in the thoughts—
The confusion is so manifest, there is no starting place to take hold.
For some the evils of the world tear down all concentrations
And scatter the focus of the high resolves.
War and the threat of war has covered us with heavy shadows,
Making the days big with forebodings—
The nights crowded with frenzied dreams and restless churnings.
We do not know how to do what we know to do.
We do not know how to be what we know to be.
Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Thy altar!
Brood over our spirits, Our Father,
Blow upon whatever dream Thou hast for us
That there may glow once again upon our hearths
The light from Thy altar.
Pour out upon us whatever our spirits need of shock, of lift, of release
That we may find strength for these days—
Courage and hope for tomorrow.
In confidence we rest in Thy sustaining grace
Which makes possible triumph in defeat, gain in loss, and love in hate.
We rejoice this day to say:
Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Thy altar!

Howard Thurman, Meditations of the Heart (Beacon Press: ©1953, 1981), 83‒84.
Service 9/20: In the Winter of our Forgiveness
Order of Service 9/20
Bulletin 9/20

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