Sunday, March 3, 2019

Personal Jesus | Universal Christ

As the new year began, I added daily posts from Fr. Richard Rohr to my reading. He's a Franciscan priest and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque. His God and faith are expansive. His theology is challenging. I've been Bible studying with Scripture Union for 35 years. It's a traditional, conservative orthodoxy. I hope my faith is amplified by a contrasting perspective.

Over time, we confine the Magnificent God of All Creation to a tiny box of our own limited thinking, packed with our fears, prejudices, politics, etc. On that subject Fr. Rohr does a mic drop:

The Christ is always way too much for us, larger than any one era, culture, empire, or religion. Its radical inclusivity is a threat to power and arrogance. Jesus by himself has usually been limited by the evolution of human consciousness in these first two thousand years. His reputation has been held captive by culture, nationalism, and much of Christianity's white, bourgeois, and Eurocentric worldview...  He came with darker skin, from the underclass, a male body with a female soul, from an often-hated religion, living on the very cusp between East and West. No one owns him, and no one ever will.

Reading his post of February 15th, Fr. Rohr's prose was more like poetry...or a prayer! I took the liberty of reshaping some of his words...

Lord Christ,

Am I too narrow, too protective of my faith? Has that powerful personal encounter turned selfish?

Can my faith transcend creeds and denominations, nations and ethnicities, the vagaries of gender and sexuality?

Move me from I to WE.

To see God everywhere. In the mundane or mountaintop. My dog. The yard. In traffic. In a meeting. At the store.

To see God in everyone. In people who don't look like me, even people who don't like me.

Let Christ's light illuminate everything. Everything created by you, everything and everyone loved by you. That I may appreciate and engage. Amen.

Artwork: Image of Jesus with Prisma filters from Salvator Mundi by Titian

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Power in Patience

There is power in patience.
Rivers are my witness:
The Colorado,
for six million years,
carves the Grand Canyon.

Here at home,
in NC and TN,
the French Broad
slices through the Appalachians,
for 300 million years,
smoothing, nourishing the landscape.

Yes, God often comes
as lightening or quake,
but more often, most often,
with a river's patience,
with a river's persistence,
wearing down our barriers,
flooding our hearts
with his presence and love.

There's power in his patience.

Photo: French Broad River at Asheville NC

Browse Nature prayers.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Mary Oliver | The Heavens Have No Fist

Poet Mary Oliver died in January at eighty-three. She had a gift for expressing in words what she experienced of nature. Her numinous encounters were of the everyday/anywhere variety - in the woods, at the marsh, with her dog.

Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.
(from It Was Early)

Her theology inspired a 2011 prayer that I re-post to honor her memory.