Prayer

Shameless Audacity

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Shameless audacity

Just go ahead and ask

You will not regret it

Pour out your words

Coming straight from your heart

What do you need?

What do you want?

Who are you carrying

Close in your thoughts?

Bring it all up

Bring it all out

Pray –

What will it hurt?

You will be welcomed

You will be heard

In this place

Where heaven meets earth

Connection becomes communion

Ask, seek, knock

Believe and receive

The Spirit is yours

 

© 2017 Julie Clark

Categories: Faith, God, Hope, Hospitality, Lent, Poetry, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Independence Day

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Can a people be free without enslaving and exploiting others?  I believe they can.  I believe there is a path.  Many wise teachers have gone before us and exhorted us.  Let us listen to their voices, their pleas.  How do we live the words, “Treat others the way that you would like to be treated.”? It is not impossible. It is something we can do step by step, person by person, until whole communities and perhaps nations can live with this ethos.  

 

I remember when I was still quite young, 20, a teacher who was an expert on revival came to teach a class I was taking.  I asked, “How do we get a revival started?”  His answer: “First draw a circle around your two feet and pray that God would revive everything within this circle.”  Wow, I was not expecting that answer! So simple, so profound. Start with me.

 

As I celebrate the 4th of July,  I want to consider how I can promote freedom and justice for all people, starting with those around me who I can treat well, neighborly, kindly and with compassion. May we all join our circles together and bring the changes needed within and without our borders for this kind of freedom without exploiting others.

Categories: borderlands, Faith, Life, Paths, Peace and Reconciliation, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Celtic Blessing, by Paul Field

Favorite Trees

I came across this Poem/Blessing in my morning meditations today. He is saying, in a lovely way what we need to hear today. I sometimes use this website to awaken my soul in the morning. http://www.northumbriacommunity.org/offices/morning-prayer/

Go peaceful

In gentleness

Through the violence of these

Days.

Give freely.

Show tenderness

In all your ways.

 

Through darkness,

In troubled time

Let holiness be your aim.

Seek wisdom.

Let faithfulness

Burn like a flame.

 

God speed you!

God lead you,

And keep you wrapped around His

Heart!

May you be known by love.

 

Be righteous.

Speak truthfully

In a world of greed and lies.

Show kindness.

See everyone

Through heaven’s eyes.

 

God hold you,

Enfold you,

And keep you wrapped around His

Heart

May you be known by love.

 by Paul Field

Categories: Faith, God, Hope, Life, Love, Paths, Peace and Reconciliation, Poetry, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Good Friday

 

 

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I Thirst

I gave it all

My everything

Not one more drop left

Of me to give

Empty

And now

I thirst

© 2011 Julie Clark

For the sake of the One who thirsted, let us not neglect these who are suffering today.

christ in child

Good Friday: Seeing Christ in a Child

Categories: Faith, God, Good Friday, Lent, Life, Love, Peace and Reconciliation, Poetry, Prayer | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Maundy Thursday: Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

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Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God. Trust also in me. (Jesus) John 14:1

 

What about when violence seems to be in the water we drink, in the air we breathe, the rule of the day?  What about when lives of children are taken without a second thought, gunned down on beaches, in airports and by drones taking out whole families?  When a president of a private christian university encourages students to arm themselves and take out people of a different religion?

 

How do we live in these days when politicians skew all decency and accusations fly through the air waves thick with fear and racism?

 

Do we pull back and hide, stockpile goods and arms?  Protecting ourselves and a few others perhaps?  I seem to recall One saying “if you choose to save your life you will lose it”.

 

This terror, this fear is like a vortex, spinning out of control,  if you get too close to it will suck you in and down.

 

There is another way.  It is a way that refuses to lump people into categories of other, evil, enemies, or sub- human.  It chooses instead to pray for, to bless, yes even love our enemies. It chooses to reach out across barriers to the other, the one who is different, has a different hue to their skin, or language on their tongue or culture I do not understand.  It chooses to seek understanding and to bridge the gap rather than build another wall.

 

This is the path of peace, the way of love, the road to life.  

 

Here we are today Maundy Thursday, approaching Good Friday, before we can get to Easter.  What lessons are still here for us to learn as we see Jesus throw off his robe, tie a towel around his waist, pick up a basin of water, and wash his fearful, doubting, even betraying disciples’ feet? This, a precursor to what was to come the next day.  He laid down his life for all.  He calls us to follow Him.

 

“Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.”

 

There is a way through these times.  One deep breath, one step, one prayer, one cry, one embrace at a time.  It is a humble path and no one is saying it is easy. Is it possible?  Well, what is impossible with man, is possible with God.  Let’s choose this path of peace instead of participating in the destruction of our planet.  

Categories: Faith, God, Good Friday, Hope, Lent, Life, Love, Peace and Reconciliation, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Good To Center Down! by Howard Thurman

Passing on a beautiful poem/meditation I read this morning from Howard Thurman’s Meditations of the Heart.  In our over full, over stimulated stressed lives, this is a good reminder. Perhaps a good way to start the Lenten season. 

 

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How Good To Center Down!

 

How good it is to center down!

To sit quietly and see one’s self pass by!

The streets of our minds seethe with endless traffic;

Our spirits resound with clashings, with noisy silences,

While something deep within hungers and thirsts for the still moment

    and the resting lull.

With full intensity we seek, ere the quiet passes, a fresh sense

    of order in our living;

A direction, a strong sure purpose that will structure our confusion

    and bring meaning in our chaos.

We look at ourselves in this waiting moment –

    the kinds of people we are.

The questions persist:  what are we doing with our lives? –

    what are the motives that order our days?

What is the end of our doings?

Where are we trying to go?

Where do we put the emphasis and where are our values focused?

For what end do we make sacrifices?

Where is my treasure and what do I love most in life?

What do I hate most in life and to what am I true?

Over and over the questions beat in upon the waiting moment.

As we listen, floating up through all the jangling echoes of our turbulence,

   there is a sound of another kind –

A deeper note which only the stillness of the heart makes clear.

It moves directly to the core of our being.  

Our questions are answered,

Our spirits refreshed, and we move back into the traffic of our daily round

With the peace of the Eternal in our step.

How good it is to center down!

 

Howard Thurman

Categories: Faith, God, Hope, Lent, Life, Paths, Poetry, Prayer, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Greenlake

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Greenlake

Rain washing our faces

as we curve around the lake

A favorite city walk

for man and beast

Algae blooms

in the water,

so beautiful to see, yet

toxic

keeping swimmers

at bay

Not that many are interested

this time of year

The trees are

really turning now

in full fall gala

Nothing can stop them

(only a lightning bolt or

a person

with an ax who hates beauty,

driven to stamp out glory

wherever it is found)

Are there such people?

Yes, but they are few

in the minority –

don’t vote for them!

or sell them a gun!

Pray for them instead,

help them up

out of despair

Then tend to the remnants

of the garden we have left

Gently coax it back to life

The meek will, someday,

inherit the earth, after all.

© 2015 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Faith, Hope, Life, Paths, Poetry, Prayer, Seasons, Trees | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fireflies

More roses

Where I come from, west of the Rockies all the way in the LA basin, fireflies were part of the magical world of Disneyland. Some mythical land, somewhere was alive with them, but I was only able to see them in the caverns of “The Pirates of the Caribbean” ride.

This summer’s visit to Omaha awakens that magic again, sitting on the front porch with my merry daughter.  Those  creatures are real, towing their flickering lanterns as they dart in and out of the Magnolia Tree.

Stories I have heard about or read about in books of faraway mystical lands bring the same feeling of enchantment that these little bugs are stirring in me. “It’s true! It’s true! There really are fireflies in the world!”

Traversing parts of our world, especially far-off Central Asia and India, exploring ancient ruins in bone dry deserts and strolling through colorful bazaars in bustling towns with exotic names awakened similar feelings.  The bazaars were real, with all the dazzling colors and variety of goods I had read about. The magic wore off as I shopped regularly for fruits and vegetables, haggling over prices with the stall keepers.  There never was any magic in the meat and fish section with the pungent smells, in fact I had to avoid them in Taiwan when I was pregnant with my firstborn.  Leave that kind of shopping to my strong stomached husband!

The magic of a volcano became real to me when my family was able to spend three months on the big island of Hawaii.  Kilauea produced a different kind of awe in me than these fireflies.  Something like, Wow! Maybe we shouldn’t be so close to these fissures in the ground, and I definitely want you kids to stop jumping over them, even if your father is leading the charge!

My most vivid experience of this kind of awe happened when I was seventeen.  I went to a concert put on by some Jesus People in my home town. I had never been to such a concert, but was so curious about these people.   Little did I know this one small  event would lead to a major shift in my life that continues to this day.  I remember awakening the next morning with this powerful sense of God’s love for me, just as I had the night before.  The same sense of wonder, that something I longed for was true, strongly surrounded me. “Jesus loves me this I know…”

Categories: beauty, borderlands, Faith, God, Hope, Life, Love, Paths, Prayer, Seasons, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Call to Prayer

Sometime before we reached Mumbai

The crickets started their part

in the great symphony of the night.

“We’re still here!  We’re still here!”

They sang and called me to God.

 

A song rose in my heart in response

that I could not sing aloud.

What would the taxi driver think?

He may have thought I was a little off.

 

So I let it sing inside of me:

“Lord forgive us.

We have not honored you.

We have not cared for your creation.

We have not loved one another.

We have not cared for the poor and the weak.”

 

We reached Mumbai.

Waited for hours to be told

No room for you on this plane.

We were escorted out of the airport

and put in a taxi

by some kind airport officials.

The taxi drove off.

The driver and his co-worker

working the phones to get us

on another flight or into a hotel

in the wee hours of the morning.

A call came,

“You are lucky! Confirmed seats

available!”

They raced us back to the airport.

Same kind officials

escorted us quickly through

the lines and waved good-bye.

There was room on the plane

after-all.

We made it, last to board,

walking in a dream.

Very grateful.

© 2014 Julie Clark

Categories: borderlands, Faith, God, Life, Poetry, Prayer, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MacGyver and The Christmas Season

This time of year is not the best time for a vacuum cleaner to go on the fritz.  Not with pine needles from the Christmas tree and all the muck brought in the door even though we take our shoes off in the entry.  Not to mention the 10 pound long-haired Weiner Dog who brings in his share of the outside, besides all the gorgeous fur he sheds.

 

Taking  the vacuum cleaner to Sears for repairs was an unappealing option.  I really dislike going to the mall, especially this time of year.  Crowds and the perilous parking lot that you may enter but the possibility of never leaving is out there. Besides who knows when I would get it back, probably late January. Too late for my pine needles and other seasonal muck.

 

Borrowing my son and daughter-in-law’s vacuum was not a sustainable option, so this morning after working on a Sudoku puzzle in the paper to wake up my brain, I put on my MacGyver cap. I must confess here that I really liked that 1980’s show when it first came out and have been inspired a few times to attempt some interesting repairs. Some have worked and others not so well. Nothing major, and definitely nothing with electricity or on our cars. Although, we did once stick some gum in our leaking gas tank in Kazakhstan when we ran over something that put a hole in it.  It worked well enough to get us down the mountain to a little town for repair.  But it wasn’t my idea and that is a whole other story. I have to mention also, that I was quite proud of my youngest son with said vacuum cleaner. A couple of weeks ago he came out of work and his car door was frozen shut.  He managed to get it open, but it wouldn’t close properly, so he used his apron to MacGyver it closed to get safely home.

 

Back to the vacuum cleaner. I narrowed down the problem.  It was not the motor or clogged in the hose.  It worked fine when I was using the hand tools. But that is no way to vacuum the whole house. The problem was it was clogged in the base.  I tried earlier to put a chop stick in there to loosen things up, but that only helped temporarily.  So this morning I took a few moments, said a wee prayer, and tried to think what I had in the house or garage that I could stick in there to clear the clog.  The idea of a plumber’s snake came to mind, but we don’t have one of those.  The thought of a plumber reminded me that I had a long plastic tool that came with some drain cleaner I had bought a while back. That plastic tool was just what I needed, with the little teeth on it like fish hooks. I laid the vacuum cleaner down on it’s side fully extended and went to work clearing the clog in the base.

 

Today I am grateful for many things. I’m grateful for how our brains work and how a small prayer can be answered in a few minutes. I’m grateful that I don’t have to put “go to Sears” on my to-do list. My husband and I talk about how we missed the 80’s because we spent most of it in China. I am grateful we didn’t miss everything.  Glad we did miss all the funky big hair, but if anyone could rock a mullet it was MacGyver.

 

Categories: Life, Prayer, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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