Posts Tagged With: healing

A Series of Laments

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I am writing a series of laments. As a white evangelical Christian I did not learn to lament in my religious or cultural background. This lack of lament is probably due to the fact that I and my ancestors, as part of the dominant culture, have not suffered the injustice, oppression or violence as have many of my neighbors of color. In the last few years I have been introduced to this specific form of prayer.  It is connected closely with confession and repentance.  We are living in an extremely violent society, in an extremely violent world. We are reeling from one tragic event to another. As a follower of Jesus the Christ, I have learned from his teachings the law of sowing and reaping. What is planted is what grows.  With this principle in mind I wonder what it will take to root out the violence in our society and in our world. Large trees with long roots started as small seeds.  What seeds have been planted in our history that continue to bloom into violence? I believe a collective lament, confession and repentance is necessary for lasting change to occur. The path to healing in our communities, must go through this path of self-reflection and acknowledgement leading to lament, confession and repentance. I invite you to join me in this journey of overturning the soil in our hearts in the hope of producing the good fruits of love and peace in our world.

Laments can be spoken, chanted or sung together in a group or alone.  The bold letter words are for those who wish to pray together in a group.

This first lament is in response to the recent Texas church shooting.

 

#1 Lament for violence in our land:

 

Oh God hear our prayers!

 

Today children are grieving.

They have lost their parents or grandparents.

Oh Lord hear their cries.

 

Today parents and grandparents are grieving.

They have lost their children and grandchildren.

Oh Lord hear their cries.

 

Today brothers and sisters are grieving.

They have lost their siblings.

Oh Lord hear their cries.

 

Today neighbors and friends are grieving.

They have lost their neighbors and friends.

Oh Lord hear their cries.

 

We have done wrong against you

And our fellow human beings

Made in your image.

We have not loved our neighbors

As ourselves.

 

We have loved our power

More than our neighbors.

Lord have mercy.

 

We have loved our comfort

More than our neighbors.

Lord have mercy.

 

We have loved our privilege

More than our neighbors.

Lord have mercy.

 

We have loved our safety

More than our neighbors.

Lord have mercy.

 

We have loved our weapons

More than our neighbors.

Lord have mercy.

 

Lord have mercy

And forgive us these things

We pray.

Show us how to walk out

Our repentance towards you

And our neighbors.

Amen

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Categories: Faith, God, grief and death, growth, Hope, lament, Paths, Peace and Reconciliation, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blind Spots

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I recently had an appointment with an eye doctor. I have Sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease. My pulmonologist asked me to get my eyes checked as it is common for this condition to be found in one’s eye. So I did. There was a small growth on my retina. The doctor said it looks like it’s been there a long time, but we should keep an eye on it. One of the symptoms of this growth is that I have a bigger blind spot in my left eye than in my right eye.

 

Blind spots. We all have them. We do not realise we have them until someone points something out to us that we missed, for instance my eye doctor showing me the big spot where I didn’t see the flashing dots on my exam.

 

This Sunday I enjoyed a a lovely church gathering that met in a home.  It had all the elements that I love, good worshipful singing, an inspiring message, lots of fellowship and (good coffee), and at the end a time to pray with one another. Before we broke up for the prayer, the prayer leader mentioned an impression he had that there were those of us with eye troubles needing prayer.  I remembered my growth creating a bigger than normal blind spot.  The sister I was praying with also had something going on with one of her eyes that was causing blurry vision. We prayed for each other and then she mentioned that there were probably spiritual implications to our troubles as well. I filed that away, but not before I felt a little defensive, nothing came to mind, it can’t be about that, I thought to myself. Well, isn’t that what a blind spot is? We don’t see it.

 

On Saturday we heard Jim Wallis speak about “America’s Original Sin.”  Last night we watched a documentary on Mohammad Ali. Now I’m not a fan of boxing and was a little resistant to it, but Bill nudged me a little bit and let me know it was not really about boxing.  So I settled in and was gripped by the story of this man. Of course I had heard about him, he was famous, a champion!  But I didn’t know the backstory how he had suffered as a black man against a world where white men called the shots and had caused so much pain and suffering for him, his people, his ancestors. I didn’t know why he converted to Islam and what that meant for him and so many others at the time.

 

This morning I woke up to my normal routine.  Bill had made my coffee, I gathered my devotional books, a bible, my journal and as I sat down to have my devotions, my Great Prompter, my Great Reminder (The Holy Spirit) reminded me of my blind spot.  Bill and I are grappling with what is going on in our nation at this time. Maybe white privilege is a big blind spot for a lot of us white folks. We get defensive, edgy when it is mentioned.  We want to defend ourselves.  It wasn’t me, my folks were mostly from the North, and not wealthy. What privilege?.  We need reminding and we need our more enlightened friends and friends of color to help us see what we don’t see. We have benefited and we have benefits, that our brothers and sisters of color do not have, just because we are white.

 

I never had to have “the talk” with my sons or my daughter about what to do if you’re pulled over by the police. Please listen to this song, “Hands Up”,  inbeded in this excellent article worth reading.

.https://sojo.net/articles/our-white-friends-empathy-not-enough

 

I didn’t even know about this until the last couple of years when so many videos circulated with black people (mostly men) being shot and killed at routine traffic stops.  I had some previews though, when we were driving from Atlanta to Birmingham one summer afternoon not too long ago.  I saw so many people being pulled over. They were all black, not one single white person on that short trip. What was this about? I wondered. I think it was a magnification of what has been going on all around the country, not just the south.

 

It takes a lot of effort to see what we do not see. We need help. We need friends and family members to tell us what we are missing. I have an extra big blind spot.  What I see, I see fine with my glasses on. Yet, there are some things I do not see. I need others to tell me. I need to push down my defences and listen!

 

I appreciate my friends of color who have shared their stories with me. It helps me see more clearly what I would not normally see. I am making efforts to listen to podcasts, read books, and watch movies on this issue and discuss with others what I am learning. Jim Wallis reminded us of the words of Jesus: “You did it to me.” from (Matthew 25:40) With those words he reminded us this is not a political issue, but  a theological issue. We have another opportunity upon us to move towards healing and reconciliation. I want to be a part of the movement to acknowledge and repent of the racism and the white supremacy that our nation was founded on. This is the road to healing.

Categories: Faith, God, growth, Hope, Peace and Reconciliation, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Happy Valentines Day

Let’s Grow Love

Love Grows

Categories: growth, Love, Peace and Reconciliation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Start Small

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Start small

With steps towards

Good and beauty

Towards life and healing

Otherwise

You may find

Discouragement and

Disillusionment

Tagging, unwanted

Along

You may find

You don’t have

All you need

Lose hope

And not finish

 

Start small

You will add

Piece by piece

To what you have

Wondering where did

It all come from

Whether it be word

Or color or brick or paint

It won’t matter because

It will be there

To fit into the place it goes

And you will see

Unfolding before your eyes

(Maybe not exactly as you thought!)

The dream, the plan,

The drawing, the house

The life

finishing in all it’s glory

 

© 2016 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Faith, growth, Hope, Life, Poetry, Seasons, Trees, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lifting our eyes

Welcoming the Blues

Lifting our eyes, just in time to see the eagle soaring towards us and then turning away.

Silently above us, searching for fish.

It caught one down the beach and began to break it’s fast.

How many times have I only caught a glimpse?

How many times have I missed it all, head down, worrying some problem in my mind, not present to the moment?

Yet, the eagle is there, as are all the other messengers, whether I see them or not.

But, what joy, when I am expectantly scanning and searching for those messages sent my way.

Today it was an eagle and a seal and an extremely low tide.

It was meeting Michael from DC with his two young boys who reminded me of my grandsons.

It was Debra with her hairless dog making us laugh.

It was Munira, fighting cancer, out for some fresh sea air. We blessed her and prayed for her healing. She said God sent you to me today – the first day of Ramadan.

It was connecting with strangers who become friends, building community in our neighborhood.

Categories: beauty, Birds, Dogs, Faith, God, Life, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Learning to Listening

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How well am I listening to the voice of my Shepherd?

Have I been searching his Word for his words to me?

Have I been watching his every move to move with him when he moves?

Am I slowing down when he does,

to stop and play with a child or

listen to another who needs my ears and comfort?

Have I stretched out my hand in healing as he does?

Am I studying his ways to match my ways with his?

Forgiving as he forgave me?

Forsaking condemnation and judgement,

while learning the art of love and compassion?

How well do I know his voice?

Enough that I do not follow the thousand voices

leading me down other paths far away from his?

How well am I listening to the voice of my Beloved?

Categories: Faith, God, Lent, Life, Love, Paths, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter’s Light

The house was filled with light

as the sun rose

over the tree tops

over the lake

Warmth and light

expanded our hearts

We drank it in

as we had not seen the sun

in several days.

 

The light also pushed

into the shadows of the house

Showing what needed

dusting, cleaning

a smudge here

a dust bunny there

a streak across the glass

 

Not to be afraid of the light

Let it in

Let it bring healing and cleansing

Not to be afraid of the hard work

of the soul

to bring deep lasting

much-needed change

to the shadow places in my heart

 

Oh that I would run to the light

and stay there

just as my small dog finds

a sunny spot

and curls up to nap

The past experiences

of facing my shadows

and not dying

but living through it

to become more whole

reminds me that I will again

live through any pain

the light may reveal

 

© 2015 Julie Clark

10917969_10152567693267407_7367992672991804502_o Winter's Light 1 10620243_10152567693252407_4443533071498272476_o Archie in the Light

Categories: beauty, Dogs, Faith, Hope, Life, Photography, Poetry, Seasons, Trees | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Face to Face

We will never be completely whole

while we are in our bodies

but we can help ease each other’s pain

when we love one another

Tastes of heaven along the way

given in various forms

depending on the gift and giver

spur us onward with healing and hope

The homesickness deep within

will always pull us towards our origin

to the day when we will be reunited

face to face with Love

May we let love grow and have it’s way

choose it every day, every chance we get

preparing in advance for

that glorious reunion

© 2014 Julie Clark

Categories: Faith, God, Hope, Life, Love, Paths, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Place of Medicine

I woke up very groggy this morning. Fortunately, I am married to a man who wakes up alert and ready to go. On Saturday he wanted to find something we could participate in to honor the memory of Dr. King.  He found out that the big events in our area had taken place already during the week.  One thing that did pop up for today was a joint project between the Snohomish Tribe of Indians, City of Lynnwood, and Leaf School, (Learn-n-serve Environmental Anthropology Field) of Edmonds Community College .

 

Down the road about a mile and a half from our house there was a big gathering of around 150 people in a park (Gold Park).  We were volunteers, pulling up invasive species and then later planting some native plants in the newly cleared areas.  It was great to get down and a little dirty pulling up  “stinky bob”.  We worked a little plot that was full of them. The tribal members showed us a couple of dances, gave us T-shirts and served us lunch that Ivors provided.  It felt good to be a part of something.  We didn’t have to come up with the idea ourselves, just lend a hand in something big already happening.  It was definitely an example of “many hands make light work.” I also am reminded again that small acts of goodness or kindness are very important and add up to make good changes around us.

 

The area we worked had a big mound in the middle.  Our guide told us it probably was the family garbage dump.  She pointed out where the main house had probably sat. So interesting to think about a family living there from 1954 to 1982. Dr. Gold with his family and an obstetrics clinic were right there across from where now is the Vietnamese produce store we frequent. We go by it all the time, park across the street to shop and then go on our way home. The park doesn’t look like much from the street. It is so much more than we thought.

 

In the park besides a forested area, there is an ethno-botanical garden called “Stolja Ali” which means: Place of Medicine. Those were the beds our team was clearing of invasive species. Now the native medicinal plants that the Snohomish Tribal members care for can have a little more breathing space.  Maybe there was an additional kind of healing going on today besides the medicinal plants.  On a day we remember a man who struggled so hard for people of different races to live together in peace and equality, a healing of hearts took place. We were different kinds of people coming together to do something good for the land. It was healing for me. I learned about plants and met some more of my neighbors.  I had a chance to share some old comfy gloves with one woman handing out T-shirts.  Her hands were cold and I was about to take those gloves off and put on my work gloves. One of those moments in time when an opportunity arises to do something good. I like days like today when I finally wake up and  am alive to these opportunities.

Categories: borderlands, Life, Peace and Reconciliation | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

To Boston With Love

Yesterday, in-between watching CNN, I sat down and wrote a blog on building Parent/Child Connections: http://faithfullparenting.wordpress.com/ This was one of my responses to the unfolding drama in Boston.  I know it is just one piece, the parenting piece, in the complex array of broken pieces in this tragic story.

 

Why did this happen?  There is the emigrant story, the broken piece where the emigrant does not assimilate to the American culture and life. To understand this more Mary Pipher does an excellent job in her book: The Middle of Everywhere: Helping Refugees Enter the American Community

 

Then there is the broken piece of radical religion.  How does loving God mean doing something like this?  It does not. God is love and this is not love.

 

Perhaps another cultural broken piece is family loyalty trumping everything. An older brother influences a younger brother to join him in an atrocious act.  We could find and name so many broken pieces.

 

It is important to work through these questions on the road to recovery. Along with this, in order to heal we need to choose our response.  There is a lot of hard work ahead to do in order to heal.  Will we become haters?  If we choose that route we align ourselves with the same spirit that motivated the terrorists and they win. We become like them. Anger is a normal response to grief, but we can’t stay angry and let it poison our souls.  We must move beyond it to the hard work of grieving, sadness, and the seemingly impossible process of forgiving. Hate, revenge, and bitterness are not the answers we need for healing.  They never are.  They will only destroy us and turn our hearts to stone.

 

Dear Boston choose the harder path of healing and recovery and you will find yourself surrounded by heaven ready to help.  Our prayers are with you.

Categories: Boston, Faith, God, Life, Love, Paths, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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