PENTECOST

“Help me to win my endless fears
You’ve been so faithful for all my years
With one breath you make me new
Your grace covers all I do.”
JEREMY CAMP – WALK BY FAITH

PENTECOST – the one breath that makes us new creatures

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“The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going……” 

what is Pentecost

MIGRATIONS

migrant: wanderer, drifter, gypsy, nomad, itinerant, transient, wayfarer

Our lives are migratory.  When we accept impermanence, fear and insecurity will be replaced with a peace beyond understanding.  All of Creation, including mankind, consists of evolving, migratory species.  The violent events of our nation, the worldwide pandemic are leading to unknown horizons.  We move with the changes under the direction of our moral compass or our souls die in the fires of turmoil and anarchy.  Heaven or hell – we can choose what our inner reality will be.

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There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and an time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

ECCLESIASTES 3:1-8

 

SOLIDARITY

WE ARE ONE HUMANITY ALL LOVED BY THE ONE NAMED GOD.

Matters not whom one prays to, the color of one’s skin, or whether one lives in Minneapolis or Memphis – WE ARE ALL ONE UNDER ONE GOD. Is that so difficult to understand?

“AS YOU DO UNTO THE LEAST OF THESE, YOU ALSO DO TO ME.”

how does your garden grow?

Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  Beyond the horizon is rest calling my name.  Green pastures, still waters, my cup is overflowing.
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The bush beans and kale, planted in late February, have provided the dinner table with a bounty of fresh beans and greens for 3 months and are now ready for the final stage in their journey – the compost pile.  The second crop of beans is popping from the ground and the tomatoes are in their prime providing delectable fruit far surpassing that which is available from the grocery store or produce stand.  It has been a very successful season in the backyard garden.  A few summer squash and perhaps pole beans will be given a chance to survive Florida’s summer heat and humidity.  But, September is just around the corner with its invitation to plant a winter garden.  Life is good.

So much can be learned about life simply by watching nature.  Everything has a season and everything has a purpose.  Every part of the Lord’s creation knows its purpose and lives life according to that intention – except for mankind.  We are the only creature which has a choice in how we live.

Each of the world’s major faith walks endorses the simplicity and intelligence of nature.  Christian literature tells us that we reap what we sow.  Sow discord, disharmony, fear and hatred; that is what we will gather within our hears at harvest time.

What’s growing in your garden?

Sober today?  Give yourself and your Higher Power a hand.sober emoji

leadership

Many in America are in a state of denial.  They refuse to believe that the most powerful country on earth has been brought to its knees by a virus, something unseen that can lurk within, undetected until it lashes out with deadly consequences upon its unfortunate victims.

For some of them, a popular conspiracy theory is more acceptable – the Chinese have done it for economic control, the medical community is inflating numbers to make covid-19 appear more dire than it actually is thus receiving more federal aid, and the Democrats have conspired to use the bug for political advantage in November.  Damn those Dems anyhow.  I had no idea we were that powerful.😁

What cannot be denied is that a divided nation has become even more divided pitting those who mask against those who don’t mask, those who practice social distancing against those who freely interact, and those who prefer to be safe until a vaccine is developed against those who call the lockdown a politically motivated drama.

Political leadership is the key element in this division.  We do not enjoy the leadership of a uniting force in government.  From the Tao Te Ching we learn the following wisdom:

The best of leaders,
his people hardly know that he exists.
Next is the leader his people love and praise.
Next comes the one they fear.
Next comes the one they shame.

Nonchalant and reticent.
When work is done,
His people say, ‘We did it all but naturally!’

–  Lao Tzu

 

amendment 4 – a bright spot in today’s dismal political news

In the 2018 elections Florida’s voters passed overwhelmingly Amendment 4 which stated that people with past felony convictions who had completed their sentences could not be locked out of the democratic process in future elections.

Governor Ron DeSantis and a majority of Florida’s lawmakers countered with SB 7066 which required people with past felony  convictions to pay fines, fees and restitution before they were allowed to vote.  Essentially, they would be forced to pay for the right to vote.  The state government, led by DeSantis, undermined the voices of millions of Florida voters.

“In a landmark decision yesterday, a federal court affirmed the voting rights of hundreds of thousands of Floridians and ruled that a pay-to-vote system is unconstitutional.

This victory with our partners means that Floridians with past felony convictions cannot be banned from voting if they are unable to pay fines, fees or restitution.”

SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER

FREEDOM

What does freedom mean to you?  Picture6
What price will you pay for it? 
Would you be willing to die so others could enjoy freedom?

I’m not sure what the motives were for my father and three of his brothers.  They all enlisted in the military service of their country during WW2.  But, whatever their reasoning, they are my heroes on this Memorial Day.  Returning to civilian life after the war, they continued to serve their families and communities.  In my eyes they put everything on the line to ensure the freedom of every one of us for generations to come.  That kind of courage and selflessness is rare in today’s America.

Freedom is not free.  It comes at great cost.  I often wonder if I have paid my dues – have I paid the price for the freedoms I enjoy today?  Perhaps that I.O.U will come due sometime in the future.  What do I owe and to whom?  Will I have the courage and selflessness to pay my debt?

The greatest gifting of freedom, aside from the sacrifices of our fallen military heroes, has been the adventure of sobriety given to a helpless, hopeless drunk.  Undeserved and unmerited, this gift of amazing grace has allowed a life of celebration and thankfulness rather than one of dread and misery.  John 8:36 says it all:

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

This is not a freedom with conditional clauses and a litany of ‘thou shalt and shalt not’.  It is not tied to any particular faith walk or theology.  It does not consign me to hell for being bad or promise me heaven for being good.  There are only two requirements for enjoying this freedom forever.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all you mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”  JOHN 10:27

Pretty simple stuff.  Freedom can be costly, but need not be difficult.

LOVE

 

“hear our prayer this day” by Austin Fleming

Flags waving,
patriotic music filling the airwaves,
picnics celebrating,
picture1kegs of beer overflowing,
tables laden with ribs and beans,
corn on the cob and slaw.

Just another holiday that’s lost its meaning?
Or a time to remember that our freedom is at great cost.

Hear Our Prayer This Day

by AUSTIN FLEMING

In the quiet sanctuaries of our own hearts,
let each of us name and call on the One whose power over us
is great and gentle, firm and forgiving, holy and healing …

You who created us,
who sustain us,
who call us to live in peace,
hear our prayer this day.

Hear our prayer for all who have died,
whose hearts and hopes are known to you alone …

Hear our prayer for those who put the welfare of others
ahead of their own
and give us hearts as generous as theirs …

Hear our prayer for those who gave their lives
in the service of others,
and accept the gift of their sacrifice …

Help us to shape and make a world
where we will lay down the arms of war
and turn our swords into ploughshares
for a harvest of justice and peace …

Comfort those who grieve the loss of their loved ones
and let your healing be the hope in our hearts…

Hear our prayer this day
and in your mercy answer us
in the name of all that is holy.

The peace of God be with you.

JESUITRESOURCE.ORG

 

the JOURNEY

Not knowing the answers is a wonderful experience leading to asking more questions, continuing the search for wisdom and knowledge.  We often look to the ancients who also walked the paths we are on.  They were often labeled heretics and blasphemers for proposing thoughts and ideas contrary to established cropped-speaking-truth2.pngtraditions.  They were the holy men, the mystics who searched the truth which lies within each of us.  Not claiming to have unraveled the mysteries of the soul, they lived lives awed and amazed by that which was not meant to be understood, but merely accepted and practiced.  That is who we are – when we believe we have arrived, we have only begun the journey.