You may know that I'm collecting "stuff" (poems, prayers, verses, art, articles, etc) for an encouragement prayer book to gift to the workers of Word Made Flesh in their endevours around the world. Here is where I will collect that stuff. If you can submit any materials, please do. Thanks!
1. When I dare to be powerful–to use my strength in the service of my vision,then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid-Audre Lorde
2. The Road Not Taken (Robert Frost)
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
3. Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen
4. The Real Work by Wendell Berry
It may be that when we no longer know what to doWe have come to our real work,And that when we no longer know which way to goWe have come to our real journey.The mind that is not baffled is not employed.The impeded stream is the one that sings.5. Life is on our side.The silence and the Cross of which we knoware forces that connot be defeated.In silence and suffering,in the midst of dishonesty (most of all our own dishonesty),in all these if victory.It is Christ in us who drives us through darknessand which can only be foundby passing through apparent despair.Everything has to be tested.All relationships have to be tried.All loyalties have to pass through the fire.Much has to be lost.Much in us has to be killed, even much that is best in us.But Victory is certain.The Resurrection is the only light,and with that light there is no error.
-letter to Cxeslaw Milosz from Thomas Merton
February 28, 1959, CT 57-58
Shawn Mcdonald - Here I Am
lay myself at Your feet
Asking You won't You meet
Won't You meet me
I cannot do it on my own
I cannot do it all alone
Here I am, oh, tonight
With my arms open wide
Won't You come inside
Won't You come inside, God
Come and fill this heart of mine
I'm in need of You
Of Your touch, of Your life, of Your love
I need You
I need You
By Julie Clawson, December 2, 2007
First Sunday of Advent - Hope
Some hoped for a warrior. One who would come to overthrow the Romans. A great and might King who would stand above the masses and once again bring glory to the nation.
Some hoped for a purifier to come and cleanse the nation of it’s sin. One who would enforce the laws and punish those who transgress. One who could motivate a nation to toe the line of legalism and save themselves through piety.
What they got instead was a baby. God incarnate indeed, but God incarnate lowly, poor, and vulnerable. And a kind of hope that those obsessed with delusions of grandeur or religious fervor could barely comprehend, but which echoed in the hearts of the oppressed desperate for any hope at all. The type of hope that the one who bore this child understood when she proclaimed -
“My soul glorifies the Lordand my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,for he has been mindfulof the humble state of his servant.From now on all generations will call me blessed,for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.His mercy extends to those who fear him,from generation to generation.He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.He has brought down rulers from their thronesbut has lifted up the humble.He has filled the hungry with good thingsbut has sent the rich away empty.He has helped his servant Israel,remembering to be mercifulto Abraham and his descendants forever,even as he said to our fathers.” Luke 1:46-55
Jesus came as the incarnation of this hope for the brokenhearted. He urged us to love others and bring freedom to the oppressed. He healed the sick and ate meals with outcasts. He offended those calling for violent revolution and scandalized those upholding the letter of the law. But he proclaimed hope.
On this first Sunday of Advent we are called to remember that hope. To celebrate the incarnation that brought hope to those who had never dared hope before. But celebrating doesn’t mean just saying a few nice words or a prayer of thanksgiving. It means being that hope. It means as followers of Christ expressing his incarnation by being his hands and feet. By healing the sick, by setting the oppressed free, and bringing good news to the poor. Hope must be tangible and make a concrete difference in the lives of those who need it for it to be real hope. Let us not just proclaim hope, but be true harbingers of hope as we seek to live in light of the incarnation.
The words to one of my favorite carols of the season, O Holy Night, capture a bit of what this incarnate hope can look like in our lives -
Truly He taught us to love one another;His law is love and His gospel is peace.Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;And in His name all oppression shall cease.Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,Let all within us praise His holy name.