Monday, October 28, 2013

Overheard this morning: “Yes, I have a job. I support myself and my four children on $8.45 an hour….” If the poor are always with us, it simply cannot be so that we harden our hearts blocking out their presence and pain while tending to the things of Jesus (Matthew 26:11). My hunch and prayer is that the poor, the least among us, anyone longing for justice and mercy, dwell in our midst the Word made flesh. In tending to them, we now tend to Jesus.

They whisper to us from deep within, the still small voice of compassion’s prayer; uttering not loudly nor in the market place, “Thank you God for all that I have, there but for the grace of God go I!” Rather, calling us to hearts of no doubt hard come, nut nonetheless tender humility, praying carefully behind the closed doors of our fleshy heart’s room, “Here I am, my sister, my brother. Dear Father, how would you send me?” (Matthew 6:1-4 and Luke 18:11-14).

Sunday, October 27, 2013

To stand outside the community gathered. To be invited into the courtyard to be trusted with what no one dare whisper aloud is the privilege of the few of the faithful community of those who have stood across the centuries along the margins. The position of solitude yields faint whispers of the less popular truths —the greater value of the lesser portion. The margin come the center, hidden heart of faith, the Word given just a few bits of flesh. Amen.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I was at the PADS Lake Co Day Shelter earlier today. Last year, on any given Saturday there were about 5 or 6 children in the children’s room. That means that they and their parent/s were living on the street, not in a women’s and children’s shelter or in any of the few family shelters. Today, there were 17 children in the children’s room. Conversation with staff has me understanding that every day of the week there are about that number—17—children who come there because they have nowhere to live. Tonight, they will sleep in a different place from last night…

I want to extend my Birthday: Please, pray and act for an end to the social insanity that allows this. The Hebrew Bible reading for tomorrow is: “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:33-34).

Which leave me who was born 57 years ago to an unwed 16 year old and who lived my first 6 months in a “foundling home,” to wonder how will these children “know the Lord” who is all compassion and grace, if they cannot know safety and continuity, respect and equanimity? How will they learn ot be just if they know no justice?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It’s my 57th Birthday! I talked with my biological mother this year for the first time, shortly before Mother’s day. Now, for the first time in my life, I’m celebrating another year of living knowing the story of how and where I was conceived and the story of my birth… that against all the misguided 1950’s wisdom and rules about “what’s best for theses mother and their babies,” she insisted on holding me before surrendered me to the care of unmet strangers with the benediction, “I love you.”

In those first blessed and fragile movements of this life, where grief and love mingled in all tenderness and hope, the course of my living was set. This past half-century-plus, I’ve surrendered time and time, a thousand times again, to moments as heavy laden as my first. I have been called time and time again to learn that, faith and hope are all that abide, and that there is no stronger force, none in life or in death, greater than the arms of that same Love which, long awaited, held me for what could never be time enough, relinquishing me, in all sadness and uncertainty to all the precariousness that is living.

Faith, hope and that same Love have nurtured me into a heart of grace for the patients that we serve: My birthday wish for year 57 is prayer and meaningful action. Too many times, we must surrender lives struggling with addiction, mental and physical illnesses to a society’s system (healthcare, mental health, social services) were no real help is available. We cannot say things like, “go here and they will help you try to end your unrelenting physical or emotional pain, or with a place to live, or food to eat, money for car insurance or gas so you can know the simple human dignity of paying for those thing with money you earn from the job that small bridge of financial assistance afforded.” Or things like, “go here and you will be able to get the best possible treatment for your normal human reaction to growing up in a family where those who ought to have cared for you betrayed that sacred trust.”

A kind PCB friend said to me, not all that long ago, “you could have chosen to do horses or anything, but you chose this (things religious).” What she didn’t know is that, I could not, cannot, choose anything less than living the Love of my mother’s benediction of my life; to pray and try to live as if the Word has a bit of flesh on it and to pray and try to act Compassion’s love in the world…

Please spend some time today praying and acting for a more just, compassionate system for the least among us….