Giving Spiritual Space

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There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” …The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by  1 Kings 19:9;11

 

FORMS OF HOSPITALITY

from Henri Nouwen’s book, Reaching Out

We probably will never be free from all our hostilities, and there even may be days and weeks in which our hostile feelings dominate our emotional life to such a degree that the best thing we can do is to keep distance, speak little to others and not write letters, except to ourselves. Sometimes events in our lives breed feelings of bitterness, jealousy, suspicion and even desires for revenge, which need time to be healed. It is realistic to realize that although we hope to move toward hospitality, life is too complex to expect a one-way direction. But when we make ourselves aware of the hospitality we have enjoyed from others and are grateful for the few moments in which we can create some space ourselves, we may become more sensitive to our inner movements and be more able to affirm an open attitude toward our fellow human beings.

 

Photo Credit: http://stevensauke.blogspot.com/2013/08/high-noon-on-israelite-front.html

Human Beings Blaze

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Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down.” 

― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With The Wolves: Contacting the Power of the Wild Woman

A fish cannot drown in water,
A bird does not fall in air.
In the fire of creation,
God doesn’t vanish:
The fire brightens.
Each creature God made
must live in its own true nature;
How could I resist my nature,
That lives for oneness with God?

Mechthild of Magdeburg in The Flowing Light of the Godhead

 

Wild flowing light calls
Nature to nature responds
Human beings blaze

Rita H Kowats

 

 

Photo Credit: G. Brad Lewis/ Barcroft Media, edited

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make Light

Puget Sound Jellyfish

 

My sister shared this photo which she took while on an outing to Alki Beach in West Seattle- our adolescent playground. I responded to it on a cellular level. Not because of conjured memories- it was the jellyfish that pulled me into their light with the enticing movement of their tentacles. They calm me. “What do you want me to learn? I asked them.

A National Geographic/Nova documentary, “Creatures of light” gave me the answer in a query posed by a scientist, “How to survive the dark? Make Light.” The documentary is a study of bioluminescence in more than 200 species of deep-sea creatures and the bioflorescence of many land creatures. Light is the stuff of life for them.

In biofloresencence species take light from an external source and give it back. Watching fireflies on an otherwise stifling summer night. What a gift. As human beings, our spirits catch the light from other beings and store it deep in our souls where it generates more light. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. Jn.1:5

In bioluminescence, species create their own light. It is programmed into their genes. My imagination goes to the magic of Pandora, in the film Avatar.

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Human beings are body and spirit and spirit is light. Light is as integral to our spirits as it is to the genes of bioluminescent creatures. With light we can make light. 

Give-receive–give-receive. I celebrate this interdependence on the weekend when Americans bow to independence.

 

 

Photo Credit Avatar: http://www.wdwmagic.com/attractions/navi-river-journey/news/16may2017-review-and-pov-video—na’vi-river-journey-on-pandora—the-world-of-avatar.htm

 

 

Sacred Iconoclasm

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“This image shows a photograph from the early 1920s, probably in Portland, in which robed and hooded Ku Klux Klan members share a stage with members of the Royal Riders of the Red Robe, a Klan auxiliary for foreign-born white Protestants. A large banner reading “Jesus Saves” occupies a prominent position on the wall at the rear of the stage and testifies to the strong role that Protestantism played in the KKK philosophy of “100 percent Americanism,” an ideology that developed during World War I as a reaction to the perceived threat to national unity posed by the influx of non-Protestant, non-English-speaking immigrants.”

https://oregonhistoryproject.org/articles/historical-records/portland-kkk/#.WT77sWjyvIW

While reading the Washington Post this morning I was accosted by this photo from the Oregon Historical Society.  Although the story it tells about the Pacific Northwest is familiar to me, the stark truth of the paradox depicted  shook me to the core. I read it as “Jesus Saves, but only white people.” I invite the photo to go viral as a warning to all that we are again confronted by the “KKK philosophy of ‘100% Americanism’.” Let the warning go out that espousing a warped brand of Americanism in the name of a warped brand of Christianity calls for an iconoclastic revolution.  Perhaps Meister Eckhart’s most puzzling statement is, “I pray God that he may quit me of god.”  This is the time to throw out all profane idols and embrace the real God devoid of all ego clammoring for power.

This poem from a few years ago speaks to this experience once again:

natures stained glass 50 per cent

 

Photo Credit:  https://oregonhistoryproject.org/articles/historical-records/portland-kkk/#.WT77sWjyvIW

Photo Credit:  Nature’s Stained Glass Window overlay Lynn Scholar

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/06/07/when-portland-banned-blacks-oregons-shameful-history-as-an-all-white-state/?utm_term=.0280aaa83460

 

Waiting

nude in the desert framed

 

I came upon this blessing in a moment of empathy for a friend who is enduring the death of her husband.  A Gift for you, Mary Lou, and for all of us who grieve loss. I am reminded of a line from Call the Midwives, “We just go on living until we are alive again.”  May we endure together.

 

The Art of Enduring
For Holy Saturday

Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me. —Psalm 31: 2
This blessing
can wait
as long as you can.

Longer.

This blessing
began eons ago
and knows the art
of enduring.

This blessing
has passed
through ages
and generations,
witnessed the turning
of centuries,
weathered the spiraling
of history.

This blessing
is in no rush.
This blessing
will plant itself
by your door.

This blessing
will keep vigil
and chant prayers.

This blessing
will bring a friend
for company.

This blessing
will pack a lunch
and a thermos
of coffee.

This blessing
will bide
its sweet time

until it hears
the beginning
of breath,
the stirring
of limbs,
the stretching,
reaching,
rising

of what had lain
dead within you
and is ready
to return.

Ann Richardson in Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings

 

 

 

An Easter Prayer for These Times

Lynn Schooler DAWN

 

Waiting for Hope

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
Into the womb of the Sacred deliver us.

Brood us, Lifegiver.
Warm our crippled core
with the elixer of your hope.

We waited…
The immalleable membrane of despair
Stretched to the limits against
Unimagined possibilities.

We dared to imagine-

Barrier breached.

© Rita H Kowats 4-10-2017

(Inspired by The Lord’s Prayer, New Zealand Prayer Book)

 

 

The video takes a few seconds to begin…don’t give up!

 

 

Photo Credit: Lynn Schooler, Juneau AK

Resurrection

It’s amazing what a simple sculpture gracing the edge of a beach will evoke.  I had a viseral response to these fish poles when I first started working with the photo.  That response was trumped by the creation that later emerged from the original photo.  I had no idea how to approach this writing until I saw the flying fish.  Here it is:

Resurrection when fish fly

Calvary Is Right Here

homeless person

 

“Palm Sunday”
Joyce Rupp

 

Three men
proclaiming the memory
of your path to Calvary.
Three men
with somber voices
making all the appropriate
pauses and inflections.

But what I remember
is the Calvary
beside me,
the man
whose body odor
invaded my space,
the man
seemingly homeless,
surely mentally
challenged.

The three men
went on and on and on
with their words
telling the history
of your suffering.

I found you
not in their stiff words
but next to me,
a man still bearing
the heavy cross
of loneliness and rejection.

“Palm Sunday” collected in My Soul Feels Lean:  Poems of Loss and Restoration Sorinbooks, 2013

 

 

Photo Credit:  Edited from The Homeless Epidemic at http://eng105project3.blogspot.com/?m=1

 

 

What Color Is Your Soul?

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Saffron threads of thoughts
Dangle in wispy plaits,
Jangling as they swing to a
Sunshine-saturated rhythm
Not yet heard.

Royle blue peacock- prone,
She struts her stuff with a
Trip over duff and dale,
Hale and hearty in
All things veiled.

Pained purple lives in the
Obituaries of his lost dreams,
Holding vigil while blind to
Today’s possibilities.

Cat’s Eye green,
Wide open surroundview.
No slinking in on “little cat feet,” then
“Moving on,” for you.
Electrifying,
Awe-inspiring green for you-
Bring it on!

Splashes of vermillion
Dashes of dark brown
Blue violet
Magenta
Maroon…
What color is your soul today?

© rita h kowats 2014

Thanks to Carl Sandburg for his priceless image:

Fog

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.