Praying barefoot has become one of my favorite ways to pray. Most often I pray barefoot in the garden, or in a park, or along a sandy beach. These are pretty easy ways to begin. But over the past month I’ve been sensing the need to walk barefoot through the business area of my community. It took me a while to actually do it. It sounded like a great concept, but “what would the neighbors think”?
Resurrection is all well and good, but what does it mean for my neighborhood? That may sound a bit irreverent, but that thought kept running through my mind as I planted seeds for our garden. Over the past few years I’ve been exploring the idea of gardening with God and neighbor in mind and what it means to move from boundaries to hospitality in the garden…
There are a lot of big ideas out there about what we can do to celebrate Earth Day, ideas about how to get involved in the grand movements we need to pull our world back from the brink of self-destruction. Please don’t neglect the big picture! But as I reflected on this, I wondered what it would look like to make a list of Earth Day practices for the neighborhood. Here’s a short list of what I came up with – please share your ideas in the comments section on my blog. This list begins with the things I’ve done (1-5) and moves toward the things I hope to put into practice by the end of the year (6-10) – remember, stewarding God’s creation is a lifestyle, not a one-off event.
Come to the cross and sit at the feet of Jesus. Come to the cross, an instrument of torture to silence the prophets. Come to the cross, where empire and faith kiss. Come to the cross, where justice is sacrificed for expediency. Here, our Prince of Peace is crucified....
We’ve arrived at Holy Week. The grand procession is finished – misunderstood but completed. We think we know what God is up to, but we’ll miss the point repeatedly as the divine confronts empire in our systems and our souls.
Archbishop Oscar Romero once said, “When the church hears the cry of the oppressed it cannot but denounce the social structures that give rise to perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises.” This is precisely what Jesus is doing in the temple, and he’s calling out religious leaders for their complicity in these systems of exploitation and oppression.
Over the years I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to fit into spiritual boxes created by well-meaning folks who didn’t really know me. We all have a kind of spiritual temperament, a natural rhythm and style that works well with how we were created. Morning devotions may be perfect for one person but a complete failure for another. Journaling might unleash deep spiritual insights for some, gardening for others, and long periods of deep meditation for still others. All of these are tools intended to deepen our relationship with God and one another, but they are not the purpose of our faith.
Many of us are “really nice people”, but too many of us, at least in the United States, have lost the art of true hospitality. We’ve become accustomed to returning home, driving into the garage, and walking into the house. When we do venture outside more often than not it’s into the backyard or back to the car to run a quick errand.
A poem of creation’s lament.
When I go into my backyard sanctuary I carry with me the joys and concerns encountered in the world around me. I am not cut off from them but actually, become more aware of their impact on my life and my interconnectedness with all that buzzes in and around my world. When I plunge my hands into the earth I’m reminded of my connectedness to all creation. God formed me from the richness of the soil and breathed life into me. Like all creation, I am alive and sustained only by the grace of God.
We are created in God’s image, not separate, but as community, a compliment, one to another. Balance is really at the heart of Lent and Easter. God desires harmony, a dwelling together in peace and unity. Lent provides us the opportunity to explore what is out of balance in our lives.Where are the fragmented and broken pieces and how did they get that way?
It continually amazes me that the Creator of the entire universe, of all things visible and invisible, cares so deeply for each tiny element. God beckons us into relationship, into healing, into wholeness, and then invites us to join hands with the Almighty to bring healing to the whole creation.
Lenten Rosebreaking through winter’s crusthead bowedfacing earthfertile soilfrom whence you spranghumble beautycalling usto bow our headsrememberingfrom dustwe were createdto dustwe shall return AFWade 2.6.2013 This post was originally featured on Godspace, at that...
As I wrote of in my last post, the fullness of shalom must be both an inward and outward journey. It is both personal and corporate. It would be tempting to separate these two aspects into the personal-inward journey and corporate-outward journey, as if one can exist in isolation of the other. That would be a mistake. There is only one journey and the inward-outward, personal-corporate parts of that journey are so tightly wound together we do injustice to God’s radical shalom by trying to untangle them.
This Lenten season, I invite you to a time of looking more deeply into your life. Instead of listing out your sins, work slowly through the following questions and allow God to reveal the broken areas of your life. These questions are designed to draw out the attitudes and motives that lurk a bit deeper below the surface. Rather than quickly naming off a few obvious sins and moving on, take time to allow the Holy Spirit to guide you into a more comprehensive exploration of your life.