HOLY UNFOLDING

Lenten Practice: Lectio Divina
Daily Act: Write a note to someone to let them know how their life is integral to God’s unfolding story.
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“LIVING WORD, LIVE THROUGH ME.”

by Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

There is nothing insignificant in you
And nothing is ever wasted

There is a holy unfolding within you
That is part of the holy unfolding around you
You participate in what is being written
Whether you intend to or not

The question is-
What words are being written with your life?

We are the story
The future will read
When they are seeking to understand
The God beyond understanding

There is nothing too small in you
To live this
Everything matters

Even our failures will say something
About the God who uses everything
In holy ways

God’s unfolding story is
The sacred already resident in each moment
Waiting for release

God’s is a story of redemption-
Of imperfect people
Graced with divine potential
Living their ordinary lives
And discovering the extraordinary
Along the way

Burning bush while tending the sheep
Luminous cloud atop a mountain
Star unusually bright signaling hope in the night
Mostly we stumble into the sacred
On the way to something else

It could be you
It could be me
Who sees in the midst of everything else
How the holy is beckoning
How something is straining
To come to birth
In us
Through us
With us

Sometimes the story is simply
How God was present
When we did not see
When we did not know
When we could not feel
What was there all along

And sometimes we write the story with effort
Laboring to make space for the
Long arc, which bends toward justice
To stretch across this time and place

The story is written also in what is small
The ways you live when no one is watching
What you buy and
What you eat and
Where you work and
Who you love
All of it the storyline of
God’s life seeking expression
Through you

There is nothing insignificant in you
And nothing is ever wasted

There is a holy unfolding within you
That is part of the holy unfolding around you
You participate in what is being written
Whether you intend to or not

The question is-
What words are being written with your life?

“Now in this moment, now in this day, God is creating and leading the way. Life is behind us, life is before, we write the story not heard before.”

Community of Christ Sings #96, Barbara and Richard Howard

WORDS THAT UNSETTLE

Lenten Practice: Lectio Divina
Daily Act: Allow God’s Living Word to speak through you as you raise your voice for justice and peace. Find the courage to speak out against an injustice that weighs on your heart.
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“LIVING WORD, LIVE THROUGH ME.”

by Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

Politeness can be as much of an injustice perpetuator as anything else. There is so much we don’t say that is flaming hot in our hearts. What if these words are searing in their release? I don’t want to be rude. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad, even if we are complacent while oppression abounds around us, within us, because of us.

The prophets didn’t care. Their words promised searing. Their words provoked disruption of the status quo and had the power to make you shift uneasy in your seat. The prophet Isaiah is unrelenting about a God who desires justice and sees instead the greed and power-lust that are driving the oppressive, complicit, half-hearted actions of the people. I wonder if he had many friends.

“When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!” (Isaiah 57:13) Wow. Do I really want to be honest about my own collection of idols? It pulls in me as sacred tension. What am I clinging to as a hollow substitute for the real thing?

Sometimes words are holy that we do not want to hear. Sometimes what we do not want to hear is what we most need to hear. It’s hard to imagine at times that this is actually about the world as it could be… that this is actually good for us… like medicine bitter as it first touches the tongue to then work healing deep within.

I surprise myself with the burning yearning for words that are sharp and actions to match. There are times for sifting through complexities and then there are times for stating simply- ENOUGH. There are moments when the Spirit swells as clarity on the side of the oppressed no longer allowing us to hide behind ambiguity.

It is time to say we have had enough of
inequality
hunger
prejudice
greed
violence
polarization
endless consumption
destruction of the planet
complacency without thought of cost
politeness in place of faithfulness

I tremble at the thought of saying more. What will you think of me? I don’t want to sear you with my words… or myself. What do I do with this fire within? How do I balance the pastoral with the prophetic in a world that is aching for transformation?

Maybe I need to spend 40 days in a desert letting the red hot stone and sand and sun burn away at the fear in me, untangling my attachments to false idols, practicing saying “no” for a while to the things that seem like good options only at first.

Maybe then I will have gathered just enough courage to speak truth in love to what I see within myself, within the world… for the healing of myself, the healing of the world.

Do I even want to pray this prayer? Holy Confronter- Burn away what is false in me. Awaken me to injustice that I knowingly and unknowingly contribute to. Shake me out of my complacency. Unsettle me that I may be liberated from everything that is not your vision of shalom. Amen.

Continuing Revelation

Lenten Practice: Lectio Divina
Daily Act: Pay attention to God’s continuing revelation. How is the Living Word being spoken today through loved ones, nature, and your life?
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“LIVING WORD, LIVE THROUGH ME.”

By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

I desire and resist this deeper seeing. What is unresolved in me rushes to slam shut the awareness door. Gazing upon the divine presence written in all living things costs my transformation. It is also my liberation, but change doesn’t always feel that way at first.

I won’t lie. This God-life can be daunting and unpredictable. To live in the Spirit of the One who is continuously being revealed means something like I can’t get too comfortable in any one place for too long. I can’t put up fences around my beliefs for a while. I can’t lay a foundation around just one experience and call it faith enough. To imagine that I am created in the image of this God is too staggering to comprehend!

This may be overwhelming to consider, this immensity of mystery, but what is revealed is so intimately relational that there is assurance even as there is humility. What we find never says to us- you don’t matter. It is always an invitation to belong. It is always an invitation to enter more deeply into the marrow of this life. It is always an invitation to become more fully alive.

So many times in our heritage, our ancestors have been tempted to build campsites and altars around a place of holy encounter only to discover that the God they desired to see had moved along to another place, doing a new thing. We can stay stubborn in stagnation of ritual or belief, but if we want relationship we are called to be a people on the move- attentive to the Divine who is being written in all things.

Sometimes this requires some dying of old assumptions and attitudes and beliefs. It requires a releasing of anything you are holding too tightly. It may crash through your fences and wreck your foundations. It will cost your transformation, but is also your liberation. If you are seeking the Living God, you are in for a wild ride!

It is not a chase as much as it is a dance, swirling through the world with this holy partner, wrapped up in each movement as the beloved of God.

In relationship with the continuously revealing God, what is unresolved in me is named holy, creation, sacred mystery beckoning in love.

“God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.”- Martin Luther

“Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?” –St. Augustine

“We bloomed in spring. Our bodies are the leaves of God.” St. Teresa of Avila