Life Is Precious. Sabbath. Peace.

Oh, the weather is beautiful. Noisy in the neighborhood, however. Last night it was cackling with loads of college students; this morning the geese are running practice flights for their trip south.

It’s a wonderful time of year. At the beginning of every season, it seems, there’s a washing clean of the old… There’s a burst before the settling in. We’re having that right now. I always feel more alive during those passages. (I’ve always been a fan of the places in between!)

Today, I really want to hold on to that sense of being alive, to hold it up.

My friend, by no means a close friend, just a man I like, is alive. So easily things might have gone the other way. It’s always the little things that cause the accidents… says the woman who tripped over an acorn yesterday and went flying.

Life is precious. All life. My friend’s life. It’s too short, really to complain. But not too short to celebrate. Not too short to give thanks. Not too short to pack every single minute with joy and awareness of its abundance. We’re busy we think — we think until something makes us remember… right, show up, be present: now is the time.

My friends, about those Syrian refugees. They could use some support. Their lives are precious as well…

My last two decades have been shaped by deaths. This year, two years away from the last huge, significant death, I’m feeling a little steadier on my feet. I understand, all too well, that death happens. But it’s better when it doesn’t.

So look around your circle and celebrate. Life is here. That’s really what observing the Sabbath, keeping it holy, is all about — Life is right here. There is a wild and outrageous Peace in that. Celebrate fiercely. And let’s use that to fuel the work we have to do with others whose lives are not so lucky at the moment. Because we can.


What Speed Is Your Peace?

I’ve always been a speedy person. I have, as a friend points out, a busy brain.

When I was in my 20s. New York was perfect for me. A whole world moving at warp speed. So many new things to explore, to do.

And then… after seminary, it seemed like California was on my agenda. It probably would have been anyway… I’d been dreaming about working for Apple. It almost gives you whip lash doesn’t it, to think about the roads you might have taken and how different your road is now.

And it was slower. Until of course it wasn’t. I guess I’m blessed with being complicated as well as speedy.

And then there was Pennsylvania. As my parents were aging and dying, my life had to be slow enough to accommodate them. It was a hard, joyful, sad and marvelous journey lived at the pace of my elders.

Now the pace is different; in some cases, it’s not yet known. Death discombobulates… you tumble heart over head over tin cups. I’ve been a bit dazed for a while, so it’s been good to meander.

So, as I sit here this morning thinking about taking life slowly, there’s now a flurry about whether or not we’re not going to try and get a grant proposal in by tomorrow. Luckily, I can still move at New York speed when I have to!

Slow Peace is great. And when it concerns whether or not there is money for backpack food for children, I’ll take any kind of Peace i can get, including money from strangers!


Fog Dancers for Peace

My walking partner and I keep getting stopped on our morning walk by the beauty of the river. This morning we sat and watched the sun come up and spill across the river.

I struggle with the early mornings. But waking up and being present to such beauty is a lovely way to call my day into being. Let’s hear it for wonder.

Yesterday’s fog dancers did not drift across the river this morning, the sun was too bold; they are too shy… But this time of month as the nights are colder than the river, they will be back and back and back. You can count on them.

There’s beauty in every day, every season. We have to keep looking.

Here’s to the Beauty. Here’s to the Fog Dancers. Here’s to Peace.


Reading, Peace, Reading

When I was a tender seminarian I heard William Sloan Coffin (recently retired as minister at Riverside Church in NYC and formerly the Yale chaplain who started Clergy and Laity Concern during the the VietNam War) speak about being involved with what’s going on in the world.

Coffin talked about the importance of being involved. At the end someone stood up and said, great for you, you’re on the speaker circuit… You blow in, blow up and blow outta town (ah you gotta love a hall full of ministers!).

Coffin admired the hit and then asked… how many of you have read a book on something other than ministry? How many of you have read a serious book this year. Less than 25% raised their hands.

And he said, yeah… no excuse for that. That’s part of your ministry.

I admit his seeds fell on fertile ground. I love reading. And I believe it’s important. And I’m lucky that the UUs feel it’s important and that my congregation agrees. And so I take this time very seriously and stuff my brain — with things that pertain to what we’re up to and to what I think I and all of us might need to think of. And with things that are going on and we can’t help but look at. There’s so much to wonder about. So much hard (reading) work to do.

So reading. I find Peace in it. In its turn it stirs me to look for Peace. It’s a cycle I’m lucky to be able to indulge. Just a couple weeks of stuffing ahead, and then look out world! I’m back! Wake up world! Time to step up!


Tears in Paradise, Act for Peace

Two days home from a workshop on Undoing Racism, taught by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, I wake up to the news of the death of nine Black people by a white gunman. They were shot at church in a Bible Study.

I’d already sent out the day’s musing about how we who live in Paradise don’t make room for everyone, don’t insist that Paradise is abundant. And then this, proof.

It could be one crazy guy except we tolerate crazy white guys doing this. This is a thing. This is a trend. This is a movement. White people killing bunches of Black and Brown people. Will his religion be on trial the way the Boston Marathon’s religion was? Will we (finally) wonder what it is in White culture that causes so many to go so wrong? Because it’s about time we do.

And in all the pictures of the aftermath, people kneeling in prayer, people holding hands in prayer, not a white face in the picture. “And I didn’t hear nobody pray.” And oh right, I didn’t hear anyone say, there is an epidemic of white exceptionalism and it’s killing our neighbors. But it’s true. I didn’t see anyone say, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Ramadan starts today. Maybe while our Muslim sisters and brothers are refraining and reflecting, we might do the same.

I’m sure that some people like those in the AME church would be grateful to wake up in Not Hell. But Paradise is possible, if we understand the need to throw open the Garden gates and welcome the world. Do we believe in Life?

It’s time to wake up, step up, show up for Peace. It’s time to redefine and transform Paradise. Each and every one of us is needed for this hard and precious work.


Thunder Moon Peace!

It’s a new month… and there were choices to make about names. Thunder Moon seemed a fairly clear winner given the storms of the last couple days.

This could be a month of seeing what’s true. It’s soon the longest day with the brightest sun for a slow and steady reveal. And there will be slashes of light casting a different look at things… We’ll be waking up early, because the Sun’s insistent. Shall we use the time to step up?

And things can be, should we choose, be shaken up in the time of the Thunder Moon — or we could begin to see that in fact things are already different from what they’ve been, or we’ve thought they’ve been…

It’s time. Are we ready? People, the Earth, All God’s critters really shouldn’t have to wait any longer on us, should they? All in for Peace?


April Fools and Lunatics

Well, we woke up and the ugly laws are still there. Laws that say that what I believe means that I may forbid you services: health, food, housing. The Fools say: oh, we didn’t meant tha-at. The Lunatics say: this is not acceptable. Peace is inclusion.

This country was founded, with flaws, it must be admitted, on civility and citizenship.

Every amendment we’ve made to its founding has been for greater inclusivity.

But there’s something about homosexuality and this moment in history that makes us think it’s ok to say you’re less than human. And it seems that has given us permission to step up our racism and our misogyny.

Lots of people sitting back and smugly shaking heads that this just proves how crazy people are. It’s not the right reaction. We have to stand up and change the laws. We have to stand up and shop other places. We have to vacation other places. Wake up. Stand up. Speak up. Step up.

As I write, I realize beloved nephew is getting married in Arkansas. So Miss Wake up. Stand up. Speak up. Step Up, Priestess had better figure out how she’s going to respond when there.

Everyone has worth and dignity. Everyone is precious. People of faith and philosophy had better figure that out. We’re here to celebrate creation and create community.

Watch out April Fools whose jokes have turned mean. We are Pink Moon Lunatics for Peace. and we vote, in the voting box and with our dollars.



Needed: Pink Moon Sabbath Peace

The world needs a Peace that’s pregnant with possibilities. It needs a Peace that holds that Life is sacred and stops for a moment just to be present to it.

This weekend, which is the weekend of the first Sabbaths in the Pink Moon is just such a weekend to contemplate that Peace. Spring is, snow notwithstanding, burgeoning. This is a moment in time where everything seems possible.

Maybe we need to take a pause, relax and refresh ourselves… and as the song says: start all over again.

Right now, we’re watching one jihadist who grew from a basketball-loving kid — but there are thousands of them. The fault is not just in them, it is in a world that fosters that need for structured hate.

In moments when I feel most hopeless when I see what’s going on “over there,” I have to remember that some of that started here. I can’t do much about over there. I can do something, no matter how small about over here. Because today it’s Minneapolis, tomorrow it could be the Susquehanna Valley. Despair has made itself at home in a lot of people. And lest we point fingers at one religious group, let us remember our white supremacy groups of which my home state has so many. It’s the same hate, it just dresses differently.

We then, are the answer, the antidote, we and the inspiration of this beautiful spreading Spring and a new Moon of Possibilities. Let us pray… and then let us get to work!


Lines of Peace this Sugar Moon Sabbath

Today is the 50th Commemoration, I can’t say anniversary, like it’s a happy thing, of Bloody Sunday.

It was a day about lines. Lines to keep people in boxes that they weren’t going to accept any more. Lines that people in power were clear should never be crossed. Lines that at last, at last, the media finally decided to cross to show what was going on. Lines that kept a nation of people comfortably allowing them to keep thinking of themselves as good people.

We should know our lines. What are the lines we believe never should be crossed? What are the lines that keep us from being fully who we are. Lines both protect and prohibit… it’s an odd thing, isn’t it? We ahve to consier if we’re willing to do the hard work to stand on those lines, to step up to those lines and stand in solidarity alongside others who believe and those who are unwilling to see or wake up.

So, looking at my latitude and longitude helps me consider lines. I live at 40.9˚N and 79.8˚W… What other intersection I live in I’ll need to consider. And meanwhile the Sugar Moon shines sweetly down on all of us, doesn’t it?

If you haven’t read the President’s speech from the bridge yesterday, you might want to. You might want to look up your own latitude and longitude. You might want to think about where your Peace Lines are, which ones you’ll never cross and which ones are holding you back… A blessed and lovely Sabbath to you, my friends!


Recommitting to the Lunacy of Peace

We live in our isolated little bubbles. Stuff that happens outside our bubbles isn’t real. Stuff that happened a long time ago is hard to remember. There are wonderful things about our bubbles… I cherish my community of friends, colleagues and strangers…

But life isn’t like this for everyone. I spent the weekend immersed in a life outside. Friday night I listened to Peterson Toscano do a stand-up series of short skits on homosexuality and climate change. Saturday I saw Selma. Sunday I saw Dear White People. The whole was a strong wake-up call.

I know that life is not rosy for others, but I do like my cocoon… But if I live in my cocoon, I condemn others to a continued hell of invisibility. It’s an embracing of willful ignorance. It’s a rejection of a pretty large piece of the world.

And if I who knows better will do that, who is going to do the stepping up?

We’ve been told time and time again, Peace, Love and Understanding are lunacy. Dreaming? Lunacy. Possibilities? Lunacy.

But you know what hate, fear and greed are disgusting and hold us hostage in separated tribes. We’re more than that. We’re better than that.

And our world will not forever survive that worldview.

More is possible under the Sweet Sugar Moon. What would the Lunacy of Peace look like?