The Waystead is a Hermitage of the Lindisfarne Community, established with the intent to foster the love of God in the world. My resolve is to follow the Way of the One in Whom we live and move and have our Being.
I trust that by thoughtfully founding, and steadfastly keeping, a dwelling place and setting it apart as a place of prayer, reflection, and contemplation, I will be able to hold onto that resolve.
(This is an edited version of a discussion I had with my fellow Solitaries in the Community.) “If you are to have a
rule to guide you, who is to write that rule? You ask me to do so, but I am not
qualified. I cannot claim to be any wiser than you, so I could not presume to
formulate any kind of law for you to follow. Should Jesus write your rule? The
teaching of Jesus must be the primary guide for any disciple. Yet Jesus did not
give clear rules. Jesus gave us stories whose meaning is infinitely profound;
and Jesus gave us sermons in which every sentence and even every word is
pregnant with truth. We cannot reduce these stories and sermons to a set of
laws…If you wish to formulate a rule you must listen to your own conscience and
discern these principles. Write down with your own hand on paper what God has
written with God’s hand on the human heart.” —Pelagius
I’m going sideways again, trying to ignore Old Man Zen over
there in the corner, rolling his eyes. I used to tell my Karate stude…
(This is not a Lectio Divina reflection. This is the plain truth of what happened to me today. You'd be surprised how often it happens.....)
If you suspect I'm clinically depressed, I don't appreciate your kind dismay. So what? I haven't had a meal today, or made my bed, or even gotten dressed. (Obsessed, I just neglected to ingest.) I mined for words to prove in the assay: the lode of metaphor that would convey the deepest nuance languagemight suggest.
So don't you worry that I've lost my mind. I never felt the hours passing by; I didn't hear my stomach's aching groan. I'd gone prospecting in a place behind the world, where time's an evanescent lie and every glinting word's a precious stone.
I see You— I see how it’s more important for you to be angry than to question your convictions. I see You— I see how it’s much simpler for you to buy a packaged meal artificially pre-flavored with easy ethics and instant
justice. I see You— What are you cooking? I want to know! Because when I look at you I see You— mixing and adding your pain your compassion your fear and blending all those real ingredients into what’s already cooking but I never saw the poisoner I never saw anyone slip in behind your back with an ampule of rage and dribble it into the recipe you’re making. I see You— and I want to know if you had seen that assassin would you still serve that meal to the world? Would you feed it to your children for their dinner? I see You— and I don’t believe that you could.
There is nothing to fix.
Wanting and not-wanting are both beside the point.
Why is that? Because there is no point.
Points are for things like needles and nails.
Points only serve a purpose when they penetrate, transfix,
or align with distant objects.
In order to bring something to my cushion, it’s necessary to
carry it there.
Too much work.
My cushion brings me nothing, and so I am moved to return
Cushions were made for no other purpose than to be sat on.
A cushion that is not being sat on is a pointless thing.
Nevertheless, my cushion is often left bereft, bored with
aligning itself with my distant behind.
Sometimes my heart growls like an empty stomach.
Sometimes the compass-needle of my mind points to a very,
very long way off.
Sometimes memories bite my hand right through the bars of
their cage and the food I was trying to feed them goes flying.
Sometimes my imagination leaves me stranded in a smelly,
fluorescent-lit nursing home in some future hell.
Ephesians 1:1-14 (“you were marked with
the seal of the promised Holy Spirit;”) — “who
is the guarantee of our inheritance
until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Daily Office
Lectionary) “thisis the pledge of our inheritance
toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.” (NRSV) “which
is the guarantee of our inheritance vouching for God’s redemption of his possession to the praise of his glory.”
(Mounce Reverse Interlinear) “which is the pledge of our share; the voucher
for God to reclaim his belongings; (and)
the wholehearted endorsement of God’s marvelous honor.” (My version; from Mounce)
It’s happened again— several translations which have
opposite meanings than the Greek. In this case I believe it shows a
near-perversion of the intended meaning. I remember the phrase from my baptism:
“You are sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever.” We can’t possibly own God! The Lectionary seems to imply
that the seal of the Holy Sp…
John 9:1-12 — John 9:35-38 (redacted: verses 13-34) Oh boy, here we go again with the censoring. In this case
the Daily Office Lectionary has omitted the very best part of the story and
what’s more, the missing part is the absolute core of the story. Without it,
the last section is out of context and makes no sense at all. This is the story
of the man born blind whom Jesus healed with his spit and some dirt. The
Pharisees got all wound up about it, and wouldn’t leave it alone. They even
went and pestered the man’s parents. They kept on coming back to the man and
asking the same questions over and over, hoping for a different answer. The missing section contains some of the snarkiest comebacks
in the entire Bible, and I’m even including Job’s “Won’t you ever take your eyes off of me, at least long enough for me
to swallow my spit?” (Hey, look, more
spit! Everybody knows that spitting is nasty. In almost every context, all over
the world, from the distant past to the present day, it’s an …
Revelation 3:7-13 7 ‘Here is the
message of HaKadosh, the True
One, the one who has the key of David,
who, if he opens something, no one else can shut it, and if he closes something,
no one else can open it. 8“I know what you are doing. Look, I have put in front of
you an open door, and no one can shut it.
of quote in bold: Isaiah 22:22 Complete
Jewish Bible (CJB) 22 I will place the key of David’s house on his shoulder; no one will shut
what he opens; no one will open what he shuts.)
There are only two places in the Bible in which the Key of
David is mentioned, and here they are. I did a small amount of research on the internet,
and found that there is no consensus on what the phrase “key of David” means. I did find a Messianic Jewish site (http://www.yeshivahanateev.org/) that
had some very interesting etymological insights. Their interpretation turns on
the meaning of the word ‘shoulder’. (“Shoulder” is ‘she-kem
in Hebrew: ‘the place of burdens like a yoke’.) They (I was unabl…
reading the book “Living Zen, Loving God” (by Ruben
Habito) I discovered a way for me to understand the words of the Eucharist—“This is my body” and “This is my blood”—in terms of the
interconnectedness of all things.
bread and wine are made of the same materials as we are; they are of the
substance of Creation.
only that, but we (human beings), in taking the materials of creation and
crushing them, mixing them, and transforming them through heat and
fermentation and time, to make wine from grapes and yeast; to make bread from
wheat and yeast: in this way we act in ‘the image of God’ by making something
come into being that did not exist before.
also considered why we make bread and
wine - not just to feed ourselves, but to give us delight.
understanding gave me a great sense of relief, because for a long time I had
been struggling with the imagery of “the body and blood,” and feeling a
suppressed horror at the cannibalistic connotations. This perception had been
in the air— A
slight scent like a cold hearth— Sinks
pools idly between
thewaiting stones; the stubborn stones, the constant stones that lie unburied on the steady
in my chest— A
faint weight like an old grief— Twists
slides quietly under
the fallen leaves; under the aspen leaves, the cherry leaves, the apple leaves that lie still over the red stones.
like my hand— A
warmth of outstretched fingers— Hovers and
waits steadily above the chill earth over
the place where no quick rustle is; over the lost leaves, the gold leaves, the heavy leaves that lie unmoved on the enduring
like my head— But
not under the weight of pain— Bows and
sees and smells and hears with
senses other than my own:
Beyond the empty air— Past the unburied patience of the
stones— Along the unseen path beneath the
to the cold and stubborn kindness of the turning Earth.
I am not reading the Lectionary today. I have done something momentous and irreversible— I started
feeding birds. I bought a feeder that attaches to the outside of the
picture window in my kitchen. I thought it would be amusing and delightful to
watch birds right there on the other side of my window. It took the birds two months to find the feeder but, once
they did, events spiraled out of all control. I have two kinds of birds at my feeder: House Finches and
House Sparrows. The sparrows live in a long-established colony in the ivy that
grows on my chimney. They are a constant presence all year round. I don’t know where the finches come from but they can’t
really compete with the sparrows, and so they tend to flit into range in stealth
mode, snatch a beakful of seed, and execute a strategic retreat. New Year’s Eve was very cold, and the birds’ behavior that
day showed me very clearly the final phase of a progression that I realized had
begun the very moment the birds first discovered the f…