Ex nihilo

Psalm 18:16-19 But me he caught—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved—surprised to be loved! In Addiction & Grace, Gerald May writes about how we often substitute one addiction for another. We are compelled to fill our life’s emptiness: the void. When people are delivered from addiction, he writes, it’s because grace enables them to tolerate spaciousness, at least to some degree. Grace transforms the void in which we were dying, and we find ourselves in a wide-open field. A void and a wide-open field are both spacious, but in a very different sense. The void that meant loneliness is transformed into space that means freedom. […]

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3. Uniquely

Psalm 63:7 I sing in the shadow of your wings. Sometimes it’s done in a shadow, in obscurity. Not standing on a box in the middle of downtown. Heh – I love that.

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2. Sustenance

Psalm 63:2 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Where? Where do you see God? Where are you when you get those fleeting glimpses of the real thing? Outdoors? Tucking a child into bed? Whispering a prayer of gratitude? Reading a great book? Petting a dog? Singing in church? Find those symbols and observances and savor them. Call them what they are. We need all the refilling we can get. Last weekend, probably very early in the morning on Holy Saturday, a doe gave birth to twin fawns outside our livingroom window. Here she is with one of them.

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1. Craving

Psalm 63:1 O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. When I look down into myself, I see that the bottom of the well is continuously in need of refilling. I’m tired, thirsty, empty—and I need contact with the real thing. The routines of religion buy me nothing if they don’t connect me with the source of relief. God does not need me to do religious things; the need actually goes the other way. I need contact with the living, refilling God (source of all life) or my soul will dry up and die. Religious observances exist to help me get that contact. As soon as the symbols and practices of faith leave us empty, we have to extend them, reinterpret them, deepen them, even replace them. […]

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Lent and repentance

Psalm 51:6 Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart. In The People’s Companion to the Breviary, Psalm 51 comes up not only on days like Ash Wednesday, but every Friday morning, rain or shine. The Carmelites of Indianapolis, who created the People’s Companion, phrase verse 6 like this: “For you desire truth in my innermost being; teach me wisdom in the depths of my heart.” I have prayed this prayer many, many times. As I figure it, because God desires truth in my innermost being, God is willing to teach me wisdom. This is a prayer I would expect God to answer. Am I any closer to an answer? I don’t know, but I do continue to see my need to make the request. To see and act on deep truths that are revealed by growing self-awareness and awakeness—this […]

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