The Least, First

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Archive for the ‘Hope’ Category

How Jesus Feels About Failures (sermon of April 22, 07)

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GasselThird Sunday of Easter: April 22, 2007
John 21:1-19; Acts 9:1-6; Revelation 5:11-14; Psalm 30

We sang: Come, Now Is the Time and Every Move I Make
And the band members read John 21.1-14:

1-3After this, Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time at the Tiberias Sea (the Sea of Galilee). This is how he did it: Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed “Twin”), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the brothers Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter announced, “I’m going fishing.”
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Robinson Jeffers, burnout and beauty

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My friend Honestpoet Robinson Jeffersencouraged me to look into the poetry of Robinson Jeffers. I looked for him in Wikipedia, and found some pretty compelling comments:

…Jeffers continued to explore the questions of how human beings could find their proper relationship (free of human egocentrism) with the divinity of the beauty of things.

Mankind was too self-centered, he complained, and too indifferent to the “astonishing beauty of things”.

In January of 2002 I had what we used to call a “nervous breakdown.” Utterly disabled, off work for months, I could feel almost nothing but loss.

Beauty was the path that opened the possibility of healing. It started with a counselor’s suggestion that I learn about delight (which, in those parched beginnings, meant a cup of coffee and a newspaper at the health-food co-op).  Eventually, I came to agree with Joan Chittister, who wrote, “A loss of commitment to beauty is the surest sign that we have lost our way to God.” (Illuminated Life: Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of God).

Much has happened since then. But as I read this poem of Jeffers this morning, I felt called again to the life of healing-by-beauty, thus permitting (what seems to me to be) one gentle, feather’s-weight sensitization to its inventor’s whispers.

Thanks, HP – you have helped me.

Love The Wild Swan
“I hate my verses, every line, every word.
Oh pale and brittle pencils ever to try
One grass-blade’s curve, or the throat of one bird
That clings to twig, ruffled against white sky.
Oh cracked and twilight mirrors ever to catch
One color, one glinting
Hash, of the splendor of things.
Unlucky hunter, Oh bullets of wax,
The lion beauty, the wild-swan wings, the storm of the wings.”
–This wild swan of a world is no hunter’s game.
Better bullets than yours would miss the white breast
Better mirrors than yours would crack in the flame.
Does it matter whether you hate your . . . self?
At least Love your eyes that can see, your mind that can
Hear the music, the thunder of the wings. Love the wild swan.
Robinson Jeffers

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Written by Monte

April 18, 2007 at 12:16 pm

We believe in the resurrection. . .don’t we? Easter sermon 2007

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Mary Magdalene at the tombResurrection of the Lord (Easter Day), April 8, 2007
Luke 24:1-12; Acts 10:34-43; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26; Psalm 118:1-2,14-24
[See also I’m not about to let his grace go to waste, the Easter sermon of 2006.]

Christ the Lord is Risen Today
Alleluia, Alleluia
Because He Lives (chorus only)
He Is Lord
Elisabeth Tinnes sings
Luke 24:1-12 [read it from pew Bible]
Daniel Clendennin at The Journey With Jesus:

In her book Practicing Resurrection, [Nora] Gallagher recalls a conversation with [her friend] Harriet who told her about sitting in church at the National Cathedral in Washington. During the course of a boring sermon the priest asked the congregation in unctuous tones, “Now what do you really want for Christmas this year?” “I nearly rose from my pew,” she told Nora. “I was gathering myself up until I looked over at my sister who was giving me That Look, and I sat back down, but what I wanted to do was stand up and call out, ‘I would really like to believe in the resurrection.’

We believe in the resurrection. Don’t we? We want to. But faith is not faith without doubt, and sometimes I worry: Monte, do you really believe this? How come it seems so far away to you sometimes? Read the rest of this entry »

An Easter prayer

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Received this hopeful prayer from the folks at Emergent Village this morning. May you find encouragement in the life you live this Easter season.

Thank you for the enlightenment that you who read and write here—who speak honorably from so many views on faith—have been to me. I have learned much from you. I treasure your friendship.
Emergent logo

With prayers for grace and peace
from the Emergent Village

O God, of unchangeable power and eternal light: look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things are made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Written by Monte

April 6, 2007 at 10:40 am

Books more powerful than bombs

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Disoriented, lost, and ill, Greg Mortenson stumbled off the glaciers surrounding K2 – after a failed attempt on the summit – into the isolated Pakistani village of Korphe. Little did he know he was about to be flung into a drama that would shape his life. And little did he know that he would be a big part of bringing hope to thousands.


He describes it in the book reviewed below. It left me with an awareness that we are not helpless: we can do more than we think we can.

Hope you’ll read the book. And I hope I’ll not forget.

TIME MAGAZINE – Asia Edition; Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006; Best Asian Books of 2006

more on Three Cups of Tea

…Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations … One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Lost and delirious after a failed 1993 attempt on the world’s second tallest peak, K2, the American mountaineer Greg Mortenson was rescued by residents of Korphe, a remote village high in the Pakistani Himalayas. Grateful for their assistance, Mortenson vowed to build the villagers a school. He returned home to San Francisco, sold everything he owned (including his precious climbing gear), and then embarked on the most arduous quest of his career. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

January 31, 2007 at 11:15 am