still small voice

I.
can you

see the face of the sky?

read the signs of the times? *1

gauge the tenor of thought?

discern the state of things within?

is there a storm brewing?
floods of fear
waves of rage
hateful righteousness
reaching a boiling point?

we are being called

not to be barometer
for world currents:
suggestion, projection,
manipulation

but to sift real
from unreal
to heed the
still small voice within **2

Elijah heard it
on the mountain
as he faced
wind
earthquake
fire

and right there—
he heard
the still small voice
of God

stilling the storm
lighting the dark—
peace breaking through

suddenly the world
is seen
as God sees:
safe, intact, assured.

II.
today,
instead of railing,
wondering,
blaming,
being transfixed
by portent of the times

we could,
like Elijah,
make our way higher,
find the center of our hearts—
not turn away,
but turn towards
the face of God

and there in some hush
an assurance—
insistent stillness—
hear, see, feel God, good
embracing the universe
in impartial, impervious
tenderness

here is where we see the face of the sky
discern the real signs of the times
storms find their stillness
fires burn but do not consume
the earth moves in wonder
all things are safe, intact, assured
everything about us
sings for joy.

—Joni Overton-Jung
*1 Matthew 16:3
**2 I Kings 19:12
Published in the Christian Science Sentinel

choosing the good part

are you careful
and troubled
about many things?

one thing
one thing alone
is needful

seek God first*
this can’t be taken from you

let your ministrations
be by angels

tending to your hands
your heart
your every thought

every task
a benediction
every action
reflecting Love

—Joni Overton-Jung

*See Matthew 6:33

published in the Christian Science Sentinel

walk with me

and from the mountain top
Jesus saw them,
his disciples—

toiling in rowing,
the ship
in the midst of the sea

and as they struggled,
braced against the wind,
oars pressed to unfriendly waters

he walked to them

over wave
through gale

unhurried
unharried

“be of good cheer”
he said,
“be not afraid,
it’s me.”*

up into the ship he went
(no laboured hoisting,
no desperate rescue)
and the wind ceased

the peace, a resounding hush

see the wake he leaves
message etched on now still waters:

walk over, not into or with*
buffetings, bluster, rage, fear
walk over, not into or with
torrents, tempest, rancour, despair

walk with me,
Christ:
inner voice of calm
truth teller
divine oasis
your shelter from all storms

joni overton-jung

*Mark 6
*Mary Baker Eddy

you know who you are

just be still now

i will lead you out

of this abyss

“all the wicked endeavours
of suppositional demons”*

can never change

the clean that you are

the pulsing precious

irrepressible purity of you

the darkness cannot find you

pristine witness

clothed with the sun**

warrior of undaunted light

the world moves

but it cannot

move you

joni overton-jung

*Mary Baker Eddy
**Revelations 12

say not

say not i am a child*
perched on precipice
raw, bare, unfinished
caught between wondering
spotted open mouthed
clinging to the air

say rather

i am a child
child of wonder
child of light
no unfinished urgency
no reckoning to reclaim

just
magnitude
of heaven’s hands
etched, sung
in specific song

joni overton-jung

*Jeremiah 1

you, sweet witness

what a thing it is
to discover
that you were never ever
in a day
responsible for
the revolutions
or distributions
of the world

(you,
sweet witness)

step aside

behold

the
steady
hands
at the helm

divine Love
“kindling the stars,
rolling the worlds”*

the whole world
(and you)
minutiae to magnitude
in Love’s everlasting
loving arms

joni overton-jung

*Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy

“go easy…be filled with light…and shine”

I love this poem by Mary Oliver. She has such a way of condensing light, as if the writing itself is a baptism, where poet and reader emerge swept clean.

“When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

Last week I looked out my window after a wind storm, and my two gorgeous, lyrical willow shrub trees were flat on the ground. I ran out there to find that they had not broken, but were bent at the bottom where the stakes ended. They were literally flat on the ground but not broken, split, or strained. I propped them up, got new stakes, secured them upright. There were no complaints. They moved willingly. They offer their blossoms with joy.

At the church service mentioned in my last post, a baby named Aislyn was being baptized. She was such a peaceful baby, and you could feel the community’s love surrounding her. The pledge to support her journey through life, brought to mind Jesus’ conversation with  Nicodemus, where he tells him that we must be born again: “Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom.” John 3, The Message

I was moved by the love, commitment and vision for this child: baptizing, washing her in the light of Christly love; grounding her on the rock of faith. It’s something to see an entire church community stand up and together pledge  to watch over, guide,  and love this baby throughout her life.

It was a joy to share in this child’s baptism; it was a reminder of what a difference it can make to nurture, love, and stand up for the good in others. To see the community around us in God’s light, and to love it.

I’ve always loved how the teachings of Christian Science define baptism as a “Purification by Spirit; submergence in Spirit.” (Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy) It’s given me a sense of the  nearness of God, the ever-present availability of redemption, and the nurturing presence of Spirit to cleanse, purify, refresh, and restore my every moment.

Coupled with Ainslie’s baptism, I have a deepened sense of how much we are all continually immersed, cherished, watched over and held in the infinite love of God. Our awareness of this brings peace both for ourselves and the people we meet everywhere. Oliver puts it so perfectly:

“Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

“For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12

through God’s lens…

Today I went to hear my friend Stephen Vail preach at St. John’s Anglican church in Port Hope. He starts out casual, simple, direct, often funny, a matter of fact kind of humility, never judgmental, immersing you in a keen assessment of  day to day life. And then when you least expect it, just easily going along with the story he’s telling–weaving in and out of Scripture and how it so tangibly relates to our lives today–he cuts right to the heart of it, takes you to the place you weren’t expecting, but knew you needed to be.

Today it was a discussion of John the Baptist…and how the lives in so many of the stories in the Bible on the surface appear to be failures–if measured by a worldly standard of success–even while they continue to change the world from the inside out. And how those stories beckon us to look at our lives from different vantage points, to see more deeply, to look at ourselves and the world through the lens of God.

The sermon was short, but the message rang in the air, and held there with both its promise and challenge: if we were to examine our lives through God first…to see ourselves through God’s eyes, in the light of divine Love, how would our lives change…how would our world change…how we would all change the world.

It makes me think of these two Bible verses:

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Cor. 13: 12

“I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.”  Genesis 33:10

O to see ourselves and each other in this way. To glimpse the light, grace, tender, unceasing look of divine Love, to feel its safe assurance, presence, and warmth, to feel completely at home and secure, and in turn to shine this light on everyone around us.

Mary Baker Eddy’s words give profound insight to the possibility of this kind of spiritual discernment:

“Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy.” from Science and Health with Key to the Scripture