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

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

“i want a double portion…”

for all the broken years

raw air searing the surface

your shining face coming up for air

all i can remember is

your joy

raging raucous jubilence

indomitable, relentless spirit

bounding out of bed

before dawn

to charge the day

a virtual resonance

singing LIVE LIVE LIVE

precious friend

all those broken years

have given way

seamless life

unfrayed

untorn

resilient

radiance

of untarnished life

all that you have raged for

emerges like a fresh faced child

leaving in your wake

a beautifully etched path

not crumbs

indelible highway

leading out of dark

you with your offering

running to forgive

convinced ever of goodness

calling out

just like Elisha*

refusing to be left alone

without a blessing

calling out

with your

unquenchable voice

“i want a double portion of goodness.

i know there must be some goodness.

give me a double portion of this goodness.”

dear friend

years give way

your face shines

resplendent fiery spirit

light spilling everywhere

singing

i see

i see

o dear sweet, sweet loving Father, Mother God

i see!

* II Kings 2

~~~~~

“What if the old dragon should send forth a new flood to drown the Christ-idea? He can neither drown your voice with its roar, nor again sink the world into the deep waters of chaos and old night. In this age the earth will help the woman; the spiritual idea will be understood.” Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy

“A great sanity, a mighty something buried in the depths of the unseen, has wrought a resurrection among you, and has leaped into living love. What is this something, this phoenix fire, this pillar by day, kindling, guiding, and guarding your way? It is unity, the bond of perfectness, the thousandfold expansion that will engirdle the world, — unity, which unfolds the thought most within us into the greater and better, the sum of all reality and good.” Mary Baker Eddy

give yourself to love…

A friend sent me this beautiful letter recently:

“I was swimming this afternoon—weeping and swimming, which is something I haven’t done for a while, and trying to get myself together.  I was struggling with my fears and my anger and my profound sadness, and then I started to focus just on the swimming.  The slow, steady passage through the water–as if I was shedding an outer skin as I dove down into the water with each new breath.  And then I had this feeling: “this is unconditional love” and I felt a completely impersonal calm.  I had a similar feeling last night as if the pain was slipping further away and an impersonal calm held me in the balance.”

I’ve been thinking so much about friends, family—people all over the world experiencing profound change, sometimes severe challenges, and hard won renewal that comes with seeking and yielding to deeper answers.

today i came across this passage from Psalms…it’s one i’ve read too many times to count. but today it spoke differently to me.

why art thou cast down o my soul?

and why art thou disquieted within me?

hope thou in God for i shall yet praise Him

who is the health of my countenance and my God.

too often i’ve gotten caught on the “cast down” and “disquieted” parts…as in yeah…so cast down…feeling so disquieted…ok…now hope in God…and the journey to do so can feel like a slow slippery slope out of the swamp and up a muddy bank.

but today i read it so differently. the words nearly jumped off the page at me. “WHY are you cast down? WHY disquieted? almost as if to say, how you can be? you know where your hope lies! you shall, will, cannot be deprived of praising the infinite goodness of God, the source and presence of all life and peace and health and joy right here.”

it made me think of Kate Wolf’s song “you must give yourself to love…”

and made me ask…what am I giving my thoughts, my moments to?

for me disquiet is really about mental neutrality–an absence of real thinking, conscious clarity, a lulling, a passive acceptance of whatever thought comes my way…a state of mind that invites disturbance, darkness, confusion. it marks a need for awakening, regrouping, as if to say, “okay so where am i at? and what’s really true here? am i just going along with the flow of whatever junk comes my way?”

this morning i opened the Bible to Ezekiel 13:22: “with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad…”

lies…that would blind us to the good at hand…get us to turn on ourselves…doubt the convictions we hold in our hearts…distrust the power, presence and impulse to act on what we know is true.

the next time you’re tempted to feel sad…or even if you feel like you’re already drowning in a sea of sadness…

take a look at where your thought, heart, soul is anchored…is it awash at sea? gather it…gather yourself…gather your goodness…your pure heart…your love for all that is right…rally there…bit by bit you’ll find your footing…bedrock in the midst of stormy seas…you’ll find yourself rising…walking over the waves of doubt and darkness, gathering strength as you go.

give yourself to love…

come on…

give yourself…

to love…

it will not render you vulnerable

it will steady your heart

strengthen your knees

help you remember your wings

and how they know how

to read the wind

and with the Psalmist from long ago

begin to feel that song of

exalting praise…

the light that faces down the dark

singing:

i do hope

in God

the health

of my countenance

is here.

“To-day [may your] soul only sing and soar. [May] an [ever] increasing sense of God’s love, omnipresence, and omnipotence enfold [you.]” Mary Baker Eddy

calling forth infinite care…

i received a mother’s day card the other day, and was surprised by how moved i was. it’s a gorgeous card that talks about a mother growing her garden with love and kindness, wearing beauty in her smile, carrying hope in every pocket, even as she teaches us to walk gently upon the earth, patiently planting seeds of love wherever she goes.

my path hasn’t included the literal versions of motherhood, and while it’s felt very right to me, there are times when i have been tempted to feel wistful. but even in those moments, there is a greater awareness of the vastness of what it means to mother and be mothered, and how each one of us has the opportunity and privilege to nurture, advocate, defend, watch over, love, appreciate, celebrate, cherish, embrace, give witness to the people in our lives, and even more broadly to do this with a great, loving, forbearing, and fierce heart for the world.

i have a good friend who has taught me a great deal about this kind of love, love that stands relentless and constant, even in the face of rejection; love that claims its own even while it sets them free; love that holds a light to shine out darkness; love that knows way past knowing that who we are will always be something profound, precious, unique, necessary.

i think about the song by John Legend, “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child…a long way from home” and the primal yearning to feel mothered, cherished, held as the apple of someone’s eye, safe, secure, adored, delighted in, loved. there’s something about this longing that transcends human experience…something that can only be described as a hunger for heaven, for a confirmation of inherent relevance, belonging, an assured connection with all that matters, a deep and certain sense that no matter what our lives have been like, we are holy, sure, undamaged, complete. Mary Baker Eddy puts it this way: “The sharp experiences of belief in the supposititious life of matter, as well as our disappointments and ceaseless woes, turn us like tired children to the arms of divine Love.” She also talks about  the demand for spiritual, practical, Christian healing as “the babe that twines its loving arms about the
neck of omnipotence, and calls forth infinite care from His loving heart.”

i love this image..even the present possibility that each one of us can reach out, respond, wrap our arms around the imminent presence of an all-encompassing Mother Love; that even as we do, we call forth infinite care from a boundless loving heart–that knows us, calls us, and in turn shows us the unspeakable worth and significance of our lives. this turning, this hungering prompts awakening that dispels longing, a self-contained certainty of the sacredness of life, a love borne of the infinite, that cannot be contained, but shines its impartial, borderless presence everywhere.

Jesus gave us extraordinary glimpses of the power of the divine mother Love–the only real and revolutionary power–so simple and fundamental, earthshaking, transforming, inherent, at hand. and yet we chafe at its demands, feel unequal to its possibilities, even while Love compels our longing for it…prompting, insisting, demanding that we discover the true homeland that lies within us, the spiritual oasis of peace and freedom that pours forth unquenchable abundance. the longing is not a message of absence. it is simply a waymark pointing us toward home; tracing the design of Love’s hand within us–the surety that we are all made for glory, all of us awash in Love’s omnipresent light.

Mary Baker Eddy’s poem “Mother’s evening prayer” covers it all.

O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling’s faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight.

Love is our refuge; only with mine eye
Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall:
His habitation high is here, and nigh,
His arm encircles me, and mine, and all.

O make me glad for every scalding tear,
For hope deferred, ingratitude, disdain!
Wait, and love more for every hate, and fear
No ill, — since God is good, and loss is gain.

Beneath the shadow of His mighty wing;
In that sweet secret of the narrow way,
Seeking and finding, with the angels sing:
“Lo, I am with you alway,” — watch and pray.

No snare, no fowler, pestilence or pain;
No night drops down upon the troubled breast,
When heaven’s aftersmile earth’s tear-drops gain,
And mother finds her home and heav’nly rest.