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 belong

i was sitting in church the other night

it was time for silent prayer

and then time to pray the Lord’s prayer

i found myself listening the prayer

feeling the prayer

instead of speaking the prayer so quietly out loud

Our Father…

our

Father

everyone’s Father

all of us here

which art in heaven

we are in heaven

hallowed be Thy name

hallowed by Thy name

cherished, hallowed, holy, adored

suddenly

a phrase began to insert itself

“you belong”

it was quiet but insistent

“you belong”

“you all belong”

“you belong”

and i was whisked back to dinner

when my dear dear friend

said to me

“sometimes i don’t know where i belong

where do i belong?”

and the prayer just kept going

as if it was a prayer for her

“you belong

you belong

in heaven

but not out there

in heaven

held here

this kingdom come

Thy kingdom come

your kingdom come

within

without

placed

held

with your own

so goodness you

ours

belonging

reverenced

cherished

adored

amen

amen

amen

amen”

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pilgrim on earth, home and heaven are within thee,
Heir of the ages and child of the day.
Cared for, watched over, beloved and protected,
Walk thou with courage each step of the way. (Christian Science Hymnal P.M.)

Pilgrim on earth, thy home is heaven; stranger, thou art the guest of God. Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy

“eternity is not later, or in any unfindable place”

the other day i got news that a friend’s daughter had passed on. so i sent a note, and this was part of the letter that came in return:

“The ospreys are crying plaintively. They seem to understand.”

everything in me had to rise up to hold back the sea of sorrow. then i came across this poem by Mary Oliver:

Count the Roses

Count the roses, red and fluttering.
Count the roses, wrinkled and salt.
Each with its yellow lint at the center.
Each with its honey pooled and ready.
Do you have a question that can’t be answered?
Do the stars frighten you by their heaviness
and their endless number?
Does it bother you, that mercy is so difficult to
understand?
For some souls it’s easy; they lie down on the sand
and are soon asleep.
For others, the mind shivers in its glacial palace,
and won’t come.
Yes, the mind takes a long time, is otherwise occupied
than by happiness, and deep breathing.
Now, in the distance, some bird is singing.
And now I have gathered six or seven deep red,
half-opened cups of petals between my hands,
and now I have put my face against them
and now I am moving my face back and forth, slowly,
against them.
The body is not much more than two feet and a tongue.
Come to me, says the blue sky, and say the word.
And finally even the mind comes running, like a wild thing,
and lies down in the sand.
Eternity is not later, or in any unfindable place.
Roses, roses, roses, roses.

there is nothing like poetry 

just nothing like it

when it comes to carving out the spaces of our hearts

to find a place to breathe

to hear

to know past knowing

to grasp the things

so far beyond

our grasp

and then there they are

hovering ever so softly

in the midst

opening inner eyes

to glean

to glimpse

life

timeless

never not present

none of us

missing

diminished

cut short

but shining out

in sharp relief

our reference

our Source

compelling

life

on eternity’s

terms

“not later

or in any unfindable place”

but dawning up

from the very midst

breaking through the winters

of grief

to see our lives

whole

and holy

in ever tender

illuming

glances

ushering

ushering

ushering

each other on

the air

resonating

its all presence

all accounted for

all conscious

of being

forever

loved.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Why seek ye the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen.” Luke 24

“O come and find, the Spirit saith,
The Truth that maketh all men free.
The world is sad with dreams of death.
Lo, I am Life, come unto Me.” Elizabeth Adams

“May the great Shepherd that “tempers the wind to the shorn lamb,”
and binds up the wounds of bleeding hearts, just comfort,
encourage, and bless all who mourn.” 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

“so live…”

how do we give our thanks

for all that is unspeakable

given without strings

or measure

Love that can’t be clocked

or logged

or counted

or contained

but flows

on

around

through

to.

exhaustless

unrelenting

offerings of grace

nudging tenderness

hovering

glancing

showering

blessing

asking nothing

grateful in its giving

paeans of praise

singing:

you are

you are

you are

so worthy.

worthy

of this grace

Love’s loving All

here sated

here secure

here able

loved

Love’s constant offering.

~~~~~~~

“Here, O my Lord, I’d see Thee face to face;
Here would I touch and handle things unseen;
Here grasp with firmer hand th’ eternal grace,
And all my weariness upon Thee lean.” Horatius Bonar

“It has long been a question of earnest import, How shall mankind worship the most adorable, but most unadored, — and where shall begin that praise that shall never end? Beneath, above, beyond, methinks I hear the soft, sweet sigh of angels answering, “So live, that your lives attest your sincerity and resound His praise.” Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings

“And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.”  John 11

songs of stillness

carving out this moment

to the core of a hush

an anchored pause

a landed rest

even where worlds rush, converge

a breath

a light

a peace

opens

where

we are

already

a harvest

dawns

hearts, fields resounding

songs of stillness

~~~~~~

Still, still with Thee when purple morning breaketh,

When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee,
Fairer than morning, lovelier than the daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee.

Alone with Thee, amid the changing shadows,
Solemn the hush of nature, newly born;
Alone with Thee, in breathless adoration,
In the calm dew and freshness of the morn.

So shall it ever be in the bright morning,
When hearts awaking see the shadows flee,
O, in that hour, and fairer than the dawning,
Rises the glorious thought, I am with Thee.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Be still and know that I am God” …and… “when I awake, I am still with thee.” Psalms 46 and 139

“The best spiritual type of Christly method for uplifting human thought and imparting divine Truth, is stationary power, stillness, and strength; and when this spiritual ideal is made our own, it becomes the model for human action.” Mary Baker Eddy

“how to be alone…”

i loved this video by filmaker, Andrea Dorfman, and poet/singer/songwriter, Tanya Davis called: how to be alone. (click highlighted link to see video.)

there’s such a gentle grace and joy about it: the naturalness of embracing our lives, feeling at home wherever we are, the essence of peace, prayer and praise altogether. Here are some excerpts from the poem:

“If you are at first lonely, be patient.

If you’ve not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren’t okay with it, then just wait. You’ll find it’s fine to be alone once you’re embracing it.

Society is afraid of alone though. Like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements. Like people must have problems if after awhile nobody is dating them.

But lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless, and lonely is healing if you make it.

Take silence and respect it.

You could be in an instant surrounded if you need it.”

o…to cultivate the rich spaces of aloneness

the sweeping music of silence

voids giving way to a rush of peace

this passage from Mary Baker Eddy’s writings speaks to it: “My sense of nature’s rich glooms is, that loneness lacks but one charm to make it half divine — a friend, with whom to whisper, “Solitude is sweet.”

with open face…

with open face

open face

open

open

heart

face

hand

wide open

“Here, O my Lord, I’d see Thee face to face;
Here would I touch and handle things unseen;
Here grasp with firmer hand th’ eternal grace,
And all my weariness upon Thee lean.” Horatius Bonar

“We all with open face…beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord.” II Corinthians 3:18

uncluttered, unfettered, unshuttered

offering of light

no hidden darkness

or shame

no enclave of regret

just light

unabashed innocence

unsurprised delight