we are dust.
But do you not know
have you not seen
what the Holy One
can do with dust?
All of creation
every blessed creature,
every amazing facet,
every wonderful human being
you and me and all of us,
made from dust by God.
Made from dust and beloved of God.
So Dusty, if I may call us each that.
go and live.
Go and love kindness.
Go and do justice.
Go and walk this Lenten journey humbly with God.
Know, Dusty, that
the love of God
the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the peace and fellowship of the Holy Spirit
are with us now and forever.
17 February 2021
inspired by a blessing from Jan Richardson
Tag Archives: grace
God of justice,
God of love,
God of grace,
we thank you for the life of
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
We remember her service to our country,
her compassionate, caring heart,
her fierce devotion to fairness,
her persistence in pushing for equity,
her brilliant dissents,
her commitment to pursuing justice for
women, the LGBTQ community, and people pushed to the margins.
We marvel at the incredible courage and grace
she publicly displayed in the face of illness.
We are grateful that she
“used whatever talent she had
to do her work to the very best of her ability”
and that she helped
“to repair tears in her society,
to make things a little bettert
hrough the use of whatever ability she has.”
We give thanks for the life of
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
May her memory be a blessing.
Note: the words in quotations are quotes from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
God of all people,
none of us know fully
the challenges that another person faces
the burdens that another person carries
the troubles that weigh upon another person.
As we encounter one another,
inspire us to refrain from quick judgement and easy criticism,
to treat each person gently with grace and kindness and love,
and to seek to understand.
We pray in Jesus’ name.
We thank you God for your love,
your love that accompanies us even in hard times.
We thank you for those moments of grace
when we experienced the sharing of your good gifts,
and for those moments of grace
when we shared what you had given to us.
In the living of these days,
grant us the wisdom to seek help
when we stand in any form of need;
inspire us to act in love when
you have given us something to share when
our family, our friends, our neighbors stand in need.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
God of the ages,
grant us patience, courage, and grace;
grant us faith, hope, and love;
grant us all we need
for the living of our days
in the age of Covid-19.
I finished Arthur Ashe by Raymond Arsenault tonight. Here are several six word stories about Arthur Ashe. I will keep trying.
Days of glory,
days of grace.
Calm in storm,
gone too soon.
justice for injustice.
On the fourth anniversary of the horrific, terrorist attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston by an avowed white supremacist, I had the opportunity to view a new documentary Emanuel.
The event shattered lives and rocked Charleston and the nation. Emanuel powerfully weaves the history of race relations in Charleston, the significance and impact of Mother Emanuel Church, and the hope that somehow emerges in the aftermath.
Featuring intimate interviews with survivors and family members, Emanuel tells a poignant story of justice and faith, love and hate, and examines the healing power of forgiveness.
Emanuel is playing in theaters across the country for two nights – June 17 (tonight) and June 19 (Wednesday). See if it is playing near you and check it out.
After the prayers had been said
and the motions had been made;
after the rulings had been dispensed
and the speeches had been delivered;
after the instructions had been given
and the buttons had been pushed;
after the votes had been tallied
and the results announced;
after the passion
and the decent order;
after . . .
. . . the assembly sat in quiet contemplation,
pondering who had won
and who had lost,
considering what was gained
and what the cost.
My heart sundered the silence,
breaking, softly breaking,
for those, who by official action,
had been denied their full humanity,
and, whose gifts, but that same official action,
had been rejected.
A tear slid down my check,
coming to rest in tangled whiskers.
A single tear
shed for those beloved of God
who the vote would exclude
and for those
who out of fear
or lack of love
or for whatever reason
sought to shut doors –
and build walls –
and keep out –
and settle once and for all;
and in so doing
lost an opportunity
to join in
This was written after the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s 208th General Assembly (1996). That assembly met in Albuquerque, New Mexico and took action to recommend a change the church’s constitution that would ban LGBTQ individuals from serving in ordained offices. I attended that assembly as an observer. As the United Methodist Church meets to wrestle with similar questions, I remembered this piece and choose to share it.
If remembered, relived violation
battered and bruised you this day;
and barely restrained belligerence
pierced your heart,
assailed your soul,
distressed your mind,
sapped your strength;
as day ends,
you are stronger than you imagine,
you are believed,
you are beloved.
Manhattan, New York
It was the longest siege of a capital city in modern history, and produced the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II.
– Sylvia Poggioli
And everyday he made me wonder
Where did he ever find
The music midst the madness
The courage to be kind
The long forgotten beauty
We thought was blown away
– John McCutcheon
In the Streets of Sarajevo
April 5, 1992 saw the first casualties in what became a 1,425 day siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War.
More than 10,000 residents died because of shelling, bombing, the blockade, sniper fire, and other aspects of the siege.
In the midst of the siege, “the madness” to use John McCutcheon’s word, Vedran Smailović, of the Sarajevo Philarmonic Orchestra, played his cello in publuc. He played in ruined buildings, often performing Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor. He played at funerals during the siege, even though snipers often targeted by snipers.
After mortar fire killed 22 people as the stood in a bread line, Smailović played for 22 straight days in their honor. This part of Smailović’s story has made its way into writings and song. In an article in The Australian, Smailović expands on his experience:
I didn’t play for 22 days, I played all my life in Sarajevo and for the two years of the siege each and every day. They keep saying I played at four in the afternoon, but the explosion was at 10 in the morning and I am not stupid, I wasn’t looking to get shot by snipers so I varied my routine. I never stopped playing music throughout the siege.
Twenty-two days, two years, all his life. The time frame is unimportant. What matters is that Smailović found music and courage and grace and love to make a witness in the face of war and horror.
I give thanks for the Cellist of Sarajevo, and I look for others who, to paraphrase McCutcheon, “do not stand aside … refuse to be defeated … and rage against the tide.”
See you along the Trail.
P.S. After leaving Sarajevo, Vedran Smailović collaborated with Irish singer-songwriter and peace activist Tommy Sands to create an album Sarajevo/Belfast.
P.P.S. I use the image of the CD cover because it is a photo I took of a copy of the CD I own.