God Ever with You

God Ever with You

Be still and know God
Dwelling deep down in your heart-
God ever with you.

Always sow good seed
The Gardener at your side-
God ever with you.

Above and below
Under, over and around-
God ever with you.

Creation reveals
God’s stardust still glowing-
God ever with you.

The faces of the poor
Disguising the face of God-
God ever with you.

Love, care and mercy
Forgiveness now overflowing-
God ever with you.

Steadfast and faithful
Loving kindness bestowing-
God ever with you.

© J. Patrick Mahon, 2014

Becoming More

Flaring forth

Flaring forth

Today’s readings from Romans and Matthew strike at the heart of Jesus’ message. Understood properly they hold the truth of Jesus’ teachings.

First we have Paul bewailing the fact that he does that which he would not do but blaming it on sin residing in his flesh. We have to divorce our thinking from Platonic dualism—flesh and spirit. Flesh does not equal the body. This is a statement about the human condition. It is about our survival instinct driven by the reptilian brain getting in the way of our becoming more. How difficult it is for us to transcend our survival instinct. Taking the Genesis story literally (always a bad practice), Augustine and others tagged the condition as original sin. The Genesis story is a symbolic description of the human condition. But there never was a fall from a human state of perfection. Evolutionary theory as envisioned by Teilhard Chardin sees the cosmos in a state of becoming more. Chardin calls our struggle for becoming more Christogenesis. Paul gets it right. He is powerless to transcend his instincts without the power of grace-filled love, which is Christ Jesus incarnate. The only way to transcend our survival instinct is through the love power Jesus sends us in his Holy Spirit.

The Risen Christ in Matthew 11 invites us who labor and are burned to come to him. His love makes the burden of our angst over becoming more bearable. As we struggle to become our face before we were born, we learn that love overcomes the survival instinct the Risen Christ. Our God is merciful and compassionate always with us in our human struggles whatever they may be. Our burden lightens and our angst is assuaged when we rest in the love of God. Our pilgrimage is toward the Omega Point—all things brought to perfection in Christ. On the lifelong journey, the Risen Christ calls to be more than what we are but is ever merciful when we fall short.

Psalm 138

Psalm 138

Crows praise God.

Crows praise God.

Again I praise God
God’s hesed and emun grace
And give me new life.

I want to sing praise
God’s loving deliverance
Has brought me back home.

Exiled, alienated
No more in foreign places
I dwell in God’s grace.

God resurrects me
And lifts me out of the depths
Bringing me new hope.

God loves the faithful
Who live in God’s Torah ways
Loving one and all.

God casts down sinners
Who refuse the call of grace
To become more.

In the death’s valley
I walk on, I am not afraid.
God walks with me.

Praise our faithful God
Who loves us into new life-
God’s love sustains us.

Hesed = loving kindness
Emun = faithfulness
The playlists use these two words to describe God throughout the psalter.

Psalm 63

[A word of explanation. I read a psalm daily, read the commentary on it in Brueggemann’s Psalms and then meditate on the psalm by writing my reflection on it in haiku. Father Richard Gwyn has written The Psalms in Haiku in which he translates each psalm verse by verse. This meditative practice keeps my monkey mind under control most of the time.]

Owl,OwletwPsalm 63

I thirst for God-life
Like someone desert stranded-
With unquenched thirst.

Just like David of old
Escaping the wrath of Saul
Seeking God-refuge.

I am full of thirst
Like a parched arid desert
Looking for water.

God satisfies my thirst
In creation’s vast temple
Nurtured by God’s dew.

I know when I call
That God is ever faithful
Giving life water.

God will rescue me
From lying deceitful lips
And enemy ploys.

I seek God’s solace
When scoundrels lie about me
God will be faithful.

When they attack me
I know that I can cry out
To a loving God.

God’s mercy and love
Will sustain me as I go
Through this dry desert.

Gather to praise
The God of life-giving love
Who quenches all thirst.

© J. Patrick Mahon, 2014

Psalm 51

Bird Family Meal

Bird Family Meal

Psalm 51

Broken before you
Now seeking divine mercy
Your steadfast love.

You know all my sins
I have often sinned against you
From my youth to now.

Wash me and cleanse me
Gift me with a renewed heart
Love abides iin me.

I shall have full life
Grace life is empowering
My renewed spirit.

Now will I praise you
At the communion table feast
Bread bestowing life.

I will shout out praise
Your divine mercy finds me
And loves me to life.

You alone are God
Dwelling incarnate within me
I am one with you.

Psalm 37

Look at the birds of the air . . .

Look at the birds of the air . . .

Psalm 37

Wicked and perverse
The One Percent will amass
Their greedy fortunes.

Be not envious
Put your trust in Gospel truth
God is now with you.

They shall blow away
Like dead grass chaff in the wind
Their days are numbered.

But you shall prosper
God’s promises are always true.
Everlasting life now.

Abide in silence
Listen with the ears of your heart
To the Christ within.

Yes, all will be well
Replace anger and envy
With trust in the Christ.

The wicked and greedy
Shall soon return to earth dust
Their greed availing not.

Place your trust in God
Always faithful ever just
Mercy on mercy.

Relax and enjoy
Christ lives in your very heart
Ever gracing you.

Psalm 147

Before looking at my reflection on Psalm 147, I want to make a few suggestions. I have a daily guide called Give Us this Day. Each day begins with morning prayer including a psalm. Once I know the Psalm for the day, I go to the Cambridge Commentary The Psalms by Walter Brueggemann for a detailed commentary on the psalm. I then read slowly the psalm in Richard Gwny’s The Psalms in Haiku which was recommended by a friend and which provides a complete “translation” of the psalm in haiku format. Finally, I attempt to do a haiku reflection on the psalm (not a line by line thing). This technique seems to keep my monkey-mind from racing all over the place—at least for now. Happy psalming!

Psalm 147

WSBC0552wHow good to praise God
Ever sing hallelujah
Praise God forever.

Praise God in your heart
Where God’s love-image rules all
Living love serving.

Praise God’s creation
Star filled heavens all aglow
Cosmic dust flaring forth.

Praise God’s surging seas
Leviathan and fish abound
Breaking waves crashing.

Our God’s steadfast love
Suffices to sustain all life
War horses will not.

God gifts us with peace
Slalom well-being blessing
Our every life breath.

Follow the Gospel law
God brings us into new life
Unlike the wicked.

Praise God in temple
In your hearts and all creation
Sing hallelujah.

Pentecost 2014

My beautiful pictureWhere do we find ourselves on this Pentecost day?  It is likely that many of us find ourselves locked into our inner rooms of fear, doubt and uncertainty like Jesus’ disciples. They were locked behind closed doors because of their fears. It is obvious that they feared the wrath of the Jewish leaders who plotted against Jesus. Elizabeth Johnson also points out that they had plenty of reason to be afraid of Jesus—Peter had denied him thrice and all but the Beloved Disciple had run away abandoning Jesus.

Pentecost is in part about letting go of our fears. If we are younger and locked into the struggles of the first half of life, we may fear for our jobs, our future, our IRAs and our families. Where are we? Where are we going? Is it going to work out the way we have planned it? If we are older, our fears may have shifted. Our friends have heart attacks or get cancer and die. The fear of death stars us in the face. We fear debilitating illness and the usual ravages of aging. We fear for our dwindling retirement funds. We fear for the well being of our spouses and our children. We all in one way or another fear dying to self. We lock the doors for security.

We may have locked and barred the door. We may have thrown away they key but fortunately, the locked doors of our hearts do not stop Jesus. He just comes on in. He keeps showing up just like he did in the Gospels after the crucifixion and resurrection. He does not berate us for the times we have abandoned him. Rather he speaks a blessing of shalom peace—total well being grounded in the infinite mercy of grace. He challenges us to lay aside all our fears and to go forth from our locked rooms to proclaim this very peace and his forgiveness. He invites us to die to our fears so we can rise to new life in Him.

Jesus breathes on us just as God breathed on creation flaring forth. He breathes the Spirit of new, resurrected life and hope. How many times he has told us to “Be not afraid.” Now we know that our fears have no foundation. Jesus invites us to enter the Spirit adventure of the second half of our lives. The breath of the Spirit of the Risen Christ empowers us to unlock the doors and live in trust and hope. He calls us to venture boldly among the leaders who would silence us and to live and proclaim Gospel values—peace, love, joy, hope, forgiveness. The Gospel message we first live, hopefully without words, may sound like babble to the world around us but babble of God’s goodness we will.

We now know that only by letting go and letting God will we become all that we are meant to be—sons and daughters created in the very image and likeness of the merciful and loving Creator God.

Come, Holy Spirit!