GIVE IT TO THE KING

November 10, 2015

Every faith tradition has a teaching about how gratitude balances out greed. One of my favorites can be found in Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche’s book The Way of the Buddha. In it he writes, “At the time of Buddha Sakyamuni, a monk found himself in possession of a marvelous jewel that granted any wish — all the gold, silver, and precious stones you could ask for. The lucky owner thought: ‘I am a monk and have no need of all these riches. Better to give this jewel to a poor person. But there are so many of them, why favor one over another? Buddha is omniscient. He will tell me whom to give it to.’ So, going to Buddha, he explained his difficulty and asked him to designate a fitting recipient. Buddha Sakyamuni recommended that he give it to the king of that area, a very wealthy and powerful monarch. The monk made the offering, and the king accepted it, inquiring about the reason for the gift. The monk explained, ‘I thought I should give this gem to a poor person, but not knowing whom to choose, I asked Buddha Sakyamuni. He advised me to bring it to you.’ ”

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GRATITUDE IS __________

November 2, 2015

On November 1st, our Love and inspiration gathering had a powerful discussion about gratitude. We talked about how gratitude, when practiced, has the potential to be the tapestry of our lives. Everything we give thanks for leads to something else. For example, we talked about giving thanks for indoor plumbing, which led to us giving thanks for our showers, our toilets, our dishwashers, all the appliances that use water. This led to us giving thanks for those that have given to ensure water flows into our homes, which led to a discussion of how often we take things for granted. It is not until our water is shut off for some reason, albeit temporarily that we realize how grateful we are for having it and when it is restored, we are immensely grateful. How rarely do we think about all the people in this world who cannot just get up and get a glass of water? Those who do not have access to clean water? Those who have to walk for miles to even bring water to their families. It is when we stop and follow the thread that we begin to have a deeper understanding not only of what we are grateful for, but why we appreciate it as much as we do.

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BEING IN GRACE

October 26, 2015

There is a saying that a picture speaks a thousand words. It simply means that a picture tells a story just as well as a large amount of text. All month I have been writing about grace. So this week, I thought I would write little but post pictures I have found that capture people being in grace and let them speak to you as they do.

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JUST A CUP

October 5, 2015

Years ago, when I was pastoring, we had a tradition we called Hugs and Love. We would always start off with a reminder about how God loves us just as we are. Then we would greet each other and tell each other that God loved us just as we were. I remember the first time I opened this tradition as if it were yesterday. I talked about how we were like coffee cups. When you first go to the store to purchase a cup, it is smooth and clean inside. However, over time and use, there are stains which build up and tiny little cracks that sometimes appear and yet we still go back to that cup time after time and accept it just as it is.

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TRUST IN __________

August 24, 2015

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin captures an important aspect of faith in these lines from a prayer.

Breathing in: Trust in . . .
Breathing out: the slow work of God.

How many of us remember to trust in the slow work of God?  Last year, one of my students said to me, “It sure would be nice if God could answer your prayers in the same amount of time it takes to get a Happy Meal.”  I had to stop and remind him that Happy Meals do not always make you happy, at least not in the long run, and that they are not always healthy. However his question got at an important point. How often do we expect God to hear and answer our prayers instantaneously? Do we only trust in God when they are answered quickly or do we trust in the slow work of God?

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EMIL’S SUNSET

July 6, 2015

There is this series of videos on YouTube from the Spiritual Literacy Project which illustrate spiritual practices and capture the sacred in everyday life. In a video about enthusiasm, they share a story about Emil’s Sunset. Emil was a gentleman who each night would gather people at the family cottage just to watch the sunset. He would make people stop what they were doing and come and sit in the fully experience the beauty of the sunset. In the video, they talk about how one day after he had passed away, they were busy doing things and someone mentioned there was an Emil sunset. They all stopped what they were doing and sat and took in the beauty of the sunset.

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