Liberty and Justice

As we place

our hand on our heart

“I pledge allegiance

to the flag

of the United States of America

and to the Republic

for which it stands

one Nation

under God,

with liberty

and justice for all”,

can we

 focus

on

liberty

and

justice and

open our arms

to

open our hearts

to

people of all shades,

their own person hoods,

and those who work to make

this country their own.

Liberty

and

Justice

for all.

Blessings

on this

4th of July!

With Amazing Grace

Whatever side of a bridge

each of us stands,

no one

can be

untouched by the events of this week

June, 2015.

Sharp divisions

on civil rights

about race and same-sex marriage

have permeated

hundreds of years of our history.

Shock shook us.

A young white man

entered the historic

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

in Charleston

sat with nine black people

for an hour

of Bible study

and then shot them.

At his court hearing

the families of those slain

forgave him.

Within days, the governor

called for the removal of the Confederate flag,

still held high while

the American flag

honored the dead

at half mast.

On Friday morning,

the Supreme Court

announced its decision

on same-sex marriage.

In Justice Anthony Kennedy’s eloquent words,

“No union is more profound than marriage,

for it embodies the

highest ideals of

love,

fidelity,

devotion,

sacrifice,

and family.

It would misunderstand these

men and women

to say

they disrespect

the idea of marriage.

Their plea is that they do respect it,

respect it so deeply,

that they seek to

find its fulfillment for themselves.

Their hope is

not to be condemned to live

in loneliness,

excluded from one of

civilization’s

oldest institutions.

They ask for

equal dignity

in the eyes of the law.

The Constitution

grants them that right.”

In the afternoon

on the same day,

President Obama

gave an eloquent eulogy

at the funeral of the slain

Pastor Clementa C. Pinckney.

Pausing for a moment,

President Obama began to sing

Amazing Grace,

how sweet the sound.

When he sang

“I once was lost,

 but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see”

6000 people and a 1000 outside

joined him in the

hymn.

Perhaps others like me

joined in.

“Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieve’d;

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed!

Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares,

I have already come;

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.”

GRACE

GRACIOUS

DIGNITY

For ALL.

PEACE

An Unexpected Rainbow

June has been quite dry,

little rain.

While eating dinner

last night,

the sky opened with a loud roar

and heavy rain fell down

refreshing the greenery,

washing the pollens

and dust, leaving everything

looking shiny and refreshed.

The view out the back

is wooded and buildings.

As the pelting rain

eased up,

the remnants of

the sun pierced through

and a rainbow appeared.

Rainbows don’t usually

show up

with the blocked view.

An unexpected rainbow.

We stood and paused,

in the moment

in wonder.

I cannot tell you

how long we stood there

as the rainbow’s edges

faded into the sky

or wherever

rainbows go

after astonishing us.

An unexpected rainbow

can be the bridge

to the surprise

and mystery of life.

Where do they

begin

and where do they end?

Perhaps the rainbow

takes a leap from

one place to another and begins again.

Discovering

as a young child does,

experiencing things

in the moment

never the same,

as we bridge our own lives to another’s.

Revelation, Celebration

“Sunlight fell

upon the wall;

the wall received a borrowed

splendor.

Why set your heart

on a piece of earth,

O simple one?

Seek out the source

which shines forever.”

Rumi, Sufi mystic poet

“The universe unfolds in God,

who fills us

completely.

Hence,

there is a mystical

meaning to be found

in a leaf,

in a mountain trail,

in a dewdrop,

in a poor person’s face.”

Pope Francis in Laudato Si his encyclical on the environment

Praise Be to You

“The initiate

will capture

what is being said

when the wind blows,

the trees sway,

water flows,

flies buzz,

doors creak,

birds sing,

or in the

sound of strings or flutes,

the sighs of the sick,

the groans

of the afflicted.”

Ali-al-Khawas, a 9th century mystical  Sufi Muslim poet

Ritual

Ritual

Tradition

Out of the darkness of winter

Primal celebration

Holy Week

Passover

Easter

Some continue to come together

Honor

those who have gone before.

Some are too busy

or don’t believe rituals and traditions

are important anymore,

at least to them.

Have we lost a gift of community

leaving rituals and traditions

in the past?

Can we find a way to be grateful for the gifts

of life, light, new growth?

Seeing beauty

All around

Can bring dissonance

into harmony.

Seeing beauty, being grateful

for a bird’s song,

green shoots poking through layers,

for the smile of another.

Love is the ritual we can

all share.