Lent and Listening

There is no thing through which God cannot speak – even the walk from the house to the garage that you have walked ten thousand times before, even the moments when you cannot believe there is a God who speaks at all anywhere….

‘Be not afraid…for lo, I am with you always, even unto the end for the world.’

He says he is with us on our journeys. He says he has been with us since each of our journeys began. Listen for him. Listen to the sweet and bitter airs of your present and your past for the sound of him.”

– Frederick Buechner

“Modern people lack silence. They no longer lead their own lives; they are dragged along by events. It is a race against the clock…If your life is chock-full already, there won’t be room for anything else. Even God can’t get anything else in. So it becomes essential to cut something out.”

– Paul Tournier

“It takes time to cultivate the mind. It takes time to grow in wisdom. It takes time to savor the qualities of living. It takes time to feel one’s way into one’s self. It takes time to walk with God.

Forsake us not in the tempests of our daily activities, O our Father, but tutor our minds and spirits in the great tranquilities, that deep within we may be still and know that Thou art God. Amen.”

– Howard Thurman

How the Light Gets In…

Ring the bells that still can ring,
forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything;
that’s how the light gets in.

– Leonard Cohen, from the song Anthem; full lyrics below

The birds they sang at the break of day
“Start again”, I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what has passed away
Or what is yet to be

Ah, the wars they will be fought again
The holy dove, she will be caught again
Bought and sold and bought again
The dove is never free

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

We asked for signs, the signs were sent
The birth betrayed, the marriage spent
Yeah, the widowhood of every government
Signs for all to see

I can’t run no more with that lawless crowd
While the killers in high places say their prayers out loud
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up a thundercloud
And they’re going to hear from me

Ring the bells that still can ring…

You can add up the parts, you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march, there is no drum
Every heart, every heart to love will come
But like a refugee

Ring the bells that still can ring…

There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
That’s how the light gets in
That’s how the light gets in

A Holy Experience – and hearing Advent anew

I love Ann Voskamp’s site, “A Holy Experience.” If you ever have one blog to visit in the early mornings or late nights, and ever want to pause and think about things like gratitude, faith, children and everyday sacredness, farming and food, beauty and noticing the small things, vulnerability and trust, love and questions, the power of words and of listening – then you may love her site as much as I do.

Today, I came across this Advent story she told to her daughters, a story told into and through their simple and amazing little lives. This story about what Christmas is really about, and the wisdom of a child, is about the best version I’ve ever heard – it’s retelling the sometimes too-familiar to feel awe-inspiring, yet powerfully eternal and poignant, story of Immanuel God with us.

Read it sometime if you like, and remember the power of God’s gift with a smile, some sniffs and tears, while a little person tugs at your pant leg – everyday ordinary meets wondrously sacred all the time on her blog.