Thursday – September 17, 2020
Above all, clothe yourselves in love, which binds everything together in harmony.
A Word of Hope
One day poet Naomi Shihab Nye was wandering around the Albuquerque Airport because her flight had been delayed for 2 hours. Suddenly, a message over the PA system asks for someone who speaks Arabic to come to Gate A-4 immediately. As Nye approaches, she finds an older woman in full embroidered traditional Palestinian dress, the kind her grandmother used to wear, crumpled on the floor and wailing. The flustered airline agent doesn’t know what’s wrong. They just announced a flight delay and the woman collapsed into tears.
Nye bends down, puts her arm around the woman, and begins to speak halting Arabic, her father’s native tongue. The woman, hearing the familiar words, quits crying and explains that she has to be in El Paso for a major medical procedure the next day. She thought the announcement meant that the flight was cancelled. Nye reassures her: she will get to her destination—just later.
They call the son who is picking her up and Nye talks to him in English, assuring him she will stay with his mother. They call Nye’s father, and he and her new friend speak in Arabic together and discover that they have 10 friends in common. On a whim, they call some Palestinian poets Nye knows and regale each other with stories.
“She was laughing a lot by then,” Nye asserts. “Telling stories, patting my knee, answering questions.”
The once forlorn woman reaches into her bag and begins to share her homemade mamools—cookies filled with dates and nuts and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
“To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the mom from California, the lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same powdered sugar. And smiling.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and I thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in that gate—once the crying of confusion stopped—seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women, too.
This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.”
No, not everything is lost. The world of Gate A-4 exists today.
A friend buys a “LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR” sign to bridge the opposing political messages in her and a neighbor’s yard. A Next Door app post calls for help for a homeless man. Responses tumble in offering clothes, shoes, gift cards, referrals for agencies who provide assistance. A college classmate, retired Episcopal priest and member of Virginia Organizing, joins with people of other faiths and races to help heal centuries-old toxic racism by gathering at civil war monuments—listening to the narratives of pain and discrimination from African Americans, praying, proposing restorative resolutions.
Not everything is lost.
See you at Gate A-4.
Dr. Pat Saxon
Wednesday – September 16, 2020
Give me your lantern and compass, give me a map, So I can find my way to the sacred mountain, to the place of your presence.
A Word of Hope
As a curious young girl, I remember being completely fascinated with the compass, no matter how fast I would twist and turn, it would always point toward the magnetic north.
You can lay a magnetic compass on a table and it will continue to seek and center on the north. It is attracted to the magnetic pole and not the true fixed north which is the axis of the earth.
Our relationship with God could be viewed in the same way. Like the compass, we are often attracted to the magnetism of others, things that make us feel good in the moment or even emotions which can take us off course.
When we get off course with our true connection to God, we teeter back and forth, looking for that perfect direction that leads us back to spirit. Sometimes we face detours or roadblocks and spend longer there than we envisioned, looking for a way out. While the work of the Holy Spirit can function as an internal compass, we still need some sense of direction or vision.
Jesus is our true North, the axis around which our life is centered, and Jesus calls us to follow. That is hard sometimes, especially when we need to rely on faith and do not know where we are going or what to do when we get there! Jesus already knows the way, what lies ahead and just asks that we trust.
I do not know about you, but since we are not being handed a compass and a map with our lives neatly laid out to avoid any sense of uncertainty, I am relying on the promise of God. However, if everything was certain, then there would be no need for faith. The revelation of Jesus in our lives is not a process or event, it is an intimate and everlasting relationship. It is the gift!
Creator God, when we grab the map and turn the compass toward our own desires, give us the wisdom to let go, and follow you! Amen
Tuesday – September 15, 2020
Hebrews 11:1 (Contemporary Translation)
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of things unseen.
A Word of Hope
This verse troubles me. I have struggled with it much more than I struggle with verses about wives being obedient to their husbands. Not because I think women are subservient, I just read such texts in socio-cultural context. It is clear that since Genesis 2 (before brokenness entered the picture), God intended for men and women—for committed partners of whatever the orientation—to be equal partners for life’s journey. No, it is the certainty of faith that sticks in my throat as I read it.
The New Revised Standard Version renders the original Greek more closely:
“Now faith is the ASSURANCE of things hoped for, the CONVICTION of things not seen.” Not that this solves completely my theological struggle, but the words come closer to the softer intention that I would hope for.
I may not be absolutely SURE because of faith but I am ASSURED (made more comfortable of outcomes). I have CONVICTION of things not seen even though I cannot be entirely CERTAIN of what I can only attempt to glimpse from my current perspective.
Faith and Hope involve trust and the reality of doubt. It is a conviction, an assurance, not a foregone certainty. Jesus taught me that.
He could have performed miracles before Pilate, the Sanhedrin, and even crowds at the Coliseum of Rome, but that doesn’t require faith. Faith comes from people having a sacred relationship and sensing the assurance of love, hope, and trust that comes from such a divine intimacy.
It was true in Jesus’ time on earth and it is still true today.
Holy One, may I have the courage to step out on faith, assured that your love never fails, that hope is powerful, and that the Divine Presence of your Spirit never leaves me alone.
Rev. Dr. Gary G Kindley
Monday – September 14, 2020
“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. (Luke 8:39).
Word of Hope
Watching the 50th Anniversary service for Cathedral of Hope this summer caused many stories from my time with CoH to flood through my mind. This is one of my favorite stories from my service with CoH. I have others from our Health Fairs, Thanksgiving baskets, shoe collections for Afghanistan and Blood Drives! But let me tell you about this one!
CoH has always been a community of hope proclaiming God’s inclusive love. Ever wonder how we do that? One way used to be through the CoH “Crisis Response Team” better known as the “Beeper Team” back when that was a thing. A church volunteer was just a phone call away to any person who called the church when the office was closed. As a Crisis Team member, I’ve been able to talk to and pray with several people confused and wondering how God can love a person who is gay. There was a time when we were one of the few voices of God that shared that message.
Years ago, I had the opportunity to take a call from a young lady who had been fired from her job when they found out she was a lesbian. She was a counselor in a faith-based center in the Northeast. She had allowed all she had suffered to cause her to doubt whether God could love her. The fundamentalists where she had worked were telling her God was punishing her for being gay! And they had her convinced. We talked and prayed together. She trusted that God does not make mistakes and that she was God’s creation and loved by God for who she is.
She had found our phone number in Mel White’s book, “Stranger at the Gate” and called looking for him for some answers. I was so glad CoH had a number that a person could call and talk to someone all the way across the US and let them know what we have discovered about God’s inclusive love!
In scripture we also read: 2 Timothy 1:6 “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you . . .” As we live out the mission of CoH, we need to fan God’s flame in our lives and in the lives of those whose flame is starting to flicker. I love having the opportunity to help people see the vision of God’s inclusive love – especially when they have fallen prey to thinking the fundamentalist’s view of God is the way God really sees and acts toward people. How wonderful to be able to allow God to use me to help remove a barrier to someone’s faith!
God of Inclusive Love, fan my faith into a roaring fire so that I may be empowered thorough You and give me wisdom to help someone whose flame is about down to the last ember.
Cathedral of Hope Volunteer
Friday – September 11, 2020
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
A Word of Hope
I’ve always been in love with color. It’s a handy thing as an artist and designer. When someone asks me today “what is my favorite color?” It’s an easy answer; the one I’m thinking of. I thank God for the gift of colors. Of course, there are people born without this ability. Their worldview is different than mine, in both in perception and context. I had a friend once who was colorblind to a certain spectrum. He chose as his favorite color bright red because it was the color that he could distinguish the best. Red defined his personality.
This morning at breakfast, I was looking at and avocado half. There are so many colors of fruit and vegetables that become paint colors, I’ve taken into account that if we think about a banana, we think of yellow, the predominant color. The same for red apples, orange oranges, purple grapes, and so on. Let’s focus on the avocado. In its many hues, to choose a single color from this example is impossible. There’s the dark outer peel and the vibrant inner part we eat. The inside avocado green can be broken up from the deeper shades to the most pastel.
In its purest brightest green, it’s a color that many people often say is their least favorite these days in decorator choices. The paint color called Avocado was used extensively in the Mid -1960’s for interior rooms, and my favorites; appliances like washers, dryers, refrigerators, and ovens, but I digress. There are so many wonderful things about this vegetable color; so many variations…sort of like people. We are quick to judge a book by its cover and a fruit by its skin. There are so many other dimensions to consider. So, when we talk about instant judgmental emotion about food, I’m certain that we’re thinking about how that avocado makes us feel. We either love it, hate it, or have never given it any consideration at all. The only thing that matters is how it makes us feel when you think about it; which is all too often how we think about people.
We weren’t created as one standard race, but many. There are so many varieties of us that need to be considered much more deeply than the “peel” we were born into. Every single one of us changes over time. We were born into this world raw; just as the seedlings of the giant trees in the Muir Woods or an avocado on the counter whose freshness is determined at a specific time, depending solely on us.
We are born not to be the same, but diverse. We bring diversity and our own story to the world but mostly to the folks we encounter. Our social and business interactions have changed, for some of us, whether by protected exchanges or by a video meeting. When I bring myself to these encounters, I’m reminded that the only thing anyone is going to remember about me is how I made them feel the last time we met. Over time, my people; your people will accumulate a series of memories of which will evolve far past that first time they saw you as a stranger.
What will they remember about you? Are you just the hard peel or the mature fiber? What is happening at your core? Allow yourself to realize you are the ripe fruit of creation. But, fresh fruits and veggies don’t stay fresh forever. Picture yourself as perfectly ripe and ready to share the best of you with the world today.
Who am I today? Who will I be to the stranger, the friend, the family members? And then, who am I to myself? Do I love? Am I attentive, dismissive, present, or absent? Help me to be yours to the core; the best you made me to be.
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
5910 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75235
Toll Free: 800-501-HOPE (4673)