Thursday, May 31, 2007

Be Still

These are words I wrote to be sung to the melody of "Finlandia." An old hymn called "Be Still, My Soul" used the same melody. Also "Song of Peace," something I found many years ago in, I think, a Scout song book. It has become a kind of theme song for my attempts here at the Lake to be more contemplative.

Be still and know that I am God within you.
No need to talk nor think nor make a plan.
Be still and know that I am God within you,
And let yourself rest quiet in my hand.
Be still and know that I am God within you.
Full peace and joy shall all your heart command.

Be still and know that I am God within you.
I touch your heart and make you more aware.
Be still and know that I am God within you.
Your love grows stronger through this quiet prayer.
Be still and know that I am God within you,
Embraced forever by my tender care.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


"Between the dark and the daylight, when the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupation that is known as the children's hour."
Longfellow is referring to the time when his daughters are allowed to be with him. Actually last evening at twilight time the children, my nephews and nieces, had all gone home and I was alone.
The Lake was completely placid, absolutely still. The only sounds a few birds getting ready to settle down for the night. Twilight is a kind of silver gray. It invites contemplation. It calls me to be still, as the water and the air. These long light summer evenings after sunset are grace-full. God is in all the excitement and fun of the day filled with people as well as in the twilight, but the peaceful silver gray water makes me more aware of the Presence.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Spirit of Unity and Diversity

One of the things I like in the Spiderman movies is the message, usually given by his grandmother, that Peter's unique gift is given for the good of all.
Spirit makes each of us a unique person with a unique set of gifts and a unique set of interests. None of us is the same as anyone else. That's the diversity Spirit creates.
It is the same Spirit, however, who is the source of that diversity. In the one Spirit we all live and move and have our being. That's the unity that Spirit creates.
It is important not to confuse unity with conformity. Through the centuries and today there are many people who would like to contain Spirit, make Spirit behave in a more orderly fashion, decide where Spirit will act and where Spirit won't act.
We celebrate the wild variety of our individual gifts and the far reaching community that they create and we thank Spirit for both this unity and this diversity.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Home to Stay

I am home now for the rest of the summer. And today was like full summer. Hot and sunny. Lake calm most of the day. This morning when I came back from my walk I swam for the first time this year. Air was 65 degrees. Water was cold. Didn't stay in long, but it was so good to be in the water, feeling it caress my body as I glide through it. I feel so at home in water. Our bodies are made up mostly of water. One author whose name is gone from my head right now says that we are simply water up walking around. For me, it is one of the most powerful images of God's living in us and around us. We move through Spirit and are soaked in Spirit and joined to others in Spirit.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


The most spectacular view that I saw in Hawaii was the Pali (cliffs) only about a fifteen minute drive up into the mountains north of Honolulu. The experience is breathtaking in both senses of the word. At the official overlook the wind is fierce. I'm told that on really windy days you can lean against it as you can a wall. About thirty steps down an old road there was only a peaceful breeze.
To my left was an enormous expanse of cliffs with deep crevices that caught the light and shadow. During rain the many crevices become a series of waterfalls. Spread out before me was a wide fertile valley that extends all the way north to the ocean.
This was one of those experiences, like the Grand Canyon, where I couldn't take it all in. I couldn't get it all in my camera or in my head or in my heart. I am aware at such times of an immense joy. I am noticing more and more that this joy includes a kind of ache at not being able to encompass the whole scene, wrapped up in the thrill of seeing such beauty and majesty.
This experience helps me to understand those times when I experience an immense joy at the awareness of God's presence. Since God is Mystery I can never encompass God and so the thrill I experience at the Beauty and Majesty is shot through with a kind of ache at not being able to know the Divine completely nor to hold all of God in my heart. An experience like Pali expands my awareness and my ability to surrender in love.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Dandelions and Violets

Yesterday morning, my first morning home, was warm, sunny, perfect. During my morning walk I came across a small plot of dandelions and violets lighted by the early sun, the bold yellow and shy purple an arresting mix. Dandelions get a bad rap. Nobody tries to get rid of violets. Yet both are gifts of wild nature. Lots of other "weeds" blooming, signaling spring.
Not so the trees. When we look at our hills they are still not green. The leaves of most trees are just little curls of various muted colors. They are still afraid to trust the weather. Seed packets do say that our hills can't count on being frost free until mid-May. Surely though yesterday's warm sun and today's warm rain will coax the leaves to open a little further.
I was afraid that I stayed away so long that I wouldn't get to experience spring here in these hills that are home to me. I'm glad that new life is not complete, that I'll get to see leaves opening and the hills turning green. An important way God shows Godself to me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Pearl Harbor

A God filled afternoon. Sun shining, beautiful clouds, cooling wind stirring white caps on the bay. Pearl Harbor is an unforgettable experience. Stirred up all kinds of thoughts in me. I sat next to a Japanese American family during the excellent movie about the attack and then stood near four men speaking Japanese while we were on the Arizona Memorial. I wondered what they were thinking and feeling. While President Roosevelt on the screen is speaking of "a day that will go down in infamy," I'm thinking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Mixed feelings. While we are being very solemn and respectful honoring those who died here I am thinking what a terrible waste war is then and now. Japan and U.S. have been friendly nations since not long after we were killing each other in the war that began here.

Monday, May 7, 2007


I'm told that "Aloha" includes wishes for love and peace and is appropriately used to say hello and goodby. I am coming near finishing my time here in Hawaii. No easy access to the internet nor cell phones. Some of the time has been hectic but there has been time for reflection.
My sister lives in a clearing on an old lava flow. Can't see the neighbors. Can't see any lights at night. Good opportunity for solitude. If I were living there this blog could be called "Whole Hermit by the Lava." An afternoon spent there by myself was a precious gift.
I am in awe of the volcano. I became aware of the Divine in the enormous power and in the destruction that ends in creativity. The Hawaiians call her Pele. Something close to what the Scriptures call "the fear of the Lord." Living on the volcano I could almost sense the energy boiling deep within the earth and within myself.