Archive | September 2013

Moon Songs


(picture taken in my neighborhood in Nanuet, New York)

torch lake moon

(picture taken by Jane Cronkite at Torch Lake in Michigan)


Moon Meditation

Milk white orb serene,

sculpted from primeval night by

Word that gave you light and life,

light now our deepest dark,

brighten all our paths of pain,

help us discern our

secret paths that often

lead to space too dark to name, and

halo our best selves.


Moon Haiku

These verses probably wouldn’t qualify as “true” or “pure” haiku to those who know this ancient form well, but at least their structure is haiku, and my friend Jane Cronkite (my haiku mentor) and I had some fun writing them.


Huge round moon floats up.

Shimmering ripples in lake

Wash darkness away.



Bright moon rises full.

Dark trees circle deep blue sky.

White light surrounds me.



Round white moon appears,

Trees, birds, insects make no sound,

My breath is silent.



Pearly, wispy clouds

Drift across a bright full moon.

Shadows fade away.



White and round: the moon.

On my stick: a marshmallow.

Which one do I taste?



Jeweled bright full moon,  

Softly veiled in mist of cloud,

Hushes, calms my world.




yellow flower

(late summer blooms)

“The only way to know God, the only way to know the other is

to listen.”


“Listening is reaching out into that unknown other self, surmounting your walls and theirs.”


“Listening is the beginning of understanding, the first exercise

of love.”

(from Father Joe, by Tony Henderson)



Dismay!  Not long ago, I opened my blinds to find that my beautiful wind chimes were badly tangled and snarled after a heavy wind in the night.  Four of the seven willowy strands of delicate silver, blue, and white discs were wrapped tightly around each other.  And what had once been such a graceful elegance outside my window was now a knotted clump—at least part of it was.  Several strands still dangled free, but that entangled clump made the whole most unattractive.         

Not that the chimes themselves seemed to mind.  They seemed to have enjoyed, in fact, their boisterous dance, raucously clashing against each other in their wild tango with the wind.  And now, with calmer winds, the free strands continued to tap each other playfully, tinkling, as always, like stars that sing in the dead of night.  They seemed unfazed by the tangled awkwardness of the knotted strands.  In fact, even the knotted strands still tapped the others and sang along as best they could.  

But I was not unfazed.  Because the chimes are suspended high above our deck, quite beyond reach, I knew these lovelies would simply have to hang there, knotted and askew, their elegance and delicate charm now a mere memory.   Always I had greeted these chimes each morning when I opened the blinds.  I would smile at them.  And they would smile back at me, gaily tapping their shy “how-do’s.”   But now the joy of this simple morning ritual was gone, and my greetings became sporadic.  Too disappointing to see their clumped-together-forever knottedness.

Imagine, then, the sharp intake of my breath some days later when I happened to glance up from a book I was reading and look out the window.  My wind chimes were no longer tangled!  Each dainty strand once again dangled free, twisting and twirling in the breeze, happily tapping out gentle melodies with all the other strands.  Apparently a fresh, strong wind of the previous night had mysteriously blown in to undo the work of the earlier wind, and my chimes were restored.  Elegant again.  Free again.  Swaying and sparkling and shimmering in the morning sun again. 

And I had done nothing to bring this about.  It was simply a gift, a beautiful gift from the wind:

  • to remind me of how much of life is not under my control;
  • to remind me of how often gifts of grace blow into my life, surprising me and giving me a simple joy;
  • to remind me to keep my eyes and heart open so as not to miss a single one of these sudden delights. 



Since that happy day of wind-gift, my chimes have, for the most part, dangled freely and cheerfully.  But every now and again, a wind will take a fancy to them and lead them in another wild dance that leaves a couple of the strands wound tightly around each other.  Not as unsightly as the first time when four strands had formed that clumsy cluster, but tangled nonetheless, and always a bit dismaying.  I am learning, however—slowly, to be sure—but learning nonetheless:

  • to accept this reality, this “brokenness” that mirrors so much of life in so many tangled, knotted places in our world; 
  • to wait for yet another wind-gift to undo its earlier mischief;
  • to live in hope–hope not just for the next wind to free the tangles of my chimes, but hope for that one-day Great Wind which promises to untangle all the snarls of our earthly lives and set all of life free.  Fully and finally free—to be all that Creator Wind intended for us to be. 

Today the chimes serenely dangle in the quiet air.  The sing a quiet calm, and I feel blessed.


Faith in Motion

St. Matthew Ebbo Gospels

St. Matthew

from the Gospel Book of Archbishop Ebbo of Reims

circa 816-835


     An ancient illumination of St. Matthew penning his gospel.  Ancient, but yet so intensely alive!  Matthew’s desk and stool are firmly anchored in heavy blocks of wood or marble, but the rest of this picture seems almost to flow right off the page.  Matthew’s robe sinuously sweeps around him and seems to breathe on its own.  His hair, too, is full of energy—tiny waves leaping from his head. The cascading movement of the grassy hill behind Matthew echoes this aliveness, and it seems clear that the artist wanted to give us a Matthew who is vibrantly caught up in the gospel narrative he writes. A Matthew whose message, too, is alive and filled with the holy movement of Spirit’s vital and often surprising energy.

     I love this Matthew, and I think the unknown artist who has given him to us has something important to teach us about our Christian faith today, many, many centuries  later.  Our faith, he seems to say, should never be fixed and inert, unmoving and unmovable.  To be sure, a faith that seeks to be biblical needs to be grounded and steeped in the message of holy scripture.  And faith that calls itself Christian needs also to be deeply connected to and embedded in the creeds and dogmas carefully crafted through the years in their efforts to interpret scripture for their times—though we do well to remember here that many of these dogmas and creeds, solid and firm as they seem now, were, at the time of their formation, freshly bold and new, Spirit-filled with insights that often audaciously stretched earlier faith understandings. 

     Rootedness is good for faith.  Like Matthew’s desk and stool, faith needs to have solidity and firmness.  But faith needs more.  It needs, too, the aliveness of Matthew’s hair and robe and of the tumbling grasses behind him.  It needs the fresh flow of Spirit-directed openness to new understandings, new insights, new perspectives.   Faith needs to be ever in motion.  Not heedlessly latching on to every new idea or movement that comes along, but open always to listen to the ceaseless whisperings of Spirit.  Open always to feel the gentle wind of Spirit as Spirit breathes afresh into our faith.  Breathes new understandings and new life that offers healing for our lives and for our troubled world.