Monday, May 30, 2011

Tibetan Buddhist Sand Mandalas in Chapel Hill

It was an incredible sight, watching Tibetan monks take first what looked like a shaver, and then a brush, and brush away the intricately wrought sand mandala in Chapel Hill, NC this afternoon. The rituals before hand were fascinating: chanting, playing of loud horns, drums, cymbals; and then an explanation of the mandala, followed by the de-construction of the mandala, representing the ideal of Buddhism.

And the point? The impermanence of us all, of everything, of totality.

On pilgrimage, everything is, equally impermanent. I've learned and am learning to enjoy the moment, "be where my feet are planted" (12 step works), and living for today.

On this Memorial Day, we honor the impermanence of it all.

Buen camino!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Song, "My Shpherd Will Supply My Need"

This was sung on Sunday at United Church of Chapel Hill, and the last line stuck out as true and daring, based on Ps. 23 arranged by Mack Wilberg:

"O may they house be mine abode and all my work be praise! There would I find a settled rest while others go and come, no more a stranger, nor a guest, but like a child at home. No more a stranger, nor a guest, but like a child at home."

This is the hope of a pilgrim on a journey.

Buen camino!


In the Holy Land (from Raleigh's News and Observer)

Found this in Raleigh's News and Observer, about the Holy Land (continued source of fascination to me)...

About Jesus:

The leafy green region of Galilee in northern Israel is the place where Jesus spent most of his life. There, we found his hometown of Nazareth, now a Palestinian city, with its lovely Church of the Annunciation, a Catholic church finished in 1969 and said to be the largest Christian sanctuary in the Middle East. The art collection is wonderful, with a gallery of religious art contributed by nations around the world and a front door depicting events in the life of Christ.

Standing on the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, it is impossible not to be awed by the place where many of the guiding principles of Christian life were pronounced.

It was packed with pilgrims absorbing the meaning of this place, gathered in meditation and enjoying the pleasantness of its intense, colorful landscaping. We heard many languages, which gave the impression of a gathering of many nations united in common purpose. At the Jordan River, we swished our hands in the water. We also observed dozens of white-robed people being baptized as they stood in the shallow water.

The Journey, by Mary Oliver

I heard this read the other night and thought this too good, and must share!

The Journey:

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Life's Pilgrimage: DIVINITY

I recently sent my agent the revised revised revision of the proposal of my memoir DIVINITY. It takes my life story from birth to my time in a certain Divinity School.

What happened in this latest re-write is that I wove in and based the book upon the framework of pilgrimage, with verses of "Amazing Grace" throughout.

My sudden awareness? Life IS a pilgrimage! I embrace what I've written about.

Imagine that!

A writer who lives what he writes.

Buen Camino!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Emmaus: Today's Lectionary Reading (Luke 24:13-35).

Two disciples, way to the Emmaus, meeting the stranger, and the rest is, well, a heck of a story of transformation. They met the Christ, unaware that it WAS the Christ. They finally warmed up to the stranger, sharing some bread along the journey.

Maybe it was the bread.

Maybe it was the act of sharing the bread.

Maybe it was a little bit of both.

The rest is a heck of a story.

These things continue to happen today. Sitting down with a stranger, meeting the stranger where she or he is, whomever it may be, and the rest is a heck of a story.

There, there is the Spirit of Christ, in both guest and stranger.