August – 2014
The Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh
“Water flows from high in the mountains. Water runs deep in the Earth. Miraculously, water comes to us, and sustains all life. Water and sun green these plants. When the rain of compassion falls, even a desert becomes an immense, green ocean.”
Matthew 14.14-21 (NRSV)
14 [Jesus]… saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” 18And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21And those who ate were about five thousand…
The Wisdom of Dorothy Day
“People say, ‘what is the sense of our small effort?’ They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There’s too much work to do.”
1 Kings 19.9-18 (NRSV)
9 [Elijah] came to a cave, and spent the night there. Then the word of [YHWH] came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10He answered, “I have been very zealous for…the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” 11[God] said, “Go out and stand on the mountain…for [your God] is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces…but [God] was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but [God] was not in the earthquake; 12and after the earthquake a fire, but [God] was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14He answered, “I have been very zealous for…the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” 15Then the [THE DIVINE VOICE] said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16Also you shall anoint Jehu…as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha…as prophet in your place. 17Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill. 18Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal…
Matthew 14.22-31 (NRSV)
22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28Peter answered him, “Teacher, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “…Save me!” 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
The Wisdom of Alice Walker
“Love is not concerned with whom you pray or where you slept the night you ran away from home. Love is concerned that the beating of your heart should kill no one.”
Isaiah 56.1, 3-8 (NRSV)
Thus says the ETERNAL: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. 3Do not let the foreigner joined to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely separate me from the other people”; and do not let the eunuch say, “I am just a dry tree.” 4For thus says the ALL-IN-ALL: To the eunuchs who…who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, 5I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. 6And the foreigners who…hold fast my covenant— 7these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” 8Thus says our GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, “I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.”
“…a Canaanite woman…started shouting, “Have mercy on me, David’s heir; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 23But Jesus did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Sir, help me.” 26He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 27She said, “Yes, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
The Wisdom of Mark Morrison-Reed
“The central task of the religious community is to unveil the bonds that bind each to all. There is a connectedness, a relationship discovered amid the particulars of our own lives and the lives of others. Once felt, it inspires us to act for justice.
It is the church that assures us that we are not struggling for justice on our own, but as members of a larger community. The religious community is essential, for alone our vision is too narrow to see all that must be seen, and our strength too limited to do all that must be done. Together, our vision widens and our strength is renewed.”
Romans 12.1-7 (NRSV)
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself [as being superior to others], but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
Matthew 16.13-16, 18
Jesus…asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 18[Jesus answered] I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of death will not prevail against it.
The Wisdom of Eusebius
“May I be no one’s enemy and may I be the friend of that which is eternal and abides.
May I wish for every person’s happiness and envy none.
May I never rejoice in the ill fortune of one who has wronged me.
May I, to the extent of my power, give needful help to all who are in want.
May I never fail a friend.
May I respect myself.
May I always keep tame that which rages within me.
May I accustom myself to be gentle and never be angry with others because of circumstances.
May I know good people and follow in their footsteps.
Romans 12.9-16, 21
9Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, [be of service]. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be arrogant, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?