Minute Meditations


Advent Is Construction Season

The call of Advent is clear. From both the prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist, we hear, “Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah was writing to the people exiled far from their homeland. John the Baptist was talking to people who had lost their way in a tangle of politics and religion. In our own lives, we hear this call as well. We all have some roadwork to do in our souls. We might say Advent is construction season.

—from the book Simple Gifts: Daily Reflections for Advent by Diane M. Houdek

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Time to Wake from Sleep

Then shall blinded eyes be opened,

and deaf ears unstopped;

then shall the lame ones leap like deer,

and speechless voices sing for joy. —Isaiah 35:5-6

If we are

not yet astonished,

we are not quite awake!

God-willing, we will be blessed by another sunrise,

to break open our hearts and bring us to our knees.

But none will exactly be like this shining, singular morning.

So, as our world rolls, dawn to dusk,

we contemplate the countless faces,

whose loves and longings sunlight graces.

—from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace by Joseph Grant

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Fill Your Days with Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is fully living into our givennessit is the acceptance that our life is a miracle. To be thankful is to take pleasure in our existence and in the things that make that existence possible. In this pleasure, writes Berry, we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend. Berry is here speaking particularly of the pleasure that comes in our eating and its attendant thanksgiving, but he is also necessarily speaking of the pleasure of membership. Our lives are indebted to other lives and dependent upon them.... Through this gratitude and proper understanding of indebtedness, we are able to gain the freedom to become more generous ourselves. ... When we come to truly understand our givenness, which is also our indebtedness and embeddedness in the whole of the creation, then our response must be to give as we have been given. All pretenses that attend the accomplishments of our own work, all illusions of making value or owning something, is but a debt unaccounted, a gift accepted without thanks. Our first and most profound response should be to fill our days with thanksgiving. It is in that practice that we will finally begin to recover who we are and what we should be about in this world, this creation, this gift.

from the book Wendell Berry and the Given Life by Ragan Sutterfield

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Take Nothing for Granted

Gratefulness brings joy to my life. How could I find joy in what I take for granted? So I stop taking for granted, and there is no end to the surprises I find. A grateful attitude is a creative one, because, in the final analysis, opportunity is the gift within the gift of every given moment. Mostly this means opportunities to see and hear and smell and touch and taste with pleasure. But once I am in the habit of availing myself of opportunities, I will do so even in unpleasant situations creatively.

from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life by Brother David Steindl-Rast

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Live THIS Day

A younger friend told me about a life crossroads, which felt weighted by conundrum. I asked, So whats next? She replied, Im just waiting for God to show me what he wants from me. OK, I said to her. But in the meantime, until you have your life and self figured out and straightened out, I have a suggestion: Live this day, with this self, without holding back. Today; savor, doubt, embrace, question, wrestle, give, risk, love, fall down, get up, accept your incomplete and fractured self, know that anything worth doing is worth doing badly, speak from your whole heart, and whenever you can, lavish excessive compassion and mercy and healing and hope and second chances and grace and restoration and kindness on anyone who crosses your path. Who knows, we may love one another into existence. And Im sure God wont mind.

from the book This Is the Life: Mindfulness, Finding Grace, and the Power of the Present Moment by Terry Hershey

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Take Time to See Clearly

In this world darkened by despair and deep division,

we fumble dimly,

to see past self-interest, fears, and endless feuding.

But even looking down we can see beyond,

like the pilgrim seeking clarity

who found a limpid pool,

and bending down

glimpsed the Milky Way

mirrored in the deep.

Then gazing heavenward,

gaped and gasped

at the cosmic show above,

while awe-filled silence taught:

the stiller you become,

the clearer will your reflection be.

from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace by Joseph Grant

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We Are Doing God's Work

If you are about gospel work,

with a head for justice and a tender heart,

it helps each day to cleanse the lens.

We dare not disregard the darkness,

nor turn away from problems and pain;

but face instead each mornings light and bathe our

eyes in mercys rain.

When the world looks always grimy,

when hope and newness are obscured,

then is the time for window wiping.

Cleanse the panes with wonder and lament,

for the tears of sorrow and laughter you share,

let loves light in to dissipate despair.

No matter where your eyes come to rest,

will you look long enough and lovingly,

till light breaks through at last?

from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace by Joseph Grant

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Don't Lose Sight of What Matters

Amid all the disaster and distress

that wheels around and swirls within us in chaotic times,

there are also always marvels to behold.

Let neither fear nor preoccupation

keep you from being touched

by wonderfully wounded life.

May you find a way in every day,

to share your great-fullness

for all that touches your eyes.

May you refuse to be crushed

but rather, look lovingly upon all with tear-washed eyes,

trained on woundedness, straining for wonder.

As you savor the sweet brevity of your days,

may passion puncture you, letting out joy,

till warmly you are welcomed; a sight for sore eyes.

from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace by Joseph Grant

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What Would You Do?

If this were your last day, hour, minute, or breath, imagine how you might drink in the daylight, taste the twilight, touch the stars, smell the sunshine, delight at songbirds, listen to the look of your loved ones, bow before the sanctity of a stranger, be carried away with astonishment, and be beside yourself with awe at the wonder of it all. Perhaps we engage life in its fullness when we stop asking if we are there yet and live into the unfolding and radical realization that we are always already here." For it is only here that we can really be, wholly present and fully engaged; and no matter where you go, there you are.

from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace by Joseph Grant

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