Leaves of Faith

Passover Prayer

May the light we now kindle
Inspire us to use our powers
To heal and not to harm,
To help and not to hinder,
To bless and not to curse,
To serve you, Spirit of freedom.

 

- Passover Haggadah

 

O God to whom we pray for truth

O God to whom we pray for truth, be with us in out trembling lest we find it. We fear its light; our lives are full of shadows: what shall we do for shelter when we stand before the brightness of truth? We do not want, O God, the truth that troubles us and seeks to save us; we look for truth that brings us safety, comfort and repose. . . . We do not want the truth that tells of a world of human wretchedness, with wrongs to be set right and justice calling us to serve it. For if we see this truth, we must admit our own betrayals: our callousness and our cowardice, our evasions and our love of ease. We do not seek at all the truth of conscience. We want Thee in thy tenderness, Thy loving kindness . . . What shall we do, O Spirit of the Holy and Highest? What shall we do to be saved?

- A. Powell Davies

 

Bodhisattva Prayer

From now on, until I achieve enlightenment, I rely on you.
Please give me wisdom to escape samsara.

If I am supposed to get sick, let me get sick, and I’ll be happy.
May this sickness purify my negative karma
and the sickness of all sentient beings

If I am supposed to be healed, let all my sickness
and confusion be healed, and I’ll be happy.
May all sentient beings be healed and filled with happiness.

If I am supposed to die, let me die, and I’ll be happy.
May all the delusion and causes of suffering of beings die.

If I am supposed to live a long life, let me live a long life, and I’ll be happy.
May my life be meaningful in service to sentient beings.

If my life is cut short, let it be cut short, and I’ll be happy.
May I and all others be free from attachment and aversion.

Spiritual Window-Shoppers

These spiritual window-shoppers,
who idly ask, 'How much is that?' Oh, I'm just looking.
They handle a hundred items and put them down,
shadows with no capital.

What is spent is love and two eyes wet with weeping.
But these walk into a shop,
and their whole lives pass suddenly in that moment,
in that shop.

Where did you go? "Nowhere."
What did you have to eat? "Nothing much."

Even if you don't know what you want,
buy something, to be part of the exchanging flow.

Start a huge, foolish project,
like Noah.

It makes absolutely no difference
what people think of you.

- Jalaluddin Rumi 

 

Prophet

You'll never be much of a prophet if, when the call comes
To preach to Nineveh, you flee on the ship for Tarshish
That Jonah fled on, afraid like him of the people's outrage
Were they to hear the edict that in thirty days
Their city in all its glory will be overthrown.

The sea storm that harried Jonah won't harry you.
No big fish will be waiting to swallow you whole
And keep you down in the dark till your mood
Shifts from fear to thankfulness and you want to serve.
No. You'll land safe at Tarshish and learn the language
And get a job in a counting house by the harbor
And marry and raise a family you can be proud of
In a neighborhood not too rowdy for comfort.

If you're going to be a prophet, you must listen the first time.
Setting off at sunrise, you can't be disheartened
If you arrive in Nineveh long past midnight,
On foot, your donkey having run off with your baggage.
You have to settle for a room in the cheapest hotel
And toss all night on the lice-ridden mattress

That Jonah is spared. In the space of three sentences
He jumps off his donkey, speaks out, and is heeded, while you,
Preaching next day in the rain on a noisy corner,
Are likely to be ignored, out-shouted by old-clothes dealers
And fish wives, mocked by school boys for your accent.
And then it's a week in jail for disturbing the peace.
There you'll have time, as you sit in a dungeon
Darker than a whale's belly, to ask if the trip
Is a big mistake, the heavenly voice mere mood,

The mission a fancy. Jonah's biggest complaint
Is that God, when the people repent and ask forgiveness,
Is glad to forgive them and cancels the doomsday
Specified in the prophecy, leaving his prophet
To look like a fool. So God takes time to explain
How it's wrong to want a city like this one to burn,
How a prophet's supposed to redeem the future,
Not predict it. But you'll be left with the question
Why your city's been spared when nobody's different,

Nobody in the soup kitchen you open,
Though one or two of the hungriest
May be grateful enough for the soup to listen
When you talk about turning their lives around.
It will be hard to believe these are the saving remnant
Kin to the ten just men that would have sufficed
To save Gomorrah if Abraham could have found them.

You'll have to tell them frankly you can't explain
Why Nineveh is still standing though you hope to learn
At the feet of a prophet who for all you know
May be turning his donkey toward Nineveh even now.

- Carl Dennis

 

The Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,

That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,

And spills the upper boulders in the sun;

And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

The work of hunters is another thing:

I have come after them and made repair

Where they have left not one stone on stone,

But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,

To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,

No one has seen them made or heard them made,

But at spring mending-time we find them there.

I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;

And on a day we meet to walk the line

And set the wall between us once again.

We keep the wall between us as we go.

To each the boulders that have fallen to each.

And some are loaves and some so nearly balls

We have to use a spell to make them balance:

"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"

We wear our fingers rough with handling them.

Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,

One on a side. It comes to little more:

He is all pine and I am apple-orchard.

My apple trees will never get across

And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.

He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder

If I could put a notion in his head:

"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it

Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offence.

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,

That wants it down!" I could say "Elves" to him,

But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather

He said it for himself. I see him there,

Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top

In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.

He moves in darkness as it seems to me,

Not of woods only and the shade of trees.

He will not go behind his father's saying,

And he likes having thought of it so well

He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

- Robert Frost

Litany of Resistance

With governments that kill… …we will not comply. With the theology of empire… …we will not comply. With the business of militarism… …we will not comply. With the hoarding of riches …we will not comply. With the dissemination of fear …we will not comply. But today we pledge our allegiance to the kingdom of God… …we pledge allegiance. To the peace that is not like Rome’s… …we pledge allegiance. To the Gospel of enemy love …we pledge allegiance. To the poor and the broken… …we pledge allegiance….

i thank You God for most this amazing day

i thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes (i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth day of life and love and wings:and of the gay great happening illimitably earth) how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any--lifted from the no of all nothing--human merely being doubt unimaginable You? (now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

- e e cummings

O you whose spirit bears witness

O you, whose spirit bears witness, we gather in all stages of life, and all manner of life to face our highest ideals, and to be comforted. May the least among us be able to become empowered, ultimately drink from the wellsprings of prosperity, and hope. May those who have been rejected be embraced with wide open arms. May we be reminded that we are co-creators with you in establishing the realm of heaven, of peace, joy, and liberation so that others may have life. In the name of the still speaking, still evolving one. Amen by Shawn Koester (as Kwana Rosca) given on December 13th, 2007 at the UU Church of Second Life

The American Dream

Author: 
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

...All life is interrelated. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. As long as there is poverty in this world, no man can be totally rich even if he has a billion dollars. As long as diseases are rampant and millions of people cannot expect to live more than twenty or thirty years, no man can be totally healthy, even if he just got a clean bill of health from the finest clinic in America. Strangely enough, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way the world is made. I didn't make it that way, but this is the interrelated structure of reality. John Donne caught it a few centuries ago and could cry out, "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main . . . any man's death diminishes me, because I am involve~l in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." If we were to realize the American dream we must cultivate this world perspective.

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