Gathered Wisdom, May 10, 2022

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

You dream a little broader. Your heart stretches a little farther and you find that you can’t go back to the same place and make it fit …. And then it happens: One day you discover that staying the same is scary and changing has become your new home.

-Shannon L. Alder, The Recovery Bible
Found in Well for the Journey

Exploring Sophia/Seeking Wisdom
Now on our Website

Wisdom literature of the Bible is unlike other scripture: rather than God speaking directly to God’s people, wisdom literature is the voice of God’s people speaking to all of us. In wisdom literature we are given advice and instruction on how to live godly lives. For those who cannot join our Zoom gatherings for the study, we are posting all the readings, reflection questions, and practices on our website.  The format is designed for individual or congregational study.

For the details:
Exploring Sophia/Seeking Wisdom.

Angels with Sickles and God’s Fury

Does God get angry with us?? No, says Fr. Ron Rolheiser. What we are feeling when we think God is angry is our own remorse at having done something wrong. We are to take scripture seriously but not always literally. 

Read the reflection.

About Ron Rolheiser.

Living In Suspense 

Suspense can be “a time of waiting for something to happen with the uncertainly about what is next, times when we are doubtful or undecided, circumstances that leave us anxious or apprehensive about what will or will not happen,” says the Rev. Mike Marsh in a recent sermon.  “They are times of ambiguity and not knowing. We feel ungrounded and untethered. Our life is suspended, on hold, in limbo.”

Read the sermon.

From Interrupting the Silence, the blog of the Rev. Mike Marsh. 

17 Things I Would Do Differently If I Were Fully Convinced I’m Going to Die

If you knew you were going to die – and we all will – what would you do differently from what you have been doing all your life? Author Eric Jones offers his thoughts, which might make you consider your own thoughts.

Read the essay.

From Daily Good.

A Renewed and Guileless Knowing

In writing about Thomas, the disciple we best remember for his doubting of the resurrection, Brother Sean Glenn reminds us that it is our own encounters with the risen Christ – not the dogma and doctrine of religion – that solidifies our faith.

Read the reflection.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Aging in Place – a New Resource on our Website

Nearly 80 percent of adults ages 50 and older want to remain in their current homes as they age, according to AARP. But is that possible? And practical? A new resource from Retiring Guide looks at the obstacles and the benefits of staying in your own home as you age.

Find the guide on our Reflections and Resources page.
(Scroll to the bottom.)

From Retire Guide.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

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Gathered Wisdom, May 3, 2022

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

In the waiting time

The time between what was and what will be

The time of unknowing

Of fear and hope and dread and joy

God is waiting with us.

Kathy Baker, Daily Hope

Found in Well for the Journey

Exploring Sophia; Seeking Wisdom starts May 12

They call her name Sophia – the feminine characteristic of God known as wisdom. How to find wisdom, how to incorporate it into our lives is the subject of our next online study, beginning May 12. We will look at the biblical wisdom literature and read The Star in my Heart by Joyce Rupp, then gather for discussion, lectio divina, and other practices weekly by Zoom – Thursdays, 4 pm. (Central time) by Zoom. 

For the details, click here.

A Child of the Light

Writing in Daily Something from Joanna Seibert, guest author Chris Schaefer reflects on what we learn in the darkness as well as in the light. What happens when we venture out of the shade into the light and dare to acknowledge that we are not perfect and we make mistakes.

Read the reflection.

Found in Joanna Seibert. 

Two Types of Heartbreak

“What can we do with our pain? How might we hold it and work with it? How do we turn the power of suffering toward new life?” asks Parker Palmer. “The way we answer those questions is critical because violence is what happens when we don’t know what else to do with our suffering.” Will we have supple hearts that allow suffering to lead us to new life, or brittle hearts that shatter us and all around us?

Read the reflection.

From Awakin.

The Sacramental Principle

God’s presence can be seen in the ordinary and the material, says Richard Rohr. We do not have to wait for supernatural apparitions. This “sacramental theology” proclaims that things that are visible and tactile open the doorway to the invisible. 

Read the reflection. 

From the Center for Action and Contemplation.

What’s The Story Of Your Easter?

Are you living Easter or just celebrating the one day? If the resurrection of Jesus does not make a difference in our lives, if we keep on doing the same old thing in the same old way, we are not living Easter.

Read the sermon from the Rev. Dr. Mike Marsh.

From Interrupting the Silence.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Exploring Sophia; Seeking Wisdom

May 12 through June 30

Thursdays 4 p.m. (Central time)

By Zoom

Is knowledge the same thing as wisdom? Not necessarily. Knowledge is what one knows; wisdom is when and how and where to apply it.

Seven books of scripture (including two from the Apocrypha) offer us wisdom about life – addressing topics such as relationships with each other and with God, why suffering and injustice exist, and what to do about good and evil. We call it the wisdom literature. It typically appears as a collection of pithy sayings and short, didactic teachings, or as long monologues, or even as poetry.

The ancient Hebrews sought to gather wisdom from their lives and experiences and pass it on to their children, especially their sons. Ironically, in scripture wisdom is often considered a feminine characteristic. 

Wisdom, it is said, comes to us only as a divine gift, and it belongs to the very nature of God, revealing God’s feminine side. Many refer to her as Sophia – the Greek word for wisdom.

In our study we will consider where we can find Sophia/wisdom in scripture and how we can benefit from her teachings. How can we companion with her to live full and meaningful godly lives?

We will also read from The Star in my Heart by Joyce Rupp to follow how Sophia has guided her life. Participants will need to buy the book.

Then we will gather by Zoom on Thursdays at 4 pm (Central time) for discussion. Together we will learn from each other and from the Holy Spirit as we listen for what the spirit has to teach us. 

If you want to join this study, please send an email to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com.  The study will be led by Marjorie George, Carla Pineda, and the Rev. Patricia Riggins.

We invite you to join us. 

Questions? Contact Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com.

The Star in My Heart  is available from St. Mark’s bookstore at https://bookshop.org/shop/stmarksbookstoresa.

This entire study will be posted on this website, suitable for use by congregations or individuals who wish to join us but are not able to meet by Zoom on Thursday afternoons.

Gathered Wisdom, April 26, 2022

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

In the face of many odds, you are a survivor; your life has extended into this new day.
Past events in your life may have just killed you, but look at you.
You’ve come back to life.
It’s not just Jesus who is a walking miracle; you also are a walking miracle.

-Br. Curtis Almquist
Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Resurrection Faith 

When the women went to the tomb on Easter morning and found it empty, they ran to tell the disciples.  But the men did not believe them; they thought it was nonsense.  That happens a lot in the post resurrection stories: “No one believes in the good news of Jesus’ resurrection when they first hear it,” says Brother David Vryhof of the Society of St. John the Evangelist. It’s not surprising, he adds. 

Read the rest of the essay.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Huge Stones and Locked Doors

Two resurrection images stand out in Fr. Ron Rolheiser’s mind: locked doors and the stone being rolled away. “These images remind us of what often separates us from the grace of the resurrection,” says Rolheiser. “Sometimes for that grace to find us, someone must ‘roll away the stone’ that entombs us and sometimes the resurrection must come to us ‘through locked doors,’” he says.

Read the essay.

From Fr. Ron Rolheiser.

The News of the Heart: Balance in Hard Times

There is news of the world, which can be overwhelmingly distressing lately, and there is news of the heart – that the world is still filled with extraordinary people of good heart and spirit.  We can shift the news we encounter and the news we generate by simply observing and practicing small acts of kindness.

Read the essay.

Found in Kolbe Times.

A Promise for All Creation

Writing on Earth Day (April 22) Richard Rohr declares that in the resurrection of Jesus, God redeems the whole of creation. We will find the risen Christ everywhere we look – in a budding dogwood tree, in our neighbors, in the shining sun and  baby plants pushing through the dirt for another season. We are an Easter people, and we are called to live in the hope of new life everywhere.

Read the reflection.

From Center for Action and Contemplation.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

As National Poetry Month ends, we offer a poem by Wendell Berry. Thanks to one of our readers for sending it.

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.

Read the rest of the poem.

Found on Bookpeople.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, April 19

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

Just opening quietly for moments every day

can create a path by which life can reach us,

the way rain carves a little stream in the earth

by which the smallest flowers are watered.

-Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways To Listen

From Well for the Journey

Exploring Sophia –
Our Next Online Study and Gathering

They call her name Sophia – the feminine characteristic of God known as wisdom. How to find wisdom, how to incorporate it into our lives is the subject of our next online study, beginning May 12. We will read The Star in my Heart by Joyce Rupp on our own, then gather weekly for discussion (Thursdays, 4 pm. Central time) by Zoom.

For the details, go here. 

Where to Find Resurrection

Does it have to end like this? Is the crucifixion inevitable? Is the dream dead? Yes, but resurrection always trumps crucifixion, says Ron Rolheiser. “While nothing that’s of God will avoid crucifixion, no body of Christ stays in the tomb for long,” he says.

Read the essay.

About Ron Rolheiser.

A Feast of Hope

Easter is an announcement of a common hope, says Richard Rohr. Easter is “the feast of hope, direction, purpose, meaning, and community. We’re all in this together.” As we say in the funeral liturgy, “life is not ended, but changed.”

Read the essay.

From Center for Action and Contemplation.

Deepening Our Comfort with Uncertainty

Life is full of unknowns; we can meet that with fear because we are not in control, or we can meet it with expectation about what wonderful surprise will show up. “When we practice grateful living,” says Kristi Nelson of Network for Grateful Living, “we create a welcoming space for the surprise of uncertainty, knowing that it arrives naturally in each of those moments when we truly take nothing for granted.”

Read the essay.

Found in Daily Good.

A Blessing for When You Want to Change

“God, I carry around this incompleteness, 
this drive for fulfillment that always 
seems just around the corner. If only I could 
get it together and find my true calling, 
my real passion, or the right plan.”

Read the rest of this blessing and others.

From Kate Bowler website.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, April 5, 2022

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. – Khalil Gibran, The Prophet.

Found in Well for the Journey.

God’s Nature – Exuberance or the Cross?

Are you given to laughter or irritation when something unexpected happens? And what does God have to do with it? Fr. Ron Rolheiser suggests that God’s nature is both exuberance and suffering, and that Jesus reveals this in his life and in his death. 

Read the essay.

From the blog of Ron Rolheiser.

Seven Lessons Learned from Leaves

Who would think that observing the simple leaf, one can learn some life lessons? But photographer Paul Cotter found that leaves suffer from stress, just as we do. The difference between the leaves he examined in 2019 and the ones he looked at in 2020 attested to it.

Read the reflection.

Found on Daily Good.

A Mother Hen God

Nothing actually keeps danger from being dangerous, says Nadia Bolz-Weber. Of course we are sometimes afraid. Jesus called Herod a fox, then said he wanted to gather Jerusalem to him as a mother hen gathers her chicks. But a mother hen cannot save her babies from a determined fox. What she can do is love them.

Read the reflection.

From the Center for Action and Contemplation.

Poems for Soft Hearts in Hard Times

Often, we turn to poetry to express our feelings when we don’t have the words. This collection of poetry – from Wendell Berry, Mark Nepo, and Naomi Shihab Nye, among others – draws us in to what our hearts are unable to say.

Peruse the collection.

From A network for Grateful Living.

Turn Aside and Behold a Great Sight

Moses had to “turn aside” from his normal plans to see the great thing that God had prepared for him to do. “The act of turning aside from the paths we think we know is a theme that runs right through every invitation of the spiritual life, and Lent is a perfect season in which to practice this subtle but life-changing posture,” says Brother Sean Glenn.

Read or listen to the sermon. 

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, March 22

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

May the blessing of light be on you—
light without and light within.

May the blessed sunlight shine on you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great peat fire.

From Irish Blessings and Proverbs published by JB Irish Books Ltd

Found in Well for the Journey.

The Price of Peace

Brother David Steindl-Rast offers four suggestions for how we as a people can return to being a community of peace. The price for peace will broken hearts, he says, but they will be broken open not broken down, open to embrace everyone.

Read the essay.

From A Network for Grateful Living.

Seeing Beauty in Ourselves and Others

An older woman who is slipping into dementia cannot see her own beauty until friends introduce the idea of kintsugi – a method of repairing broken pots with gold leaf.

Read the reflection.

From Kolbe Times.

The Keys to Aging Well

A reporter with PBS News Hour talks with neuroscientist and professor Daniel Levitin about the aging process and why some people age better than others. Aging is not inevitably a time of decline and loss; it can be a period of renewed energy and engagement. 

Watch the interview or read the transcript.

Found in Daily Good.

On Hope

Krista Tippett of On Being reflects on hope – not as idealism or optimism but as a choice to live in the world as it is, not as we wish it were. “You could make a persuasive case that humanity is hurtling backward,” says Tippett, “But hope calls me to attend, too, to the world that wants to be born.”

Read the article.

Found in Daily Good.

Spring

By Mary Oliver

And here is the serpent again,
Dragging himself out from his nest of darkness,
His cave under the black rocks,
His winter death.

Read the rest of the poem.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, March 15

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

God of peace and justice,
we pray for the people of Ukraine today.
We pray for peace and the laying down of weapons.
We pray for all those who fear for tomorrow,
that your Spirit of comfort would draw near to them.
We pray for those with power over war or peace,
for wisdom, discernment and compassion to guide their decisions.
Above all, we pray for all your precious children, at risk and in fear,
that you would hold and protect them.
We pray in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Amen.

– Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury
and Archbishop Stephen Cottrell of York, Church of England

Spiritual Listening

The way we listen to another is much more important than the words we use. “To listen another’s soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be almost the greatest service one human being ever performs for another,” says Quaker writer Douglas Steere. Spiritual listening is the art of becoming a listening presence, a way of being in which stillness and attentiveness provide the space for people to speak authentically and know they are being heard. 

Read the reflection.

From Daily Good.

The Cross as Revealing the Passion

When we are the one who takes cares of everyone else, it is hard to move from that role to being the one who is taken care of, as happens as we age or become ill.  However, says Fr. Ron Rolheiser, we have an opportunity in those times to give as much to others in our passivities as in our activities. It is a time when we give our love and ourselves in a very deep way.

Read the reflection.

More about Ron Rolheiser.

Between Gift And Privilege

In various shamanic traditions, the word medicine is used to describe the unique combination of qualities that a particular living thing embodies.  A tree’s “medicine” might include the way it offers shade and shelter. In the same way, humans have medicine to offer. “Each one of us harbors a unique combination of inner gifts, waiting to be discovered, drawn out, and developed,” says Jonathan Harris.

Read or listen to the article.

From Awakin.

Listening for the Path of Life 

Brother Sean Glenn of Society of St. John the Evangelist relates that during years of intensive training for a career in music, he began to find pressures that robbed him of the early love he had for his career choice. He eventually was called to a different path. Lent, says Br. Sean, is a time when we can take stock of these dualities—these choices—in our lives. It is a time when we might ask if God is calling us to a different path. 

 Read the reflection.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Light a Candle for Ukraine

A Network for Grateful Living invites you to virtually light a candle for the people of Ukraine. During the lighting you may offer thoughts or prayers, joining more than 22 million people from 194 countries.

To light a candle.

From Network for Grateful Living.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, March 8

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

Forgive

Faith does not diminish the pain or damage that someone else has inflicted against us. We need God’s help to work through our anger and bitterness, to arrive at the place where forgiveness is possible. We need to do this work. Without it, we will be imprisoned.

-Br. David Vryhof, SSJE

Read more.

Send Love – It Matters

In a lovely poem, Carrie Newcomer reminds us that even if we can’t be there to hug those who needs hugs – and food, and shelter, and hope – we can send love. Across the ocean, carried on God’s own spirit, we can send love.

Read and listen to the poem.

From Awakin.

Courage

We tend to think of courage as facing those things in life of which we are afraid.  But, says poet David Whyte, “To be courageous is not necessarily to go anywhere or do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences.”

Read the reflection.

From Daily Good.

Greater Good Resources for Peace and Conflict

The Greater Good Science Center, an educational nonprofit organization, offers resources for understanding the roots of peace, war, and reconciliation. Topics addressed in this article include Promoting peace and reconciliation, Reminders of human goodness, How political apology and forgiveness works, Resources for well-being and activism, and Resources for children’s well-being.

Read the article and find resources.

Found in Daily Good.

Our Best Farewell Gift

In Jesus’ farewell speech, he tells his followers he is leaving them his peace and his spirit.  What gift will we leave our loved ones? How can we leave a spirit of peace? Our lives and our deaths belong not just to us; they are to be given to others as a gift.

Read the reflection.

From Fr. Ron Rolheiser.

Change And New Doors

A little boy, whittling on a block of wood, just lets the shavings fall to the ground.  But our spiritual whittling means not rejecting these parts of ourselves but gathering them up and integrating them as we grow. A ministry that was once important in our lives may need to be let go for a new challenge.  

Read the reflection.

From Joanna Seibert.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, March 1

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

One discovers the light in darkness…but everything in our lives depends on how we bear the light. It is necessary, while in darkness, to know that there is a light somewhere, to know that in oneself, waiting to be found, there is a light.

-James Baldwin, Nothing Personal

From Well for the Journey.

The 5 Kinds of Love We Often Overlook

Romantic love gets all the attention, but there are many ways to love, and not all of them involve a sexual partner, says Marisa Cohen.  Most of us give and receive more love than we realize.  Look at these five ways to experience love.

Read the essay.

From Happify Daily.

An Unusual Gift From My Grandfather

Her grandfather always brought her such unusual gifts.  The little cup full of dirt she could not play with seemed senseless to her.  But she watered it every day just as her grandfather had told her to do.  Then one day something unusual happened. She still thinks it was her first lesson in the power of service.

Read the reflection.

From Daily Good.

Writing a Better Story

Singer, songwriter, and poet Carrie Newcomer reflects on the stories of her life and comes up with a new storyline, in reflection and in song. “I can tell a story of love or a story of fear. I’m choosing each day to smooth down that clean page and tell a better story,” she says. What might your better story be?

Read and listen.

From Daily Good.

Trusting Our Essential Self  to God

Immense humility, not arrogance, characterizes someone who lives in his or her essential self. Richard Rohr calls it “the true self.” In this position, says Rohr, “You simultaneously know you are a child of God, but you also know that you didn’t earn it and you are not worthy of it. You know it’s entirely a gift.”

Read the reflection.

From Center for Action and Contemplation.

Working-Class Spirituality

Joanna Seibert reflects on the admonition of Bishop Steven Charleston that Christianity is not a spectator sport. “Eventually, all our spiritual practices connecting us to God will be calling us to some action, reaching out of ourselves in some way.”

Read the reflection.

About Joanna Seibert.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.