Sunday, June 28, 2015

Trust the Slow Work

Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.  We would like to skip the intermediate stages.  We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.  And yet, it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability - and that it may take a very long time.  Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
     - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Friday, June 26, 2015

Real Danger

The real danger consists in wandering without belief, in endless deliberating without action, and in not wanting to dare to do anything.
     - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, written while in Tegal prison 

Some Things

I’m on Dragon Air flight 297 into Hanoi.  The very proper and courteous flight attendant smiles at me saying, “We are pleased to offer you breakfast on our flight this morning.  We have a choice of a Chinese breakfast which includes…”  At this point she hesitates as a troubled look comes over her face and continues, “some things”.  Then, her cheery smile returning, adds “or we have omelet with sausage”.

Hmm. Hard choice.  I’m adventuresome but as that wise sage Dirty Harry once observed, “A man’s got to know his limitations”. Anthony Bourdain I’m not.  I’ll pass on the ‘some things’ and go with the omelet.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Help me to pray

I've been meditating on this prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer during this long day of flying:

O God, early in the morning I cry to you. 
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you;
I cannot do this alone. 

In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;

I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Summer Solstice in Southeast Asia

Dawn breaks early in Southeast Asia on this Summer Solstice. The longest day of 2015 - at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere. It will be especially long for me as I fly back home. 12 hour time zone change makes for a seemingly eternal day. 

Melancholy captures my wandering pilgrim soul as I traverse the threshold between the people whom God has called me to and the family and home I so love. The words of an old Bob Seger song drift into my head:

Moving eight miles a minute for months at a time
Breaking all of the rules that would bend
I began to find myself searchin'
Searchin' for shelter again and again
Against the wind
A little something against the wind
I found myself seeking shelter against the wind

I guess planes have gotten a little faster since Bob wrote those lines. With a good tail wind my coracle makes ten miles a minute or more. Too slow to satisfy my desire for home. Too quickly separating me from my calling. 

I return to Bob for closing thoughts:

I've got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out
Against the wind
I'm still runnin' against the wind
I'm older now but still running
Against the wind
Well I'm older now and still running
Against the wind

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Human Force

The force of the human being is prayer.  To pray is to breathe alongside God. To pray is to give your life to God and to dedicate it to him.  
My dear child ... do not forget: it is through prayer that you will become strong. 
     -Dietrich Bonhoeffer 

Another Southeast Asian Sunset

Thursday, June 11, 2015

He Waits to be Wanted

Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. 
   - A.W. Tozer. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Fisherman's Choice

The beauty of this morning belies the darkness swirling beneath the surface of life in Southeast Asia. Like the unseen keel of the old fisherman’s boat motoring up the murky river, Satan is silently but most certainly guiding these unsuspecting people. The golden idols and family shrines testify to his control of their lives, to their search for God. Topside all is peaceful and serene, bucolic, but just below the waterline of daily existence is a chaos of barnacles and slime, doubts and fears.

What chilling history lingers behind those fisherman’s eyes dark as the placid river waters? What hunger for peace and reconciliation? Will he toss away the answer to his longing, his need, as casually as he tossed the trash over the side of the boat? Will he fail to see the consequence of the choice as it floats away in the wake of life?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Solitary Prayer

In solitary prayer we become aware that our identity does not depend on what we have accomplished or possess, that our productivity does not define us, and that our worth is not the same as our usefulness.
     - Henri Nouwen