Independent Thief by Kathleen Edwards
you steal from us
our dead complacent hearts
and kindle a new flame:
take from our hands
the burden of worthless things,
and make them ready
to receive a greater gift:
the love of a Servant Ruler;
by Muhammad al-Maghut
translated by John Mikhail Asfour
send me all you’ve seen
of horror and weeping and boredom –
Fishermen on every shore,
send me all you know
of empty nets and whirling seas –
Peasants in every land,
send me all you have
of flowers and old rags,
of torn breasts,
and wrenched-out fingernails.
Send them to my address
in any café on any street in the world:
I am preparing a huge portfolio
on human suffering
to present to God
as soon as it is signed by the lips of the hungry
and the eyelids of the waiting.
But oh, you miserable ones everywhere,
I have a fear
that God may be ‘illiterate.’
Bugs in a Bowl
by David Budbill
Han Shan, that great and crazy, wonder-filled
Chinese poet of a thousand years ago, said:
We’re just like bugs in a bowl. All day
going around never leaving their bowl.
I say, That’s right! Every day climbing up
the steep sides, sliding back.
Over and over again. Around and around.
Up and back down.
Sit in the bottom of the bowl, head in your hands,
cry, moan, feel sorry for yourself.
Or. Look around. See your fellow bugs,
Say, Hey, how you doin’?
Say, Nice Bowl!
“Don’t be afraid, little flock, because Abba God delights in giving you the kindom. Sell your possessions and give to those in need. Make for yourselves wallets that don’t wear out—a treasure in heaven that never runs out. No thief comes near there, and no moth destroys. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be too.
“Be dressed for service and keep your lamps lit. Be like the household staff awaiting the owner’s return from a wedding, so that when the owner arrives and knocks, you’ll open the door without delay. It will go well with those staff members whom the owner finds wide awake upon returning. I tell you the absolute truth, the owner will put on an apron, seat them at the table and proceed to wait on them. Should the owner happen to come at midnight, or before sunrise, and find them prepared, it will go well with them. Understand this: no homeowner who knew when a thief was coming would have let the thief break in! So be on guard – the Promised One will come when least expected.”
Peter said, “Teacher, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?”
Jesus said, “It’s the faithful and farsighted steward that the owner leaves to supervise the staff and give them their rations at the proper time. Happy the steward whom the owner, upon returning, finds busy! The truth is, the owner will put the steward in charge of the entire estate.
But let’s say the steward thinks, ‘The owner is slow in returning’ and begins to abuse the other staff members, eating and drinking and getting drunk. When the owner returns unexpectedly, the steward will be punished severely and ranked among those undeserving of trust.
The staff members who knew the owner’s wishes but didn’t work to fulfill them will get a severe punishment, whereas the ones who didn’t know them – even though deserving of a severe punishment – will get off with a milder correction. For those who have been given much, much will be required; from those who have been entrusted much, much more will be asked.”
Stealing in the Name of Jah by Max Romeo & the Upsetters
by anonymous, adapted
Lord, to those who hunger, give bread.
And to those who have bread, give the hunger for justice.
The Lord’s Prayer
O Breathing Life, your Name shines everywhere!
Release a space to plant your Presence here.
Imagine your possibilities now.
Embody your desire in every light and form.
Grow through us this moment’s bread and wisdom.
Untie the knots of failure binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ faults.
Help us not forget our Source,
Yet free us from not being in the Present.
From you arises every Vision, Power and Song
from gathering to gathering.
May our future actions grow from here!
Workin on Leavin the Livin by Modest Mouse
Name Unnamed, whose intriguing presence
is closer to home than we dare imagine,
fill us with wonder of you
that we may be filled with wonder of ourselves.
Name Unnamed, whose creativity is a river running,
startle us with diversity
and surprise us with difference
that we may be filled with wonder of others.
Name Unnamed, whose mystery and concern
is revealed in Jesus,
reshape our perceptions,
reshape our patterns of living,
reshape our politics and prayer,
that we may be filled with wonder of a world made whole.
May the blessing of God – the Memory, the Understanding,
and the Will,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.