Archive for May, 2020

 Abide in me as I abide in youThis is the invitation from the Divine (God, Yahweh, Allah, Christ).  It’s as if the Divine is waiting patiently on the other side of the door.  ‘Open the door and come in,’ the words of invitation are uttered.  This utterance is like a soft breeze that we notice only if we are paying attention.  We don’t feel the breeze; we don’t hear the invitation, because we are full of busyness and noise.  ‘Come in and join me and discover how we might become one.’  Yet, here we stand outside of the door.  We want to read one more book about How to Open the Door.  We make copious notes in our journals – one more entry about what it will be like to open the door and cross the threshold.  If we stop and pay attention we become aware of the deep longing of our heart’s desire; a desire that is unfulfilled because we don’t open the door and we don’t cross the threshold.

The Divine has left the door unlocked; perhaps the door is even slightly ajar.  The Divine is patient.  The Divine is waiting to find out how we respond to the invitation to abide in me as I abide in you.  Each morning, each afternoon, each evening the Divine patiently repeats this invitation and waits patiently for our response.  What is the Love that engenders such patience?  What is the Love that is so committed to each of us that no matter how we respond the invitation is always offered; the door is always unlocked and, is I think, slightly ajar.

Each of us is starved for the Love that patiently waits on the other side of the door.  Why do we hesitate?  Why do we resist Love’s invitation?  Why do we, day after day, turn and walk away?  Are we more afraid of the light than we are of the darkness?  Are we, like children, testing the Divine Love – Do you really love me?  Will you still love me even though I turn from you today?  Is your love truly an abiding love? 

Be Still.  Can you hear the invitation?  Do you believe that even if you cannot hear it that if you turn just ever so slightly that you will see the door that is unlocked and is, perhaps, slightly ajar?  Do you want to turn?  Do you want to see?  Perhaps, you say – as I have so many times – it is better for me not to turn and see.  If I turn and see and accept the invitation and open the door and cross the threshold I will, like the rich young man, have to leave ‘stuff’ behind.  Perhaps I love my stuff more!  I am reminded of a routine by the great George Carlin that had to do with all of the stuff that we collect and refuse to let go of.  What’s the ‘stuff’ I love more than the Love that wants to abide in me?  This is a challenging question and once again, I can see myself turning away from the door and yet. . .

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Ever since I began seeking to understand the Chinese concept of Wu Wei [literally, ‘effortless action’], I have become more and more interested in and intrigued by Confucius and ‘The Analects’, or Lunyu (literally “Selected Sayings”), also known as the Analects of Confucius. This is the collection of sayings and ideas attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius and his contemporaries, traditionally believed to have been written by Confucius’ followers.

It is believed ‘The Analects’ was written during the Warring States period (475 BC – 221 BC), and it achieved its final form during the mid-Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD).  The status of ‘The Analects’ grew to be one of the central texts of Confucianism by the end of that dynasty. The Analects has been one of the most widely read and studied books in China for the last 2,000 years, and continues to have a substantial influence on Chinese and East Asian thought and values today.  This morning I will be quoting from BOOK I.  Perhaps, gentle reader, you will find a passage or two that will inform, if not stretch, your own thinking.


Chapter IV  The philosopher Tsang said, ‘I daily examine myself on three points: — whether, in transacting business for others, I may have been not faithful; — whether, in intercourse with friends, I may have been not sincere; — whether I may have not mastered and practiced the instructions of my teacher.’ 

Chapter VI The Master said, ‘A youth, when at home, should be filial, and, abroad, respectful to his elders.  He should be earnest and truthful.  He should overflow in love to all, and cultivate the friendship of the good.  When he has time and opportunity, after the performance of these things, he should employ them in polite studies.’

 Chapter VII Tsze-hsia said, ‘If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous; if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength; if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if, in his intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere: — although men say that he has not learned, I will certainly say that he has.’

Chapter XIII The philosopher Yu said, ‘When agreements are made according to what is right, what is spoken can be made good.  When respect is shown according to what is proper, one keeps far from shame and disgrace.  When the parties upon whom a man leans are proper persons to be intimate with, he can make them his guides and masters.’

Chapter XIV The Master said, ‘He who aims to be a man of complete virtue in his food does not seek to gratify his appetite, nor in his dwelling place does he see the appliances of ease; he is earnest in what he is doing, and careful in his speech; he frequents the company of men of principle that he may be rectified: — such a person may be said indeed to love to learn.’

 Chapter XVI The Master said, ‘I will not be afflicted at men’s not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I do not know men.’ 

Here is an image of Confucius that I like:



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