Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Category: holiday


Revelation 12:

1 A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth. 3 Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. 5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; 6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred sixty days.

7 And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world-he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming, “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Messiah, for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.

12 Rejoice then, you heavens and those who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you with great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

13 So when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to her place where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. 15 Then from his mouth the serpent poured water like a river after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood. 16 But the earth came to the help of the woman; it opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. 17 Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus. 18 Then the dragon stood waiting on the sand of the seashore.

Psalm 92:
1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
2 to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
3 to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
4 For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
5 How great are your works, O LORD!
Your thoughts are very deep!
6 The dullard cannot know,
the stupid cannot understand this:
7 though the wicked sprout like grass
and all evildoers flourish,
they are doomed to destruction forever, 8 but you, O LORD, are on high forever.

9 For your enemies, O LORD,
for your enemies shall perish;
all evildoers shall be scattered.
10 But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox;
you have poured over me fresh oil.
11 My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;
my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.
12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree,
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 They are planted in the house of the LORD;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
14 In old age they still produce fruit;
they are always green and full of sap,
15 showing that the LORD is upright;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Merry Christmas!!


The area is filled with people, neighbors rarely around at the same time bumping into each other with the usual neighbor issues and relations.

Gets in the way of peace a bit, though the ravens, and jays, and visiting, frolicking squirrels are doing their best.

This is a holiday to be sure, a day truly worthy of celebration, and yet, for me, in my quest to restore a rhythm and break through the impasse it is not an entirely welcomed day.

Ah, well.


Happy Pentecost! On this day the Church is 1,971 years old. Three candles will do, I think

morning of Easter

Happy Easter!!

Christ has Risen, He has risen indeed.

Good Friday morning

Finally, a decent hour to awake, my body adjusting to the senseless change of time. I liked the sun rising in the early morning, and now… well, I did see the waning moon halfway in the sky, bright in the dawn light, shining through the living room window. The bare wisps of clouds were on the southern horizon behind it. My attention was diverted for a moment, with the intention to sit and stare at this celestial companion. Once I was able, and it was not long in coming, the moon had disappeared. I tried to find it behind a tree, it wasn’t there. I moved around, high and low, left and right, it wasn’t to be found. The moon was gone, and I don’t know where it went. Now the sun rises, not yet above the trees and hills. A white feather floats downward from high above, drifting in front of my small grove of eager saplings, a diverse group if ever there was one.

In my prayers this morning I prayed for hope. I don’t feel hope right now. That’s a tricky situation to be in. Hope is more than happy thoughts, it is the essence of what we do. There can be questions about where our hope is placed, there are wrong and right sources, but without it entirely… well, that puts a person in a bad spot. In thinking, though, I would decline to say that I feel hopeless. I am without hope, though I am not hopeless. Yes, that’s a wrangling of words, a contradiction even. Nevertheless this is the case.

Honestly, I feel lonely this morning. It is a holiday, even though it is not a feasting kind of holiday, and I feel the emptiness of being the only part of a conversation. It is not something particular I feel I am missing, just the intangibles of the presence of another, of others. I want to bask in the aura of the image of God which fills others. I feel, spiritually, like I have stared in the mirror too long. It is not just being around people, that is an easy fix. It is the more, the presence of companions dedicated through and around time. For these, I call and no one answers it seems.

The lack of hope is a relative expression I realize. There is a distinction between two people who run, one of whom is eighteen miles into a marathon, the other who can’t get out of the chair to start jogging a mile. Both may despair over making it twenty-six miles, both may have doubts and fears. The former, however, is invested. A true lack of faith, I realize, a true lack of hope, would lead me to abandon all paths, to push me to make it on my own, outside of the Divine, outside of prayer. A true lack of faith makes God nothing more than window dressing in a well tailored life.

So there is missing hope and there is missing hope. The perspective is the vital piece. And today, in the middle of an overlong race, I feel a mite bit lost. What’s the point of climbing this mountain the adventurer might say, attaching his oxygen bottles to begin the final assault.

I lack hope, my faith is diminishes, my soul is weak and I am sad. Yet, I write this. I write this because in my depths, in the deepest places of my heart, I feel I will be able to read this in later years and say, “Aha, it was good, God is good.”

Wesley often noted, as did Mother Theresa and many others throughout time, he did not feel the love of God in his life, did not feel he loved God, felt it all a sham. This while he continued onwards. At my age, Wesley was floundering in Georgia, a missionary to the lost who didn’t want him, a failure and a religious zealot all at once, downright offensive in much of his pursuits. He was shipped back to England after this, after having legal charges filed against him by a onetime romantic interest. It took God, ‘strangely’ warming his heart to push him to the next level, not a conversion as much as an activation of his pursuits.

I say this because I feel a tremendous lack of hope, feel my steps faltering, my faith weak. And yet, within this all, is the core of belief which makes me continue to jump out into the void, feeling alone because I have already acted in faith. Yes, I can turn other ways, but no I cannot. To turn for me, to grasp onto those things which the world presents (or doesn’t) is more than just a career or social move. Bound up in it is the whole question of faith. Right or wrong (and I’m not arrogant to say either) I feel that to switch tacks now requires me to jump ship, to quit the race. Yes, I feel a need for surrounding companions, yes I feel heartbroken that much of my dreams have not resolved themselves. But, I stick to the race laid out for me.

Jesus, at this point in time on this historical day, was being whipped and beaten, dragged before Pilate. What begins now is a marking of one of the most unjust beatings in history, and it continues for many hours. This he endured for me. A little emotional misery I surely can endure for him, to see this race won, to embrace that which he has for me.

He does make all things new. He did and he does. Beyond our own time, outside our own methods, shifting from utter pain to total joy in an instant, he works then and now. This is the hope even when all hope seems gone.

And so Good Friday begins.

Good Friday evening

Stars were out, filling this sky, when I got home. The smells of the forest reawakening my soul after an afternoon and evening in the suburbs. The very twists and turns of the highway were comforting, leading me to a different world.

I was gone all afternoon, and returned after the day had ended. Sometimes I feel like writing, last night I went to bed. The day was appropriately remembered, with the comfort and joy of sharing time with old friends. I went to an interactive stations of the cross and felt myself renewed. It was full of peace, meditative, and even with all of my own recent considerations, it was enlightening.

The day ended well, God blessed.

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