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A quiet place for meditation....

THE GIN MAN

Several cotton farmers were whiling away a winter afternoon around the potbellied stove.
They soon became entangled in a heated discussion on the merits of their respective religions.
The eldest of the farmers had been sitting quietly, just listening,
when the group turned to him and demanded, "Who's right, old Jim? Which one of these religions is the right one?"
"Well," said Jim thoughtfully, "You know there are three ways to get from here to the cotton gin.
You can go right over the big hill. That's shorter, but it's a powerful climb.
You can go around the east side of the hill. That's not too far, but the road is rougher 'n tarnation.
Or you can go around the west side of the hill, which is the longest way, but the easiest.

"But you know," he said, looking them squarely in the eye,
"When you get there, the gin man don't ask you how you come. He just asks,
'Man, how good is your cotton?'"

~Beulah Collins

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy.
Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

~His Holiness the Dalai Lama



O GREAT SPIRIT

O Great Spirit,
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me!
I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes
ever behold the red and purple sunset.

Make my hands respect the things you have made,
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.

Make me wise so that I may understand
the things you have taught my people.

Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
under every leaf and rock.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight against my greatest enemy ~ myself.

Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.

So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my spirit may come to you without shame.

For everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.

~William Blake

THE PREACHER: RUMINATES BEHIND THE SERMON

I think it must be lonely to be God.
Nobody loves a master. No.
Despite the bright hosannas, bright dear-Lords,
and bright determined reverence of Sunday eyes.

Picture Jehovah striding through the hall
of His importance, creatures running out
from servant-quarters to acclaim, to shout
Appreciation of His merit's glare.

But who walks with Him? Dares to take His arm,
To slap Him on the shoulder, tweak His ear,
Buy Him a Coca-Cola or a beer,
Pooh-pooh His politics, call Him a fool?

Perhaps - who knows? - He tires of looking down.
Those eyes are never lifted. Never straight.
Perhaps sometimes He tires of being great
In solitude. Without a hand to hold.

~Gwendolyn Brooks

When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion.

~Abraham Lincoln

The great Tao flows everywhere,
to the left and to the right,
All things depend upon it to exist,
and it does not abandon them.
To its accomplishments it lays no claim.
It loves and nourishes all things,
but does not lord it over them.

~Lao Tzu

If I had only two loaves of bread,
I would barter one for hyacinths to nourish my soul.

~Muhammed

Let us infuse our lives with this thought.
It is our job on this earth to make the world a nicer place when we leave it than it was when we entered it.

Think of all the good you can do in a lifetime ~
create a happy world for yourself, with the happiness radiating to those around you;
raise a decent, responsible, productive child; tend a plot of land; be a loving friend;
participate in your community; do a good and ethical job in your lifeís work;
help strangers in need; vote and volunteer for what you believe in; give money to charity.

In every action, we are making an offering to the world.
If you litter, you are making an offering, and if you pick up litter, you also are making an offering, though one of a very different kind.
Yelling at a child is making an offering to the world, and taking time to be patient with a child is an offering, too.
Expressing curtness in the simplest daily transactions is an offering, as is showing kindness in those very same deeds.

Thousands of times a day we tell the world who we are ~
our thoughts, words, and actions resonate and affect others as well as ourselves.
In this respect we can live a rich life or a poor one, and it wonít make one bit of difference
whether we have lots of money or none at all.
Have you ever offered help to a stranger, with no forethought, just because you happened to be there when that stranger needed help?
And didnít that rich act of kindness bring you satisfaction and a sense of well-being all day?
Thatís living rich, beyond the bottom line;
Looking a stranger in the eye and wanting to help is tantamount to seeing and reflecting God.

-Suze Orman, "The Courage To Be Rich"

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly;
to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart;
to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never.
In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.

~William Henry Channing

The Great Spirit
sketches out the path of life roughly
for all the creatures on earth,
shows them where to go,
where to arrive at,
but leaves them to find their own way to get there.
He wants them to act independently
according to their nature.

~Lame Deer



WE WOULD NOT

We would not crucify the Christ ~ not us.
We would not nail Him to a tree ~ not us.
We would not see Him suffer, would not have Him feel the pain,
would never leave Him on a cross ~ not us.

What's that? We gorge while others starve?
We like our friends but hate our enemies?
We take so little time to help the ones who need our help,
the least of these our brethren?

Well, that may be true.
We're only human after all.
What did you expect ~ perfection?
But don't forget,
We would not crucify the Christ ~ not us.

~unknown

i thank You God for most this amazing day:
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes...

~e.e. cummings

Desiderata This background is a painting by Thomas Kinkade, my favorite artist.

~"Meditation for a Quiet Evening"~
musical notes
an original composition by
Bruce DeBoer
Copyright, 1999