Monthly Archives: January 2018

And Love Comes Calling

Those of you who know my writing have read many times about what I call the will and surrender dance with God. In this blessed dance, we use our will to engage our daily practice where we may be tuned and made ready, like fine instruments, to be played at the discretion of the Master Conductor – often in ways we may not ever have anticipated. And, always, in the fulfillment of such moments, our hearts can only bow in sweet surrender for we recognize, again and again, that it is not we who are creating the melody but our Blessed Creator breathing through us.

This is not just a nice sounding philosophical concept. It has absolutely been my life’s experience. It’s why many of you have heard me say, “I’m so glad I’m not in charge of my life for I could have never anticipated the many ways the Beloved has chosen to use me. Left to my own devices, my life would have been so much more limited!” So, I’ve learned to trust the Master Conductor, that infinite, unfolding, amazing, awe-filled Mystery. And, this is the most humbling awareness which, without fail, puts a giggle in my heart.

And, of course, as the One we call by many names is most succinctly characterized by an unbound and ecstatic Love, I call such moments when the Master Conductor appears with some new melody, Love comes calling. I’m delighted to share with you that I have been given two new melodies. First, Rev. Deb-Ellen Brown, Class of 2015, just absolutely insisted I send workshop proposals to the Haden Institute’s Summer Dream and Spirituality Conference happening the last week in May in Asheville, NC. Both she and Rev. Susan Cass, Class of 2017, are graduates of their Spiritual Direction Training program. Frankly, I was not particularly hopeful as the director’s initial response was that my proposals were somewhat different from what they normally offered. I had proposed two: “Mantra Prayer,” based on my book, Doorway to the Sacred: Transform Your Life with Mantra Prayer and “The Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic,” based on my book, Living the Prayer of Jesus: A Study of the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic. At best, I thought they might consider one. Well, I have been informed that they are offering both!!

The second melody was instigated by Rev. Christy Sperrazza, Class of 2011, when she informed me that she had nominated me for a TEDx talk. With over 80 people nominated, I am so honored to tell you that I was one of 10 selected! My talk entitled, The Shaykh and The Preacher: Finding One Another Beyond Religious Difference, will be part of the event held at Pinkerton Academy’s Stockbridge Theatre in Derry, New Hampshire, Saturday, June 2, 2018. I will be drawing from the experience I shared on my blog in February of 2016 in a post called The Shaykh and The Preacher. This piece, expanded to include my talk, has already been accepted for publication in Celene Ibrahim’s, The Islam and Interfaith Leadership, now under contract with Wipf and Stock Publishers.

Both of these assignments feel quite synchronous and in direct response to the intention I’ve been carrying in my heart: to take our Tree of Life interfaith theological perspective out into the world – that, indeed, we are united by one divinity and one key way we discover this is by the personal engagement and experience of spiritual practices offered across faith traditions. It is in this way we truly discover that Many are the ways we pray to One God. It is my deepest prayer that as I serve as I’ve been called that all I share will serve to bring more and more people to know about our Tree of Life Interfaith Temple and Seminary Program. How blessed. How very wonderful.

Blessed community, as we go forward, I pray that, together, we may tune, listen and wait. For in the most perfect time and way, the Master Conductor will surely appear and, graciously, we will find ourselves, again and again…

Dancing with God.   


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Making Holy

One of my favorite things about the holidays, right along side those Salvation Army bells ringing my heart awake again and again, is to rise before the sun and go down and sit in the glow of the Christmas lights for my spiritual practice. There, I always include Andrea Bocelli, with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, singing The Lord’s Prayer. And, each time I listen, I am absolutely certain I have been transported to heaven. There is no doubt! This morning, New Year’s Day, I woke especially early as I knew it would be the last morning for this my most special time with God – at least in the glow of those silver, red, green and gold starlight, star bright, lights.

Each line of The Lord’s Prayer, particularly when I say it in the language of Jesus, Aramaic, makes my heart quiver with some melody always new to me and I am left still, quietly suspended in some state of unnamed wonder. This morning, the second line has particularly captured my heart: Nethqadash shmakh, Hallowed be thy name. It feels appropriate for the New Year as Nethqadash means to make “holy” and, in particular, signals the need for a kind of clearing, a setting apart, of our most consecrated self for the purpose of preparing for a specific purpose.

To walk in the full awareness of our inner holiness brings the deepest humility. Unable to name, contain or fully explain that which created us, breathed us into life and sustains our every heartbeat, leaves nothing but silent gratitude in its wake. And, as Jesus told us that the kingdom of God is within (Luke 17:21 King James Bible), suddenly, we realize that we, being made in the image of God, are hallowed, that we too have a hallowed name, a unique vibration that point us in the direction of our true purpose just waiting and ready to serve the greatest good.

Hallowed in a time when it appears we have entered into the valley of the shadow of death. Hallowed when it appears truth and justice have become arbitrary and faith, hope and love mere sentiments. Hallowed when hatred has become sanctified as normal. Hallowed when intimidation and discrimination have become the status quo. Hallowed when the new Commandment given by Jesus in John 13:34, “Love one another as I have loved you,” has taken a back seat to personal and national aggrandizement. Hallowed when it appears we are no longer able to see, beyond color, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, our brother, our sister standing there right before us.

Hallowed! This is our great charge! To walk humbly through this valley with our God; to raise the sword of justice and offer hope to all who suffer; to speak love when we hear hatred; to allow no one on our watch to be marginalized; to humbly and vigorously seek the true nature of love for others as our self; to practice adjusting our vision to see, regardless of circumstance, our brother, our sister right there in front of us, on the street or around the world.

Maybe then, just maybe, we may come to know the true meaning of Nethqadash shmakh…

To know, more fully, the great blessing of walking, humbly and courageously, right through this valley of the shadow of death…

making Holy…

Happy New Year Everyone!



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