Here is the World

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Have you noticed how the sun is playing in the leaves, giving us these glorious last few days of fall? The bright beauty of the world seems so clear to me on these autumnal days, which makes the pain and suffering all around us even starker.

How then can we see and celebrate the light, and be truthful about the darkness we face? Below are some selections that give me hope and help me face the truth, I hope they’ll do the same for you.

 

What beautiful and terrible things are present for you today?

How might you see them in a different light as the leaves change?


A New Story

Wondering how to face the devastation of extreme weather events like Hurricanes and our call to take action? Check out this sermon by Rev Dwight Wagenius as he weaves together economic inequality, extreme weather, & climate change, and calls us into action and writing a new story of equity and justice. R ead Dwight’s full sermon here.

THE SUN
by Mary Oliver

Have you ever seen
anything
in your life more wonderful
than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,

floats toward the horizon
and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone—

and how it slides again
out of the blackness,
every morning,

on the other side of the world,
like a red flower

streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance—
and have you ever felt for anything

such wild love—
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,

a word billowing enough
for the pleasure
that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you
as you stand there,
empty-handed—

or have you too
turned from this world—
or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?

 

To Live While You are Alive

In this clip of a longer conversation between Arundhati Roy and Howard Zinn, Roy reads an excerpt from an essay on failure, human brilliance, and our call to live fully while we are alive. The end of this clip includes one of her most famous quotes. I urge you to listen.

Hearing her read these words, which have become the north start of my life, is deeply healing for me, and I hope it can be for you as well.

“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.” Arundhati Roy


Saving the Harvest

“As we face a future of climate change, we can take strength from our ancestors, who have journeyed over many lands, over many generations. I look forward to making this journey with all of you.”

Stuart Henry shares the D’Var Torah (sermon) given at the Sukkot service, a holiday which celebrates the Jews wandering in the desert after the Exodus. Read Stu’s full sermon here.


Learning to Live Our Faith


What are you discovering in this moment?

How does living in the world help you to learn to have faith?

A friend described this song to me as “seeing the world with open eyes and really understanding. Feeling our grief but also finding a way to celebrate, hope, move forward; embodying both.” I love the rawness, the ability to hold both grief and joy in the same moment that’s present in this song. It seems that is what it means to be fully alive, and that learning to feel both our grief and our joy is essential in the complexity of this moment we find ourselves in. Click the image above (or here) to listen for yourself.

Thanks for joining me around the fire,

Claire

PS Want to contribute to Firelight? We’d love to share your unique voice and story with our network.

Submit Your Sparks: What’s sparking for you lately? What poem or song is sustaining you on these chilly days? Click here to share what you’d like to see featured in future editions of Firelight.

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Claire Curran