Oakland church

See All that Lies Within Us

This Sunday, July 19th, we are blessed to have with us my friend and colleague, Rev Davena Jones, Associate Conference Minister for the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ. Here’s a 44 second hello video Rev. Davena made for Skyline.

So much is being revealed to us in this great disruption, if we have the eyes to see it.

May we have the courage to see what has always been there before us, including what lies within us. Please join us on Monday July 20 as part of the Poor People’s Campaign in a nation-wide, Strike for our Lives (see info below)

The world’s sacred texts describe the journey of enlightenment as the development our capacities for seeing and hearing anew, especially those who are different from us. 

I’d like to share with you a quote from Thich Nhat Hahn,  Vietnamese Buddhist monk, who was nominated in 1967 for the Nobel peace prize by the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr.  This quote is about to developing the capacity to see all that lies within us, entitled, “Please Call Me by My True Names”.  Here is a context for his reflection.

Please Call Me by My True Names

By Thich Nhat Hanh

Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow— even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving to be a bud on a Spring branch, to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings, learning to sing in my new nest, to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, to fear and to hope. The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that is alive.

I am a mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river. And I am the bird that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am a frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond. And I am the grass-snake that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks. And I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate.

And I am also the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands. And I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to my people dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth. My pain is like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up and the door of my heart could be left open, the door of compassion.

This gives me endless hope. Together, we help each other see our way through to a better, more beautiful world.

with love, Pastor Laurie 


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