Advent, Day 2

Advent Reflection from The Merton Institute

Merton's Voice:

Last night all I could think of was to give my will entirely to God and desire no light or consolation, but only His will. I chanted the psalms of Lauds thinking how the only thing that matters is the glory of God....[Journals 2:149-150]

The Bible NRSV:

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. [I Thessalonians 3:12]


I revere your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes. [Psalm 119:48]

Seen Above: "Fear Not" by Ruth Councell

First Sunday Of Advent, Day 1

Advent Reflection from The Merton Institute

Merton's Voice:

I give myself completely to God-He draws me more and more to that. I cannot know what lies ahead for me, for us, but more and more I realize God wants me to put myself in His hands, and let Him take me through the things that are to come.... [Journal 2:145]

The Bible (NRSV):

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the House of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the Land. [Jeremiah 33:14-15]

The mighty one, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. [Psalm 50:1]

Seen Above:

PSALM 19: A unique contemporary interpretation of the beloved psalm, "The Song to The Choirmaster," also the oft-heard words prior to a sermon, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight."

Created by Roz Dimon working in collaboration with Kathy Bozzuti-Jones, Click HERE to participate in this multimedia event.

O Maker Of Worlds

O Maker of Worlds beyond us,
help us to live in the world we know
in peace with one another,
a kaleidoscope of nations,
a patchwork quilt of ways and wills
that rise from the depths of cultures
created by Your love.
Open us to the richness
of one another's vision
and the good we can accomplish
when we share one another's views.
We pray this prayer of unity and peace
in the hope of Shalom

Words: Sister Miriam Therese Winter

Image: The Rev. Scott Fisher

What Is Our Mission?

“We participate in trying to heal this world.
That’s what we’re here for.”

Words: The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori in an address here.

Image: Processional Cross by David Orth

Charter For Compassion

Learn about the Charter for Compassion HERE.

All Lovely Forms

"Formless, all lovely forms declare his loveliness;
holy, no holiness of earth can his express.
Lo, he is Lord of all. Creation speaks his praise,
and everywhere above, below, his will obeys."

Words: From Praise To The Living God Medieval Jewish liturgy (in today's Daily Prayer)

Image: Photograph by The Rev. Scott Fisher (Afternoon Sun in the Willows)

I Touch Light

"We are not human beings on a spiritual journey.
We are spiritual beings on a human journey."

Words: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The Splintered Cedar

The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars,
Yes, the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon.
-Psalm 29:5

Cedars symbolize worldly majesty and beauty – and sometimes even pride. In antiquity, the cedars of Lebanon were prized above all other trees. Their wood was fine, strong and wonderfully scented. Cedar wood was the top choice for building any temple or palace, and it fetched a premium price.

When snow falls, cedars turn their branches towards heaven. This enables them to sustain the weight of the snow for a long time. Plus, because of their great flexibility, cedars rarely splinter.

This piece depicts the powerful effect of God's voice on the prideful cedar, as described in the psalm. Nothing is left of its majesty and beauty but splinters. The splinters are arranged in concentric circles to reflect both the precision of God's word and the idea that the splintering is a result of something like a sound wave. The lovely scent that hovers above the splinters reminds us that, while the cedars may be destroyed, the aftermath of that destruction is a bringing about of God’s Kingdom.

As cedars can be splintered by God's voice, so prideful man can be humbled by His Word and His action in the world – leaving behind only the sweet fragrance of Christ-like humility.

Words and Image: Installation with cedar mulch and wood splinters, Gerda Liebmann

Spiritual Light

As every bird's nest begins to sing
in the green leafing out light of Spring,
As pale, sulfur-winged butterflies play
and yellowing dandelions are gay,
I see new joy in these morning skies
as sun rubs its rosy waking eyes;
As earth and heaven wildly embrace
in all the wildflowers of your grace,
I keep on turning from place to place
like a sunflower towards your face.

Words and Image by Paul Trachtman

Soul Silence

Contradictions have always existed in the soul of [individuals]. But it is only when we prefer analysis to silence that they become a constant and insoluble problem. We are not meant to resolve all contradictions but to live with them and rise above them and see them in the light of exterior and objective values which make them trivial by comparison.

Words: Thomas Merton. Thoughts in Solitude (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1956): 80-81.

Image: A. R. Pinkus, Waterfalls in Maui