My challenge and blessing for this year...

Today's message this morning was essentially a reflection on two quotes born of the gospel invitation from the Magi who, after Christ's birth, returned to their regular lives "by a different way." So I wondered out loud about my commitment this year to TRUST God more thoroughly - and consciously practice giving up fretting. Now regular readers will know this is a perennial challenge for me. But upon receiving BOTH these quotes from friends on Facebook last week, I sensed that now was the time to pay special attention.

The first is from Walt Whitman, taken from the preface of Leaves of Grass:

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men—go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers of families—re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body. “Leaves of Grass" (1855)

And the second from Frederick Buechner:

Stop trying to protect, to rescue, to judge, to manage the lives around you; remember that the lives of others are not your business. They are their business. They are God's business... even your own life is not your business. It also is God's business. Leave it to God. It is an astonishing thought. It can become a life-transforming thought... unclench the fists of your spirit and take it easy... What deadens us most to God's presence within us, I think, is the inner dialogue that we are continuously engaged in with ourselves, the endless chatter of human thought. I suspect that there is nothing more crucial to true spiritual comfort... than being able from time to time to stop that chatter.

So, onward into the blessings and challenges of Epiphany.
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