Saturday, February 6, 2021

Makes me think of…

Isaiah 40:21-31

Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in; who brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the eart as nothing. Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,

when he blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. To

whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high

and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by

name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing. Why do you say, O

Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my

God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of

the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives

power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the

young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall

mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.


Makes me think of…


Poem 133: The Summer Day by Mary Oliver (I first read this on a women’s retreat a few years ago)

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean—

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?


I Corinthians 9:16-23

If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and

woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if

not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. What then is my reward? Just this: that in

my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in

the gospel. For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I

might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the

law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win

those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not

free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. To the

weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I

might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its



Makes me think of….

"Essay on Many Paths to the Same Summit" - Sri Ramakrishna (I first read this in undergrad, it stuck with me forever)

God has made different religions to suit different aspirants, times, and countries. All doctrines are only so many paths; but a path is by no means God Himself. Indeed, one can reach God if one follows any of the paths with wholehearted devotion. One may eat a cake with icing either straight or sideways. It will taste sweet either way.

As one and the same material, water, is called by different names by different people, one calling it water, another eau, a third aqua, and another pani, so the one Everlasting-Intelligent-Bliss is invoked by some as God, by some as Allah, by some as Jehovah, and by others as Brahman. As one can ascend to the top of a house by means of a ladder or a bamboo or a staircase or a rope, so diverse are the ways and means to approach God, and every religion in the world shows one of these ways. As the young wife in a family show her love and respect to her father-in-law, mother-in-law, and every other member of the family, and at the same time loves her husband more than these; similarly, being firm in thy devotion to the deity of thy own choice, do not despise other deities, but honor them all. Bow down and worship where others kneel, for where so many have been paying the tribute of adoration the kind Lord must manifest himself, for he is all mercy.

The devotee who has seen God in one aspect only, knows Him in that aspect alone. But he who has seen him in manifold aspects is alone in a position to say, "All these forms are of one God and God is multiform." he is formless and with form, and many are his forms which no one knows. The Saviour is the messenger of God. He is like the viceroy of a mighty monarch. As when there is some disturbance in a far-off province, the king sends his viceroy to quell it, so wherever there is a decline of religion in any part of the world, God sends his Saviour there. It is one and the same Saviour that, having plunged into the ocean of life, rises up in one place and is known as Krishna, and diving down again rises in another place and is known as Christ.

Every man should follow his own religion. A Christian should follow Christianity, a Muslim should follow Mohammedanism, and so on. For the Hindus, the ancient path, the path of the Aryan sages is the best. People partition off their lands by means of boundaries, but no one can partition off the all-embracing sky overhead. The indivisible sky surrounds all and includes all. So the common man in ignorance says, "My religion is the only one, my religion is the best." But when his heart is illumined by true knowledge, he knows that above all these wars of sects and sectarians presides the one indivisible, eternal, all-knowing bliss. As a mother, in nursing her sick children, gives rice and curry to one, and sago arrowroot to another, and bread and butter to a third, so the Lord has laid out different paths for different men suitable to their natures.

Dispute not. As you rest firmly on your own faith and opinion, allow others also the equal liberty to stand by their own faiths and opinions. By mere disputation you will never succeed in convincing another of his error. When the grace of God descends on him, each one will understand his own mistakes.

There was a man who worshipped Shiva, but hated all other deities. One day Shiva appeared to him and said, "I shall never be pleased with thee so long as you hate the other gods." But the man was inexorable. After a few days Shiva again appeared to him and said, "I shall never be pleased with thee so long as you hate." The man kept silent. After a few days Shiva again appeared to him. This time one side of his body was that of Shiva, and the other side was that of Vishnu. The man was half pleased and half displeased. He laid his offerings on the side representing Shiva, and did not offer anything to the side representing Vishnu. Then Shiva said, "Your bigotry is unconquerable. I, by assuming this dual aspect, tried to show you that all gods and goddesses are but various aspects of the one Absolute Brahman."


Mark 1:29-39

When Jesus and his disciples left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew,

with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about

her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she

began to serve them. That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or

possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many

who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the

demons to speak, because they knew him. In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up

and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for

him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let

us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I

came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues

and casting out demons.


Makes me think of the hope I am given in the vaccine of a brighter tomorrow for us all.

(And now to rest.)



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