one day I realized that there is no simple solution to suffering, no discovery that promises to delete pain from our histories, our bodies, our Body. not the best prayer, most poignant quote or eloquent excerpt. for some, drugs can push it away. for others, the illusion of fullness, fueled by overconsumption. of purity, fed by food and fast. playing the piano can ease it, a little. praying almost always helps. smiling at someone does, too. talking with a soul-friend, breaking bread. searching scripture, yoga, journaling, the traditions have it down. but nothing makes it stop. loss hurts. disappointment is sparked as a possibility fades. suffering surrounds. I hurt, and people who love me cannot make it stop. people I love hurt, and I cannot make it stop

but then a poem is passed, and passed again. a prayer is uttered, somewhere, because someone, somewhere, is always uttering a prayer for the world.


please God, may I begin again?

so the words of marianne williamson are returned to me, with a mother's blessing:

"Dear God, please make of my life what You would have it be. Time and fate have twisted things I cannot strighten out alone. Dear God, may I begin again.
My body
my mind
my spirit
my love
my hate
my pain
my sorrows
my joy
my questions
my fears
my hopes
my visions
I give them all to you."


speaking of risk

perhaps most importantly, we must recognize that ethics requires us to risk ourselves precisely at moments of unknowingness, when what forms us diverges from what lies before us, when our willingess to become undone in relation to others consitutes our chance of becoming human.

--judith butler, giving an account of oneself

risky business, this being human

gamble everything for love,
if you are a true human being.
if not, leave this gathering.
half-heartedness does not reach
into majesty...

more words, from another wise one

I Believe in the Resurrection of the Body
John 20: 1-18
An Easter Sermon by the Reverend Odette Lockwood-Stewart
Epworth United Methodist Church
March 23, 2008

This week, Dave Ross began his CBS radio broadcast with these words: “Beware Easter!” He was troubled by the controversy about Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and the claim by some that if Senator Barack Obama did not get up and walk out of church, that meant he agreed with everything his pastor said from the pulpit..... So Ross (and I) began to worry. He warned Christians of the danger of staying in church on Easter when you just might hear some pretty outrageous things... things like Jesus rose from the dead and you can, too... Well, here goes, church. I’m about to say something embarrassingly outrageous: I believe in the resurrection of the body. I believe in the resurrection of the body ... the body politic, where “Love is the Soul of Justice, and Justice is the Body of Love:” (Crossan & Dominic, p. 215) -in Darfur -in Iraq -in the U.S.A. -in Palestine -in Israel -in the Philippines -in Korea -in Afghanistan -in China .....I believe in the resurrection of the body... the Body of Christ: The Church as communities of hope and transformation- -in Berkeley -in Chicago -in Fort Worth -in Rome -in Bethlehem -in NairobiI believe in the resurrection of the body ... all bodies:Alive in new ways- -in me -in you -in our neighbors -in those we love and see no more -in our enemies -in all our relationships Resurrection: God at work in the world, in the word, in our lives, in our dreams, in history, in creation, in and through community. Again and again and again, death gives way to life.I believe in the resurrection of the body.Poet and theologian Rubem Alves writes,The Christians included a strange declaration in their Creed. They said they believed in and wished for the resurrection of the body. As if the body were the only thing of any importance.But could there be anything more important? Could there be anything more beautiful?It is like a garden, where flowers and fruits grow. The smile grows there,Generosity,Compassion, The will to struggle,Hope; The desire to plant gardens,To bear children, To hold hands and stroll,To know......the ear that hears the lament, in silence,...the hand that grasps another...the capacity to hear someone’s tears, far away, never seen, and to weep also... So simple, so lovely ... (I Believe in the Resurrection of the Body, Alves, p. 7-9)To believe in the resurrection of the body is to take seriously the renewal and rebirth going on all the time in our earthly and earthy lives.There are differences among the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection. But they all begin with an empty tomb ... with the absence of the body. In John’s gospel, while it is still dark, Mary Magdalene comes to the rock-hewn tomb alone and finds the stone rolled away. She weeps at the empty tomb, she tells Simon Peter and the other disciple, “They have taken the Lord.” She returns to the tomb, stays there, weeping, meets two angels, and asks the one she assumes is the gardener ...where they have taken her Lord. When Jesus calls her by name ... she recognizes him, reaches out to touch him, then proclaims, “I have seen the Lord!” The word “body” never appears in the story.Peter, the leader, “the rock,” who had denied Jesus, enters the tomb first. He sees the linen bands of cloth where the Jesus’ body had lain, and he returns home... confused.This morning, in the year 2008, I invite us to remember the other disciple, the one called, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” He outran Peter, but waited for Peter to enter the tomb. Looking at the empty tomb and burial cloths, this disciple “saw and believed.” This follower of Jesus saw emptiness and believed without seeing more. He did not see the resurrected Jesus, He did not hear Jesus call his name. He did not touch the wounds of crucifixion. To believe without seeing, to see emptiness and believe, is to trust. And God is trust worthy.The promise of Easter is so overwhelming because the defeat and despair of Good Friday is so excruciating. Easter without Good Friday dooms us to greeting card and bumper sticker faith. Easter without Good Friday grasps cheap grace without counting the cost of discipleship. Easter is “yes!” “Alleluia!” only after going through the “No” of Good Friday.On Tuesday, I heard the speech of Senator Barack Obama in which he so powerfully addressed the historic as well as current divisions of race in America. He claimed the power and promise of rebirth ... but only by facing past pains honestly. He said, “I have asserted a firm conviction, a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people, that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds and that, in fact, we have no choice. We have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.”We know Good Friday in our lives, in our nation, in our global realities. Living as Easter people in a Good Friday world means dying and rising and dying and rising ... Trusting love to surprise us with new life again and again and always.One beloved member of this community described herself as “a Good Friday person on Easter morning.” As a church community during this past year we’ve shared the journeys of many who have dealt with severe loss. And we’ve held in love and prayer those who have borne the weight of living with life-threatening illness.This week I received a note from a dear friend and colleague, Father Frank Desiderio, with whom I served in campus ministry many years ago at UCLA. Frank’s father celebrated his 90th birthday in January. Then one month later, on Ash Wednesday, Frank, Sr. died. He had lived diminished for some time ... Frank Jr. wrote of the 90th birthday celebration, and of what followed ...“(Dad’s) long absent wit showed up for the occasion,for that one day sparks of his old self shone ...... His death on Ash Wednesday gave us the gift of grief for Lent,and his long life, the gift of gratitude.Easter gives hope that he hovers near.In life, in death, in life beyond death ... Love always hovers near. I’ve seen it ... I’ve felt it ... In deepest pain I’ve been held by it. I believe in the resurrection of the body. Thanks be to God.

words from (a) wise one

caminante no hay puentes, se hace puentes al andar

(traveler there are no bridges, one makes them as one walks)

--gloria anzaldĂșa
chicana dyke feminist mujerista writer, poet, scholar, and activist