471: Are you ready for some HOPE? Let’s Lift Our Cities in Prayer … Again!

Times are tough—and we’re all seeking spiritual strength. This week, ReadTheSpirit kicks off a major effort, which will continue in occasional stories through autumn—focused on powerful ways to “Lift Cities in Prayer.”
     That’s the slogan of a successful program we co-sponsored a year ago. Now, we realize that our ailing cities—our core communities—can use all the prayer and all the fresh ideas we can summon!
    Here’s a link to our 2009 “Lift Cities in Prayer” resource page, newly updated for our second-annual effort. Then, all this week at ReadTheSpirit, we’re focusing on spiritual ideas for helping our communities. (Tuesday and Wednesday, you’ll hear news from the Iona Community, internationally known pioneers in urban ministry, and from the famous hymn writer John Bell.)
    All this week at OurValues.org, Dr. Wayne Baker has invited writer and business innovator Lynne Meredith Schreiber to write a series about an unusual feeding program in Michigan that could serve a model for your area, as well. Click Here to read Part 1 of Lynne’s “By The Grace of a Grocer” series.

    However, what Lynne is describing is much more than the practical grassroots partnership you’ll learn about this week at OurValues.org, a Web site dedicated to exploring the nuts and bolts of American values. Driving this new feeding program is the spiritual fuel of the volunteers—and that’s our specialty here at ReadTheSpirit. So, we invited Lynne to share a separate story today about the spiritual underpinnings of her work.
    This story is short—a powerful glimpse that there’s also deep reflection behind this work.


By Lynne Meredith Schreiber

I left my marriage when my youngest child was one year old and embarked on the best part of my life yet, not knowing a total and complete recession was around the corner. I trusted in my own hard work, sincerity and determination to get me somewhere good. We all face loss and challenge; in a world where karma rides the breeze, everything we do comes back to us in good measure. The unthinkable can sometimes be the biggest gift.
    Yesterday morning, as the sun beamed on my backyard and my children ran in rain boots and pajamas among the grass and the garden, I picked a rune from a gray velvet bag. It was blank on both sides. I had chosen the Unknowable.
    Runes are a 2,000-year-old set of magical signs that guide people toward achieving their goals. If they believe in them. Sources say that cosmic information lives in each one of us and since it resides in our subconscious, we do not always have ready access to it.
    The last masters of Runes lived in Iceland in the 1600s. They taught that failures do not result from bad days but rather, from bad decisions. They believed that consulting the runes—which really means taking time out to breathe and to focus and think about what you are about to embark upon—helps you make the right decisions.
    A blank rune, then, signals emptiness or the end—but an end also signals a new beginning. Choosing the unknowable insists upon braveness from the person who selects it, a readiness to jump into the abyss with trust that something wonderful will emerge on the opposite embankment. Wear this rune if you wish a complete change, the end of the old, the beginning of new.
    Of course, there are those who are well-versed in the cosmic spirituality of Runes, who suggest leaving aside this blank stone, since it was apparently added to the set in the 1980s. They purport that its inherent newness disturbs the flow of what was really an ancient art.
    As you read my story all this week at OurValues.org, I’m inviting you to add comments each day about the practical values shaping this food program. But there’s more to the story than just the nuts and bolts of community organizing. Runes may not be tools you’ve used in meditation. You may pause in your own form of prayer or to read scriptures. But, please, do devote some time this week simply to pausing and appreciating the wonder of what can happen when neighbors reach out to each other. Here’s a preview of the story I’m going to tell you …

    By the cosmic grace of a humble hometown grocer, thousands of people are eating without sacrificing quality or nutrition. Led by the generosity of a community-focused church and the vision of a few good people, the partnership between congregation and corporation, a new sort of community has emerged, one that embraces the possibilities and eschews the very notion of competition.
    It’s a good day in America, if you ask me. A very good day indeed.

    Click here to jump to OurValues.org and watch this story unfold.


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    (Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)

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