21 June 2020

fathering


I live to know the joy
of just walking with you,
my child. To relish
the tall grass and
blooming red flowers,
to keep the peace
of simple love in silence,
to feel the soft breeze
do no violence
to hope, to mark
the beauty of your face,
the grace growing
within and between us—
I bind myself to you
and in this I find liberty.

………………

fathering
by troy cady
.
.
.

14 June 2020

enfolded


let these wrinkles be to me
the signs of a soul growing into
the folds of an aging body
a record of laughter
the story of hope in suffering
long stretches of silence
making peace with shadow
creased joy and tough love
memories of your touch
the gentle caress
of a trembling heart
as if skin could teach me
how to be at home in myself
by making a home in You

……………..

enfolded
by troy cady
.
.
.
.

12 June 2020

Love Your Enemies



“Love your enemy.” There are hardly three words we could string together that would produce more inner dissonance than these. And, yet: if we cannot learn to love our enemies, we will only continue to reap more hatred, more division, more strife.

The expression “our world is falling apart” conveys only a half-truth. If we are to be completely honest, we need to acknowledge it has been falling apart for a long time now. For as long as we have made enemies of one another…that is how long the world has been falling apart. That is since the very dawn of humanity.

So: who is my enemy and how am I to love them? Everyone has an enemy. They are the people we hate. That is how we know who our enemy is. As someone who claims to follow Jesus, it is both shocking and troubling to me that it is very easy for me to identify my enemies. How quickly their names come to mind! How sad it is that I have risked so little to love them, and how safe I feel preserving their status as “the enemy” in my heart and mind.

How am I to love such a person? How am I to love such a group? How is “my group” to love “their group”? Within the answers to those questions we find the source of a true and lasting hope. This is the difficult work of loving one’s enemies.

At its core, what we are after is an end to Othering the other. At its core, the work of loving one’s enemies involves laying aside the mindset of “us vs. them”, the “home team” against “the visitors.”

How we speak of one another matters. Do my words dignify or only serve to divide? Labeling does not help the situation.

An enemy is still a human. Do my words humanize? In my mind, do I think of my enemy…as human? Is my heart able to see the humanity in my enemy, even the enemy who dehumanizes another? If I answer someone’s dehumanizing words and actions by dehumanizing them in return, what progress have I made? I must come to see that I cannot take a stand for truth by dehumanizing another, since truth is always a humanizing force. The commonality of our very humanity…rests upon truth. Truth dignifies.

These questions make me so uncomfortable. Surely this is the hardest thing to do…to love one’s enemy. And, yet: if we are to know peace within and without, it is the one task that must be done.

To be sure, there is hope. This has been done before. Enemies can become friends.

Surely this moment in history is a moment where we all have plenty of opportunities to practice loving our enemies. We will never perfect the art of it, but let us not give up rehearsing the new rhythms of it. We can take a stand for truth and humanize the Other at the same time. It’s hard, but we can do it.

We must do it. It is the only way out of our divisive enmity. May it be so.

…………………

Love Your Enemies
reflections by troy cady
.
.
.

10 June 2020

Fighting for Peace




In a world overcome by violence, peace appears as a disruption that at first feels strange, counter-intuitive, even foolish. This is why true and lasting peace can only come with practice, countless rehearsals of non-violence. Day after day after day, we rehearse this way of deeper courage, longer endurance such that the very sign of today’s protest reflects the vision we have for a better tomorrow.

Fortunately, the sign of the future peace for which we long has already been shown to us by the peaceful One who has gone before and is in our midst even now. Christ, the Prince of Peace, invites us to rehearse the way of non-violence, to wrap ourselves in His very heart—for He Himself is The Way and He Himself is our Peace. In Christ, we see that the open hand (more than the clenched fist) disrupts the cycle of violence. Thus: as we work for peace, we take our place by His side, willing to lay down our life, willing to disrupt the cycle, fighting by refusing to fight on the world’s terms of violence—fighting the fight on heaven’s terms, beating swords into ploughshares.

To win this “fight” God does not raise up an “army,” per se. The people whom God raises up are not armed with the weapons of this world. Indeed, God’s people are empty-handed, open-armed. In this way, God raises up an alternative community which itself is to be a sign and foretaste of the lasting peace that God has in mind.  It is the community of the Beloved.  We enter the fight with open hands, hearts bared, laying it all on the line for the sake of love, even love for our enemy.

If we wish to disrupt the cycle of violence, let us rehearse love for our enemy. To rehearse such a strange love, we will need to wrap our lives in the One who has perfected the art of loving like that. As we do so, we will soon discover that we ourselves are the enemy He has loved. And we are joined by countless others who have been strengthened by the same love, even our own enemies. This is the community of the Beloved. This changes everything.

…………………

Fighting for Peace
reflections by troy cady
.
.
.
*Sculpture: “Love” by Alexander Milov; photographed by Andrew Miller.

08 June 2020

crying out. protest.


in the swarming chaos
I cry out for a center
a place of remembrance
a time when all is love
each breath sacred and counted
as if the soul could carry grace
the spirit swollen as pregnancy
and hope late-term breaks forth
breaking the fear
of another miscarriage

I cry out from the center
where the tremors intensify
and in my mind’s eye
I can see the beauty in the pain
the sweat as raindrops
these tears, the water,
this joy-in-sorrow life

I cry out in the center
praying God’s warm breath
would catch my dry throat
even as these open hands enfold
this new life in love,
these tears, the water,
this joy-in-suffering life


…………………………


crying out. protest.
by troy cady
6/8/20
.
.
.
.

01 June 2020

an invitation to gentleness




The strength of gentleness lies in its capacity to open us up, to come face to face, to stop, to slow down, to look and listen. Gentleness cannot be hurried. In gentleness we are able to face our fears. Quietly we speak. We recover ourselves. It is safe to be human again. We find that which we had lost in the violence—our better selves. Gentleness invites us out of hiding and gives us both the wisdom and the courage to stop fighting bullets with bullets. Gentleness teaches us to take our stand not in fits of rage but in hope, praying and believing that day will follow day. We trust to hope. And hope grows such that we make plans to walk the way of peace for a lifetime, step by step. Our resolutions become more than mere momentary reactions. Words emerge—healing and wise words—from a full and present silence, a silence borne of gentleness that quiets the confusion, chaos, noise and clamor within. Mark how gently life itself endures, as gentle as breath itself.

………………..

an invitation to gentleness
reflections by troy cady
.
.
.
.
*Photo by Georgia de Lotz via Unsplash. Creative Commons License.