Join Us For Worship At:
Meadowbrook Country Club
2149 N. Green Bay Road
Racine, WI 53405

Our next Zoom Worship is on August 2 at 10 a.m.

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Keeping Our Center ~ Day 130

Because our drives down to the Appalachia region always took place over two days, we would stop at a park or somewhere on Sunday morning for a brief worship service. One of our favorite places to worship was on the top of a cliff overlooking a natural bridge rock formation at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky. 

One year I asked the group to pick up a rock on their way up the mountain and to bring it to worship. When we had gathered, I began by telling them a Dorothy Day story as told by author Parker Palmer in his book, “Let Your Life Speak.” He wrote:

“Years ago, I heard Dorothy Day speak. Founder of the Catholic Worker movement, her long-term commitment to living among the poor on New York’s Lower East Side - not just serving them but sharing their condition - had made her one of my heroes. So it came as a great shock when in the middle of her talk, I heard her start to ruminate about the “ungrateful poor” I did not understand how such a dismissive phrase could come from the lips of a saint - until it hit me with the force of a Zen koan. Dorothy Day was saying, ‘Do not give to the poor expecting to get their gratitude so that you can feel good about yourself. If you do, your giving will be thin and short-lived, and that is not what the poor need; it will only impoverish them further. Give only if you have something you must give; give only if you are someone for whom giving is its own reward.’”

It’s hard, sometimes, not to expect to be thanked and rewarded when we’ve helped someone else. We want to be appreciated to boost our own self-esteem and give our egos a lift. We want to have someone pat us on the back and tell us how awesome we are. But pure service is meant to be given without attachments and expectations. 

After the story, I invited our group to let their rocks symbolize something that they were bringing as their gift to the people of Appalachia that week, and to place them on our huge make-shift rock altar. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed when then gifts were deeply thought out. People brought compassion, kindness, a desire for understanding, acceptance, hope, non-judgement, patience and so much more.

The world needs these gifts from us, given without strings, given simply because it is what we do, it is who we are.

Love & Light!