Monday, July 19, 2010


I saw a stranger today.
I put food for him in the eating-place
And drink in the drinking-place
And music in the listening-place.
In the Holy name of the Trinity
He blessed myself and my family.
And the lark said in her warble
Often, often, often
Goes Christ in the stranger's guise.
O, oft and oft and oft,
Goes Christ in the stranger's guise.

The Greek word for "hospitality" literally means, "love of stranger" (XENOPHILIA). I wonder how open my heart is to love strangers, to welcome people I do not know into my life, my time, my home, my heart. Then I ask, whose life, whose time, whose home, whose heart is it I think I am living in? Ancient hospitality sees the stranger as Christ, welcoming the stranger with love, acceptance, giving of time, table, friendship. For Christ himself, on the last Day will declare to all lovers of strangers, "I was a stranger and you welcomed me!" With this very declaration in mind, St. Benedict tells us "Welcome as Christ all guests who present themselves" (The Rule of St. Benedict, chapter 53:1). The stranger at your door may just be a long lost family member returning home. 

Note: This anonymous “Celtic Rune of Hospitality” is from the Isle of Iona, Scotland, discovered in the Iona Community gift shop on an art card, September, 2005. Etchining above is Rembrandt "Prodigal son", portraying Luke 15.

Monday, July 12, 2010


  Oswald West State Park features nearly 2500 acres of pristine coastline, forests and coastal mountains. Located near milepost 40 along US101, just 10 miles south of Cannon Beach, this state park is a favorite of Portland day-trippers and surfers year round. The beach, known as “Short Sands” or “Shorties”, tucks into a half mile bay called Smugglers Cove. Legend has it pirate treasure is hidden in a cave near this cove. Oswald West State Park was named after the 14th Governor of Oregon. Some consider Oswald West one of Oregon’s finest governors, the man credited with establishing the Oregon beach highway law, opening all Oregon beaches to the public. Oswald West State Park stands as a tribute to a man who believed in the power of the people to create and maintain a better world for future generations. Part of the 382 mile long Oregon Coast Trail runs right through this state park. Oregon features around 150 miles of beaches, the largest section of public beaches in the United States.  40% of the Oregon Coast Trail is on the  beach, another 40% is on paved roads and only 20% is a trail over headlands and through forested areas. Some of the best views along the entire stretch of the Oregon Coast Trail are found at Oswald West State Park. For a great beach bench view, walk 200 yards down hill along the Oregon Coast Trail off US101 between milepost 40 and 41. You’ll be hiking through Salal fields interspersed with wildflowers. Take the first left spur and walk out to the cliff’s edge. The Oregon State Parks have placed cabled fencing along this dangerous overlook at the edge of Devil’s Cauldron. Take a look to the north, to the entrance into Smuggler’s Cove and across to Cape Falcon. Enjoy Oswald West's vision of public access to beauty, set apart for generations to come, such as this bench found overlooking the Pacific. As John Keats wrote in his famous Sonnet to the Sea, "O ye who have your eyeballs vext and tir'd/ Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea."

Monday, July 5, 2010


God, gather and turn my thoughts to You.
With You there is Light,
You forget me not.
With You there is Help, 
and with You there is Patience.
I do not understand Your Ways,
But You know the Way for me.
~Prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)

Bonhoeffer, German Pastor, Theologian and Writer, was executed by the Gestapo on April 9, 1945, just two weeks before the Allied Forces liberated that concentration camp.

This prayer is also a beautiful prayer song composed by the Taize' Community in Taize', France. See

(Photo by David Robinson)