This lavish and radical welcome, this nourishing, sustaining meal IS the Christian church in its essence . How to live this feast of Divine Love even more deeply so that those ( and there are many ) who feel excluded and unwelcome may enjoy this good food and drink alongside those of us who feel satisfied and content in our communities of the like-minded? I post this today on Holy Thursday because I was out walking and met a man who is very poor and homeless and when I invited him to accompany me to attend a lovely church community that I feel right at home in, he said: " I'm not REALLY welcome there ." It got me thinking/feeling... And I remembered hearing these words from others over the years. My question: Why? Why is this so? Can I see things from the perspective of one who does feel excluded ? Can I gain new insight and another perspective? Can we move beyond our contentment with where we are now and ask the hard questions of radical welcome? Can we imagine a longer, broader, new and different Table ? Or do we remain satisfied?


WHY?    This is the question that Jesus cried out in his agony upon the cross. This is the question that captures my attention today. For years I have kept that question at a distance as a theological query seeing it as Jesus' ultimate question or better, quest in his personal relationship with his Abba, the Divine One. " Father, why have you abandoned me?"  But now, I'm troubled. I'm disturbed by the recurring thought that I am missing something more essential to the living of my life - the broader ethical implications that only now my imagination brings to my fearful mind. This question , 'Why? , is for me the ultimate question of my existence. Why am I? Why you?  Why this world? Why suffering? Why death? As I've reflected more and more on this in seminary, university, on the streets, reading the philosophers and theologians over many years, it  becomes clear to me that there is no satisfying answer but the question, that gnawing question, remains urgent. Why? Is it possible that the asking of the question itself is a kind of answer, a deeply human response to what is. When I cry out ,' Why?' I am throwing myself into this world of suffering with passion and the ever present possibility of passionate and compassionate engagement. When we listen, when we hear Jesus crying out from the cross, is it possible that Jesus' question ignites a theological and existential fire in our midst?  When we bring together another shocking cry of the Rabbi with this question a different light is shed. Jesus once said, " Whatever you do to the least of these you do to me."  When I attempt to make the connection I begin to see the world differently. I hear Syria crying out in their abandonment, "Why?" I hear the Palestinian people crying out from their refugee camps for more than sixty years, " Why?"  I hear men , women and children crying out from the rubble and shattered structures, " Why?" I hear those who live in poverty in the inner cities, in rural America continuing to lament their schools and the violence on their streets with this one word, " Why?" I hear the millions around the world struggling to find enough scraps of food to merely survive crying out, " Why? Why? Why?

Now here's the kicker: I hear Jesus crying out through all these human beings, crying out not to God but to us. Christ, can you not leave us alone? We are doing all we can! What do you want from us?  The ultimate question of why is aimed right at me and right at you. It is a serious disturbance of the peace.  And remember, this is a question with no satisfying answer so it will not go away. It is not intended to be answered. It is intended to be felt like an earthquake in the heart. And when we're able to ask it we ask it with passion and compassion over and over and over again.  The question of why is meant to propel us deeper into the darkness of suffering, ours and the world's. This kind of question asks us until we cry out with Jesus, " Why?"  This unanswerable 'Why?' is our constant companion and will lead us, if we desire, and sometimes in spite of our desires, deeper into the awkwardness of relationship, deeper into the struggle for justice, and deeper into the paradox and the mystery of our lives.  Ultimately it's about transformation -ours and the world. And along the way there is the danger and risk of change. And along the way there is also the delight of asking questions that unearth truth and joyful discovery. And it all begins with, " Why?"



Long Island, Boston, Buffalo, West Virginia, Memphis, Cookeville, Brunswick,Takoma Park, Fairfax, Washington, D.C...Churches, Coffee Shops, Seminaries, Homes.Sidewalks...For the past six weeks it has been a whirlwind of visiting people in faith communities large and small, receiving the warmest of hospitality, deepening and extending friendship,sharing the new music from the CD called CELTIC KIRTAN: HEARTBEAT OF THE BELOVED. It has been a sacred journey of being with people, spirits, animals, listening to stories, rivers, trains, sharing songs and chants, concerts, workshops, liturgies, drumming, poetry and prose, good food, great conversation, laughter and tears and becoming more and more engaged in the work. And what is the work? What is really happening in the midst of it all?



Why am I a follower of Jesus? The short answer is because I don't believe that Jesus came to start a new religion but rather, to start a fire under every religion - the fire of love. I believe that what Jesus set in motion is the deconstruction of every known religion and simultaneously the reconstruction of every known religion. And it doesn't stop at religion. That deconstruction/reconstruction affects any and every system whether it be  philosophical, psychological or political which at its heart uses force and violence to ultimately get its way while seeking to exclude any human being from an ever expanding ecumenical embrace. And it goes even further...Jesus' path of radical love and non-violence goes right to the heart and mind, body and soul of every individual lighting the fire of transformation under our assumptions, our beliefs, our greed, our fears, and our hatreds. There is no fortress , be it social or individual, in society or in the psyche, that is safe from the flames of this all transforming fire of love.


2015 Pilgrimage of Peace


In 2015 we'll be taking the music, stories, poetry...on the road. We call it a Pilgrimage of Peace. We'll be visiting churches, colleges, seminaries, retreat centers, pubs, coffee houses...and sharing in concerts, retreats, workshops, festivals, flash-mobs, non-violent demonstrations... If you would like a visit let us know.

The schedule for 2015 will be posted in January on the website www.songsofpeace.net .

Let's stay in touch through Macushla and Friends: Heartbeat of the Beloved on Face Book.

I am very much looking forward to seeing you in the New Year!



Cry of the Banshee -Episode Three

                                                 Cry of the Banshee - Episode Three

The living and the dead  together in silence, waiting, listening, not knowing what was about to take place. Two things happened.. First, the light became focused on one person and the golden-red rays of that lower sun seemed to envelop the Banshee herself where she stood and the effect was that she smiled for the first time. At the same time the roots of those trees which before had seemed a violent intrusion into the space began to take on a different character altogether and became like great cords of compassion which gently moved toward the uninvited guest, surrounding her , lifting her slowly upward and creating a hallowed hand for her to sit upon and rest. Closing her eyes her body lightened.  All watched in amazement hearing  the voice from below speaking a kind of music, addressing her with such tender affection and great respect  in words perhaps, but more like soft, sweet melodic phrases that only she could understand. In the very next moment the light broadened to include all of us and the voice became intelligible and all understood its meaning, a meaning which had never been uttered before in any church. To us the voice said: " This is my Beloved Daughter. I delight in her." And again the Voice sang these words in a different key: " This is my Beloved Daughter. I  delight in her." And a third time: " This is my Beloved Daughter. I delight in her." Each time the message was heard it was like layers of history, of suffering, were being peeled away and ancient wounds revealed and healed. Each utterance like the deepest medicine penetrating the human heart. The first one and the only one to speak was Patrick, that wondrous old saint who  brought the Christian faith to Ireland. He approached the Banshee, bowed to her, and knelt before her. " I ask for your forgiveness, dear lady", he began. " My Breastplate, my prayer of protection, has not protected the ones I love. I have failed to protect the people from wolves and snakes and dark birds of prey, from centuries of abuse and neglect, from the terrors and certainties of authority, power and control. I have failed to protect the very people whom I love from a religion that suppresses and silences the songs and chants, the beliefs and ways of a people I first met so long ago,  my heart's love. I see it now and I ask for your forgiveness." At these words the Banshee embraced and kissed the saint. Together they wept. Together they laughed out loud! Their embrace became a dance and the trees began to move in grace-filled ways. The roof of the church opened and the sky became visible. The rays of the sun above broke through and  clouds poured down rain on every single head as if in a new kind of baptism, a baptism of nature's power, of nature's beauty,  of nature's hidden meanings. And a new song was heard in the native tongue, an all-embracing song. A song that listens to wind and questions  the soul..A song that raises the dead and levels the living. Can the sun and the moon dance as one? Can the darkness and the light sing the same song? In the midst of this new music the old church structure dissolved like melted wax. The walls disappeared and the trees became a lovely grove surrounding and sustaining us all. Even the wolves and snakes and birds of prey were welcomed and transformed in this new ecumenical song. It was an eternal moment, a moment in which  all were " blessed and could bless."


Cry of the Banshee -Episode Two

Cry of the Banshee - Episode Two

At the sound of these words the foundation stones of the church itself began to tremble and convulse as the Banshee went from words to sighs and groans.Her voice seemed to be the voice of many, the voices of neglected souls long ago, calling out through rock and standing stone.  She wailed and she wept and her hot tears ran down her well-worn face , over her breasts , down her sturdy legs and fell upon that cold floor. Each tear falling to the ground of the church created an opening that seemed to drop down, drop down into an abyss. From each opening the roots of ancient trees began to rise, running round the interior of the building , covering the stained -glass windows like haggard hands, and blocking out the sun until all was completely dark. The only sound being the crawling of the trees upon the floor, along the walls, and reaching as high as the ceiling, blotting out any artificial light. And finally even that sound stopped and what remained was utter stillness , total silence. It is difficult to put into words what happened next. In the darkness, in the silence,in the nothingness we waited. We waited in the moment for the next moment to appear. And everyone, aware of a presence, or better yet the presence of many presences, opened their eyes but nothing could be seen. Nothing could be heard. Not yet.  Everything was felt. And then as a curtain or veil slowly lifting a  warm, rich and multi-colored light seemed to grow out of the earth beneath our feet. From the openings below created by the Banshee's tears, a light was emerging until all were illumined or bathed in the rays of this sun from below. And in these rays were seen and heard and felt -  melodies, songs and chants from some other world, which rose and sounded together in various modes, carried by the colors of this earthen sun. As we looked around the room we saw other faces from long ago. There was Patrick. There was Brendan. And there was Brigit , Columba, Ita and Hild and many more...  all kept silence as if waiting for the next moment; the next moment when the most beautiful, the most powerful voice of all was heard, heard not just with our ears, but in the depths, in 'the deep heart's core'. A voice, deeper and richer than any ancient imagining , and the words, more like a song, cut gaps in hearts of stone and filled deserts with  rivers of longing and desire.  This voice, this blessed voice was rising from below, from the earth, speaking or singing in numinous tones.  I will tell you now what this voice said,  and did:  -Episode two