Dear Friends

As we build the Beloved Community, we pray for you every day that you might continue to bring it about in your little corner of the world.

Today's Meditation features Joyce Rupp reflecting on "Starry, Starry Night" and walking together with Sophia Wisdom, beloved companion, mercy-maker, truth-bearer, love-dweller.

We invite you to join us as we commit

ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in the church, in healthcare, in the workplace--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.

In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that it is God's economy of abundance: when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.

We hope and pray that you find peace, healing, hope and the infusion of joy in your life!

With our love and care,

Ron and Jean

MEDITATION: Joyce Rupp: "Starry, Starry Night"

Reflection - August 2023

You are probably familiar with Don McLean’s song, "Starry, Starry Night". This piece about Vincent Van Gogh’s aching heart is not what brings me to write about “stars.” Rather, it’s about a night earlier this summer when I stood looking at a bright star surprisingly visible in the city sky. I felt the same wonder and sense of connection with vast Mystery that I did as a small child on the farm. I was too small to remember but a family friend told me about the night my parents had guests in the living room. I, who was supposedly tucked away in bed, came quietly down the stairs to the kitchen window. They heard a rustle and asked what I was doing in there. In my little voice I answered, “I just came to look at the stars.”

Looking at the universe’s night sky has allured me ever since. I felt a nearness to divinity in my teen years when I came home from a date and stood at the east window of my bedroom, wondering who I was and would be. Many years later on the isle of Iona, asI lay outside on my back, the blaze of starlight astounded me with a strong sense that nothing mattered except being a part of something too vast to comprehend. Numerous other starry moments like that have set my mind straight and clarified what muddled my heart.

In Laurens van der Post’s memoir, The Heart of the Hunter, he describes an amazing time with the Bushpeople of the Kalahari desert. One night he joined them in endless, evening dark of the desert as they sat around a fire. He listened as they told him they could hear the stars—the resonance—anyone could, if silent enough. I’ve always wished to hear that music but so far it has only happened in my heart.

Stephen Jenkinson likewise reminds his readers in Die Wise that stars in the dark of night hold great potency for leading us to our hidden selves: “The Anishinaabeg people in my part of the world have stories that can only be told when... the night sky is so blue-black that the stars are like ragged holes dug through from the other side to let the light of the Other World into this one for a time.”

Most people know the Christmas story of the Wise Astrologists following a star to Bethlehem where they found a Light brighter than the star that led them there. Some time ago, I stumbled across a scripture verse with a similar theme. In the Book of Wisdom, I read how Sophia (the Greek name for Wisdom) aided the people of the Exodus journey: “She guided them along a marvelous way, and became...a starry flame through the night.” (10:17) This discovery confirmed my experience of the stars providing a sense of the Holy One’s presence—outer lights uniting me with my Inner Radiance.

When I pray Rabindranath Tagore’s poem each morning it includes, “Let your love, like the stars, shine in the darkness of my sleep and dawn in my awakening.” I then bring to the Holy One the people in darkness who’ve asked for prayers. I trust that in the nighttime of our lives when hope flees and joy hides- when we long to know how to be, where to go, what to do—we can trust the Star in our heart, the presence of luminous Light, to sustain us.

Whether it is summer or winter where you live, take time to look at a night sky where stars are visible. If you stand there for awhile, you’ll regain a valuable perspective on what is happening in your life. You may well recover hope and a sense of divinity threading love from the stars into your very heart.

Abundant peace,

Joyce Rupp

Excerpted from: The Star In My Heart, Joyce Rupp

Sophia, to you I come:

you are the Wisdom of God

you are the Whirl of the Spirit

you are the Intimate Connection

you are the Star in my Heart


open my being to the radiance of your presence

to the guidance of your companionship

to the compassion of your indwelling

to the lighting of your blessed vision


trusted friend, beloved companion,


mercy-maker, truth-bearer, love-dweller,


all goodness resides within you


take me by the hand

bless the frailty of my weak places

strengthen my ability to dwell in darkness

for it is there that your deepest secrets are revealed.


we walk together.

I like to think of Sophia (divine Wisdom) as a star in my heart, one whose light guides and consoles me in my inner darkness, drawing me to a bondedness with a greater truth than I presently know or understand. No matter how hard I fight to stay “in the light,” I will have some darkness in my life. This is as sure as the pattern of sunrise and sunset in the natural course of the day. My darkness comes from many sources, sometimes from the pain and struggle of changing ideas, relationships or work, or from my participation in the human condition of aging, accidents, and illness. It has also come from that silent journey when I have desired to be more united with the Divine who is the beloved one dwelling at the center of who I am. This calls for the risky journey into the depths of my self because, most often, the way to the Divine is one of going through the passage of darkness within, having only the glimmer of Sophia’s light to tend the way.

The Divine is also discovered in my happy joyous, light-filled times, but no matter how much light I carry within me, there will always be times of feeling lost, being confused, seeking direction. It is the way of the human heart. It is the way of going inward. It is the way of Sophia.