Refuse to be Claimed

12.19.2021. An excerpt from THE BURNING HEART: Reading the New Testament with John Main, ed. by Gregory Ryan (London: Darton, Longman + Todd, 1996), p. 77.

If a man says “I love God” while hating his brother, he is a liar. If he does not love the brother whom he has seen, it cannot be that he loves God whom he has not seen. And indeed this command comes to us from Christ himself: that he who loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4: 19-21)

Let us be quite clear what St John is saying, namely that we cannot love God or our neighbor. We love both or neither . . . In mediation we develop our capacity to turn our whole being toward the Other. We learn to let our neighbor be just as we learn to let God be. We learn not to manipulate our neighbor but rather to reverence him, to reverence his importance, the wonder of his being; in other words, we learn to love him. Because of this, prayer is the great school of community. In and through a common seriousness and perseverance in prayer we realise the true glory of Christian community as a fraternity of the anointed, living together in profound and loving mutual respect. (WS, p. 78)

After meditation: “Red Brocade” by Naomi Shihab Nye in 19 VARIETIES OF GAZELLE: Poems of the Middle East (New York: Greenwillow Press, 2005). 


The Arabs used to say,
When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is,
where he’s come from,
where he’s headed.
That way, he’ll have strength
enough to answer.
Or, by then you’ll be
such good friends
you don’t care.
Let’s go back to that.
Rice? Pine nuts?
Here, take the red brocade pillow.
My child will serve water
to your horse.
No, I was not busy when you came!
I was not preparing to be busy.
That’s the armor everyone put on
to pretend they had a purpose
in the world.
I refuse to be claimed.
Your plate is waiting.
We will snip fresh mint
into your tea.

  • Related Posts
Scroll to Top