Soul Moments

May there be each day

in all our lives

some moment when we are called,

nay, brought to the doorway

of our soul’s sanctorum,

where the physical, sloughed off

to reveal the spiritual,

fades for a time in the fog of memory

and our heart’s eyes see

as they have never seen before—

a thin space where truth

waits to be revealed

to the curious and the hungry,

and our heart’s ears hear

the message that only love can bear,

the message that we are beloved.


Ann Glover O’Dell

18 September 2017

At The Seashore

At the seashore we ingest a sense of eternity—

the primeval rhythms of the sea against the shore,

the sea as the chaos from which all life came,

the depths of the sea as the mystery of whatever cannot be grasped or


the sea as the mystical power of God.


The sea-shore activates our  senses and reminds us afresh of our humanity.

We marvel at the sight of the sea, which has looked the same

to countless generations who have witnessed it before us.

We hear the unrelenting pounding of the waves against the shore, booming

yet calming.


We touch the water, the seaweed, the driftwood, and the shells the sea brings

to shore.

We smell the sea, its breeze unlike any other.

We taste its saltiness, full of flavor, full of life, of living creatures.


As  our senses sharpen we become aware of the action of the sea:

a constant movement in the ebb and flow of the waves,

a surface that belies an undertow,

the  movement of shells and creatures,

the movement that forces the shells to wear down and break,

the movement that causes friction, shell against shell,

the movement that smooths and polishes,

the movement that makes beautiful

even the fragments.


We, too, are worn down by the sands of time and the waves of adversity.

We have been broken by the action of circumstance.

We have become fragmented by the sea of life.


As we finger shell fragments, let us be reminded that we are precious to our Creator,

who wants to smooth and polish our rough edges, our painful places,

not to erase our scars but to heal us in a way that gives our scars a

special beauty

and our lives a kind of loveliness that makes others want the healing

we’ve received.


Let us submit ourselves to the caress of the sea,

the powerful sea of the Spirit of God,

allowing it to wash away what needs to be washed away,

allowing it to make us fresh and new,

allowing it to smooth and polish and broken fragments of our

lives and make us beautiful again.


October 1995

Ann Glover O’Dell



Time and again Jesus instructs his disciples and others in his audience to listen.  “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” Jesus repeats.  We have come to understand that for Scripture to have the greatest impact on our lives, we must ask ourselves, ‘what does it mean to me?’ Where is it touching me most deeply?  Where am I most affected, and perhaps made uncomfortable, by the Scripture passage?

As we ask these questions, we are better able to see how God might be a part of the situation in the text—and my situation as well.  We are invited to have a personal encounter with the verses we choose to read in the Bible, a prelude to the kind of encounter that God wants to have with each of us.

Look again at the parable of the sower and the soils.  Many interpretations have been given of the various kinds of soil, and even the sower and the grain that finally emerges from the good soil.  But this time you are invited to make your own personal interpretation.

Scripture: Matthew 13:3-8

A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.  Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away.  Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.  Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Residents of Haven House, a residential treatment center for addition,  were asked to listen carefully as the story was read several times and then share whatever they would of the responses they had and the insights that came to them as they pondered at a deeper level what the story might be saying to them.  All of them related the story to their own stories.

One man noticed that the sower lost a lot of seed but gained a great deal in the end.

Another suggested that we need to plant ourselves around a church family so we don’t wither.

Still another suggested that the thorns in the story represent the wrong people we associate with.

One said it seemed to him that to do good, one has to give up something to gain something else.

Another said we must prepare our heart in a way that we have to prepare soil to receive the good seed.

And finally one said we don’t know how our crop will turn out but we want to be good soil so we can produce a good crop.

What varied and insightful responses!  And all from individuals who chose to listen to Scripture with new ears, and with a heart ready to receive and embrace.

What about you?  I invite you to choose a favorite Bible story and sit with it long enough to let it say new things to you.  I believe you will be enriched by what happens to you.

March 2017

(Note: A number of additional meditations are available on this website under Meditations.)

Ann Glover O’Dell

It’s Our Story!

To see the Jesus narrative as our story does not diminish the life and death of Jesus.  On the contrary, to see ourselves as God’s beloved child, with the capability of engaging in a unique relationship with God, just as Jesus was, can’t help but enrich his story.  To see in the story not only the human/divine nature of Jesus but also the human/divine nature of all human beings is to complete the picture.

Our interest in all classic stories is enhanced by seeing something of ourselves in one or more of the characters.  Both fiction and non-fiction give us opportunities to identify with real or imagined characters, to better  understand ourselves, to see new paths opening up for us, to gain new  tolerance and sensitivity to others’ situations, and to find comfort in sorrow.

The Bible doubles as Christian mythology where larger-than-life characters capture our imagination.  We identify with Abram as he is called to leave familiar surroundings, with Joseph as he is scorned by his siblings, with Jonah as he resents the change of heart that occurs with the Ninevites.  Classic literature and mythology always develop characters who embody some of our own traits.  Otherwise, we could never identify with the tragic heroes as we do.

The soul we credit with belonging to every human being is nothing less than the essence of our divinity, the piece of God planted in each of us, not to give us bragging rights but to give us the abundant life Jesus spoke of, the ability to be the person God begat us to be.

A story presents so many more possibilities if interpreted on multiple levels.  Can we not imagine that God wants us to glean the most possible from the stories told in Scripture?  That God wants us to learn from the stories and characters to understand more about who we are and how He loves us?  Oh, let us imagine greatly!

God’s Beautiful Handiwork

Barcelona architect Antoni Gaudi disdained Christianity as a young man.  As he developed, however,  into a keen observer of nature he began to recognize beauty everywhere.  He came to attribute all to God’s creative energy and sought ways to honor and publicize what he had found.

Project after project repeated his narrative of beginning in the darkness and moving upward to the light.  He sought to demonstrate the natural world in interior as well as exterior architecture, using forms and lines from nature and an extraordinary play of natural light through stained glass.  Magical whimsy became his hallmark as he invited viewers to enjoy the playful fungiform structures and mythological reptile creatures he produced.

May we follow Gaudi’s lead, observe the activity of our Creator’s energy in nature, and see ourselves as His beautiful handiwork as well.

The Lamb of God

“ Behold the lamb of God that taketh away the sins. . . .” The consciousness of man, whereby God can be fully known in the flesh, is the lamb of God—God’s most precious gift to man (and with it his free will). This is what must be sacrificed—made sacred. For genuine intimate communion with God, man must be made sacred, must be transformed into God’s original design—not pre-consciousness but rather full conscious awareness.

This full conscious communion with God becomes possible as man freely offers his conscious will to God. God gives man his pure lamb of consciousness, hoping man will, after having made a demi-god of it in service to his ego, offer it back to God to be re-purified, made sacred, as only God can.

Our task in this God-man relationship is to “behold” our willful ego that can no longer provide for us what we most want— peace of mind and inner joy. “Behold” in ourselves what needs to die—what needs to become the blood sacrifice—the gift to God—made pure and sacred by his power and returned to us in a sanctified relationship—a communion of our spiritual essence with the essence of God. That communion of essences is indeed the holy meal that God wants to share with each of us.
Ann Glover O’Dell
23 December 2014

(note: The story of one person’s transformation experience may be read on this website under BOOK entitled Humpty Dumpty Hatched.)

Seasonally Out of Sorts

We are seasonally out of sorts.

Winter did not come

and spring has usurped summer

o’erleaping gradual emergence

making handsprings of blossom

cancelling whatever June

might have had in mind.

Praise God for liturgically

wedding us to predictable chronology

where Easter follows Lent

regardless of the weather.

And after Resurrection plus five o

praise God again

for giving  feast of fire and air

grounding us afresh on Mother Earth.

Our wings are lifted up

Our spirits fanned to flame

Our breath the breath of God

We see ourselves as burning bush

And repeat our own “I Am.”


Ann Glover O’Dell

20 February 2017