Would God …

Would God be diminished if I lived a question….

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What would happen if I pursued God?

If I filled my pockets with openness,
Grabbed a thermos half full of fortitude,
And crawled into the cave of the Almighty
Nose first, eyes peeled, heart hesitantly following
Until I was face to face
With the raw, pulsing beat of Mystery?
What if I entered and it looked different
than anyone ever described?
What if the cave was too large to be fully known,
Far too extensive to be comprehended by one
person or group,
Too vast for one dogma or doctrine?
Would I shatter at such a thought?
Perish from paradox or puzzle?
Shrink and shrivel before the power?
Would God be diminished if I lived a question
Rather than a statement?
Would I lose my faith
As I discovered the magnitude of Grace?
Oh, for the willingness to explore
To leave my tiny vocabulary at the entrance
And stand before you naked
Stripped of pretenses and rigidity,
Disrobed of self-righteousness and tidy packages,
Stripped of all that holds me at a distance from you
And your world.
Strip me, O God,
Then clothe me in curiosity and courage.

This poem   “Stripped by God” © 2007 by Rev. Cynthia Langston Kirk  is quoted in   “Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity”.   Her blog and web link are here.

I am really interested in Cynthia Langston Kirk.  A poet, story teller, fabric artist and an inspiring Christian minister involved in Piecing Stories Ministries and a retreat leader. (Wow that ticks lots of my boxes.)   I find that poetry is a way of praying and saying deep things from the heart.  It connects my fragmentary intuitions with some tessalated thoughts and makes new patterns from my heart, my prayer and my way of being and breathing life.    I travel through poetry touching the surface and the cracks of things and allow myself to hear new sounds which are resonating in some deeper place within.

I was introduced to her work through the Conference of Spiritual Directors on the occasion of their 30th Anniversary.   As a member I attended the recent national gathering and support their great work and bless them.

You might be interested in exploring the book –

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Breath of Life

First century Aramaic Lord’s Prayer  translation into English

www.thenazareneway.com Aramaic Lord's prayer

 Abwûn –

O cosmic Birther, from whom the breath of life comes,         

who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.

May Your light be experienced in my utmost holiest.   

Your Heavenly Domain approaches.

Let Your will come true in the universe (all that vibrates)

just as on earth (that is material and dense).

 Give us wisdom (understanding, assistance) for our daily need,

detach the fetters of faults that bind us, (karma) like we let go the guilt of others.

Let us not be lost in superficial things (materialism, common temptations),

but let us be freed from that what keeps us off from our true purpose.

From You comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act,

the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age.

 

–  Amên  

Sealed in trust, faith and truth. (I confirm with my entire being)

 

The fresh offers us so much. When we have a new perspective we often find new insight.  I find the translation of the Lord’s Prayer above is full of such beauty and depth.

Meditation, contemplation, theology, cosmology and science have opened us to a wider gaze and sensitivity to our place in the universe and our connection and belonging.   We are opened to respond to an ever changing image of our notion of God and rethink our narratives of a God who cannot be contained, nor conceived or imagined, yet is present to us in all of creation.

Our fresh daily bread comes to us from new sources of life daily. We are nourished from the mystery of a dynamic life ever emerging. Present day revelation unfolds new wonders of creation itself and sources of divine emmanation. I am inspired by the ways in which we experience the Spirit at work in an ever expanding universe and in the hidden presence of the Word.

We are truly blessed, that in our day, we are coming to know the universe story as an unfolding mystery of transformation over 13 billion years.  We are awakening to new realities and connections with a meta story.

May this translation of the first century Aramaic Lord’s Prayer bring to you light and communion with all that we are as children of the Cosmic Creator and assist each of us to expand and grow in the life of grace unfolding.


 

Further background to the context of this and other  Aramaic translations and history of the Lord’s Prayer visit the highlighted website.

Perishable earth

David Steindl-Rast walking
Brother David Steindle-Rast OSB 
 GRATEFULNESS AND UNIVERSAL BELONGING

In this ‘Earth Week’ I wanted to link gratefulness to our perishable earth and so I am sharing the wisdom of Brother David Steindle-Rast OSB.

I have been listening to his TED talk of late and his ‘On Being’ interview.  You may be one of the 6 million people who have already heard this talk. If so I hope you still enjoy it as you follow his suggestions of Stop, Listen and Go..

The second talk, with link below,  is from last year’s talk “Faith, Mysticism and Prayer”.

His talk are quite inspiring. He discusses our place in the universe and our immersion in the mystery of all life.    In his words we are ‘enfleshed’ in the universe. He talks about our breath being the spirit of creation within us and within all creation. He focus all things around an attitude and intention to gratefulness which he sees at the heart of our human development and which affirms and connects us in our personal sense of belonging.  has been involved in inter-religious dialogue for decades and I find his talks heartening as we see the bigger picture he paints for us.

I hope you may find time to listen to each of the talks.  The Ted talk is about 13 minutes.

Finally I am including the text of a poem by Rilke which is Brother David refers to as one he finds most poignant.

Rainer Maria Rilke

“we are continually overflowing toward those who preceded us,
toward our origin, and toward those who seemingly come after us. …
It is our task to imprint this temporary, perishable earth into ourselves so deeply,
so painfully and passionately,
that its essence can rise again “invisibly,” inside us.
We are the bees of the invisible.
We wildly collect the honey of the visible,
to store it in the great golden hive of the invisible.”

 

 Faith, mysticism and prayer  is accessed  from Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love you

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It has been with me for a very long time this heart.

It turned up one day in my breakfast bowl.  Just as it is.

And it has stayed. It has remained.

I found I really liked it.  It was quirky, unusual and I didn’t ask for it.

It was gift.  I have rejoiced each morning since.

I wonder if it will loose its shape with all the rough and tumble –

the jostling in and out.

So it helps me daily to be grateful  …

to smile at the quirky and the unexpected.

 

Today may you enjoy the poetry of E.E. Cummings

 A Miscellany Revised

We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us

is something valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch.

Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder,

spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.

 

Anybody can learn to think, or believe, or know,

but not a single human being can be taught to feel…

the moment you feel, you’re nobody ―  but  yourself  ―

in a world which is doing its best, night and day,

to make you everybody else ―

means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight,

and never stop fighting.

 

Excerpt  Introduction for New Poems E.E. Cummins

We can never be born enough.

We are human beings; for whom birth is a supremely welcome mystery,

the mystery of growing:

which happens only and whenever we are faithful to ourselves.

You and I wear the dangerous looseness of doom and find it becoming.

Life, for eternal us, is ‘now’ and now is much too busy being

a little more than everything to seem anything,

catastrophic included.

 

 

PONDER AND WONDER

daysW

Cartoon used with permission Michael Leunig

Time draws in on us

Maybe we can draw up time   to ponder and wonder

Just maybe it is time    to make time   to have time

Take time to wonder and to ponder

Allow wonder to take you to a new place

Allow it to be   …   in you and with you

Allow a space  where wonder is

and becomes a realm of your reality.

Ponder and Wonder     ….  

graces to be received and felt within.

 

 

COMPASSION FATIGUE

2016-03-20 copyright creative-spiritual-directions.com. compassion

“Compassion fatigue”   – seems to me to be incomprehensible – even reprehensible.  Surely the heart does not stop caring.

How do we come to a place of “compassion fatigue”?  What is it that has shifted from caring in a tangible way, to complacency or even seeming powerless?

We become desensitized to that which would make our heart mourn or move us with compassion.  As I pondered  – I understood from a giant billboard SELF STORAGE.

As as a human rights worker, I was confronted by the term “compassion fatigue” from supporters who no longer wanted to see images of victims of human rights abuse.  The rawness of the constant suffering had become too difficult to bear.

I am not talking here of exhaustion. I understand we cannot stay in the front line of caring without support, care and respite. There is a time and a season for us.

I am talking of a turning point – a time at which we harden our hearts and deny our suffering world.  We deny our own capacity to suffer with our selves and others.  We deny extending ourselves to be compassionate to one another.

When people talk of agencies “they no longer trust” or when working with youth in desperate life situations – I am “warned” not to give too much.   Yesterday  I heard people decrying those who were speaking compassionately on behalf of the refugees.

Do we decry the voice of the poor?

Can we have ever had enough compassion?  How do we grow in mercy and compassion?

As Isaiah says let our hearts be broken…

that we may  weep with those who are weeping.

Rilke’s words talk of our God – a God of mercy and compassion -suffering with us today.

You are the poor one, you the destitute.

You are the stone that has no resting place.
You are the diseased one
whom we fear to touch.
Only the wind is yours.
You are poor like the spring rain
that gently caresses the city;
like wishes muttered in a prison cell, without a world to hold them;
and like the invalid, turning in his bed to ease the pain.
Like flowers along the track, shuddering
as the train roars by, and like the hand
that covers our face when we cry – that poor.
Yours is the suffering of birds on freezing nights,
of dogs who go hungry for days.
Yours the long sad waiting of animals
who are locked up and forgotten.
You are the beggar who averts his face,
the homeless person who has given up asking;
you howl in the storm.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke


from  “ The Book of Poverty and Death, III,18″   
Translated by Anita Barrows and Joana Macy, Riverhead Press, 1996 p.141

Mystery

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YOUR POWER SOURCE

Knowingly or unknowingly, we live a faith filled life.

The plumb line cannot measure the depths of mystery in which we exist.

As children and in some cultures  – mystery, the unseen and the life of spirit are the context of our experience.  Reality is, we are each  part of something beyond ourselves and our comprehension.  We swim in the unknown.

“The point of diving in a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore, but to be in the lake. To luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out; it is an experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept mystery. “

Quote from the character John Keats in the movie "Bright Star". 

This quote speaks to me of our choices in our attitudes particularly to our spiritual life. Do we want to grab and capture everything, name it, define it and somehow be in control of it?  Is our approach to mystery one of conquest as we seek to taste the mystery ?

There is a wry paradox in trying to explain or detail the eternal ever present mystery. It seems so deficient that we should trade the magnitude of the wonder of the unknowable for a set answers of history, science or doctrine.

Rarefied are the species who wait expectantly on faith and providence –  or enter  the realms of the intangible.  Yet countless scientiests, spiritual wayfarers, contemplatitives and creatives attest to the reality and fullness of a spirit led life.

The mind is but a visitor;
it thinks us out of our world.

Each mind fabricates itself.
We sense it limits,  for we have made them.
And just when we would flee them, you come
and make of yourself an offering.

I don’t want to think a place for you.
Speak to me from everywhere.
Your Gospel can be comprehended
without looking for its source.

When I go toward you
it is with my whole life.

Extract from Rainer Maria Rilke – “Love poems to God”

Be still and know that I am God.

Gradually we become more present and receptive to our God -the One who cannot be named or contained.

To be open to God is to be open to the Mystery of our being, beyond limits.


 

FURTHER READING:   I recommend to you today Dylan Raines who is about to commence a walk for water in 3 days.   …    He has a  most interesting blog on using meditation to make yourself happy.

Extract from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Book of Hours:Love Poems to God    Translated by Anita Barrows & Joanna Macy.