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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Heart murmuring

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  Alex Markovich, Photographer

As we listen to our heart we hear our spirit speak.  Our heart’s life is of the spirit.  The murmuring heart is constantly in dialogue speaking to us of things not known by the mind. These very moments often leave a marked impression, but may remain hidden and mysterious.

We are body and spirit. Yet so many of us do not engage in an ongoing relationship with the spirit.  We talk about spiritualities and religions as things out there. We objectify and distance them. Yet the spirit is the life force of the body.

We must learn to be sensitive to the spirit within us, to respond and embrace the realitity of the unique way in which each of us come into being in both body and spirit. This is our wholeness; the union and acceptance of our undivided unity of spirit.

Daily we cultivate this personal relationship with our spirit and come to recognise and relate to the spiritual.   God in all cultures is Spirit.  This Spirit is the dynamic life of creation within all matter.   In this Spirit we live and move and have our being.

Most people have knowingly  had a spiritual experience, or several. These often remain dormant memories whose significance and beauty is forgotten.

I find people have difficulty in expressing the spiritual dimension of their life. The qualities of mystery and the immaterial is somewhat confounding or disarming. Without sharing, understanding and support, our interior experiences and spiritual knowing are not realised in our lives and their very gift of our capacity for transcendence unrecognized.

We may infer from a sensing, an intuition or inspiration, a flow of creativity, a serendipitious happening, that these are but adjuncts to our material world.  At another level, uncertainty may give rise to fears, scepticism and denial of the spiritual life.

Thus we conform to an outer material world without integrating our spirit. We dismiss the core of our being, which is spirit, and deny our capacity to transcend a corporeal existence.  This disconnect leaves a void of personal meaning. Accepting this spirit within, enables us to embrace a greater wholeness of our self and a greater reconciliation of our life within creation.

“Deep within myself, and because I have felt its power, I know that a real and specifically new wind has just breathed over the sould of man.   … To share in a hallowed unity, even for a split second, is enough to enable us to glimpse the future promised to our species, and to find the road that will lead us to it.”

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin’s essay “The Promised Land”

Do not be afraid to acknowledge the Spirit at work in you, gifting you with all good things, guiding you, showing you the way and speaking to your heart truth that sets you free.  As you acknowledge that you too have known this power on you,  you too have felt this mystery move in your life –  continue to let these truths be the foundation of your search for integration of the body and spirit in one with the Holy Spirit.

On the eve of the feast of Pentecost in the Christian calendar, we are encouraged to accept the Holy One in the Spirit.   Accept God’s gift to each one of us as the Spirit.   The Spirit of God is Holy  —   be not afraid  —     Let the Spirit of God come to you and grow in you that you may know how wonderfully you are made.  Let the mystery become a divine wonder… a daily gift of your life  –   a life of spirit -lived personally and openly.

Fan into a flame the truth of your lived experiences of the spirit. Let your life in the Spirit truly be at the heart of what leads you and guides you on your.  You are spiritual.

Our ability to be aware, to be attentive, to see and to hear and to intuit-all come more fully alive when they flow out of a quiet, receptive heart.  And so, our participaton in on-gloing creation is predicated on our commitment ot silence-to cultivating a listening heart and a peaceful spirit.

Judy Cannato, ” Radical Amazement”. Notre Dame, Indiana. 2006.

Our heritage is rich in traditions of spiritual awakening and guides.  Each one is called to come into this fullness of the Life in the Spirit of God. Spiritual wholeness and vitality grows within us, and within healthy spiritual communities. We are made for communion in one spirit.


Image Zen Postcard 7  by Russian Photographer Alex Markovich Photo Art WordPress, used with permission.

 

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.

 

 

STAY WITH THEM

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THE FACE OF HOMELESSNESS

I have heard it said  ‘Let them Stay’….  but this is not enough.

I have heard my heart say…Stay with them.

What I know as I have wondered and pondered over these days, there is no answer outside of us. We are the ones they look to. We are their hope. We hold within us the difference they need now.  Whoever they are.  I say  Stay with them. Let us not leave them.

All meditation of presence is nothing if we cannot abide with the other.

All our voice …  gestures –  empty intoning chants and gongs  – if we have not the love to stay and be with those who this day want us to be present to their plight…whatever it is and whoever is present to you this day.

Life is about our action and our witness of how have we stayed present to the other.

How did I build and grow in relationship with the other.  Did I go out to the stranger … did I go without those resources they seemed so much to need …   empty…

I am not called to go with the answer, I am called to be the answer.  My heart and faithfulness to my other self is all that is needed.

I was once in a war zone, and heard and saw the cries of the people.   They pleaded with me to tell the world… to tell “America”…they thought if only they “knew”, things would change.  Although I felt convicted I needed to make a difference, in being a change agent, all my responses were to me of little comfort or assurance.  Although having some capacity;  I knew not how.  I knew I was bereft and powerless. But I was still open.

When I met with a priest and community elder very early the next morning…  he came to me…He put his arm around my shoulder and embraced me gently and simply said…’if they wanted to be here they would be…if X organisations wanted to be here, they would be.’    You are here.  Stay now.  You are with us … You came to us as you are.  This is enough.

I felt Jesus with me in that moment and that assuring touch.

And so Jesus simply says in the face of no answers,  in the face of insurmountable obstacles, distress and unfathomable circumstances: “Stay with them….  Go out and meet them.  Go out beyond yourself and enter their world.   Abide with them.”

They want to be known at heart with you. One with you.  Share your bread of life.  Share the little you have with them.  Go forth.  It is enough.   You are enough.

Do not lobby and posture on how to let them stay.

You already have the answer.   It is a matter of the heart … my heart …

Ephphata    be open yourself .  You are enough.  You can go to them.  You can remain in the face of their struggle, with them; present to bear with them.  We make space in our hearts to remain with them.

At the heart of the matter in companioning, spiritual direction and counselling,  in loving as a Christian and a Jew  –  is the imperative  –  go out to the stranger …  make a place for them in our heart.

I do not want to be the clanging bell of meditation, but the silent sitting fully present to, and with my other who is seeking me.  May I be found fully present to the other.

Be not afraid for we are a small light in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome.

Do not worry who goes with you.

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Homeless

 

RESURRECTION

copyright Richard Campbell ResurrectionGawguun and Birrigun – RESURRECTION            by  Richard Campbell.

In talking* of his paintings aboriginal artist, RICHARD CAMPBELL,  said:

 “We all have a spiritual connection, we’re all brothers and sisters, with the animals, the trees, rivers and rocks, we all belong to one big God – call it Christ, we call it Birrigun, we are all one in God.”  He said: “… that although you are from different nations of the world, it is important to recognise Christ and the connection between Aboriginal spirituality and bible stories.’

The use of the colour blue denotes the sky where the birds are and the water. The dots and die hands in the painting represent the elders and (the Holy Spirit). The journey symbol in the tree trunk denotes how the elders are buried in the roots of the tree and their spirit rises up through the branches. It also signifies Richard’s journey with the Holy Spirit.

The tree is the Murribi tree, for the Gumbayngirr people, all things happened around dial tree. The dead were buried in the tree and the people believed that their spirits of the elders rise through the tree through the brunches and go out into the Dreaming.

When Birrigun died he went into spirit and then into the Dreaming and after his resurrection through the Murribi tree he appeared to his people as the Southern Cross, that is the journey of Birrigun. in Gumbayngirr his name means the southern cross, he was the champion for the Gumbaingirr people like Jesus is to Christians.

When Birrigun’s mother – Gawguun buried him in a Murribi tree it was scaled with a rock so (hat no aminals could get into the burial site. Every year at the same time she would visit the site to mourn him (this is at Arakoon at South West Rocks. NSW, Australia) but one year the elders noticed she did not come. Instead they saw a brolga dancing around the tomb and they believed it was her spirit. Her tears for her son fall into the coolamon which is the feminine symbol because it is the vessel of life, carrying water, food and babies. It is painted with markings just the way that Richard’s father taught him when he was a boy.

 It is important to let people around the world know that there was a religion of spirituality in Australia before we were colonised by white people.” These paintings “show the way Aboriginal people lived – by the law of the land. You’ve got to look after everything; humans, animals, the environment and the land….”(They) show the message of Christ himself: of good will.”

The description of this artwork and aboriginal story comes directly from Australian Catholic Ministries, Lismore 2008 archive.

Richard Campbell was born into the Dhungutti tribe, near Bowraville on the North Coast of NSW, in 1956.  For more information on the artist visit ACM Sydney website.

*Adapted from extract of editorial produced by Elise Dalley from PROJECTeye interviewing the artist.

These images(commissioned for Sydney World Youth Day, 2008), are the property of Aboriginal Catholic Ministries, Sydney. The copyright of these images is retained by the artist and this article is presented under Creative Commons provisions to respect and affirm the work of the artist and his intentions in a particular context.