Friday, December 27, 2013

Another Tree of Life...



Since our church retreat, I have been able to reflect upon another tree of life @suttonsachurch and how 'love unites all'. A simple art activity that caught something beautiful in us all. The idea that as community we allow our stories to be woven together takes a simple art activity and makes it powerful. It's a journey towards genuine social love, a journey that is not always easy because it involves transparency and vulnerability. 

A community that gathers in genuine love demonstrates what Willard calls four marks of Good Community. 1) They see themselves as God sees them 2) No need for defensiveness 3) Pretence is laughable 4) There is a constant commitment to being realigned to God's purposes. 

Good community is released from self, and knows what it is to be devoted in the service of others, our stories woven together for others! 

"Love unites all, whether created or uncreated.  The heart of God, the heart of all creation, and our own hearts become one in love.  That's what all the great mystics have been trying to tell us through the ages". Nouwen 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

John Bell's "Canticle of the Turning"

Love these words since I found them prepping for last Sunday http://youtu.be/F9QeTmRCpW4

1. My soul cries out with a joyful shout
that the God of my heart is great,
And my spirit sings of the wondrous things
that you bring to the ones who wait.
You fixed your sight on your servant's plight,
and my weakness you did not spurn,
So from east to west shall my name be blest.
Could the world be about to turn?

Refrain
My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,
and the world is about to turn!

2. Though I am small, my God, my all,
you work great things in me,
And your mercy will last from the depths of the past
to the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame,
and to those who would for you yearn,
You will show your might, put the strong to flight,
for the world is about to turn.

3. From the halls of power to the fortress tower,
not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears
ev'ry tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more,
for the food they can never earn;
There are tables spread, ev'ry mouth be fed,
for the world is about to turn.

4. Though the nations rage from age to age,
we remember who holds us fast:
God's mercy must deliver us
from the conqueror's crushing grasp.
This saving word that our forebears heard
is the promise which holds us bound,
'Til the spear and rod can be crushed by God,
who is turning the world around.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Taking Your Spiritual Pulse...

Since reading Larry Warner's book on Ignatian Sprituality I have appreciated his monthly musings http://www.b-ing.org. Here are the highlights from October!

"This month I present you with a simple spiritual formation tool that will allow you to take your spiritual pulse, and if needed (and desired) provide you with the opportunity to re-orient your life so that you are more likely to live into and out of who God created you to be. The remarkable tool I am referring to incorporates a particular understanding of consolation and desolation

A simple way to remember the difference between consolation and desolation is this: consolation means that God is on the screen of my life, while desolation means God is not on that screen. When we talk about  consolation and desolation the best way to think about them is in terms of the inner orientation of an individual. The key question is not what do I feel, but rather which direction is my current life situation (emotions, circumstances, interactions, thoughts…) taking me – toward God or away from God? 

The simple spiritual formation tool I spoke of earlier is this; incorporating the concept of  consolation/desolation as defined above, that you from time to time throughout your day internally stop (you could be in middle of a meeting, an errand, a task or just finishing something, getting ready to start something…) and ask yourself where is this (whatever is before you, you are involved in, or just completed…) taking me; to God or away from God? In that movement you will have a good idea of where your heart is and in that precise moment be afforded the opportunity to make a choice toward God or away from God. Over time, you will discern in the flow of your day if indeed your heart is God-focused or not. 

What this simple tool helps us to do is to become internally aware and once aware we can make a choice. So much of life is mindlessly lived. We are swept through a day unaware internally and so are at the mercy of our circumstances, our culture. This simple tool helps to momentarily stop, become aware and adjust accordingly. One important note: when you stop and realize that God is not on our screen, this is NOT about condemnation (see Rom 8:1) but about being invited into freedom, freedom to live the life we want to live at the depth of our being, the life we were created to live, the abundant life in Christ. 

An ongoing awareness of our  consolation and desolation is critical to be free to more fully live into and out of who God has created us to be. This awareness also helps us to live proactively rather than reactively. This simple spiritual formation tool helps us to pause and become aware of where we are internally headed – toward God (life) or away from God (death). Once we become aware we can then adjust as needed and live life as God has intended. 

So give it a try and see what happens. " 

Larry Warner

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Paradox...

Richard Rohr's take on paradox!

"A paradox is seeming contradiction which is not really contradictory at all if looked at from another angle or through a larger frame...Understanding a paradox is to look at something long enough so as to overcome the contradiction and see things at a different level of consciousness"