May 22, 2020
The Deep Woods Path
How do we experience Great Spirit God in the natural world?
Walking gently and being quiet. Paying attention to each moment.
Each sound, sight, smell. Everything we touch. Everything we feel.
Do not think, just be.
Everything around you is part of you, and you are part of it; there is no separation.
The indescribable, immeasurable, and perpetual Great Spirit God
weaves and lives through all.
In the deep quiet of the natural world we can begin to experience this.
We can feel the connection, the web we are intertwined with.
In this experience we are moved deep into ourselves and find compassion, empathy,
and a profound comprehension that liberates us.
It is in this place we can truly begin to cherish.
Cherish our Earth.
Cherish all creatures.
Cherish each other.
We need to respond with urgency to our planet’s cries or we will continue to unravel and destroy the sacred trust between us and Mother Earth.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now. Romans 8:22
In our ego-attachments and need for deepening awareness, as well as feelings of being separate and inadequate, we are fracturing further the fragile and mystical relationship we have with our planet and with one another.
Change must be imminent.
Transformation a priority.
See everything as brother and sister, everything.
We are here on this planet to transcend into enlightened beings.
To live where there is no separation between us and God and therefore,
no separation between anything.
It is a place of complete individuality and complete oneness.
Unique and whole.
The place of our potential that calls to us to hear the struggle
to be liberated and cherished.
For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
May 21, 2020
Amongst us are healers. Individuals who have filled the sanctuary with grace and heart-song.
God’s heart-song channeled wherever there is pain or brokenness or simply a need to feel connected and more whole.
What a gift. A gift available to all. A gift that we are each imbued with. One that continues to be accessible and available, even in isolation and distancing. A community of healers accessing the inner Christ presence to be conduits to the Source of life.
We could all benefit from this ministry.
As givers and receivers.
Therapeutic touch, Reiki, hands on healing of various natures, delivers us into the presence of the holy. This is the Source. Where all things move and live have being.
My experience as both practitioner and client have emboldened my faith and brought me tender healing that has sustained and encouraged me.
This is grace.
The yet known.
It was Jesus’ way of healing and being in relationship. Especially with the vulnerable and marginalized. His Abba was channeled and miracles happened.
These gifts are available to us. We are the descendants-all of us.
Healing of this nature has been a part of our human experience since we first came into being over one-hundred thousand years ago.
That connection still exists.
What better time than this, to embrace such a powerful inherent energy.
I hope many will consider taking the time to reflect and study and be prayerful about this.
It is a profound and humble way that the current church can offer itself to the world community.
Distance and time are not relevant.
Because we are symbiotic with each other and with the God-source, we are always in relationship and can access this energy of acceptance through a holistic path.
A path of openness and inclusivity.
A path that does not discriminate and welcomes all life.
A gift from our Teacher.
May 20, 2020
Warm weekend green bursts through the memory of lingering cold.
Cold that has crawled inside our hearts.
Cold that has showered us with snow in spring.
Cold that has held us in one place.
But the cold has shifted.
The magnolia bears brazenly her big pink bouquet.
Fiddle heads grow tall.
First food for the bee’s-dandelions and pussy willow, reach without pause,
growing closer to sun.
Wonder again shifts us as spring devours our despair. At least for that one moment when we listen to bird song at dusk. Watch new leaves unfold overnight. Catch sight of the young lilac bud, just waiting to immerse us in her fragrance.
Cold still remains, but perhaps it is tempered by all the new life sprinting forth around us.
Even from porch and window, we can appreciate the turning of the season.
Even alone and without loved ones near, we can be a part of our earth announcing she is living among us once again, through all that she brings forth.
God is revealing itself everywhere.
In sadness and celebration. In our angst and in our tenuous hope.
And for us, in this hemisphere, in this latitude, we get spring.
I can’t imagine my life without it.
Even in isolation I am empowered by the dance that is spring.
On evening walks, puppies at each side, we notice and inhale our earth’s offering to begin again. We can all begin again. Differently. Transformed. Humbled.
And perhaps conscious of our own fragility, as well as our courage.
There lies empathy.
A heart to feel others in their quest to find love and acceptance.
The dream of all dreams.
Together, it is a dream that can come true.
May 15, 2020
There was peace today.
The place where all simply is and all that is, is simple.
A rainbow place. All the colours of the heart collide with thousand-hue-spirit and find God.
Whatever the world does, I do this:
Wait. Listen. Pray. Worry. Hide. Dance. Cry. Give over, and over and over;
until something catches me and I am safe, once again.
I am quite sure I am not alone here.
When Jesus stood somewhere in the rough, brambled desert and spoke to whoever would listen about the inheritors of the earth, he was speaking to us, and through us, our children.
Yes, there are some very nasty and cruel places throughout our world, but if there is something we have realized through this time of uncovering and
thought-filledness, it is how many more places there are filled with a longing to be transformed and become gardens of care.
Gardens of music, new food awareness, upcycling, and safe energy sources.
Gardens of family and animals, of trees and river-ways.
Gardens where leaders make compassionate decisions.
Gardens of new awakening to the greater and acute needs of the elderly and vulnerable.
Gardens where our children create gardens for their children.
Gardens where God walks and smiles beside us.
Let’s go deep with our learning and raise up our new found insight.
In our fragile and irrepressible humanity, a soul of still unimaginable and galactic proportions, resides.
This is the place gardens are crafted. Where our children will dine and find peace.
I know we are a messy species that makes mistakes, over and over again.
God knows. We all know, more or less.
There is lots to be uncovered in the mess. Lots to do. Some can’t, some can.
That’s ok. I believe everyone is doing the best they can.
I am pretty sure God believes this too.
If we can each, even if just a little bit, recognize God-self residing inside us, gardens and spaces and love places will flourish more and more.
Faith is realizing there isn’t really anything private-anything separate.
God knows everything. God knows us. We know God. We know everything.
May 14, 2020
Sun snow stops. Warm May wind curves around just blooming leaves. Soil turns. Robin’s pick at life in the grass. Wild flower shoots catch rays. Spring.
From a distance Earth song has not changed. From here, nothing is unchanged.
I asked Jesus what he thought about that.
Hand on shoulder.
“I think you already know,”
I melted happily in his presence and was not surprised by his rhetoric.
I am reminded of the song, ‘Where have all the flowers gone’, by Pete Seeger and the repeating end to each verse. ‘Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they…ever learn?’
Maybe that is what Jesus was saying, as he turned, glanced back and walked toward his home with God.
The glance said everything. ‘Join me. But first, remember? You have to do this…’
‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ Matthew 19.21
Is anyone closer to this now that life has turned upside down?
I want this for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
To be my waking dreams and my nighttime wanderings.
Because I want to be free. And stuff is getting in the way. Material and cerebral.
Perhaps the challenge is the attachment. Attachment that distracts us. What can we let go of so we are less distracted? During this time of isolation, where reflection has been so readily available, our hearts have softened and we hear more readily our deeper truth. Jesus knows letting go of everything that stands between you and his Abba, is the way to his Abba. And through his trust in us and his complete relationship with this Source, he knows we are all capable. Sometimes the best that we can do is recognize we are capable. Begin here and let that massage your being. Even unnoticed, it will blossom. Perhaps slowly, very slowly, but once it has started, it does not stop.
God is always waiting, we just need to decide on our intentionality.
May 13, 2020
Parable of the Porch Door
Sitting comfortably on the ragged couch inside a smallish porch sat God, knitting. Winter, even though a few months away, was coming and expected to be cold, so scarves and hats and mittens were needed for the many creatures that called this little piece of heaven, home. God was quite content to live out the days knitting and drinking tea and entertaining the occasional visitor. God had always hoped there would be more visitors to the porch, but sadly, that was not the case.
But God persisted and continued to knit and wait and drink tea.
One day, just when autumn hinted with colour, a knock came to the porch door.
Come in. God said. Nothing. Come on in. Still nothing.
Getting up from the comfortable couch God went to the window and peeked out. There God saw the back of someone, running away.
Back to the couch.
A few weeks later, autumn now bursting with orange and yellow and the smells of change, another knock came to the porch door.
Come in. Long pause. Then the door slowly opened and someone carefully looked in.
Hello. God said. Please come in, have a sit and let’s have some tea.
The someone was clearly nervous. They inched from the door and moved gingerly toward the couch. They gave a quick bow, turned and ran out the door. God went to the window, peeked out and saw the someone, running away.
Just as winter was making itself known (God loves winter), another knock came to the porch door. God, sitting on the couch, drinking cocoa and doing the New York Times crossword, said, Come in.
The door opened. In came someone. Slowly they moved toward the couch. Their movements were of someone in pain. Their body looked wasted and their clothes dishevelled.
May I sit down? The someone asked.
God looked to them and said, Of course.
The someone came over to the ragged couch and sat. Their body gave way into the pillows and they sighed. Thank-you.
Cocoa? God asked.
The quiet in the little porch room was interrupted only by falling snow, painting the world with afterglow.
I love winter. God said.
They talked and cried, told stories, laughed and said nothing.
Eventually the someone left. They returned many times. Sometimes every day. Every once in a while, weeks, even months would go by, but they always returned.
And God was always waiting on the ragged couch, drinking something warm and tasty, hoping for someone to knock, come in and talk with.
May 9, 2020
Message of Hope from Rev Patti
As we navigate our time of connecting through all the various types of technology available to us, I offer this as a template for weekly communication and sharing:
Messages of hope 3/week
Weekly book recommendation and snapshot
Connecting with congregants-Congregants connecting with me
Also, if you are interested in doing a small group spiritual study, let me know.
Reading for Sunday Reflection: John 14:1-14
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’
Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
Music video: https://youtu.be/PUtll3mNj5U (The UK Blessing)
May 8, 2020
Thanks to My Daily Minute, author Lead Minister Paul Ivany, Norval United Church, for today’s Message of Hope.
May 7, 2020
Walking around my neighbourhood these days brings mixed feelings. There are fewer people out than usual. There are ‘no trespassing’ signs on park paths. Sometimes there are people wearing masks; sometimes I’m one of them. (We wear the masks to protect others more than ourselves.)
But… people smile and wave from across the street.
My neighbour chats through the fence as she gardens. Tulips and daffodils bloom even in my north-facing yard.
The kids down the street invent new games with basketballs and hockey sticks. On summery days, they jump through the sprinkler.
Painted rocks and chalk messages brighten the way, even on grey days.
There are ribbons in trees and teddy bears in windows and messages of hope and support in unexpected places.
Even when we’re apart, we find ways to show that we’re together.
Today I’m reminded of one of my mom’s favourite songs: What a Wonderful World.
I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do
They’re only saying I love you
I see babies crying, I watch them grow
They’ll learn so much more than I’ll ever know
Then I think to myself what a wonderful world
The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do
They’re only saying I love you
I see babies crying, I watch them grow
They’ll learn so much more than I’ll ever know
Then I think to myself what a wonderful world
Then I think to myself what a wonderful world
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWzrABouyeE
Thanks to Erin Thomas for today’s Message of Hope.
May 6, 2020
Can’t Do It Alone
Scripture: Numbers 11:24-30
He gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. Numbers 11:24b
The forty-year trek from slavery in Egypt to the land of milk and honey turns into a rougher ride that expected. The people of Israel complain about everything, from the food to Moses’s leadership. They even reject God at one point in the journey when they melt down their gold jewelry to fashion a golden calf to worship. So God tells Moses that he needs help and instructs him to appoint seventy ‘elders’ to assist him.
Like many people, I often have trouble asking for help, even when I desperately need it. To ask seems to be an admission of weakness. I also know that the people I would ask to help will often do the job in a way I would not. There is strength in admitting my weakness and graciousness in accepting that other ways of doing things might just be better then mine.
Give us the courage to turn to others and ask for help and guidance when we need it.
Michael L. Lindvall, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Thanks to These Days – Daily Devotional for Living by Faith, for today’s Message of Hope.
This journey through the COVID-19 Pandemic of self isolation, time away from family and friends, interruption of our regular way of life has turned into a rougher ride then we expected. Help us know when we need to turn to others to talk and ask for help, so we can manage this journey with courage, kindness and grace.
May 5, 2020
My grandparents lived at 1004 Henry Street. They bought it new, for a sum that seems impossibly low by today’s standards but was a scary amount of money back then, and raised their four children in it. Later, as grandchildren and then great-grandchildren appeared, that house remained the heart of the family. At family gatherings, as any large group will do when faced with a choice between an open space and a tiny kitchen, we congregated in the tiny kitchen.
When I think of family, I think of that kitchen. Some things changed over the years—vinyl chairs replaced by wooden ones, cupboards repainted—but many things remained the same. The giant wood stove in the corner heated the house. The cookie jar, green with gold ladybugs on it, was generally available to grandchildren unless dinner was imminent. And on a souvenir linen tea towel on the wall behind Pop’s chair, a bagpiper stood watch with the words to ‘Amazing Grace’ printed below his feet.
I don’t know where the towel came from. To be honest, I only learned it was technically a “souvenir Irish linen tea towel” this morning, when I managed to find a picture of it online. I think it looked like this, although my memory says the piper was smaller and faced the other direction.
For years I only noticed it as part of the background noise of the kitchen. I never questioned it any more than I did the wood stove. And, strangely for a kid whose eyes snagged on written words everywhere and who never left home without bringing at least two books, I never read the words. Until one day I did.
Pop must have noticed me reading it. I think he asked if I knew the song. I did, from Church. But in my lifetime, Nan and Pop weren’t churchgoers. The whole family attended weddings and baptisms, but not Sunday services. What I remember from that moment was a strange feeling of disconnect—here, in a place that wasn’t Church, were words that came from there.
Mostly, though, I remember that day because Pop wasn’t generally a storyteller. He was friendly, but no one would ever call him talkative. That day, my war-veteran, bricklayer grandfather leaned in and told me the story of the song, engaged with it in a way that I had rarely seen. He told me that the man who wrote the song had lived a rough life, drinking and spending time in jail and going on to become a slave trader. One day a storm battered the ship and he prayed that they would survive. When they did, he thanked God and looked around with new eyes. He never saw things the same way again. He went on to live a better life, to try to make amends for the person he had been before.
I’ve heard details of the story disputed in later years and done some reading; I don’t think Newton’s turnaround was as instant as all that. Real-life progress often isn’t. We do better, then we backslide, then we do better again. That’s okay. That important thing is not to let the backsliding prevent you from trying again.
I like Pop’s story, and I like how much the song meant to him. Something in those words spoke to him enough that he wanted to see them every day. ‘Amazing Grace’ is a remarkable song partly because it does have the power to reach people both inside and outside the Church.
I like a song that promises that anyone can start fresh and do better; to me, that’s what we mean when we talk about God’s message of hope and forgiveness.
And so for today, I’d encourage you to be gentle with yourself. If you need a fresh start with something, take it. And look for whatever it is that brings you hope.
Thanks to Erin Thomas for today’s Message of Hope.
May 4, 2020
From Promise Keeper Canada: Daily Devotional – For Sunday, May 3, 2020
Bible Verse: “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8
Scripture Reading: Psalm 90:10-14
Despite a life-long battle with failing health, Henry Francis Lyte would go on to write some of the most loved hymns, including Abide With Me. The song has touched multiple generations and was even featured in the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies.
The hymn was also the last song he would ever write. Near the end of his life, against the advice of his family, he preached despite his weakening state, explaining, “It was better to wear out than to rust out.”
That same evening he entrusted his latest written hymn, Abide with Me to a family member, just a few weeks before his death in 1847.
While the Anglican priest wouldn’t see the song spread around the world and the comfort it would bring to millions, Lyte certainly modeled a life well spent, even if at 54 years it was relatively short.
It is a good reminder, as the psalmist writes, “Teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
And, as Lyte writes, “Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day. Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away. Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou who changest not, abide with me.”
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away.
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance, I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
— Steven Sukkau, Promise Keepers Canada
May 1, 2020
April 30, 2020
The Ascension of Jesus. Luke 24.50-53
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them.
While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.
And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy;
and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
Every morning, when new day arrives, I shift into the moment and give thanks.
God has once again sewn together my fragile bits and given me another chance. Although the freedom in being asleep has passed, in the waking up hours I am surrounded by a gentle love that curls me with warm fur and murmurs gently.
My animal friends our God’s temple blessing upon my life.
Never failing. Continuous. With me in the darkness. Light.
Jesus wrapped himself around his friends.
He was blanket, nourishment, spiritual food and the Sun in their night-sky lives.
His leaving and returning and leaving again is the indicator for our spiritual lives.
Even in God’s constancy with us, we often feel bereft of God.
The Emmaus journey is both the conclusion and beginning of Jesus’ impact on the world. From here we can return and reclaim the often missed truth of the Jesus story.
There is no judgement in this story.
No one is excluded.
Everyone has access to food and drink.
Wisdom is imparted out from the emerging spirit.
In the Christ truth, present in all life since universal consciousness sparked into reality, the ever-ascending Jesus descends with us. We are never alone in our pain.
Whatever loves us, whoever loves us with constancy and without expectation, God has gifted them to us. Through this experience of love, we can be present to the consciousness of the Christ and here, always find our way home.
It is the paradox that finds light in the darkness, and darkness in the light.
April 29, 2020
Road to Emmaus. Luke 24.28-49 Part Two.
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
When we reached the tavern, fresh bread and mead were brought to our table. It was if the bar-keep knew we were with someone special and immediately we were served. I remained awestruck and simply followed along as Jesus offered us each a mug of mead and a slice of warm bread, fresh from the oven. Here at the end of our dusty road in a tavern softly shadowed by desert dusk light, we found our broken hearts sewn back together.
What do we do when we lose something that was more precious to us then our own lives? Where are the words? Where does the light go?
What waits for us at the end of the dusty road?
Even through the many times I have walked this road and felt desperately alone, after I finally arrived to wherever I was heading, I know without hesitation, I am never alone. Do we need to feel the emptiness that loneliness so often provides, to clear our eyes and hearts from doubt? To feel poignantly the friendship of the God-person who travels inside our blood and bone?
I have never met anyone that is free from suffering and darkness. I am theorizing that it is necessary in order to reach the tavern. The place where companioning God feeds us fresh bread and sweet mead, as logs glow flames in a small hearth. Warming the desert night chill, that has settled on our tired spirit.
Walking with God is often a complicated journey. It is demanding.
Difficult. Painful. Unclear.
But that is not God’s making. It is ours.
A simple meal. A restored faith. A constant companion.
The end of one road and the beginning of another.
I hope we have realized through our time of distance from others and our regular way of life;
What really matters.
Who we truly are.
And that God, under whatever holy name, companions everyone and everything.
Fresh bread. A cup of mead. Friends and good conversation, the simple things.
The residence of Spirit God.
April 27, 2020
Road to Emmaus. Luke 24.11-27 Part One.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened. Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
My daughter gifted me the entire MASH 4077 series for my birthday last year.
It has been companioning me through the COVID crisis. The parallel between the frontline workers during war and our current now, reflects both our courage, resilience and compassion as human beings, and the insanity of our own self-annihilation
But this time it is not the heinousness of war that takes us to the brink of global devastation, but our own lack of compassionate justice, common sense and collective vision.
On the road to Emmaus this is what I see…
Immediate care and action for the marginalized and vulnerable
Shared standard of living for all human beings
Wholistic earth care
Not-for-profits as our economy base
Global psycho-social political justice
Compassionate care for all life
Too long we have lived out from an us and them mentality.
The suffering this has created would collapse any life system.
But what can one simple pastor do?
Watch. Wait. Hope. Pray. Reach out in small desperate ways.
Try to make sense of the incomprehensible?
Father Mulcahy from the series MASH battles this same phenomenon as he seeks to find purpose in his life as an army Chaplin. When people are dying around you. When doctors and nurses and medics and their support people are busy caring and bandaging and saving lives, where is there time for spiritual care?
The walk to Emmaus removes the veil of deception and reveals the road less travelled.
The way of Jesus, where all care is spiritual care.
What do we need to do to live out from this ancient and enlightened sensibility?
Remember. Stay on the road to Emmaus and see the world through holy eyes.
Light from a deeper truth
Transformation from suffering to joy
Learning from grave mistakes
Perhaps on the road to Emmaus even a simple pastor can find purpose.
April 24, 2020
John of the Cross. Being with the dark
John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Prologue,
A deeper enlightenment and wider experience than mine is necessary to explain the dark night through which a soul journeys toward that divine light of perfect union with God that is achieved, insofar as possible in this life, through love. The darknesses and trials, spiritual and temporal, that fortunate souls ordinarily undergo on their way to the high state of perfection are so numerous and profound that human science cannot understand them adequately. Nor does experience of them equip one to explain them. Only those who suffer them will know what this experience is like, but they won’t be able to describe it.
I spoke to my upstairs neighbour today. She told me how she cried for two hours this morning. That she had been laid off and was caring for two families in two different homes. And every time they go to the grocery store, they ask us if we need anything.
All I could say was that I was glad she cried.
Everyone grieves differently. What matters most, is that we grieve. Without shame or reservation. That is how God gets in. Through the thinning out and tearing down of the walls we constructed, to protect ourselves from pain. But pain is the very place that lets God in. Giving over to pain is another way of giving over to God.
For me it is usually a dark room and lots of blankets. I sit with the still in my room and breathe into the overwhelming darkness engulfing me. And wait. And when it is done, it is done. And more often than not, I am rejuvenated. It is not my love for God that brings release, it is God’s love for me. God enters in when the walls are down and shows us an indescribable truth.
Perhaps this is what John of the Cross was saying. Darkness is the way to enlightenment. Darkness that comes over and over again, provides an environment for us to see even the smallest glimmer of light. And eventually, perhaps after years of struggle, we begin to become familiar with the darkness, knowing that this is where we see the light that is never extinguished.
“Truly, it is in the darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us.” Meister Eckhart
Become familiar with your darkness. It is the path that leads to the brightest light. It can, over time be a beacon for your journey. A reminder of both our fragile humanity and eternal divinity. So long as we have pain, we will know darkness.
No one escapes this. No one escapes God’s love. There is freedom in the darkness. There is love in pain. We do not have to explain it or even understand it. But we do need to let it be what it is. Eventually the night lifts and dawn arrives.
And in that moment of clarity, when everything just makes sense and we feel grounded and safe, we realize we are here because we let ourselves go there.
April 23, 2020
Collective enlightenment-Dvorak’s “New world”
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout peoples from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jewish and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’
I spent a few years of my youth travelling throughout western Canada.
I particularly bonded with Yellowknife, where I fell in love with cold and isolation, community and wildness. I felt I had come home.
During my relatively brief time there of about a year, my ideas of life and love and God grew significantly. I started to write and paint with greater commitment. In my secluded basement room, I spent time in meditation, reflecting on the stillness of my life. And the winter sky nights that filled with stars and dancing colour, spoke to me of what a divine and magnificent planet we are a part of.
In this beautiful, stark inviting place, I learned intimately about collective grief.
I began to realize that pain was shared between us. And that this shared experience connects us to each other and all living things. We cannot escape it. Whether we acknowledge it, or are even aware of it, it still exists. We remain inside each other, because we are inside God, and God is in turn, inside us.
I knew then that this was the way to end socio-political injustice that separates all of us from our inherent connection with each other and our earth.
Through the years this idea has percolated and become almost a mantra.
Like the folks of the Acts community, whose lives are irrevocably altered once they hear and understand each other, I believe that when we experience personally, without anything in the way, the suffering of another, we too will be altered. It will become our pain as well. Spiritual and visceral.
And in the alteration, nothing can remain as it has been.
To experience firsthand the pain of another, is to realize, from the centre of where all life exists, our interdependence with everything.
Peter, John, their friends, the disciples, the people in the square, this new community-experienced each other without filter or prejudice, with the eyes of their essential selves. The self where God fully resides. God having showed itself through audacious, tragic and mind-blowing events that brought into the light, full consciousness to all who simply chose to hear and be moved.
We are being brought into full consciousness. The place where our essential or divine selves live. The place where we are not protected by any armour that has crafted itself upon us, either through the painful acts of the world or by our own refusal to evolve into the beings we came into this world to be.
Aware. Enlightened. Connected. Loved.
The damage of the world and the lives many of us have experienced separated us from this. And now we can reclaim our birthright.
Belonging. Sharing. Empathy. Compassion.
When the music is right, everyone listens, everyone dances.
We are an orchestra of billions, synchronized to the sound of our souls.
Souls complete in God, complete in us, complete in each other.
With the coming of the well watched curve, balance is being restored.
April 22, 2020
Earth Day. 2020. 50 years today.
I invite you to consider becoming a part of the green movement within the United Church.
This link will provide you information, education and motivation to becoming a Green Church.
There is no better time than now.
If we have learned anything during our time of isolation and reflection,
it is that our planet needs us to help heal it and in turn heal ourselves.
Let’s be on the right side of history.
Be green. Be faith-filled. Be a garden for generations to come.
Blessed Earth Day.
April 21, 2020
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees every thousand years.
Listen to carrion–put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
– Wendell Berry
Composting love into life.
I have 4 compost piles in our postage stamp sized yard, which I love. So much potential…My dogs have reign over a good portion of this wee bit of dirt, but we have managed to grow a few trees and plant some vegetables.
As I was turning soil with new kitchen scraps, the afternoon sun spoke to me.
From her place of fire and distance her warmth showered me with a moment of stillness as I looked around at all that I have in this place we call home.
Inner city life forces the imagination.
It calls for creative thinking and challenges my philosophical soul in grounded-ness.
Quite literally. Soil and tree and green centre me. And today, I need centering.
When the Jesus community of Acts commits to living life within a framework of inclusiveness and sharing, they are challenged to think beyond the familiar and into a wide scope of beingness. They are committed to one another through God and to work with creation to bring the Jesus story to life.
They needed centering. So much was against them. They were at constant risk of imprisonment. They were challenged at every turn. They were afraid and brave, and they believed in something larger than anything they could comprehend.
They began a movement they hoped would save the world.
When I turn the compost, I see living soil waiting to nurture and sustain.
I see resurrection as kitchen scraps become soil-become plants-become food for the neighbourhood creatures-including me.
When the disciples plant the seeds of the Jesus message, a new kind of love begins to flourish. The soil was ready.
Just as the Acts community continued the story of a new creation, we begin again to live in God’s reality-the one I believe many of us are experiencing for perhaps the first time through isolation and reflection. Through tremendous grief and moments of peace.
Life as it was is composting into love and composting back into life- a new life.
Life that knows death and suffering and is transformed by it. Life that is in solidarity with all that struggle and cries for justice, social equality and deep passionate creation care.
We turn the compost and resurrection begins. Something new emerges ready to feed and grow and awaken a sleeping world into consciousness.
Our breaking hearts can heal through this. We must first let them be broken.
And then out from the cracks of heart ache and grief, a small shoot emerges.
Out from our own compost, life stirs, hope returns and we are once again in God’s backyard. Planting. Listening. Caring. Resting and resurrecting into who God sees us as. Children in need of a benevolent Parent who never turns from them. Never gives up on them. Is always reaching for them. And who always has their back.
Here I put my shaken faith. Where I believe and pray that the ground will return and God and I will once again renew our conversation.
Composting together a benevolent new world community.
April 20, 2020
The Acts Community: 1st Century Palestine.
The Beautiful Gate.
I need to start this message by offering prayer to the communities bordering Halifax; to Nova Scotia and all the peoples of Canada. Our collective hearts break with our brothers and sisters, as families and friends, neighbours and first responders face a grief that has torn their world apart. In our own pain we struggle with the immensity of this agony. With the One who wraps us and is constant, we pray.
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,* stand up and walk.’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Currently I am engaged in a Dungeons and Dragons game with friends from 2 different countries. I am a Paladin, which is a religious warrior.
One of my gifts is laying on hands.
Laying on hands, also called therapeutic touch as well as reiki and various other names, offers spiritual healing through channeling sacred energy. This is a field that exists around and within us. When we open ourselves to universal love-the Source, we can be a conduit and a receiver for this energy.
It can be as simple as an offering with kindness through the smallest of gestures. It is a moment of connection that reminds our beings of the God-bond between us. And if we become practitioners, we offer, in mutuality, a deeper connective energy. Here a channel can be opened and we can receive healing.
This was something that drew me to St. Mark’s. A healing hands ministry.
Jesus’ 1st century disciples were taught, trained and gifted this by their master. Their communities found healing, justice-centred systems, inclusiveness and collective identity, as the disciples lived out Jesus’ ministry.
We do this no less when we envision our world community as a dynamic, interconnected and inclusive life force that is always evolving and becoming. Here we are with God. This is God. Constant and infinite. This is healing.
It is part of our natural identity as a species that translates to the animal and plant kingdom. Animals, trees, flowers, all communicate with one another on this level, in some way.
Healing happens through this energy field. Communication happens through Love. Our presence as healers in the world, generates transcendent-healing love.
Through this love our prayers live out into the universe.
And in our brokenness, prayer is more keenly felt and more intentionally heard.
April 17, 2020
Diversity: Shepherd alone
Snow. Showering down like pebbles.
Sun. Splitting through the afternoon white.
Being with prayer intentionally now, twice daily, is one of the most supporting and tranquil aspects of my day. Holding this Community of Faith, along with the world community and my loved ones in a sphere of mindfulness, affirms my belonging with everything.
God is here.
We are here.
The Earth is here.
As difficult as this has been adjusting to living life differently and beginning a new ministry without hardly a moment to establish relationship, it has been for me an experience of learning, evolving, inventing and creating.
Being a part of your Community of Faith during this time has changed me.
Providing me with ways of working and imagining and connecting that are new and challenging.
I am grateful.
Being an introvert, my everyday life of ritual has not changed very much.
But I realized something the other day, that I was feeling lonely.
But I wasn’t sure for what.
It wasn’t for friendship or conversation-I have this; it was simply for people.
To be around them. Not necessarily in conversation, but simply near them.
Like in a grocery store or restaurant, or a park or music venue.
It reminds me of the way I miss trees. I do not have to be engaged directly with them; it is enough that we are simply together.
This was one of the most profound experiences of community I have ever had.
With everything time.
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables…Matthew 13.1-3
April 16, 2020
Diversity: New skin-Amazing grace.
Standing out on our wee porch that is attached to our main floor apartment, the night sky glimmers. Stars and planets show their distant light as the moon wanes off in another dark place.
So quiet. So beautiful. Cold air fills my lungs and in this one single moment, I am with God. These are moments of courage for me. Brief, but so full of wonder.
I have noticed that since I made the decision to only watch the news I felt was pertinent, that my anxiety has lessened. I know what is important for me to be aware of. And it is enough.
The world is still learning and does not always share the truth with us.
Often it twists things and presents them in such a way that it captures us and digs holes in us. These holes become places of pain and distrust and leave us even more vulnerable to the dark side of our existence. It prevents us from making space for the holy. It overwhelms us and we become lost in an already lost society.
Genuine diversity leaves room for creativity, authenticity, vision and empathy.
Diversifying our lives now will bring us into a centered, God-filled space that encourages us to evolve.
As a Community of Faith we have an ethical obligation to live our lives committed to the spiritual and practical teachings of Jesus. A radical, indigenous person who confronted oppression, injustice and cruelty.
He asks us to do the same. But we need to ring out our old ways, create new wine skins for our lives and push ourselves to honour his message.
…And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.” Mark 2.22
I lose my way countless times. I am attached to my old skin, not because I want to be, but because it is familiar. But that familiar is full of pain and trauma and ignorance. I want to shed it. It has been a burden for far too long.
The gravitas of our current situation is both surreal and visceral.
And in all this only one thing ultimately matters-we can never truly be abandoned. We belong to something so encompassing and galactic that our minds are still too young to comprehend.
It is in the well of our souls-our heart-place, where we can only truly understand.
And deep understanding comes when that heart is broken open for God to move forth from and enter into.
It is the poetry of humanity.
And we are both writer and poem.
To view the video, click on the link above.
April 15, 2020
1 Timothy 6:9
But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages an acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts.
We are all detoxing. (Breathe in Yahweh. Breathe in Yah, breathe out weh)
The earth is entering in from the outside and we are beating to a new drum.
A brand new love is sprouting green and colour and fragrant hope around us.
Our collective addiction to having ‘stuff’ is being purged from us.
Time away from the world is reducing our need to purchase.
The drug known as consumerism is being defeated.
Leaving our blood streams.
Diminishing into the abyss of, ‘we know longer need you or even want you anymore’. Here it bumps into its fellow conspirators, gambling, alcoholism, drugs, tobacco and caffeine.
Detoxing can be painful, excruciating for some.
Becoming whole can be a complete new structuring of self. Carving off the pieces that keep us unconscious and letting the Great Potter that knows and sculpts us, deliver us to our yet-known, deep-truth self.
A full detox plus the work that goes with it, will bring you out from addiction and welcome you into what may seem like, a brand new life.
Usually it happens slowly, but you still see, even if only from the corners of your life, your ongoing transformation. And like any addiction, it is a part of your experience and will offer you wisdom and awareness to guide you through the suffering that accompanies any significant transformation.
What is happening to many of us is not new, but circumstances we now reside in has made it impossible to side-step, ignore or reject this invitation into transcendence.
We are stuck with ourselves. The one thing we can never get away from.
And now it is more keenly felt. Escape is less likely. Unraveling is happening.
You are becoming.
Full and empty.
Joyous and sad.
Honest, merciful, justice-seeking and ready to be God’s humble servant.
Jesus said to them, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’
To view the video, click on the link above.
April 14, 2020
Diversity: ‘Ahead by a century!’
In the midst of the flow of life, where all souls travel and evolve, lives the prophetic voice. A voice that is out of time and offers insights, vision and transcendent wisdom that often lands on deaf ears. It is a voice that arrives before its time. A voice we all have within us, but have yet to learn how to access and express it. Mostly because we do not know it is there and cannot believe it would be something we could even remotely experience.
Mystics, prophets, visionaries.
Saints, spiritual teachers, emissaries.
Each one of us has this possibility within us.
Animals and all the rest of creation already have a knowingness-a connection which centers them in belonging. We have this too, but it evades us. It is hidden and often repressed.
But there are some, not the majority, but a large minority who have this knowingness. They are engaging the world a little differently than most and are seeking, always seeking, for ways to express this.
We probably each know someone like this. Someone who follows, without sometimes even knowing, their own unique path. Someone who offers us through a myriad of mediums a way of seeing differently from what we have grown accustom too.
And often they are ostracized. Ignored. Ridiculed. Sometimes harassed, beaten, imprisoned, executed.
We too often fear the voice of change.
Yet it is only here that we truly hear. That we can evolve as a species into whatever our collective destiny may be.
God’s trajectory for us. A mystery. But the prophets can glimpse this. And when they share from a place of radical love and diverse creativity, they create a picture of inclusion and humility and are worth paying attention to.
Some of us will feel awkward around them. Some will be filled with awe. Others will begin to feel their own prophetic pulse start to beat. And all that we have believed and the way that have we lived may begin to feel disingenuous and we are invited to take a new path.
In this approaching new dawn, we will need all the mystics, prophets, saints and visionaries possible to guide us through and into the new world community being written now. Our story is changing. This time is revolutionizing the way we each live life-the way our whole world community relates to, listens to and regards all life.
Are you ahead by a century?
Who do you know that is and how can you support them on the road less travelled. How can we help diversify ourselves and hear the inner prophet?
Never before has an opportunity for self-examination existed with such magnitude.
Our inner voice, our prophetic voice is on the edge of the dream we have lived in, calling, crying for us to wake up and hear the spiritual warrior, the mystic or the saint spilling over with the language of God.
The God-self is awakening and it will not be ignored or repressed.
This is the true path of the mystic.
The one we were each born to live.
April 13, 2020
‘Love is bigger than anything in its way!’ – Rev Patti Armstrong
The day after the day every thing changed.
We wake up and wonder, will things be different today?
Maybe they won’t and we will just keep doing what we have always kept doing.
But our friend has returned to us!
How can things ever be the same again?
How can we ever go back to being what we once were-it seems so long ago now.
I can’t go back.
His resurrection changes everything.
And now in the midst of a new crucifixion, resurrection exists on the other side of all this.
The view may be long, but we can see there is another side.
A side which holds promise and the possibility to unravel the mindset that wants simply to return to the way things were.
Why would anyone want that?
Could anything go back after Jesus returned?
You cannot stop an idea whose time has come.
Whatever happens when this resurrection finally comes, we can decide not to go back.
We can live out from the place that transformed us. A place that showed us a new world community. A place that showed us who we each really are.
A connected community with one big beating heart that would not give in or give up, but give over to love and honesty, compassion and sustainability, where nothing is attained through intentional suffering anymore.
Nothing need ever be produced or created in any way that causes the intentional suffering of any person, any animal or the planet.
Perhaps it will be hard to resist…to feel the pull back to when things were ‘normal’.
But for millions and millions and millions of people and animals, nothing was ever, ‘normal’.
And the planet? Was and still is, coming undone before us. The earth is heating up. This is not a crisis yet to come-it is here.
If we live out from resurrection Sunday and into the rest of our lives from this awakening, we can save our planet and ourselves.
Diversity is key.
Personal and bio.
Eco and spiritual.
Everything is different-everything is the same.
Let us who choose to live a life of compassionate sustainability sing out loud.
Be proud to stand with justice and inclusivity.
We cannot change anyone who does not want to be changed, but when we are changed, we change the world around us. And lives are saved. Philosophies evolve. Tolerance becomes acceptance. Differences do not matter. Everyone is fed well! Freedom is not privilege; it is a right. Health care and education and clean running water and decent shelter and everything we have taken for granted, is no longer only for the entitled.
What is truly important becomes a part of our every morning and does not leave.
We experience balance. We become whole.
The planet heals.
Animals are cared for with respect and kindness.
People are accepted for who they are.
Everyone has access to a life that is sustainable, creative, merciful and just.
I want to live there.
Let’s start now.
To view the video, click on the link above.
April 8, 2020
Holy Week Journey – Preparing a Sanctuary Space
Prepare a sanctuary space to share the messages and music for the following services to heighten your experience for each day.
Maundy Thursday April 9th
Items needed: Foot washing basin. Warm water. Tablespoon of salt. Olive Oil. Towel. (The salt is for the water and you may prefer to use a different oil or cream for feet. You may also like to add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the water).
When the service is concluded I invite you wash the feet of someone you share your home with or yourself.
Be mindful and attentive to the individual.
Pray for them as you gently wash and dry and oil their feet. Take your time. Listen to music. Talk about your spiritual journey. Share the time in silence.
Have a time of quiet prayer together when you are finished.
Good Friday April 10th
Find a place of quiet in your home.
Be present to your feelings and thoughts as the service unfolds.
After, sit quietly with your thoughts and heart and give yourself over to the Creating Spirit and simply listen. Do not judge your feelings. Let them be whatever they are.
Saturday Vigil April 11th
This is a day for meditation and prayerfulness. Light a candle. Continue to be present to your thoughts and feelings and take numerous times throughout the day to reflect on how life is currently resonating with you after Holy week and more intentionally, after your Good Friday experience.
Easter Sunday April 12
Items needed: A cup/chalice or any drinking container significant to you and some beverage which is meaningful for you.
Bread of any kind or any food that resonates with you for our time of Communion.
You may also like to add to your sanctuary space a candle(s) or special light and a small piece of something from the natural world.
We will celebrate Communion. And although this will be happening at different times throughout the day, remember there is no time or distance in God, therefore we will be together.
During the service I will invite us into Table fellowship and with your cup and bread, we will participate in this sharing together.
May the Peace of Christ be with you.
April 7, 2020
Holy Week Journey – Mysticism
“We may imagine mysticism or contemplation to be the privilege of monks and mystics, saints and prophets, and of the cloistered and the devout. But, to this I add: you are made both of and for contemplation. It is the secret longing of your being. And because this is so, each and every one of you contains the seed consciousness and the archetypal reality of its hidden ways. . . . It is in the wilderness of your heart that you discover a reality beyond every religious form.” Richard Rohr. Living mysticism
To truly engage in personal suffering and thereby empathize with another, knowing you are connected to all beings through an invisible network is what makes this possible.
This knowingness is mysticism.
Therefore, in each of us resides a mystic.
Perhaps awake. Perhaps waking up. Perhaps asleep. Perhaps just a little groggy.
Nevertheless, the mystic is there for us to reveal and realize, it is us.
Listening to Moojiji, Jane Goodall, Russell Brand, Richard Rohr, Eckhart Tolle and many others this week, they all share a similar story.
We are here in this uncertainty and dramatic shift in our reality, because it was necessary.
Because it is our deepening into self and consequently the collective consciousness.
And we need this. Humanity and Earth. It is a time of rebalancing and coming back into symbiosis. Our living cosmology shifted out of sync and now in order to continue to evolve, it seeks balance and awareness through compassion, suffering, transformation and community.
Not unlike the journey to Good Friday.
I intentionally began our first week with contemplative prayer for it is the starting point to the mystical experience-to becoming spiritually conscious. This is the avenue to Christ. This is the lens of God which we can share in when we let ourselves go very deep.
But it is very hard work. Probably the hardest you will ever do. And it is here genuine salvation resides.
Everyone is in a different place on their soul’s journey. And what is essential in this is to be accepting of one another, no matter how different their awareness is. To be patient and kind when frustration and anger build. And share with the Creator the truth that everything belongs. None more or less than any other. From here, we can see why and how God loves without boundary or barrier.
We begin to see too.
The Earth truly is healing. Something is being restored. And the cost is very high.
It would seem to me that significant and much needed change only happens with deep suffering.
This is how we walk into Good Friday.
To heal and be restored. And the cost is our lives. The ones we currently live. This has always been the Good Friday message. To become your true self where you know fully the Source, you must first die to self.
Yes, it is hard, but the outcome is beyond imagining.
Being inside God takes away all pain by connecting you to an understanding that evolves the mind and breaks free a constraint heart.
We may not live here all the time, but we can have moments
and that is enough.
Click on the link, to listen to the music
April 6, 2020
Holy Week Journey
Holy week. One of the most personal journeys the Jesus community participates in.
A journey that leads us into a time of sharing table fellowship, a day of unimaginable grief and loss, countless hours of waiting in vigil and then a miracle.
This feels more pertinent now than it has ever before.
Sometimes everyday seems like Holy week.
One day we are video chatting with loved ones, talking on the telephone, sharing stories and concerns through email. Hoping. Laughing. Crying.
Waking up the next day with an anxiety that overwhelms and increases into grief, unshakeable tears, sleeplessness and despair.
Then a day worn out and able only to pray and pause and wait.
And then the sun comes out. The grief lifts, faith returns from its hidden place and hope arises with the new dawn.
We find Easter morning because we give our hearts over to Good Friday.
We will find hope again through this global emergency when we acknowledge and accept our fears and the pain it has brought in our lives, all lives.
We find moments of freedom and an uneasy peace because we do not deny what is true.
That we hurt.
That we are angry.
That we are confused.
That we are scared.
That we are lost.
This is the way to truth. Through honesty of what is. Through being exactly where we are. And then being stirred by the crack of light trying desperately to get our attention. A light that is not going away, no matter how often we turn from it.
When Jesus washes our feet with love and tears and warm sweet water, we are bathed in God’s truth.
When Jesus shares cup and bread with us, we are fed with God’s abundance.
When Jesus is hammered into a cross and dies praying for God, we find our shared suffering and begin to realize that we are not alone.
We find each other through suffering.
We find our deeper selves in suffering.
We find God waiting to wrap us in the tenderness of unbridled love that breathes us into life because we have known suffering.
It is a part of our human experience. When we begin to truly accept this-see clearly its power to shift and transform us, its presence can make more sense to us.
We can at the very least acknowledge that it is a part of who we are and it always has been.
I think Jesus wanted us to know this. To really understand that the way to God, to really know and feel and get this God-thing, was to be present to suffering. Suffering of self and suffering of others. It is where vulnerability lives. It is in the edges of society. A place where so many reside because the world has forgotten them. Without our own suffering we could not relate and connect to others in an intimate and personal way.
Our journey today begins with knowing where we are going.
Of accepting the path to death by dying to the self that is not our truth.
And finding a beautiful human being waiting to be unearthed at the end.
And then, we start again.
Click on the link, to listen to the music
April 3, 2020
Praying for Change – Life as Prayer
I have upped my prayer time. Slowly it is becoming a part of my walking, sitting, doing dishes, bathing and being in conversation with the people and creatures in my life.
I feel it when I write. Reflect. Worry. Procrastinate. And I have come to realize the procrastinating may simply be a way my body/being is telling me, it is not time for that. It can wait. I am learning to trust my true self a little more every day. Being out of the world has that effect. I sense this is very significant for our species.
In my home environment I have a great deal of peace. My animal companions surround me and also give me and themselves distance when needed.
When I retreat to my room to curl and bring my hands close together and bow my head into them, I am lulled toward Great Spirit God. Some furry family members are lulled with me, as we become prayer together.
Outside buds and green shoots begin. Smells change. People are longing for outside time. Where I am, most people are pretty respectful of staying in. I know it will get harder as the weather turns and Sun shows itself longer. Still, in our prayer time, in our walking, working, creating time, being prayerful can become how we live, as we acknowledge and accept more of who we are and we see our inner sun.
And there find God’s radiant Child, waiting to ignite our lives anew.
Imagining is so important, especially now. The Christ within is our guide.
Together we can envision our Earth healing and her people rejoicing as we turn the corner from this unknowable, unthinkable place and find each other in a new way.
Yes, it will take time, lots of it.
But we must do this for our children and grand-children and great grand-children.
For all creatures and trees and water ways and every growing-living thing.
It is our responsibility to be a part of creating a better world out from this epic crisis.
So many of us know this and our living this.
This is prayer. This is our testimony to God and our commitment to listen to that holy voice of hope, compassion and faith in us, guiding us to sustainability and a greater and deeper truth of who we are. Individually and as a collective.
It is in prayer-filledness that we will find it.
Watching the water. Listening to the trees speak to one another. Sitting gently with a cup of tea. Holding the hand of one you love in quieting dusk. Doing nothing.
Prayer is what is in between everything and it is inviting us to bring it forward into all that we do and all that we are. Simply be intentional about the invitation. See your day as one prayer. Let it gently stir you into much needed sleep, where healing and soul-deepening happens.
Become the mystic you were born to be.
Because we are all mystics.
And that is something we will talk about another day.
Click on the link, to listen to the music
April 2, 2020
Praying for Change: Coping in uncertainty with a grieving world.
Lectio Divina-(Divine reading)
Lectio Divina is a contemplative way to read short passages of sacred text and discover meaning deeper than the literal layer.
When I lived in New Brunswick and my sister was here in Ontario, we went through parts of John’s gospel together through Lectio Divina. It kept us connected through our shared passion for the Gospel stories and grew us both into deeper beings.
Find a comfortable and quiet spot. Light a candle or place some other symbol before you to focus your attention.
Have a journal and writing tool.
Take off your sandals because the place you are on is holy ground.
Remove from your mind and heart whatever hinders you from hearing God reflected through scripture.
Vocalize the words of the text so that you not only read with your eyes but hear with your ears.
Pick a scripture (I have provided three. But choose any passage you are drawn too. Keep it relatively short and I suggest starting with a reading from one of the Gospels)
When you are ready, proceed with your reading while doing the following:
- Read (Lectio). From your heart: With the first reading, listen with your heart’s ear for a phrase or word that stands out for you.
- Reflect (Meditatio). With your mind: During the second reading, reflect on how the phrase or word touches you, perhaps speaking that response aloud or writing in a journal.
- Respond (Oratio). Create from your spirit: After reading the passage a third time, respond with a prayer or expression of what you have experienced and what it calls you to. (Be creative in your response and consider various art forms to express yourself through).
- Rest (Contemplatio). Rest in your body: Finally, rest in silence after a fourth reading.
Jesus Stills a Storm
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’
Jesus Calls the First Disciples
As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
April 1, 2020
Praying for Change: Coping in uncertainty with a grieving world.
Friends. Read the Psalm. Pray the Psalm. Centre in God. Wash your grief in God. Remember with all your heart, down to the most fragile part of your being, that you are not alone. For now we will be alone together.
Psalm 130: Waiting for Divine Redemption
A Song of Ascents.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.
Tending the Grief
Friends. Process the following questions alone or with someone in your life. Listen to your/each other’s responses. Wait with them. Feel them, watch them. Reflect on them and see where they take you. And always ask Great Spirit God for guidance and help. This is not a time to hold back…God is waiting for each of us to call, cry, reach out and then take our hand.
What feelings, longings, hopes are evoked in you as you pray this Psalm?
When life is hard and you are hurting, what makes it difficult to voice your sorrow and bring your pain to God for conversation? What helps you open the whole of yourself in God?
We are likely to come to God asking for relief and wanting the hurting experience to quickly pass. The Psalmist says, “My soul waits…. My soul watches.” Sometimes, in waiting and giving space, there are great gifts. What helps you wait in silence? What helps you embrace the gifts hidden in pain or sorrowing rather than trying to make it go away?
The Psalmist presents with a heart touched not only by personal need but the needs of the community (see verse 7, “O Israel.”). How does the Psalm speak to current lament of our time?
As you pray the Psalm, again be aware of the healing images (attentive ears, erasing iniquities, drenching forgiveness, etc.) Choose one image and doodle it. It doesn’t have to be great art. What colours will you use? What patterns emerge? What form will your healing image take?
The Psalm calls attention to a hurting creation. What are the laments of other species or rivers or forests or trees? How might your practices or prayers of lament include all of creation?
Thank you to The Prayer Bench for providing questions.
Click on the link, to listen to the music….
March 31, 2020 – Praying for Change
This is a beautiful soul.
I hope you can each find an experience that opens you further into,
the womb and heart of Great Spirit God.
We need this.
Click on the link, to listen….
March 30, 2020
Praying for change: Coping in uncertainty with a grieving world.
Julian of Norwich 1342-c.1416
Book: Revelations of Divine Love
Julian of Norwich experienced severe bodily pain when she was thirty years old. It was during her illness that she received visions, which she later recorded in “Revelations of Divine Love”. When we welcome and witness our body’s sensations with openness, we are also open to Presence in a way that is less mediated by the mind.
Julian wrote, “The fruit and the purpose of prayer is to be oned with and like God in all things.”
Take a few minutes to let your heart and mind’s attention sink deeper into your body, to remember your being’s inherent oneness through these simple words, postures, and intentions, the motto of the Order of Julian of Norwich:
“AWAIT, ALLOW, ACCEPT, ATTEND”
In contemplative prayer, we await God’s disclosure rather than demanding it; allowing God to be God rather than fit our needs and expectations; in whatever way God does show — or doesn’t show — we accept this as God’s gift to us; and through the self-discipline of attending to God’s presence, we are enabled to perceive God in all our everyday activities.
BODY PRAYER-sit comfortably and adapt prayer to your body’s needs.
AWAIT (hands at waist, cupped up to receive):
Await God’s presence, not as you expect, hope, or imagine, but just as it is in this moment.
ALLOW (reach up, hands open):
Allow a sense of God’s presence (or not) to come and be what it is, without meeting your expectations.
ACCEPT (hands at heart, cupped towards body):
Accept as a gift whatever comes or does not come. Accept that you are not in charge. Accept the infinity of God’s presence, present whether or not you are aware.
ATTEND (hands outstretched, ready to be responsive):
Attend to what you are called to, actions that God invites you to from this stance of openness.
Click on the link, to listen to the music….
Listen to the Music March 28, 2020
The new moon slivered in the sky tonight.
Growing into fullness. Just as we grow toward resurrection.
This new now is our elongated Good Friday.
And like the disciples and friends of Jesus we are waiting together.
Hoping. Having faith. Losing faith. Being together. Crying. Reflecting.
Resurrection has been a personal experience for some time.
And it has occurred unexpectedly out from the darkness.
Finding life again in Parent God – The Energy of Life, centres me in my soul.
Things could be coming undone around me but in this place I know only God. Inclusive of all things.
There is no centering in God without Good Fridays. No resurrection.
We can find that now in a brand new way.
Pain and all. It is truth. And it is waiting to be revealed.
This does not distant us from suffering. In some ways things are more keenly felt.
It is just that we do not experience them separate from God.
When you feel this, for you will feel it, just breathe. It will find its way into your mind, body and spirit and start to take up residence in a place already created.
We are a people who are still making sense of themselves.
Perhaps all this will garner us a little bit of honest and compassionate wisdom.
Walking alone, together.
Marcus Mumford- You’ll never walk alone
Click on the link, to listen to the music….
Listen to the Music – March 27, 2020
Couch Choir – Close to you.
Click on the link, to listen to the music….
I think nature likes us staying in our homes and singing from our couches.
Creatures of all kinds are adventuring out more freely. Roaming pasture and forest. Mountain and sky. Less afraid. Of us.
In this our time of new opportunities, as many of us experience a new kind of rest,
the natural world is breathing a sigh of relief.
I do not forget though the chaos and pain and desperation that fills places
throughout our world,
I carry it with me. I carry both.
Rest and chaos. Fear and hope. Uncertainty and faith.
There is room for both and everything in between.
And here we all are, in between.
The moment the tides washes out…then flows back in.
A pause in history.
It can feel like forever, but it is only a moment in the journey.
The angels and stars and all manner of cosmic life see us as we have always been. Blue and green, snow drop white, rich soil brown and resplendent.
And we still are, as we sing, cry, laugh, die.
When my heart crawls to the dark I sit with it and wait. It is painful and frightening.
But eventually a sliver of light breaks in and all is right in my simple little world.
When Jesus was overwhelmed by the darkness of the world, he did not deny it or hide from it. He sat with it. Hours, days, until the darkness faded and his eyes cleared. Darkness is a part of us.
Acknowledgement and acceptance go a long way to alleviating its power and releasing it into the Universe
Prayer does this. Meditation. Singing. Painting. Listening. Laughing. Paying attention to your feelings. Being creative. Avenues for your darkness.
Anyone who has experienced, abuse, debilitating pain, addiction, violence or any kind of intense trauma knows the power of darkness and also the power of light. They do not live separate from another. They exist together. Finding the balance is one of the hardest things to do.
Most of us want to live in the light.
But that is not the only truth of our world.
Jesus lived where there was pain and death and rejection. He had to learn to balance his brief life as an emissary of God. He had to crawl into the despair and bring the light with him.
It helps that he was completely connected to Great-Spirit God, but he is our model. The one we wish to most emulate. The light, the Christ woven into our beings.
The collective voice of the choir of humanity is struggling desperately to survive and learn and grow and believe we are not alone, now more than any time in most of our lives.
I choose to belief we are not alone.
I feel it. Sense it. Experience it.
We are being called into deep difficult things and most of us will meet the challenge.
From our couches we are changing the world.
I did not see this coming, but I am glad, in spite of everything, that we are in this together.
So please, go sing with all your heart.
Listen to the Music March 26, 2020
Woyaya. Art Garfunkel
Click on the link, to listen to the music….
I am naturally introspective and an introvert.
Working from home is not overly difficult for me.
My thoughts move more toward those reliant on the world to hear them and care for them and be present to ongoing needs and concerns.
The range is vast.
A multiplex of needs.
My inbox fills with not-for-profits continuing daily to care for and address the most vulnerable.
Such work, especially in the midst of uncertainty, is humbling.
I am proud of our world.
I believe we are all doing the best we can. Trying to navigate with little direction.
Does anyone know where we are going?
I do not know why and I cannot explain it, but I have faith in our world.
Faith in the oneness that has fashioned us with a multitude of colour and texture and fabric.
Faith that this tapestry of green and blue, wildness and order coexist in a trinitarian dance of completeness and imagination.
Completeness that greets us in a new dawn. In a mended heart.
In the vulnerability of our own lives.
Imagination that is always an invitation to the unknown, creative and possible.
All founded in respectful unity.
This story lives inside us. The dance that created this story is our story.
Do we need to know where we are going?
I don’t think so. At any time.
We are learning to be different together. In an inescapable way.
When we come out from this time of isolation, introspection, growth and uncertainty, things will be different. Still we will seek the familiar and many patterns will continue. But there will still be significant change. Possibly quiet at first and then gradually growing into something that takes hold and evolves us further into our personal and communal awareness.
Where consciousness moves with honesty and compassion.
I see that vision in my grandchild’s eyes.
It has been there since he was born.
Hope and possibility are everywhere.
Remember it is often in the silent places and smallest of things that this is revealed.
Listen to the Music – March 25, 2020
I’ll get by. Avi Kaplan.
Click on the link, to listen to the music….
I love the forest. It has always felt like home to me. In every forest I have lived near or in, there has been a rock that I would sit on and I would listen and feel free.
In this place, through many seasons I heard wind and bird song. Trees speaking in hushed tones, scurrying creatures and the heart song of Mother Earth.
The invitation the natural world offers is ancient.
We hear and experience things that speak deeply to us.
It is both ephemeral and timeless.
An energy of livingness that resonates into our depth.
A place to lay burdens and pick up insight.
Can this time of both quiet and desperation take us into unknown places that reveal truths of liberation and affirmation?
As life around changes daily and we seek comfort, answers, a new dawn for humanity, will we be led to the liberating and affirming love that is always seeking us?
In the forest there is no judgement or expectation.
Can we offer this out to neighbours and family?
To those who have hurt us and turned away from us?
Can we forgive our world for the enormity of suffering we as a collective are responsible for?
Of course we can. Because the forest is life and all life is God and God is everything. Forgiveness is natural. Acceptance, unquestioning.
When we lay down our burdens God scoops them up and carries them with us until we are ready to release them. And then, insight.
This can happen to each of us.
It is astounding.
Difficult and often challenging, but well worth the struggle.
Embrace your aloneness.
Release old burdens.
Let this time change you.
Trust you are becoming everything you were meant to be.
And forgive yourself, for everything.
Listen to the Music – March 24, 2020
Yo-Yo Ma plays Songs of Comfort. Dvorak. “Going Home”
Click on the link, to listen to the music….
Hope at All Times
It is central in the biblical tradition that God’s love for his people should not be forgotten. It should remain with us in the present. When everything is dark, when we are surrounded by despairing voices,when we do not see any exits, then we can find salvation in a remembered love, a love that is not simply a wistful recollection of a bygone past, but a living force that sustains us in the present.Through memory, love transcends the limits of time and offers hope at any moment of our lives.
Henri’s words, Yo-Yo’s cello.
Are we being called here?
Is here the home of all homes?
The one place waiting for our arrival?
The space where God is waiting?
I think so. And I believe that is what we are being called into now.
The invitation to go home. It is where we inherently live.
But we have forgotten. Perhaps not always, but often.
Something feels deeply resonating in the cello as it plays.
As if poetry and music and soul combined, and this was its sound.
I am always looking for the way home. The place I was before I was here
and where I will be when I leave.
This is a way station. Temporary. A place in between.
Alive and real, painfully tender and deeply creative. But still, temporary.
When I feel one with God, I know I am in my true home.
The sense of all life present and departed swirls around inside me and I feel complete.
I ache for it when it goes. But I know now, it will always return.
Let’s realize that now we have an opportunity to shed the miasma of materialism that has consumed so much of our world. Let’s go home.
I have listened to this piece of music over and over again.
Each time is an invitation.
Each time I hear holiness and the chance once again to go home.
March 23, 2020
Playing for change. Listen to the music.
It is everywhere –
Police serenading in the streets of Majorca.
Songs pouring from the balconies of Italy.
A choir of Sofa singers in the UK.
Bands and artists live steaming.
People on their porches playing songs for one another.
Love through music.
Healing through music.
Community through music.
Music is bringing us more together than anything else.
Flowing from a deep place where music is Experienced, Created, Formed.
Everything responds to music.
It is the language of the Universe!
Music is woven into us through Spirit, Connection and DNA.
And here we are, embracing it when most of us are
frightened, alone and confused.
I guess that’s the point.
Music goes past everything tangible and lands in our symbiosis.
Our dance with the Sacred. A place where the mystery of the eternal rivers.
Music through love.
Every day, connect to music.
Something different, something familiar.
Something that resonates.
Listen to the music.
It is our conversation with Great-spirit God.
Click on the link, to listen to the music….
March 20, 2020
Evening in the Spring Equinox
The late evening is so quiet. Everyone has slipped inside their lives. I walk with dogs, Meera and Puck and we see small lights burst through the darkness. People are home. Waiting, hoping, playing, worrying. The energy has changed. But it is not one of despair, it is something different.
A moment of quiet.
A time of thoughtfulness.
Yes, there is fear and uncertainty.
But we are together in all of that.
This is different.
The world has come into its time of finding its true self, and so have we.
I believe most of us will.
Thank-you great creating spirit God for walking with us into this uncertainty.
We may be isolated and scared and unsure of what tomorrow brings, but we feel, somewhere inside us, that you have prepared us for this and are at our side. No matter what.
We can be, will be, better.
Compassion and kindness are already taking hold, even in the darkest places.
Anxiety is high, but to be expected when life changes so drastically so quickly.
It is not something to run or hide from. It is a part of us. God knows this and holds us here.
We certainly are an unusual species.
Sometimes I just throw my hands up in the air and shake my head.
But what I have watched unveil over the past few weeks is astounding.
People really do care for one another. Friends and strangers alike.
Distance does not separate us.
Yes, there are pockets of hate and ignorance, that has always been.
But I believe truth and love and mercy and deep sweet kindness will clear the way, even in the most cluttered places.
All my beautiful animals sleep now.
The soft fire light from our little plug-in stove comforts.
As hard as it is, I choose to feel everything and sometimes this overwhelms me, but it is my truth and I want to live from this place.
Because it is in that place I know and feel all of you.
March 19, 2020
Body, Mind & Spirit
Ways to be centered in Creating God.
- Take intentional chunks of time away from news and communication devices
- Go outside if you can and breathe in the coming spring air
- Listen to your body. Rest and sleep as needed
- Practice/learn: Body stretching. Yoga. Dancing. (Use whatever parts of your body are able. This can be done standing, sitting and lying down)
- Listen to music
- Laugh whenever you can
- Contemplative prayer: being quiet in mind and listening
- Sharing and preparing food: Table fellowship with yourself or others
- Share communion with someone or yourself
- Painting. Writing/journaling. Drawing. Colouring. Sculpting.
- Spending time with animals/nature
While participating in any of these activities or in whatever you are doing, be mindful of the moment and engage.
God is always waiting to join us.
Share with me and others ways you are centering yourself in God.
March 18, 2020
Jason Mraz – Love Is Still The Answer (Official Video)
Grow in love.
This is a daily meditation I read and resonate with.
Sign up to receive it if you feel called too.
March 17, 2020
We are waiting and watching for a new dawn.
To see what will come to our world in the midst of the unknown.
Desperate. Hopeful. Connected. Distanced. Together.
And still, birds and little furry creatures continue at feeders.
Snow melts and small green things make their way through cold and snow and softening earth.
Our Spring is almost here.
Creation is groaning and so are we.
Yet I watch and listen and hear so much kindness and hope and possibility arising through voices from balconies and homes, through phones, FaceTime, YouTube and all manner of communication.
We are a crisis people.
Stepping up when things are at their darkest and need is acute.
Still, we long for mindful presence and the ability to simply breathe into the moment and feel the calm of the holy move through us.
There must be a balance here for we are also a seeking people.
Not yet arrived, but steadfast on the journey.
I know it does not always appear like we have gotten very far, but we have.
We are closer, to everything. More connected.
Seeing each other in new light with greater acceptance and a will toward inclusion.
There is tenderness in our world. I have seen it and experienced it. Even in darkness.
We are becoming more like the trees and birds and sky and rivers, because we have to.
Because it is our inherent truth. Our holy truth. We, all life, has been formed in God’s image.
We are becoming because we already are.
This is our sacred talk. Body, heart and mind as one.
There is no real separation, just a time of evolving into this deep truth.
In this time of so much fear and anxiety, the world is growing closer.
Unity is at our door step and we will be changed.
I listen to our Prime Minister close our borders and encourage us to stay home.
I swell with concern, but I am also proud of how so many of us are, without thought or reason, caring deeply for each other.
And then I pause…watching my dog Meera play with her red Kong.
Know the birds outside my window just want seed and a place to begin new life and that green shoots simply want sun and rain and the chance to offer fragrance and food to whatever passes their way.
There is beauty here and there is beauty in us.
If you remember anything, remember this, we, like all life have been created in God’s image.
Think deeply on this.
Let’s all try and listen for this. Listen to the still, ever so quiet voice inside. Listen to each other.
This is a new journey for us as a Community of Faith.
We have just met.
You do not know me, but we are connected now, perhaps differently than imagined.
Let your heart go deep when you,
And then, new friends breathe and carry on with whatever your work is, whatever you feel called to and whoever needs your care.
And remember, please, care for and be extra gentle on yourself.
Invitation to Prayer – March 17, 2020
I invite you to join me with a daily time of prayer.
I will be entering into this at 12 noon.
Our hearts and minds joined together sends out an energy which impacts the whole world community and definitely impacts us personally.
There is no distance or time or space in the realm of God’s creating spirit.
Breath prayer is one way we can be present to the holy.
Simply find a word or sentence which has meaning for you.
Breathe it in, then out.
Love in, love out.
God with us.
Spirit of life.
If you have children, invite them into this.
Let them have fun and play with words and their quiet self.
Also, if you have animals, gather them close. They love this! (most of them…)
Whatever calls you into quiet and connects you to your deeper self.
Experiment with it.
It helps to have one special place for prayer, if possible.
The amount of time is less important than the intention.
Just be as comfortable in this as you can and if you cannot be comfortable, that is okay.
Don’t force it or put expectations on yourself.
It is the intention that matters.
That is all the God is waiting for. For you to reach out.
The Holy One is always waiting for us.
We only need to acknowledge.
And if 12 noon does not work, just go with your own schedule.
Because we are doing this, we have engaged together and our now making a difference for ourselves and all life.
I will be setting an alarm on my phone for reminding.
If you have any questions or concerns, let me know.
Rev. Patti Armstrong
Minister, St. Mark’s United Church
email email@example.com or video chat