We know that our Creator of the Universe made an imperfect world. If we can essentially understand that there is a tragic nature to this life, then it helps us navigate our own highway.
We cannot forgive anyone or anything if we feel empty. We need a huge comfort to fill up the space. Feeling empty is awful. If we feel that way, the only thing we have to rely on is our willpower which will not work because we are weak. The primary work of spirituality is keeping ourselves filled with love and a generous, positive attitude.
The past is sludge and dredge in the journey of life. We will transmit our pain to others if we cannot transform ourselves. How do we do that? Prayer and gratitude. All day, every day. I want to be clear that working toward these goals is a choice, and we have to work harder praying and being grateful that we will ever work at wallowing in the pain.
We can claim God as the source of who we are. We can call him Abba Father when we pray. That is a pleading from the heart, the home of our innermost being. If we try, just try, to manifest kindness and gentleness, two of the fruits of the Spirit, we will begin to grow in Spirit.
The other day I was driving somewhere. It is my habit to pray gratitude when I drive. Well, I wasn’t feeling gratitude or love. I was deeply troubled. So I started shouting at God. “Well, here I am again! You know what I am going to say, so I will just get straight to the point, okay? I am old and tired of trying to be nice and getting the boot. I am tired and afraid of the next shoe that is going to drop. Just so you know, God. Okay, I’ll shut up now.”
Immediately, something came to mind that I had read from Richard Rohr. “All, without exception, live under the divine waterfall of mercy.” I stopped yelling and accepted His grace. Oh, and I felt a lot better.
The word “paradigm” is so politically correct these days. I really don’t care for the word. Every time I hear it, I have a tendency to think, “Oh, no, here comes another new universal truth, a new way of doing things!” There are a number of synonyms for the word paradigm. Some of them are: pattern, design, prototype, criterion, norm, rule, precedent, principle. The list goes on and on. I like the word criterion for business, and precedent if I am talking or thinking about something new. But that’s just me.
I write about faith so there is just one universal truth and that is love. A new precedent is a new guidance system, a new gauge for performance, and a new comprehension of sacrifice. If we are Christians, we are required – yes, required, to go deeper into the life of Jesus. How? Well, it’s hard. We all look for proof. Our new guidance system has to be faith and not sight. Our performance needs to shift to the standards of Jesus in everything that we do. Wow. What if Congress thought about the highest and best use of everything they did? It would be a different world for sure. Sacrifice? This is truly comprehending our reason for being and that is service.
Let me share with you a personal truth. Half transformed is much more difficult and exhausting than being fully transformed. The implications of full commitment make us very afraid. Why? Because we have the idea that we cannot do it, that it is just too hard. But we have to start somewhere. Let’s try this: If Christ (or The Universal Truth, or whatever a higher truth is to us) is in us, everyone and everything is deserving of respect. Why? Because we all reflect the image of the One who made us.
Where do you find yourself most resistant to Jesus and why?
We cannot bargain over our lives. God always wins. There are two kinds of losses. Everyone shares the first kind. These are losses that just happen to us. Things like accidents or illness. We cannot predict them and we have no control over them. The only choice we have is how we handle them.
The second kind of loss is chosen. It is known to the seeker. In an act of abandoning our trust, subject to Divine will. This is not telling God you won’t play checkers anymore. It comes only after we have dug into our pain, and we choose to give our deepest desires to Him.
We surrender our deepest selves, let go of the rage, the pain, the fear, and give it to Him. We fight with it if we must, but until we grieve enough to let it go, peace and happiness will elude us.
My prayer is always PEACE UNTO YOU. PEACE I GIVE TO YOU.
With love, Amen.
Jesus said, “the truth will set you free.” John 8: 32. What does that mean? Well, my mother or father would have said, “Always do the right thing. Always tell the truth.” It may not be pleasant, it may not be easy, but it will always serve us well in the end.
What is true liberation? It is letting go of biases, fear of loss, our wants (this is a very hard thing to do in today’s world), the need to control and/or manipulate, and our need to know. Letting go is the path of descent. Downward mobility is simple living, altruism, non-violence, and peacemaking.
Richard Rohr says, “We become free as we let go of our three primary energy centers: our need for power and control, our need for safety and security, and our need for affection and esteem.”
This does not mean we become like flower children of the 60’s, or put our heads in the sand. It means choosing a right path, a truthful path, and leave our egos behind. It seems to me that most people today care more about sexuality issues than our social issues like global justice and peace.
If we fill our hearts with peace and love, peace and love will come back to us. Let us dig deep into our inner beings and break out the hatred and blame. Let us remember we are loved by the One who made us. If He can love us, we can love ourselves and each other. A little practice will make life very sweet.
When I was a little girl, about ten years old, I was baptized at the First Christian Church in Rolla, MO. Now our church had what I will affectionately call a dunking tank full of water, and getting baptized was a really big deal. We had a lesson book as I recall, and I faithfully studied that book. Our minister, Rev. Willbanks, talked to me very seriously about giving my life to the Lord, and told me that becoming a child of God was a great responsibility. I needed from that point on to always look to the words of Jesus first. He also told me that helping people was why I was born. He told me that I would have to pledge my allegiance to God, and Jesus and the Holy Ghost before the congregation.
Well, the great day came. I was so excited. Not only was I going to be a child of God, but I would be considered a grown up, completed and saved by my immersion just like Jesus. I donned the robe (long and flowing) and the minister was already in the water. He called me to join him. I walked down the steps and took his hand. “Judith, I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” He “dunked” me three times and pronounced me saved for eternity.
I was then formally introduced to my new church community. I remember standing with Rev. Willbanks at the back of the church and being congratulated. I had a towel wrapped around my head and felt like that was my coat of arms.
It has been a very long time since that Sunday. But I still remember it like it was yesterday. I remember that the hymn we sang as we exited the church was “Standing on the Promises.”
Today, I am a member of the Episcopal Church. They accepted me through confirmation since I was already a baptized Christian. But the promises I made on that day so long ago have not changed. I still try to live as Jesus taught us. And I know that good works are the highest and best use of our time.
There are a lot of church members who sing “Standing on the Promises,” but they are just sitting on the premises. My dear friends, where do you sit?
Pentecost on Sunday and Memorial Day on Monday. Wow. Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit descended LIKE TONGUES OF FIRE on the apostles and they were filled with the knowledge that Jesus had promised them. WIND AND FIRE. That is what it seemed like. That is how they were able to describe what happened to them. They were then told to go out and preach the gospel to the far corners of the earth. I like to think that was the day Christianity was born. Peter immediately ran out to share the good news. May the flames flicker and scorch and get us to move. May it wake up the distraught and comfort those who cannot find rest.
Today we think of the silent places where soldiers rest and offer our respect for what they gave. We reach out to those who, thankfully, are still with us and thank them for their service. Pray for peace. As you honor those brave souls, living and passed, let peace be the highest honor bestowed. PEACE, we long for it in our world and we long for it in our hearts.
Dearest Creator of the Universe and Master of Our Souls, on this holy day of honor, we thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit that enables us to find and enjoy the fruits of the spirit when we pay attention and listen. Let us bow our heads and remember those who left us too soon. Let us bow our heads and remember those who fought with purpose and are still with us. We know that bowed heads cannot forget and some hearts are broken. May the Holy Spirit gift us with peace and forbearance so we can press on regardless and be grateful. Amen.
We need to be kind to ourselves. This means kindness toward all aspects of our being. We know that kindness means the absence of anger. It also means not wanting to hurt someone else. But what if things seem to be falling apart for us? What if deep down we feel that we have really messed things up? Those are the parts of us that hurt the most. Those are the hardest parts of ourselves to love. But remember that whatever the circumstances, we are always loved by the Creator of the Universe and the Master of our Souls – no matter what!
Maitri means sticking with ourselves even when we feel like losers. It is from Buddhism. Maitri is loving-kindness. How do we do that?
First we need to become aware of our focus. Who and where do we place most of our thoughts? If they are mostly internal, and about us, we need to change our perception and our focus will change. How do we do that?
It takes practice, but we immediately change our internal thought to an external thought. My personal way of doing this is to think of God. Just think of God. If we don’t know what to think, just say over and over God, God, God, God…..Thank God for something, the rain, the sun, the good smell in the air, whatever. Do this as often as necessary. Keep doing it. After all, we live in a fallen world.
Christianity says our world fell when Eve ate the apple at the suggestion of “Evil.” In the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, he says our world fell apart when we became separated from nature, and became enemies to each other and to ourselves. Today we think of it as separation from the ideal which opens the door for our suffering. Lao Tzu calls it the loss of the Great Integrity. Interesting isn’t it that they are both so similar?
Created by Walt Kelly, Pogo was a cartoon character who said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” The cause of confusion and violence and lack of understanding is in me, and all of us. We can come to know all of this in ourselves. But first we have to make friends with ourselves. Blaming someone else is not the the way to get happy. We have to love ourselves and see that shutting off our friends and the world around us changes nothing.
We have met the friend and he is us. If we go to the places that we reject, we come to know the parts of ourselves that we reject.
The is an interrelated universe. We are all connected and responsible for loving and helping each other. All of our hearts touch. Our energy should be kindness and compassion in everything we touch, think about and love. Peace is reaching out, even in a small way, (ex. a silent blessing to a bicycle rider who passes us), and that good energy will go where it is needed. Plan to walk in silent blessing just for today. Bless everyone you see, silently, and see how you feel at the end of the day.
My blessings to all.
How do we experience the light of the soul and the depth of the world in which we live? Wow. Now there’s a challenge. There is no way not to do both, but the challenge is to inhabit both the soul’s light and the world’s depth. I believe that each of us is given a specific life.
We choose our path. If we choose a life of spirit, it begins with our absolute belief and acceptance that we are part of something larger than ourselves. What is the basic question we all ask? We want to know what our connection to the living Universe is and the truth of who we really are. Once we are touched by suffering and/or love, that question takes a front and center seat in our drive through life.
Every human being has a journey of discovery that is theirs alone. There is the soul and then there is the world. We have relationships with each other and through those we discern experience, love and service. To quote Emmett Fox, “…we’re left to make sense of the kinship between the mysterious forces of life that remain unseeable and the things of this world with all their weight and gravity.”
How do we learn, how do we find peace? We take care of each other while we share our experiences of becoming who we are.
I know for sure that my soul and my relationship with my Universe is paramount to me finding the beauty and truth of being alive. I know for sure that love is the card that connects us. I know for sure that my world, bound and gagged by time constraints, is teaming with unseen forces that can and will help us on our journeys if we just get out of our own way and ask.
Emmett Fox once more, “I learned that authentic living begins with our acceptance of what we’re given. Then the light of the soul can met the light in the world.”
Shine on everyone. Shine on.
Too often we have a hard time seeing today’s blessings because we are wired to look through our past filter. Many of us, in fact I believe most of us, can find bad things that happened to us in the past and we cannot let them go. As long as we are there, we are hooked and our present potential remains dormant. Fortunately, today’s scientific world has found ways for us, with diligent effort, to rewire our brains so that we no longer wander through the dark halls of our minds. Practicing selective thinking, in the now, can slowly change perception.
I am deep into a Bible study which can show us how to begin this process of change. For example, maybe we have trouble remembering why we perceive things the way we do. Here is a lesson. Let’s look at our parents, or main caregivers. Find the worse three things about each of them. Now find the best three things about them. We can go back to our grandparents and do the same thing. When we finish this exercise, look closely at the positives and the negatives. We are looking at ourselves.
We discover raw and hurtful things, and we discover warm and wonderful things. That is the new map of our life. Now, direction cannot change overnight, nor can it change in the past or the future. Now is our new beginning. How do we do that? Look for the good in everything – and I mean everything – from brushing our teeth to smiling at the grocery clerk. Science says when we smile, we change certain chemicals and feel better. Try it.
I have found in my 69 years, that Jesus meets me wherever I am. He already loves me. That is grace. I want to love like He loves. I want that more than anything. So, my life is one in process. I change the thought if it is negative. And because I do that, I believe it is the second thought that counts. I meditate daily and get stronger with positive feelings.
That is my hope and prayer for all of us. Oh, and we should tell our Creator how much we love and glorify Him, and what we are grateful for because He made us for His glory. I saw literally thousands of white butterflies the other day. Nobody can tell me that God wasn’t right there in the middle of them. I smiled and laughed, and thanked God. I love white butterflies.