Lenten Reflections & Readings

March 5, 2010 - 10:16 am 5 Comments

Patient Trust In Ourselves
And in the Slow Work of God

Above all, trust in the slow work of God…
We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything to reach the end
Without delay.
We should like to skip all the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown,
Something new,
And yet, it is the law of all progress that it is made through some stages
Of instability…
And that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you…
Your ideas mature gradually- let them grow, let them shape themselves
Without undo haste.
Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be that today… What time
(that is to say, what grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
Will make you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.
Given our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

One of the central messages and abiding secrets of the spiritual life,
If we are to make progress in gaining any depth of understanding or make
any progress in our quest for meaning and wholeness, is learning to give up
in order that we might receive.
In the season of the year, in the various quests and journeys of our hearts, we are asked, and sometimes we are compelled to let go, give it up, release or surrender.
We submit willingly in order to make room in our hearts and minds for a new reality- to make room for a new kind of blessing, a new kind of freedom, a new way to participate in genuine family, authentic community.
There are so many new things that need to occupy our hands, fill our embrace,
And once we empty ourselves of our previous pre occupations and concerns, we make our hearts the home of a new hospitality, and we make our minds capable of welcoming new possibilities and realities.

Those who make themselves ready, those that willingly release, give room, energy, will and spirit to new directions… Directions that would transform our lives…
Whenever we risk letting go, we make it more possible to open ourselves to a larger hope, greater dreams….
PEL

“I am endeavoring to see God through service to humanity, for I know that God is neither in heaven, nor is God down below, but God can be found in every one.” Gandhi

There is a certain courage that comes when we greet the dawn, our shadows and uncertainties fade when we respond to the growing warmth, the glowing promise of the light.
At first, we can be startled by the entry of more light into our lives, and wistfully
Try to hold on to sleep, dreams, and solitude. We seek to preserve the darkness, for there is a strange comfort to be found there… Strange and true. Yet the light of day, the light of consciousness and the dawning of a true community beckons and entices us…
To rise from our darkness and to stand face to face with whatever the day promises to us. It is in this call to be who and what we truly are, to be willing to stand fearlessly and to respond openly, that we can find that which is essential to self and to our community… A way of being together that brightens the daystar of our souls.

May the light around us guide our footsteps, and hold fast to the best and to the most righteous we seek.
May the darkness around us, nurture our dreams, and give us rest so that we may give ourselves to the work of our world.
Let us seek to remember the wholeness of our lives, the weaving of light and shadow in this great and astonishing dance in which we move.
The Rev. Sally McTigue

Sanity and Sanctity
How do we learn about our differences, and how one person’s talent or skill is not to be envied, just as another person’s spiritual beliefs are not to be shunned or put down? Here is a story form the famous Black theologian, Howard Thurman that offers us an answer:

“I dreamt that God took my soul to Hell. To my right, there among the trees, were men and women hard at work making a garden. And I said, looking at them, ” I should like to go and work with them. Hell must be a very industrious place, filled with lots of personal success and much individual accomplishment.”
Then God said,” Nothing grows in the garden they are making.” Together we look more carefully: And I saw those people working among the bushes, digging holes, but instead of planting anything, there was nothing to fill these holes. The workers covered the holes with sticks, straw, leaves, and earth, and I noticed that each man as they walked back behind the bushes, they watched their footsteps very carefully, then the men hid themselves and intently watched their holes…

I asked God, “What were they doing?” And God said, “Oh, they are making pitfalls for any man or woman to fall in.” I said to God,” Why do they do it?” And God said, “Because each person who lives in Hell thinks when his brother or her sister falls, then they will more easily rise or succeed.

And then I asked, ” How will he or she rise?” God said,” They will not rise, but instead, they will fall into egotism and fail to truly succeed”
And I asked God,” Are these people sane?” God replied, ” They are not sane; there is no sane person in Hell.”

As I understand it, life requires us to accept with gratitude, the gifts and talents of others, and not seek to feel superior or inferior. Also, we are to honor all the different ways of understanding God, or what is good or what is considered to be Holy- We are not to sharply criticize the differences, but we are to compare, and to appreciate so that we can learn from them.
After all, if we are to trust the intent of World Scripture, we are given the view that God created humanity so that we can bless and care for one another, not so we could harm or judge each other- No one truly gets ahead when another person fails, and no one is made better by trickery or deceit, envy or revenge.
In fact, it could be said that only as we learn to tolerate and accept one another’s differences, and not try to create pitfalls, can we begin to find a genuine and lasting sense of inspiration within the diverse communities that we build, …
And only then, does even a glimpse of heaven become possible.

You and I are in the business of building kingdoms and queendoms together- to build the realms of wonder and sustain the structures of integrity and worth in which all of our sisters and brothers of the liberal and lively spirit work together and dwell….
This is ideal of community- It consists of the blessings and grace we can experience in caring for one another, and the that can be found in sharing our life’s journey with one another, thereby enriching and supporting each other all along life’s way….

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