Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wholly Holy Sabbath

And so another Sabbath dawns... the earth around me blessed by the rains of the past two days... greens once again green and the patina of dust washed away for the time being. A morning of giving thanks...a morning of opening myself to the presence of the Holy...a morning of being exactly where I am at this moment and feeling gratitude for this time and place, even as I prepare to lead worship at the lovely little church south of Lexington, NC.

Faith and the spiritual journey has long been the subject of reflection for me, aware that my own journey has taken and continues on a long and ciruitous path, a path which has moved from the Sunday school understandings of my youth to the wide-open embrace of the value of traditions not my own, to what they can teach me, to the light they bring to my own enlightenment. And so, I share with you, dear ones, some of my writings about faith from the past year, hoping they will perhaps shed some light upon your own path, since in reality we are walking together in this journey of life. May your day be blessed; may your heart be filled with hope; and may you know, above all, that you are loved. love, linda

Everything has something to teach us. The only question is, Do we allow it, or do we resist it with all our might? –Joan Chittister

God is many faces to many people- but all the same God. –Joan Chittister


Infinite goodness has such wide arms. –Dante

faith’s road
Having faith does not mean
having answers…though it is indeed
far more comfortable to live with
certainty than to dwell in
ambiguity.
But life’s road is paved with questions
and mystery lurks just off each
beaten path, and though it is said that
the road to hell may be paved with
good intentions, I doubt if the stairway
to heaven is built on narrow-minded
opinions.
 
The supreme religious challenge is to see God's image in the one who is not in our image.  -Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

 in whose image?
Imagine...the Hebrew Bible commands us-
in more than thirty places- to love and
welcome the stranger, for each and all of us
have been a stranger...somewhere, at some time...
and in the stranger, we can see the face of God,
welcome angels unaware.

 But far too often- if honesty prevails-
the only god we can see is the one made
in our image...the one who looks like us
and acts the way we think God should...
and if God is indeed only the way I see
divinity, the way you see holiness, then we
can- with smug & self-righteous justification-
deny the image of God in those unlike us,
in our enemies.

 Easier by far to "worship" God than
to love our neighbor (let alone our enemy!)...
to see the person right in front us as
the unique, beautiful Child of God
she is...to stand in awe of the unsolved
mystery of his life...to see them not
just as characters in my own story
but as people in their own right...as
holy places wherein dwells the Spirit of God.

Simpler, far, to hallow the Wholly Holy
than to recognize...admit...acknowledge
that every encounter with every person
is holy...that every encounter with every
person takes place on holy ground- and
in deep humility, take off our shoes in wonder & awe.

religion?
Re-ligare, that early Latin word
from which “religion” and “religious”
come, meant- in those early Latin days-
     to re-connect, to re-member
              what has been dis-membered…
     to return to our deepest, truest selves,
          remembering what we already know.
How, then, has religion become
something which divides,
                           which dis-members
                        the family of humanity,
                        pitting sister against sister,
                        brother against brother,
                        tribe against tribe, until even
                                   heaven has its teeth set on edge by the
                        cacophony of warring certainties,
                            each striving for the hearts & souls
                            of humankind…           
                            each certain that its answers
                                        are THE answers…
                        while angels weep and
                        all creation bears the battle scars
                        of humans run amok,
                        as the loving, reconciling voice
                                   of the Divine One
                         goes unheard.

ass/u/me
Why do we so often assume
that people of faith never experience
     brokenness?
     discouragement?
     despair?
Why do we so often assume,
even in this modern age,
     that illness & misfortune are
     signs of lack of faith?
Why do we so often assume
that we know who has God's
     favor and who does not?
Why do we so often assume
that there are simple, straightforward
     answers to life' complex questions?
Why do we so often assume
that a great divide exists between
     what is sacred and what is secular?
                      and
Why do we so often assume
that we, we alone, know the
     mind and will of God for
     humankind?
I mean, isn't it dangerous
                to ASS/U/ME?

Spirituality is what takes us beyond religious practice to the
purpose of religion: the awareness of the sacred in the mundane.
-Joan Chittister
reading the bible
It is not in the book
but in the being
that we find spiritual truth…
and yet the scriptures are
revered,
elevated to a holy place,
words cherry-picked and
                                  chosen,
used as weapons and as warnings,
not as wisdom or as welcome…
words quoted, cited, spoken with a towering authority-
           and all the while,
           the very ones who claim the words
           promote fear and hate, exclusion, war…
           while words of love, acceptance and forgiveness
               get lost somewhere…
and the One called God,
       the One called Love,
       the One Creator of us all
              gets pushed aside and
              the Book takes center stage…
as we forget to LIVE the message
                      to BE the truth
                               to co-create a world of love
                      to worship with our daily lives…
 

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