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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Heaven and Hell Right Here, Right Now

I've often said that in old English, the word "hell" meant to separate, to wall off, as in build a rock fence. Jesus told us the kingdom of heaven is within. This morning I read something from William Law:
The will is that which has all power; it makes heaven and it makes hell; for there is no hell but where the will of the creature is turned from God, nor any heaven but where the will of the creature worketh with God.
I'm not too thrilled to be called a creature, but then he wrote a long time ago and maybe it seemed better then. Anyway, I understand and agree with his point. There is nothing worse, nothing more scary than to feel as if the Holy Presence is not here. Of course, God is always here, there and everywhere, but because we have freewill, we can turn away.

I think we sometimes scare ourselves with wild fantasy stories made up of darkness and fear. We wall ourselves off from the Light. Perhaps we also create a wall around that center point within wherein dwells the Spark, the Light, the Kingdom of God.

It would change not only our own selves, but a portion of the whole world should we choose to turn the other way, toward God and welcome living in heaven here on earth.

It could be easier said than done, or it could be easier done than said - that's pretty much up to us. There is a trail of breadcrumbs, so to speak, left by all great spiritual lights, mystics, those who knew. We can read their ideas, conveyed as best they can in the imperfect words we have. We speak of magnificent splendor, but we have not an inkling of what that really is until one day the Magnificent Splendor breaks through --- then we Know.

If we want to leave our hells behind, I suggest we spend at least as much time in reading those imperfect words, praying, contemplating, meditating, journaling and doing acts of kindness as we do watching television, exercising, and playing computer games.

Our choice is to (pretend to) wall ourselves off from the Holy Presence or to turn and walk into Its Embrace.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The First Century

Yesterday I gave the sermon at church - "A Journey Into the Lord's Prayer" I incorporated historical information, language information and a new look at the prayer itself.

I discovered that almost all of the people knew very little about any of the information I shared. It occurred to me that it might be a good idea to brush up my memory of the 1st century history, language, cultural context, etc. as there really was a huge amount of interest.

It has been awhile since I've given sermons, and it was so wonderful - for me - and also incredibly well received. I guess I've been giving sort of written sermons here on my blog. It is a different skill set to speak a sermon, for I don't write it. I prepare by reading, praying, contemplating, journaling and such and then speak, looking in people's eyes, speak from a deep place. Yesterday. quite a few people had tears in their eyes periodically during the sermon. I am thankful for God's flow through me.

Living in the moment, every single person can remember and live immersed in God energy and also can be an avenue through which God touches and heals. We are all called to this. The weary world is starved for genuine spirituality. Are we willing to step up and allow it to flow through us? Are we willing to be the light of the world? Oh my, I hope and pray so.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Open My Eyes That I Might See

One of my favorite songs to sing in church starts with the line above.

The question is what am I opening my eyes to see? Am I seeing through a thick film of my acquired biases? Am I looking for only that which confirms what I have predetermined is THE truth? Am I looking to explore openly what might or might not agree with I've decided up until now, because I truly seek the Truth? Do I realize this is an on-going adventure?

One thing I KNOW is that God is Infinite, and this finite me cannot possibly know all. If I sit back and smugly say I have arrived, I am sorely mistaken. Life is a journey, and if we are at least somewhat awake, it is a journey to live aware that we live and move and have our being IN the Divine Presence. And if we are sincerely walking that path, as we progress a bit, we are more and more aware and living consciously in Oneness with the Divine.

This week-end most of us were disturbed, in pain, in horror, deeply saddened. A young man did what every religion condemns - he terrorized and killed apparently without compunction, other young people who were simply dancing and having a happy Saturday night. I cannot help but wonder what terrible biases developed in him that led him to think it was okay to take another human life, many human lives? How did the lens of his life become so distorted? What did the world look like through his eyes?

Yet, I must look in the mirror too. What distortions remain in my seeing? Where can my lens be wiped clean so that I may see from a more spiritual vantage point? I have only cleared away some of the debris from my seeing, and still have work to do- I'm still not the person God had in Mind when I was created - I'm sure of it.

We must be careful to not  be so busy in outrage about this young man, or others like him, that we avoid the work remaining to do on ourselves. Of course, what he did was evil.  But then, it would behoove us to ask ourselves some questions. Where are there even tiny pockets of darkness still in me? Am I always kind? Am I always compassionate? Do I live the Great Commandments without excuse? What do I need to do about this?

Here I am, Lord. Wash me with Your Light. Wash away any pockets of darkness in me. Lead me ever closer to You and to being the person You had in mind when I was created. Teach me to Love. Teach me how to stay awake in You.

I lift up to You all the tortured souls walking our earth and ask that Your Love and Light enfold each and every one and bring them to Peace and Wholeness. Teach them to Love.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Thought on Love

Richard Rohr says that in order to follow the spiritual path, we HAVE to stay in love. The minute we are angry, resentful, judgmental, etc, that is the moment we step out of the force field of God. We cannot hear guidance, we cannot be useful instruments unless we walk our lives in love each moment, moment after moment.

It has seemed to be for a long time, the first step on the real spiritual path is to clear out the ego and its erroneous points of view. Forgiveness, contemplation of high spiritual truths, prayer, being with enlightened people, reading inspirational books, etc can help us. We can immerse ourselves in the quest. To me, that means not just reading what you already believe, but stretching to consider spiritual greats and their ideas. I LOVE Meister Eckhart, for example, as well as many of the Christian mystics such as Hildegard, Mechtilde, Boehme, and others. One that I studied early on was Thomas Kelly, a Quaker mystic.

"Handbook to Higher Consciousness" by Ken Keyes turned my life around. It helped me move to a level beyond my dramas and my ego. I highly recommend it for cleaning out one's thoughts.

If we are sincere about walking the spiritual path, let us become fit beings who are actually able to walk it, hear guidance, and follow. Let us walk in love/Love.

I step today one more step on the path I have chosen. I began a long time ago, and have walked far. But it is an Infinite Journey into the Great Mystery. Guide my steps, my heart, my soul to be one who walks farther, a closer walk with You. Therefore, wash away from me all that is unloving, and fill me with awareness of Love. Lead me to shine Your Love wherever I am. Let there be Love on earth, and let It and It only flow through me. Thank You Holy Presence.

Sunday, June 5, 2016


I read a quote from him that I've been turning over in my mind.
I yield myself to Thee; I would have no other desire than to accomplish Thy will. Teach me to pray. Pray Thyself in me.
It is often said that most usually when a person says "Thy will be done," they have no real desire of that and certainly don't expect God's will to show up in their lives. They really say the prayer to exert their own will and try to cajole or convince God to bend to their ego desires and intentions. Surrender is the last thing in mind. Yet to sincerely ask for God's will, is total surrender --- and it is also trust that God's will is for the greatest and highest good. Imagine that, the Infinite knows the highest good and wants only that for us.

And yet, here this quote takes us even farther to the ultimate prayer of God's words and intentions being said and implemented through us. Beyond "thy will" is the revolutionary concept of God praying His/Herself in our very own souls. Contemplate these little sentences for a few days (say them slowly and roll them over in your mind for at least 5 minutes a day, write a few lines in your journal) and see what happens  --- if you dare.

Teach me to pray.... Teach me to pray.... Teach me to pray.... Teach me to pray.... 

Pray Thyself in me.... Pray Thyself in me.... Pray Thyself in me.... Pray Thyself in me....

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Almost Father's Day

In some ways Father's Day covers several weeks for me, as I'm giving a sermon at our Methodist Church that day. My mind is working on ideas, seemingly all by itself. It is very interesting.

My thoughts also turn to my own father and who he was to me. He was a calm, quiet, kind, steadfast, loyal, busy, creative, super-honest man. I remember us going uptown to get something at the hardware store. When we got home, he said "Oh dear, they gave me 50 cents too much change." And we got in the car and went back to the store. He walked in and told them he got the wrong change. They immediately got defensive, saying you left the store, so too bad. Their mouths and eyes fell widely open when they heard my father protest that they had given him too much and handed them a 50 cent piece. He was scrupulously honest.

He encouraged me by often saying, "You can do anything you put your mind to." He had an amazing memory, even many years into his senior years still able to quote poetry he memorized in high school. He remembered his math too and was a huge help as I struggled with algebra and geometry. He helped me build my display for the science fair and helped me with the project. I was making cheese from raw milk. The teacher gave me the room key, and a couple of times in the middle of the night my daddy drove me to school and helped me with the pasteurization process of rising and falling of the temperature of the milk quickly. He built me a special desk and later the most amazing silk screening system. I often have a pang and wish that I still had that.

He was fiercely protective of my mother. I thought for many years he didn't protect me, but I suppose his protection from her and my grandmother was done quietly, behind closed doors. I did survive after all.

He was always active at church, and was church treasurer for many years. In the last decade or two he came to the conclusion that "this is the 7th day and God is resting." I think he had lived through so many terrible things, the only conclusion that God was not present to protect and guide him.

He never told me he loved me, but I'm certain he did. He came from a long gone generation. He was born in 1907 and passed on 1999. He really wanted to make it to the millennium to see what would happen, but his stroke was in November and he left a few days later. He is the only person with whom I have been close that never came to me after passing. He left and left quickly. I think he was totally done with this planet and its pain.

Wherever he is right now, I know God's Presence is there too, and Daddy knows this is not the 7th day actually. Thank You, God, for letting me be his daughter.