Wind Chimes: 13 Oct 2012

Today the chimes sound questions. What do you hear?

Was Job an explorer?

My own peculiar task in my Church and in my world has been that of the solitary explorer who, instead of jumping on all the latest bandwagons at once, is bound to search the existential depths of faith in its silences, its ambiguities, and in those certainties which lie deeper than the bottom of anxiety. In those depths there are no easy answers, no pat solutions to anything. It is a kind of submarine life in which faith sometimes mysteriously takes on the aspect of doubt, when, in fact, one has to doubt and reject conventional and superstitious surrogates that have taken the place of faith

—Thomas Merton in Faith and Violence quoted in Seeds edited by Robert Inchausti

Was Job a mystic?

Bernard McGinn says that mysticism is “a consciousness of the presence of God that by definition exceeds description and . . . deeply transforms the subject who has experienced it.” If it does not deeply change the lifestyle of the person—their worldview, their economics, their politics, their ability to form community—you have no reason to believe it is genuine mystical experience. It is often just people with an addiction to religion itself, which is not that uncommon.

Mysticism is not just a change in some religious ideas or affirmations, but it is an encounter of such immensity that everything else shifts in position. Mystics have no need to exclude or eliminate others precisely because they have experienced radical inclusivity of themselves into something much bigger. They do not need to define themselves as enlightened or superior, whereas a mere transfer of religious assertions often makes people even more elitist and more exclusionary.

True mystics are glad to be common, ordinary, servants of all, and “just like everybody else,” because any need for specialness has been met once and for all.

Daily Meditation by Richard Rohr on September 23, 2012. Adapted from Following the Mystics Through the Narrow Gate. (CD/DVD/MP3)

A prayer

O God:
Give me strength to live another day;
Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties;
Let me not lose faith in other people;
Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness;
Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them;
Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity;
Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things;
Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;
Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness;
and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls;
in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

A Prayer For Today  a resource of Forward Movement

Wind Chimes: 4 Oct 2012

October 4th is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi in both the Roman Catholic and Episcopal Liturgical Calendars. Here are three different Spirit-breaths through the Wind Chimes.
What do you hear?

St. Francis of Assisi
St. Francis of Assisi by Nancy Earle, SMIC via Daily Meditation from the Center for Action and Contemplation

Collect for commemorating St. Francis

Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, grant your people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in your whole creation with perfectness of joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

From Francis of Assisi, Friar, 1226 on Holy Women, Holy Men

Franciscan Mysticism

On September 30th Richard Rohr began a series of daily meditations on Franciscan Mysticism. Here are links to his daily meditations so far. I encourage you to subscribe to his Daily Meditation (the music in those Wind Chimes is one of my delights).

A Franciscan Blessing

I do not know the original source of the “Franciscan Blessing.” I have seen this blessing in several different (almost-the-same) forms. Most recently I saw that Brian McLaren has been using it in his Everything Must Change gatherings (go to the post). Here is the form he uses:

May God bless us with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that we may live from deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of God’s creations
So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless us with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with just enough foolishness
To believe that we can make a difference in the world,
So that we can do what others claim cannot be done:
To bring justice and kindness to all our children
and all our neighbors who are poor. Amen.

Wind Chimes: 27 Sep 2012

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

James 4:8a NRSV

Here is today’s sampling of the music made by the Spirit in the Wind Chimes.
What do you hear?

Being present: A Spiritual Practice

Quote . . .Being present in the spiritual life always has a double meaning. There’s present, as in here, in attendance. And there’s present, as in now, a moment of time. What is the spiritual practice of being present? Being here now.  [1]

Drawing near to God by “reading” God in Nature

We have to begin with the first bible, which is creation itself—that God has revealed who God is through what is. If we don’t learn to honor, respect, and learn from creation—the natural world—I think it’s very unlikely that we are going to know how to read the second bible—the written Bible—with respect, reverence, and in an open way. So I believe (and of course this is very Franciscan for me) that we have to start with the first bible, which is the created world itself, or nature. [2]

Obama at the U.N.: A new religion doctrine

President Obama on Tuesday (Sept. 25) gave a forceful speech at the United Nations, in which he challenged much of the world’s assumptions about free speech and religion.

The article, by Lauren Markoe, goes on to extract five points which she says “add up to as close to an Obama Doctrine on Religion as we’ve seen.”

Read the article on Religion News Service

________________________
[1] One of my favorite websites is Spirituality & Practice. A section of their site is devoted to Spiritual Practices. Among the practices (and a dimension of “draw close to God and he will draw close to you”) is “Being Present.”

“Lead us not into temptation….” Wait. What?

One of my favorite teachers, Richard Rohr, has a weekly blog Unpacking Paradoxes. On June 17th he unpacked the phrase, “lead us not into temptation,” from the “Our Father.”

This line (In Matthew’s version of the Our Father) has never made sense to me, although I continue to say it since this is the way it is usually translated; but I cannot really appeciate it as is. Sometimes, it is translated “do not put us to the test” (In Luke’s version), which still seems strange and problematic. Why would God “lead” us into temptation or “put us to the test” to begin with? Is human life an obstacle course, a testing ground? Are we all on trial? I thought God’s usual job was to lead us away from temptation! Why would we need to ask God to NOT lead us INTO temptation? Does he?

Please read the rest of his post as he answers these questions. It is a different answer than you might expect. It is humbling and it makes a lot of sense to me.