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Archive for September, 2014

Self discovery

Love is the willingness

to give up a part of yourself

you think you know,

to discover a … self

you never knew existed.

— John Squadra, This Ecstacy, p. 84

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Radical love

If there is hope for us — man and woman, Arab and Jew, East and West — it does not lie in the rising up of a great leader to tell us what to do. The Time of the hero is past. No rescuer will come to fill the deep crevices of earth with oil again or season poisoned land with sweetness. If we hope to bless our children’s and grandchildren’s future lives, we need to do the hard work of challenging our own thinking — and hold one another gently and with mercy as we each untangle the limiting beliefs that hold us and our culture captive. With the willingness to cooperate and change our minds — to let go of our own certitude, be it religious or scientific — we can begin to see differently, and take a first step toward the radical kind of Love that holds both sides of that polarity in its embrace.

— Anne Hillman, Awakening the Energies of Love, p. 57

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Connect with mystery

How many ways there are to connect with the mystery of life! One person sits in a garden contemplating a flower and sees in it the divine. Another dances or drums, paints or meditates, or wonders at the night sky. … Whatever our way, if we follow it deeply enough, it will bring us to the same place. All well-honed spiritual paths point to a root experience of awakening that transcends what we may have heard in our religions. Such an awakening cannot be taught in sermons or books, workshops, ‘weekends,’ or university classes. We can learn a lot about a path but the reality is, we have to live it.

— Anne Hillman, Awakening the Energies of Love, p. 14

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Silent worship

The sky is a startling

blue, but

we’ve forgotten to notice.

We walk about

in the most pedestrian way,

forgetting we are here —

where light

etches the trees

in high relief,

and the spaces between

reveal everything —

same as the window

high up in the meeting room

framing blue sky,

slicing angular planes of light

that pierce the stillness

to its heart.

— Amy Lucinda Runge Gaffney, in Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction, Vol. 20, No. 3, September 2014, p. 54

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Love given back

To celebrate life and beauty, to relieve suffering, to leave a small marker for one another on the path, that is what any of us on the spiritual journey can do. We are all beginners. We walk. We listen. We serve. Walking, that is all, and this is the nature of the Fire: that those who walk are treasures. We love them, not for what they’ve been or done; we love them simply because they are there. We love them because they are walking along the same winding trail worn smooth by many others — all of us walking toward a horizon where the Unknown waits. We love them because we know it is Love itself that holds the dead and the living together as One; Love that gathers up and holds hearts that have been broken, and in the breaking, opens them wide. We love them because we know that in some mysterious way, it is also our own love — broken, offered, and given back.

— Anne Hillman, Awakening the Energies of Love, p. 273

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Pure darkness

Do you remember the night you floated backwards

down the dark river? The stars floated at your armpits,

pooled at the corners of your eyes.

Every night you float backwards down this river.

Friend, the way back is the way in

and the way in is the secret to cheating death.

The Buddha asks, Show me your face

before you were born.

At the edge of your river, there is a door.

When you enter,

the room is the black of a night wet with rain,

black as your closed mouth.

Friend, you know this place.

It is that most familiar place, hidden from you

except in dreams.

It is the underside of your childhood quilt

turned down for sleep, the sweet dark crease

in your white, just-laundered soul.

Why did you think that only whiteness was pure?

This place is the dark of one million light bulbs

all gone out at once, one million memories of light.

— Alexandra Martin, in Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction, Vol. 20, No. 3, September 2014, p. 58

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God in the unexpected

I find God in the unexpected,
the unexpected places
where I least expect to find
the presence of the Living God.

It is in these unlikely places
that the undeniable sense of
holy-overwhelming arrests my attention.

I find God in the unexpected,
the unexpected times
when I would rather
wallow around in the muddle of my mind
and rehash old, unresolved issues.

God pierces through the wall of my wailing
and shines glory on my being
so I can see a new path,
a new direction,
a new purpose.

I find God in the unexpected,
in people whose lives seem so fractured.
Yet they, like shards of a mirror,
reflect the image of God so clearly
and profoundly
that God becomes flesh again.

I find God in the unexpected,
those situations that seemed trivial:
a passing comment,
a line from a movie,
an image on a screen.
Serendipity turns spiritual in unguarded moments
because God chooses to speak to me
through the unexpected.

I find God in the unexpected.
Slowly, I’m beginning to learn
to expect God – in the unexpected.
– Kwasi Kena

The Africana Worship Book, Year C

From pages 56-57 of The Africana Worship Book, Year C, edited by Valerie Bridgeman Davis and Safiyah Fosua. Copyright © 2008 by Discipleship Resources.

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