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Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

It is New Year's Eve and as I usually do, I'm reviewing the past year.   Here is a selection of quotes I've written in my journal in 2011. One or more of them may spark a line of thought that is useful for you too.  Happy New Year!

“He suddenly felt that what had been the source of his suffering had become the source of his spiritual joy and that what had seemed insoluble when he condemned, reproached and hated had become clear and simple when he forgave and loved.” Leo Tolstoy in Anna Karenina

“A [person] should be so clothed in God that no-one can reach [them] without touching God’s coat… The most fundamental thing anyone can do is bring a [person] into the presence of God and leave [them] there.” Thomas Kelly in The Eternal Promise.

“Make all cares into one care,
the care of simply being present.
You will be cared for by that Presence.”  From Cynthia Bourgeault retreat.

“Whatever you are not aware of you can be sure you will be acting out of.” Charlotte Beck – quoted by Cynthia Bourgeault

“Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.”
Frances de Sales

“We no more need a soap box to stand on than does the moon or a single blade of grass wet with dew. From Merton’s Palace of Nowhere by James Finlay

“Merton once told me to quit trying so hard in prayer. He said, ‘How does an apple ripen? It just sits in the sun.” From Merton’s Palace of Nowhere by James Finlay

“All we have to do as Christians is come back one more time than we go away.” Alexander Shaia at Spiritual Directors’ Conference.

Once when Pope John 23rd was dealing with major and delicate issues in the Church he was heard to say: “God it’s your church. I’m going to bed!”
Alexander Shaia at Spiritual Directors’ Conference.

“Your goal on the spiritual path should be to free everyone else from your ego!”  Craig Hamilton in Awakening to an Evolutionary Relationship to Life online course.

“Jesus spoke about God. Jesus spoke to God. Jesus spoke as God.”
            3rd person                     2nd person                   1st person
Ken Wilber in online interview about The Three Faces of God.

“The human heart is the first home of democracy.” Parker Palmer in a Sounds True interview Living the Undivided Life.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Who better to tell the Christmas story...

If you have read one of my previous Blogs (here) you will know that I am a Green Party member because I think Green Party values match Christian values. So it was with particular interest that I listened to Green Party co-leader Russell Norman's speech in the opening of Parliament. He based his whole speech on the Christmas story and how, as a country, we need to be following Christian values in order to have a just and sustainable society that takes care of all people and the environment.

You can watch the speech in two clips Part 1 and Part 2 (15 mins and 13 mins)

The fact that Russell Norman said he is not a Christian but an atheist made his speech even more powerful in my view! If a Christian politician had said the same things he or she would probably have been dismissed by many people as just "pushing their own barrow". Russell did an excellent job of presenting accurately and fairly the Christian story and calling all politicians to account for the ways in which these values are ignored.

It's a funny thing isn't it how the presence of Christ shows up in "unlikely" places! But then that was how it all began - with God incarnate in a baby in a stable.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lucy's Carol

This is one of my all time favourite Christmas "carols". It was composed by a five year old girl called Lucy and transcribed word for word by her mother. I found it some years ago in A Pocket Book of Spiritual Poems collected by Rumer Godden.

Lucy's Carol

When the baby borned
Joseph said to Mary
"What am I going to do about
this little-born Jesus Baby Christ?
I never knew it was going to be like this,
with all these angels and kings 
and shepherds and stars and things.
It's got me worried I can tell you,
on Christmas day in the morning."

Mary said to Joseph,
"Not to worry, my darling.
Dear old darling Joseph,
everything's going to be all right,
because the angel told me not to fear.
So just hold up the lamp
so I can see the dear sweet little face 
of my darling little-born Jesus Baby Christ."

Joseph said to Mary,
"Behold the handyman of the Lord!"
Happy Christmas, Happy Christmas!
Christ is born today.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Strangely wonderful

Reflecting on the Christmas story this morning it struck me again - and somehow in a new way - how strange and wonderful the whole thing is. A poor young woman, thought by many to be carrying an "illegitimate" baby, travels a long journey in winter to find rejection instead of warm, welcoming care for her first delivery.  Then the first people to mysteriously get an inkling of something divinely important going on are the rough old guys out in the paddocks. But they take the idea seriously and follow it up enough to find - well - nothing that matched angels and glory. Yet in the vulnerability of the little family "out the back" there was an intangible "something" that changed their lives. Later, at the opposite end of the social spectrum, there are astrologers following stars... and for all their rich gifts, being brought to their knees in worship.

I know it has all been said before but it's true - God chose, and chooses, to be revealed in a context of poverty, misunderstanding, rejection, vulnerability ... and recognised by those who, to our proud minds, are the least likely characters. Who would have thought that "the shearing gang" and "those New Age types" would be among the first to receive the gift and wonder of the first Christmas? I feel both awed and humbled and I hope I can look in the right places for Jesus this Christmas.