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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Divine Dance

I'm currently preparing a workshop on prayer and spirituality for a group of people preparing for ordination. Instead of talking about "spiritual disciplines" and a "rule of life" which sound rather rigid (good though the intention of those phrases is) I'm encouraging them to think about relationship with God as a divine dance - and to find the rhythm and steps of the dance that is uniquely theirs.

As I walked the beach this morning I reflected on the fact that the walk itself is part of the daily rhythm of my dance and it often leads me to what I call "my seat" where I sit and gaze at the beauty with gratitude and awe.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

When morning gilds the skies...

Sunrise sky with  Moon setting!

These were taken out of my bedroom window as I pulled the curtains back this morning! 
It brought to mind the first lines of an old hymn I haven't thought of for years: 
When morning gilds the skies
 my heart awakening cries: 
 May Jesus Christ be praised! 
It's wonderful how songs seem to stay in the memory bank and pop out at significant times. 
If you are interested in the whole hymn here are four verses. (One site gives 12 verses!!) The original was composed in German in 1744 and later translated into English:

         When morning gilds the skies
            my heart awakening cries: 
            May Jesus Christ be praised! 
            Alike at work and prayer,
            to Jesus I repair: 
            May Jesus Christ be praised! 

          The night becomes as day
            when from the heart we say: 
            May Jesus Christ be praised! 
            The powers of darkness fear
            when this sweet chant they hear: 
            May Jesus Christ be praised! 

         Let all the earth around
            ring joyous with the sound: 
            May Jesus Christ be praised! 
            In heaven's eternal bliss
            the loveliest strain is this:
            May Jesus Christ be praised! 

         Be this, while life is mine,
            my canticle divine:
            May Jesus Christ be praised! 
            Be this th' eternal song
            through all the ages long: 
            May Jesus Christ be praised!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lusi and me!

I ventured out for an exhilarating walk this morning in the full easterly blast of Cyclone Lusi. The view of the beach was very different from the usual photos of calm blue water and sunny shores. (See my Post two days ago!) But it was just as beautiful in a different way. The few other people out and about greeted me and each other with extra wide smiles and and a kind of comradely agreement that this was well worth the effort. And it certainly was!
On the way home I was thinking about wind and its many moods - a gentle whisper, an exhilarating wake up call or a devastating death-dealing tornado. The Spirit is like the wind - a gentle whisper, an exhilarating wake up call or a tornado that blows away all that I thought was "the way things were". In "Spirit terms" all of those winds are purposeful.
Blow then, wind of God.
Whisper to me, wake me up,
and if necessary 
blow my flimsy world

Monday, March 10, 2014

Morning walk

Cloud covered sky
 Rising sun pierces through
With golden shafts of
(I have to admit this isn't my own photo. But it is as close I can get to what I saw on my walk this morning. I've been resisting getting a smart phone but I just might get one for the convenience of having a camera at hand for these "burning bush moments"!)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

What a way to start the day!

I have been enjoying walks at sunrise the last few days. This was the view today as I rounded the corner on my daily walk to Long Bay beach. I never take this beautiful location for granted. Every day, any weather this is cause for profound gratitude.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust...

Today is Ash Wednesday. That may not mean much to most of us unless we are part of a church community that marks this day at the beginning of Lent. To have a cross of ashes marked on your forehead with the words: "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return" can be a sobering reminder of our mortality. That's no bad thing. We are all heading in the direction of returning to dust!
But rather than that being a morbid thing to focus on it seems to me that "dying before you die" is the best preparation for the final dying when we let go of our earthly bodies. The key words here are "let go". Letting go in a myriad of ways is one of the best ways to grow more like Jesus. And after all it is Jesus's journey to the cross that we focus on during Lent. 

So rather than seeing Lent as a time of "giving up ice-cream" or whatever other rather trivial "sacrifices" we might dream up, I suggest thinking of Lent as a time to focus on letting go in the midst of whatever each day brings. These "little deaths" might be as simple (and challenging) as letting go your need to be right in an argument; letting go the peaceful half hour you thought you were going to have before that person phoned you; letting go your bruised ego when you weren't acknowledged; letting go your planned outing when your friend has a cold… I'm sure you get the idea! 

If you decide to make letting go more consciously a Lenten practice you might want to pause at the end of the day and reflect: what did I let go of today? did I let go easily or with a struggle?

Jesus help me to let go so many things I cling to 
without even knowing I do.
And in my letting go 
remind me that I am keeping you company 
on your letting go journey to the cross.