Monday, February 22, 2021

Rainbow Elements


Please forgive my tardiness this week.

2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10 - Epistle on Ash Wednesday

So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

…Hearing these words on Ash Wednesday I reflected back on all that has happened over the past 11 months, since I started this weekly blog ritual.  Some might call this my covid project.  I was struck, yet again, by the opposites.  They gave me a grounding to continue. Continue both with this blog and with this life. The past few month have been something of my own personal lent, and although it is not over, I do see the slightest bit of light. This light gives me hope. Much as light did for God in the passage from this first Sunday in Lent...

Genesis 9:8-17

God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

…God made a Covenant written in light shining through water to all the earth. All elements: Water, Air vapor, Earth, Light Fire, and Space are present in this one story of promise to this planet. It is this promise that gets me through each day, especially the hard ones. It is this promise, this rainbow of light at the end of the tunnel, that helps me to understand that we will survive our personal lent or covid or loss. God doesn't promise us an unchanged world, but God promises only to not destroy the world. So, into the great unknown future we are sent, to lent and beyond.


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Saturday, February 13, 2021

My Smiling Heart

I Corinthians 4:3-6

Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.


This week I read the part in italics over and over again.  It was a strange moment. I didn’t at first understand why I was doing it. But sometimes in moments like that I just go with it, perhaps its some spirit led moment, perhaps its my brain trying to make sense, or perhaps it is God calling me to a deeper understanding.  Maybe all three. 

The more I read it the more I found it to be a parallel to the ninth stage of iRest meditation – Joy. This comes right on the heels of the intense work exploring opposites in feelings, emotions, and beliefs. “Letting light shine out of darkness” could be another way of expressing these opposites. Often when calling clients to Joy, after the deep mindful exploration of opposites, we use the metaphor of the “heart smiling” letting that simply be another way of saying joy or finding that inner joy. Certainly, this heart smiling could be for the followers of Christ a shining “in [their] hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

But as I explore this statement further it draws me to the first part of this Epistle. Knowledge, and it’s opposite: veiled blinded minds, these are what separate the believers from the unbelievers, another opposite. They further proclaim believers to be Slaves to God, not Gods, again opposites.

These opposites are hard to comprehend.  In iRest this work is taken further though.  Clients are invited to feel into the somatic (bodily) sensations that come up when thinking about one opposite and then the other one. Then move back and forth between them, then hold both at the same time. In this case when you think of “knowledge” where do you feel that in your body?  Same with “Veiled blinded minds.” Other sets of opposites within this biblical writing include are “Believers” and “Unbeliever.” “Slaves” and “God.” “Light” and “Darkness.” Where and how do you feel these in your body? Move back and forth between these sensations. Can you hold them both at the same time?

I’ve had many discussions about this process with other meditation leaders.  Some feel that moving between the opposites takes away their power over us, some feel that we come to understand that both can exist at the same time, some feel that we come to understand that we can only experience one at a time.  Personally, I think it depends on the situation.  But what works for me is not important for anyone except for me, when I’m leading another person the practice is theirs alone.

I’m always thankful for the positive ending of these meditations when we move to Joy. My heart smiling is normally like a sun and the rays of light filling my body with warm golden light.

“The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen” BCP


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