Tag Archives: contemplation

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

 

 

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“Tartan Waves I” DS

“Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of all that love me,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.”

St. Patrick

A Celtic Blessing from Roma Downey

http://www.andiesisle.com/ThisBlessingIsForYou.html

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Spirit of the Triune God

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 “Shamrock” Photoconceptual art 2014, DS

The three-leafed shamrock is the symbol of the Trinity for Celts.  In Celtic Christianity, both art and spirituality were used seamlessly as they went about their work.  One finds that the people made a point of acknowledging visual reminders of God in their daily lives.  As I enjoy this new shamrock plant I too am reminded to contemplate God daily, especially in remembrance of St. Patrick.  These are my thoughts today:

The Spirit’s main task is to bring salvation to sinful humankind (Grenz, 357).  He has been at work as one of the three persons of the one God since before time began.  He brooded over the waters in Genesis 1 in his role as Creator along with the Father and the Son.

There are numerous proofs of his deity in the Old Testament but it is not quite as clear how he is a full person as the Father and the Son are.  We trust that he is because of his work in the creating and sustaining the world as being that of God.  He is both similar to and different from the Son (Ibid, 371).

He is the relationship of the love between the Father and the Son.  He is the power behind Jesus’ ministry as shown at his birth, the beginning of his ministry and his resurrection.  When Jesus went back to heaven he left the Spirit to remind believers of what Jesus had taught them.  He filled the disciples with his power at Pentecost to bring about the new community of God on earth.  By his love and power he sustains them as they become witnesses for Jesus and build the kingdom of God.  The Holy Spirit brings about the new creation of the earth and heaven (Ibid, 377).  In the meantime he gives the ones who live for Christ a foretaste of things to come when he establishes God’s full rule in the world.  He is the One responsible for “engendering love for God” (Wilken, 287) and drawing humankind to God to find true happiness (Ibid, 273).

Theology for the Community of God, Stanley J. Grenz

The Spirit of Early Christian Thought, Robert Louis Wilken

No One is an Island

 

‘No Man is an Island’

No man is an island entire of itself;

Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,

As well as if a promontory were,

As well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were;

Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.

And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

 

Year 1624 MEDITATION XVII Devotions upon Emergent Occasions John Donne (1572-1631)

The language is outdated but the sentiment remains.  We are affected by those around us – for good or for ill.  We influence our circle whether worldwide or village narrow. In this as in everything who we are and what we do as a person matters.

Yet as in our solitude we create, in our community we recreate each using our gifts.  We do not really operate alone.  Like these workshops in contemplation and creativity others are generously involved:

–       mentors, friends and participants

–       pray-ers, encouragers and supporters

–       those that introduce and recommend

–       administrative support, advertising, hiring

–       those that provide space, clean up, coffee

–       those who have trained and graded and 

–       those who take a chance

–       suppliers of glue sticks and scissors

–       laughers and criers

–       those who affirm the calling and ignore weaknesses

–       those who long for rest, for creativity, for connection with God

thank you

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The Lesson of the Amaryllis

The older stalk balances the newer.

The older stalk balances the newer.

“Lesson of the Amaryllis” 2014 DS

This amaryllis plant that disappointed by not blooming at Christmas has provided entertainment in January almost as if it was a pet. In fact as someone with dander allergies, I have come to see that the way this houseplant is described in all of its aspects must be equivalent to the discussions of house pets. Comments about its appearance and activity have been numerous. No movement in growth has gone unnoticed. It has required care too. It must be turned toward the light each day so it does not lean too far one day and topple the pot. Watering is a regular delicate decision enacted on the hothouse soil just below the large rising bulb.

A couple of days ago I suggested that the older stalk be pruned. My spouse disagreed and wanted it left as it was. As in these days of much married experience I have finally learned to pick my battles, I left it. While finishing my breakfast I quipped, “You like its fading beauty?” He muttered: “Yes keep it – it adds to the beauty.” After further reflection over oatmeal and coffee I blurted: “Am I like that…?”

If truth be told, I did not want to watch the blooms lose their colour, crinkle and drop off – the messiness of it all I might have to clean up. This morning my husband informed me that the second stalk was getting a third bud. (We had expected a mere two.) Enjoying the pinkness of it all I suddenly realized that as the younger stalk gets its third bloom it needs the balance of the older stalk. Also, only with the old and the new side by side do we enjoy the continuum of growth across the lifespan of this dramatic plant. Birth and death and birth again – that is kingdom living. An amaryllis joins my collection of contemporary parables

Suffering

Last evening at the Contemplation and Collage Workshops, I struggled to listen to the stories of suffering by those in the group.  However, it was my role to listen.  We all like to be heard.  I do not like suffering or hearing about it but I choose to walk this path to share my sisters’ burdens and to help them break their silence visually with the spiritual practice of collage.

It is a fearsome thing to be asked “Why does a good God allow suffering?”  I have found clues in the writings of others.  I offer these words of Henri Nouwen from his book “Reaching Out”:

Often it is the dark forest that makes us speak of the open field…

prison makes us think about freedom…

war gives us words for peace…

our visions of the future [are] born out of the sufferings of the present…

our hope for others out of our own despair…

Someone’s careful and honest articulation of the ambiguities, uncertainties and painful conditions of life gives us hope.

The paradox is indeed that new life is born out of the pains of the old.