Hollow Reed

I had no idea that this prayer continued past the song that I knew:

Oh, God, make me a hollow reed, from which the pith of self hath been blown so that I may become as a clear channel through which Thy Love may flow to others. I have left behind me impatience and discontent. I will chafe no more at my lot. I commit myself wholly into thy hands, for thou are my Guide in the desert, the Teacher of my ignorance, the Physician of my sickness. I am a soldier in my King’s army. I have given up my will to Him and my life to dispose of as He may please. I know not what fate Thou deignest for me, nor will inquire or seek to know. The task of the day suffices for me, and all the future is Thine. Thou changest weakness to strength, doubt to faith, perplexity to understanding. When I am fit to bear the burden, Thou wilt lay it on my shoulders. When I am prepared to take the field, Thou wilt assign me a place in the Army of Light. Now I have no other duty than to equip myself for Thy Service. With eagerness and patience, with hope and gratitude, I bend to the task of the hour, lest when Thy call comes I be found unready.

I love the song that takes the first sentence, and makes it a round – not that I can find it on YouTube at this point. 🙂  But I found that this was *not* among the Baha’i prayers I’d learned, but rather a compilation of a commentary on Revelation by Abdu’l-Baha and from a talk by Hand of the Cause George Townsend.  And while it may not be one of the “official” prayers, it is certainly one worth saying, particularly when we find our own egos getting in the way of what we need to do.

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Prayer for Solving Problems

From the book Miracles in Prayer, I offer the following:

Dear God,
I am faced with a problem that I do not know how to solve.  Even though I think I have many problems, in Truth, I only have one problem.  My problem is that I forgot that I am one with You.  As I remember that You are my Infinite Source of abundance, wisdom and resources, all of my problems are solved.  I am learning that it is helpful to take my attention off my problem (the best I can) and to place it on my oneness with You.  On a practical level, I will do what’s in front of me to do, without judgment, while I listen for Your guidance.  As I focus on my oneness with You and the Truth of who I am, I bring light to my situation.  I am learning that my problems are easily undone in the light of Truth.  In the presence of Your love, there is nothing to fear. I dedicate this situation to the Truth, and trust that peace is inevitable.  Thy will be done.  Amen

Lenten Examen

No worries, yes, that’s spelled correctly.  The Daily Examen process is one that I heard of from one of my professors, and he uses it as a spiritual practice.  I hadn’t had a chance to try it, but figured that this Lent would be a good time to ease into the practice, as it is done weekly here.  While I’m keeping the “Lent Madness” portion of Lent activities for the church on its blog, this is more of an individual exercise, and I figured I’d keep my thoughts here.

The Daily Examen process is generally a series of five steps created by St. Ignatius of Loyola:

1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.

During Lent, there is The Word (in this instance through Monday, it is to reflect on Matthew 6:5-8), reflect, give thanks, pray for light, find God, anything wrong, and what now?

Giving thanks is something I do daily, many times a day, as I realize that not only does God gift me with many blessings, but the blessings that may not be so obvious – leading to new things to learn, values to practice, alternative viewpoints to consider, etc.

Pray for light – now this is a new concept, but I think fits in with the latter part of thanking God for blessings.  “I ask the Father to let me see my day as the Holy Spirit sees it, and to show me what I need to see.”  Bit of a different twist, but hopefully I’ll be able to identify further blessings in that way.

Find God.  God is in all, in everything.  But the questions here ask, what have I done?  Did I do as I planned?  What happened that I didn’t plan and how have I responded?  What did my heart tell me.  I’m a horrible list-maker, so I actually do plan for things to accomplish.  I’ve had getting blog posts done for a while, which I finally got to today.  However, it wasn’t actually on today’s list.  So, since today is Thursday, and work schedules are a bit odd on Thursdays in any case, I’ll get to some of the things on my list, and have some left for tomorrow.

Anything wrong?  Oh, today is a day for family difficulties, and trying to figure out logistics of shipping something that was a gift, but isn’t registered to me.

What now?  What do I need from God today?  What do I need to do today and tomorrow?  Pray.  Not going to pray for patience, as I already have a situation that requires it, and don’t want anymore at the moment.  Tomorrow will be a better day, and I’ll have better answers for these same questions. 🙂

Ordination

I have neglected to write about ordination until today, simply because life has been so busy!  However, I wanted to include a couple of things that made a huge impression on me.

First was the solo that was sung as I was kneeling before the Bishop – Canon Sarah Hussey had created an accompaniment with hand bells to what is essentially an acapella song, so it wasn’t constant, just every few notes. It created this sense of otherworldliness that led into the ordination itself. Then the laying on hands – most of the priests just touched me, but there were three that had a firm grip on my shoulders. Afterwards, I was grateful for those.  I might have had an out of body experience otherwise. 🙂

Having a sister with a similar gift to mine, except that she sees the spiritual condition of people and things, where I see the health condition, is fascinating, and a great boon in this situation. When the Bishop laid hands, it felt like I was suddenly connected, not just to the Bishop, but back, back, back, all the way to the beginning in that line of succession. It blew my mind. What my sister saw, however, was that the group of priests with their hands on me glowed gold as a group, but that when the Bishop laid hands, she finally understood what people meant by the “heavenly host”; that the ceiling disappeared, and the souls of those gone before were there and blessing the whole process. As a staunch Catholic, she made the statement that she would have no problem taking communion at our table, as the presence of Christ was right there.

The other interesting aside from my sister was that priests glow their normal colors when in street clothes, but when they are vested, they take on the authority of Christ, and their individual nature disappears. In a fascinating sense, she differentiates the colors between male and female priests, with the males glowing a royal blue color, and the females glowing the color you would identify with Mary – the lighter blue color. Apparently in normal clothes, she sees me as a rose color (like her grandmother), but as soon as the stole went on, I changed to the light blue.  I asked if it was similar to what she saw in nuns who wore habits, and she said no, they glow in shades of yellow.

I was just blown away by the whole process. It was *not* what I expected after the diaconate ordination.

Affirmations

I just found my affirmations from before, so I’m going to park them here so I don’t lose them again.  I’ll be saying them four times a day during Lent:

I am a gardener.

I am able to nurture plants so they produce good fruit.

I have a green thumb and take after my father in growing things.

I love the Earth and her abundance.

My works will nourish my body in a healthy way so I can give back to the earth.

Nothing shall unintentionally die by my hands.  (Picking fruit and veggies can sometimes result in the death of the plant.)

Interpretation

So, yesterday, during our Bible study on the Dead Sea Scrolls, we were introduced to the concept of the Pesherim who sought to determine the significance of an already existing prophetic text by pointing to its fulfillment in persons and events belonging to the age of the interpreter. This is as opposed to the normal exegetical techniques that take historical context into account. It seemed rather a convenient method of interpretation, and then this week’s Gospel Luke 4:14-21 comes up and essentially has Christ doing the same thing.

This would then open the door to justify, for instance, a Baha’i interpretation of Christian writings in the late 1800s, pointing to those prophecies *not* fulfilled by Christ, but claiming they are now fulfilled by Baha’u’llah. It would also explain the reinterpretation, or differences in opinion with regard to, for instance, some of the differences between the Christian sects.

I do realize that Barbara Thiering seems to be the one who applies the Pesher technique to more than just the scrolls discovered within the cave, and specifically the book of Habakkuk.  Can a text only have meaning based on the interpreter’s decisions?  Or is there one specific meaning?  What is God’s meaning, particularly in light of Christ’s re-interpretation of Isaiah as being fulfilled in Himself?

Interesting concept – Hebrew poetry often goes from the generic to the specific.  What if that is applied to interpretation of scripture over time, since the habit seems to have initially been developed by the rabbis in developing the Talmud.

Plans: Shall we watch God laugh?

So apparently I haven’t actually written out my goals in the last few years (something I am rather amazed at, given my penchant for setting goals and providing myself accountability).  The title of this post, however, may have something to do with it.  In any case, I’m planning, setting goals, and trying to separate out my Church goals from my personal goals, even though they really intertwine an awful lot at this point.

Reasonable Goals for the Year:

  1. Use Lent for stating positive affirmations, four times a day, that God will provide a way for me to grow my garden, both in loaning me His (or Richard’s, or dad’s) green thumb, and in the resources to get it accomplished.
  2. Actually grow said garden.  Now of course, growing a garden is not just growing a garden – it’s all of the canning, freezing and otherwise preserving the produce for using the rest of the year.  This would include those things I can’t grow (due to time constraints) like fruits that grow on trees I don’t have – by either finding a place to pick them or getting them from Bountiful Baskets or a farmers’ market.
  3. Write – which does not include sermons or researching for said writing – at least 4 hours a month on a non-church topic.  This can include the herbal medicine book, a romance novel, a what-if/alternative history novel or whatever might catch my fancy.
  4. Finish going through at least two books with best friend and working through exercises.

I do realize that this is a short list, but I try to only set two “actual” goals a year that are non-church related.  My church goals this year include:

  1. Setting up a healing ministry with a once a week meeting and at least once a month healing service separate from other services.
  2. Organize a Suicide Prevention workshop with Mary-Alice and Jim as presenters.
  3. Schedule Prayer in the Park each Saturday morning May through August.
  4. Create ad campaign for the church that will be most effective.
  5. Hold four Quiet Days throughout the year.
  6. Research and hold a candle-making workshop, preferably May or September.
  7. Come up with a useful workshop centered around herbal medicine or cooking.
  8. Finish the Psalm 119 project.
  9. Find someone across Montana to partner with and create a project that joins the two congregations.

There’s also still another event that I’ll be presenting at, but it’s not on my goal list – that of presenting herbal medicine at the Hildegard Workshop in February.

There’s my plans.  Let’s see what God does with them. 🙂

Mary Meditation

Rev. Pattiann Bennett created a meditation on Mary, given that today was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.  Now, I’ve discussed that whole concept previously, but given that today, during our Eucharist service, my niece gave birth to her third child, and is such a phenomenal woman, I kinda had Mary on the brain.  But then it occurred to me that while the most famous Hebrew poetry was written by David, there’s no reason that such poems cannot be written in the same style.  And we know how I feel about rhyming couplets.  So this is what I have thus far.  I will likely alter it, but it’s interesting as is.

To conceive of a Mother,
– To think of the Queen of Heaven.
“Hail Mary,” the Angel of the Lord met her.
– “Greetings from on high, from one servant to another.”
One a messenger for the Lord of Hosts;
– One a courier for the Son of Man.
We must rejoice that she said yes,
– And be grateful for her choice.
For in her obedience to God
– She followed His decree
And bore for the world His presence
– Carrying God’s love for us.
Yet still the Queen of Angels
– Looked at her tiny son
– And saw the face of God.
The heart of mankind was blessed.
– The soul saved with Mary’s son.

Lilies grow in the dust of the Cross,
– Flowers watered through the tears of the Mother
– And life is renewed.
As darkness fails and the Morning Star leads us toward the dawn,
– Death is overcome and the Son rises.

Quiet Day Contemplation

Here you cross a threshold –
A door to enter in.
We ask that you be present now;
Forgive yourself your sin.
Your worries and the cares of life
Will wait for your return.
So take a breath and clear your thoughts,
There’s so much here to learn.
Let go of expectation
And open up your mind.
Free your heart from troubles,
Look up – and you might find
A Santa dressed in a suit of red,
Just wandering up the stairs,
To make you wonder if his sack
Is a reminder of gifts he bears,
Of open hearts and gladness
And giving love to children, small.
Perhaps his presents are reminders
Of the greatest presence of all.
Look up, Christ tells his disciples,
And see what’s really there.
Be present in the now, not then,
And show your loving care.