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Encouragement for the Journey 14 / 10 / 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

Today is our service of quiet and reflection. This service is very different from last week. One is not better than the other, just different. Of course we each have our preferences which are of course very important.

Being in a more reflective vein today, I thought I would offer you a few words from Thomas R Kelly (Quaker educator, writer and mystic who died in 1941)

‘Life is meant to be lived from a Centre … There is a divine Abyss within us all, a holy Infinite Centre, a Heart, a Life who speaks in us and through us to the world. We have all heard this holy Whisper at times. At times we have followed the Whisper, an amazing equilibrium of life, amazing effectiveness of living set in. But to many of us have heeded the Voice only at times…. We have not counted this Holy Thing within us to be the most precious thing in the world.’ 

In the busyness of our lives, rushing here and there, this automatically presses the mute button. We are no longer able to hear the faint sound of the holy Whisper.

But wait, if we become still, the mute button is released and the sounds of the gentle whisper may be heard once more deep in the inner recesses of the heart.

Another way of experiencing this holy whisper is offered in the ‘Cloud of Unknowing.’ The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism written in the latter half of the 14th century. The text is a spiritual guide on contemplative prayer in the late Middle Ages. The underlying message of this work proposes that the only way to truly “know” God is to abandon all preconceived notions and beliefs or “knowledge” about God and be courageous enough to surrender your mind and ego to the realm of “unknowingness,” at which point, you begin to glimpse the true nature of God.

The Cloud of Unknowing calls this stirring within a ‘gentle stirring of love.’ This stirring will never condemn us, create guilt or shame. Rather, we will be assured of our worth, wonder, beauty and essential goodness. This to me is good news and a welcome refreshment to the busyness and frantic activity we engage in.

Meanwhile Peace in the stirring of Love

Alf

 

 

October 16, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 7 / 10 / 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings Fellow Traveller, 

Even though today is our KIDS N ALL Gathering, I thought I would write a few words for our older travellers.

The new Hobbit movie ‘An Unexpected Journey’ is due for release at the end of the year. Hobbits are indeed truly remarkable people. J.R.R. Tolkien’s in his prologue to ‘The Fellowship of the Ring describes the hobbits thus:

‘They had to have books filled with things that they already knew, set out fair and square with no contradictions.’ 

What a delightful description, but then I began to reflect are there times when I too are like the hobbits, enjoying the comfort of the familiar without the discomfort of contradictions. Alas, I remind myself, if I am to be committed to the journey called life, there is no growth without the pain and adventure of discovery.

We make discoveries in the most unlikely places, sometimes alone and sometimes with people. Either way, we will face the many contradictions that challenge our thinking and perceptions along the unexpected journey called life.

I read somewhere that as human beings we have a simple choice between living with contradictions and painting ourselves into a corner. For we know what happens when we paint ourselves into a corner?

Madeleine L’Engle was an American writer and poet best known for her young-adult fiction, particularly the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels: A Wind in the Door, She died in 2007. She offers us this insightful reflection on living with contradiction:

The world of science lives fairly comfortably with paradox. We know that light is a wave, and also that light is a particle. The discoveries made in the infinitely small world of particle physics indicate randomness and chance, and I do not find it any more difficult to live with the paradox of a universe of randomness and chance and a universe of pattern and purpose than I do with light as a wave and light as a particle. Living with contradiction is nothing new to the human being. 

Meanwhile peace in our living with life’s contradictions

Alf

 

 

October 16, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 30th September 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

 

Greetings Fellow Traveller, 

During the past week I had a conversation with a friend, around how communities of faith welcome visitors. It was a fascinating conversation and evoked for me a few questions.

The visitor is one who belongs somewhere else, but for a little while becomes part of our circle of belonging. In earlier cultures before the modern era of newspapers, radio, television and of course the World Wide Web, where communities were very much smaller and isolated, the visitor would be the one who brought news from a different world. They would be one who told stories, of battles won or lost, exotic places visited, along with news from neighbouring towns and villages. The visitor provided they came in peace was always welcomed, for their visit enriched and energised a community’s life.

In one sense we are each temporary visitors to this world, spending a little time on this spinning orb in space. From time to time we embrace visitors into our life and in turn we become visitors in another life. When a visitor enters our world, we make space for their presence; our environment embraces them, bringing them into our belonging. Because of a visitor’s presence with us, we are changed in some way or other. Life is never the same again.

The community of faith is one which continually welcomes visitors into its belonging and embrace. The presence of these visitors offer opportunities to question modes of perception that no longer work for us, to gain new understanding of faith and life along with discovering creative solutions to the challenge of being a community of faith is this constantly evolving and changing world.

I find Jesus offers us a model of holding life gently, being open to the unexpected and welcoming visitors into our circle of love and belonging.

Who knows what the future holds as we continue to welcome visitors into our community of faith?

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

 

 

October 2, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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