Posts Tagged ‘Blessing’

Offering a Foundational Yes

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Spirituality presents us with two possible starting points.

The first is the starting point of creation, a creation in which God invoked original blessing seven times … “and it was good”, a statement that eventually became it … “was very good.”

The second is the starting point of original collapse, original sin.  In the Biblical narrative, that staring point comes to Adam and Eve being sent from the Garden Eden.  Banished from paradice for sin.

Richard Rohr writes extensively on this topic.  And this topic is critical to our basic understanding of spirit.  The punch line … we must start, as God appears to, with original blessing, an original “yes”, a “yes” that grows through all time.

What does that “yes” say?

  1. The world is ok
  2. The universe is for us and on our side
  3. We are not alone.  God is with us. We are not the doer
  4. A foundational trust that it is going to be ok because God is good which creates an openness of mind. heart, and and body
  5. If God is good then I carry an inherent – an in-here – dignity in myself as do all others
In a practical sense, that means waking not with problem but with promise.  Not with blame but with gratitude.
And of course that is the context of New Church theology as well, a theology that holds that our inmost “spark” was created, formed, and remains for all time in the Divine, actually in the highest forms of love embedded in heaven.  We will wander and fall.  But the original blessing, nurtured for all time by God, remains.
Beautiful stuff.
Join me in saying “yes” to the day!

Spectacular but Empty

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

We value the spectacular. We value the novel, the thrilling.  Much of what we value however is endlessly empty.  But there are choices.

I love the words in 1 Peter 2 where the author writes of the living Stone that is God, and how we are small stones, in His very image and likeness. As such, as figurative “stones,” we will at times be …

  1. “A precious cornerstone”
  2. “The stone which the builders rejected”
  3. “A stone that makes men to stumble”
The very blessing and disruption does not come from aggression or from the spectacular but from the simple acts of good that in turn “silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”   In its own understated way, that is actually spectacular but it is no longer empty!



The Hope To Which We Are Called

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

As we enter Thanksgiving, much leaves me in awe at the incredible blessings with which life abounds. The challenge is that problems/ angst/ stress remain loud. Blessings, like God, are still and quiet.

There are of the course the material parts of life to be thankful for.  With NewChurch LIVE I am thankful for the overwhelming generosity of donors, the clear vision of leaders,  the work of paid and volunteer team members, a continued tradition of inspiring music, amazing congregants here and scattered across the country.

And there is something more for which I am thankful.  In Ephesians 1, we read these words by one of the founders of the Christian Church, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you.”  I am thankful for the Hope to which we are called.

You know, why else do this, build this church thing, unless in some way we were all called to a unique hope.  Words around that probably of necessity fail.  But maybe the concept points to a deeper heart motivation, a deeper “knowing” that resonates with a Heart far larger than this particular church.

I don’t believe we start the journey “knowing” what exactly that hope is.  I do believe we touch it – glancing blows here and there – as we seek to serve.  This mirror’s God’s spirit, a spirit that fails to arrive in a mechanistic, prescribed fashion.  As Christ noted, spirit like the wind, blows where it will and we are not (thankfully!) given to control it.

What we are given is the ability to respond to it, to acknowledge, and allow spirit to accomplish, over time, its works of shaping our lives.

The hope at the Heart of what we are doing is a loving world, one in which selfless endeavor finds itself transcendent over the fevered pursuit of “stuff” and “accomplishment.”   The heart of stone becoming the heart of flesh.  The hope of heaven becoming the hope of the world.  Christ born anew into the world as Spirit, as Hope.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!


The Core of Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

We grow into an orientation of gratitude.  I imagine there to be many ways to chart that course.  Maybe one way plays off  of our Thanksgiving theme this year.

Step One: What We Have

Children seem to start with simple orientation of a need to “have.”  As one author noted, there are basic needs – “havings” – safety, food etc….  What parent doesn’t remember the “snatching” stage.  From a Christian New Church perspective, important to note, that this may well be a necessary and formative stage in maturation.  It appears there is something in the human psyche that needs to “have.”

Step Two:  What We Have Is The Point

Step Two is when we become far more conscious of our “having” and that endeavor comes self consciously to center in our lives.  I know as a parent, this stage is the most difficult for me to witness my children go through.  Watching them scroll through the web or stroll through the mall in search of “stuff” that supports their identity as they see it is often painful.  And, it needs said, in our culture, one in which we often are define ourselves by what we have, this stage maybe is a necessity or at the least, unavoidable.  But don’t allow growth to get arrested here!

Step Three: What We Have To Give Is The Point

Step Three is when “To Give” arrives.  Identity moves from “out there” as defined by the “stuff” we have accumulated to the heart, to the soul.  We see our gifts as gifts of spirit and connection.  This gift what we have to give.   I am not sure we can arrive in this place without at least some orientation towards what is spiritual.  Maybe we don’t arrive here without a realization that Step One and Step Two somehow failed us.  And important to note that at this point a certain  self identity begins to rest deeply in our souls.  We may “have” a great deal of possessions or not.  That no longer is the point however.  The point is what we do have, we have our always had – a deep gift of a caring soul reaching out to God and reaching out to others.


Imagine the world created out of a belief that “What we have to give is the point.”  Really fun to think about!  Take time this Thanksgiving to have that conversation.  It certainly seems to orient one towards the holiday season and the deep spirit of humble gratitude that paves the way for Christmas.    New worlds get born from there!

What do you have to give?

Getting Ready For Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

This morning in getting ready for Church, I am sitting in my office thinking about what does it really take to get ready for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving, in this denomination, is the very core of worship.  Why is that?  I think the process is two fold – a first step – awareness of what we have – followed by a second step – awareness of what we have to give.  That is something to come open to.  What is that you have …. to give.

Because we all do, we all harbor this “thing” that was the point of God creating us.  Often largely unknown, ignored, or unlived in this life it still stirs.   When we take moments to worship in the spirit of thanks and gratitude for the blessing, we can feel its gentle presence.  Why?  As Emanuel Swedenborg phrased it, “Because the divine nature intimately affects everything with good and with blessedness.”  (Heaven and Hell)

Last night I was able to witness one of those moments.  I was privileged to preside at a 50th Wedding Anniversary/ Renewal of vows. To watch Mary Ellen and Paul socializing after the service, “working the crowd” with obvious joy and gratitude for the gold that was their life, was to watch a prayer of Thanksgiving literally unfold on a beautiful night at Pen Ryn.  They are living in what they have and in what they have to give – to each other, to their family, to their community.

So getting ready this morning is about clarity – clarity about a very simple, very profound message.  What we have is nice.  What we have to give is the point.