Posts Tagged ‘Humility’

How do we know when it is God moment?

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Discerning the voice of God is about a settling.  I remember in my younger years wanting to tell God stuff … which is fine.  I remember as well wanting God to tell me the future … which is fine.  And in some way hard to describe, in those fleeting and rarer moments of deeper prayer, I find a soul place where I want no-thing from God except His presence.  Those moments spread in expansive ways.  Richard Rohr, a far more skilled wordsmith than I put it this way.

Mystical moments may be described as a kind of emancipation. If it isn’t an experience of newfound freedom, I don’t think it is an authentic God experience. God is always bigger than you imagined or expected or even hoped for. When you see people going to church and becoming smaller instead of larger, you have every reason to question whether the practices or sermons or sacraments or liturgies are opening them to an authentic God experience.

On a practical level such experiences will feel like a new freedom to love, and you wonder where it comes from. Why do I have this new desire, this new capacity to love new people, to love the old people better, maybe to enter into some kind of new love for the world? I will find that even my thoughts are more immediately loving, patient, and compassionate.

Clearly, you are participating in a Love that’s being given to you. You are not creating this. You are not generating this. It is being generated through you and in you and for you. You are participating in something larger than yourself, and you are just allowing it and trusting it for the pure gift that it is.

Those moments are humbling.  Emanuel Swedenborg was clear – humility and narcissism cannot co-exist.  And maybe that is part of it – our “ego” even for a moment dies and we are born into something far larger.  Thank you God!

Silences That Are Hard to Break

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

All faiths speak in some form or another of transformation.  The language of course varies – enlightenment, rebirth, conversion, regeneration.  That being said, the concept remains the same and that is of a faith that presents itself as a way to give birth to something new.

And that transformation is hard; not something we slide into but more something that we are dragged through some days willingly, other days not.  God’s Word as it speaks to us in its various forms often then comes from a prophetic place, a place as Walter Breugamann phrased of “fearless truth telling and fierce hope.”   And it needs to have that fearless and fierce voice because silences are hard to break.

I have struggled all week with preaching this Sunday.  The issue is over one simple event.  Several months ago I read of the USS New York’s return to New York City and it’s cruise past the cite of the World Trade Centers.  The USS New York was cast with 75 tons of steel from the fallen towers in its bow.   Personally that is a hard silence to break.  For a reader, that statement may make no sense – “So What.”  But for me there is something deeply disturbing about taking a catastrophic event and memorializing it in the form of a warship.  My understanding of God has a hard time justifying it.  That is not to say I am right and those who differ are wrong.  The opposite may well be true.  It is to admit that speaking to that topic is a silence that is hard to break for me, preferring to leave the topic unaddressed rather than risk offense.  And there are many such topics.

That silence stems no doubt from my self centered concern to be safe and liked and comfortable.   That concern in turn feeds the very numbness I am so adamant about preaching against.  And the goal is NOT to speak in such a way that preaching becomes a political soapbox but to preach in such a way that the conversation is had, that the numbness is addressed.

God can only enter a humble heart.  And He can only enter a heart that is fearless and fierce, one in which numbness has been pierced through.   We all need to get there, transformed, a place beyond “agenda” and a place where God’s words in Isaiah ring true in their prophetic fullness, “Come let us reason together.”

Christmas

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

So it is easy to imagine what I should write about Christmas. It is difficult maybe to find words around what I am called to write.

We are building a church. That journey led us through several major crises including the February budget reductions. And where, maybe, we now find ourselves is in a far more quite and humble place… a place to simply listen to the quiet call of what this is all about.

The profoundness of that place is so well seen in the spirit of Christmas. I am not talking here of the muscular, amped up Christianity out to solve all the wrongs of the world but of the gentle, compassion filled, patient Christianity that I believe lies closer to God’s heart and settles us into a place where He can truly be born again in our lives.

What of that birth? We find Him on the margins, in a stable. We find Him at night, in reduced circumstances. We find Him in life as we live it – uninvited but brilliant in His showing. We find Him in each other, His gentle spirit showing itself in the profound love growing in this community who were strangers one to another a few short years ago.

“Peace on earth. Goodwill to men” – God’s “mission statement” as extolled by the angels at Christmas. In the book “True Christianity”, Emanuel Swedenborg put it this way. “Goodwill makes the connection because God loves every one of us but cannot directly benefit us; He can benefit us … indirectly through each other.”

“Goodwill makes the connection.” The more goodwill takes root in our DNA as individuals and as a church body, the more we join a wider movement, more profound level of change… the more we make the connection.

I shared with my sister a few nights ago that through this journey, I feel like I am now privy to a secret, as in something not everybody knows (yet!:)) That “secret” is not NewChurch LIVE. That secret is falling into the immense grace of God, a sky on fire with His love, and a community of angels-in-training.

Blessing to all!

Eating Humble Pie

Friday, November 5th, 2010

In the book “Secrets of Heaven”, one can read the words, “Humility is submitting yourself to the sovereign control of the inner person.”

The true self is the inmost of our being.  It can be covered up, lost as it were, but never, ever destroyed for in its destruction would be our own.  Think of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. That part of us, a part that exemplifies a quiet, focused dedication to the True, a part picturing our soul’s tender longing to have God born within, is beyond destruction.  “Lions”, figuratively, cannot destroy it. Impossible.

Now this indestructibility cannot lead to hubris – maybe explaining why we often come that acknowledgment later in life.  If the consequential experience of that true self is a “True” experience, we will be left clearly in awe of the God’s love for us.  It will also leave us more fully present to the incredible tender nature of God’s love and the tender nature of how His life and love and shine through us.  The ego, at those moments, dies rather quickly in a flash of light.

Can humility grow from that place?  Definitely.  It is the fertile soul for a right-sized humanity to grow, fully aware of the wonders of a God given core, a core even death and disaster cannot touch, and fully aware of how that awareness opens us up to others, to compassion, to joy, and yes even to pain.  We then understand the words (that should be quoted weekly) “The glory of God is the man fully alive.”