Transcendent Reformation

.

I’ve had my day of death

My day of grief’s initiation

.

I’ve seen the spirit’s

Transcendent reformation

.

All I ask for now

Is a daily celebration

.

To awe my rebel ego

To prayer and service, jubilation.

.

The Spiritualities of Christianity – Psalm 1

The practice of Lectio Divina (prayerful reading) encourages us to dwell on individual phrases and words.

I have found this such a revolutionary way to read, because it opens up meaning in totally new ways.

Psalm 1 begins like this:

Blessed are they who have not walked

in the counsel of the wicked

nor lingered in the way of sinners,

nor sat in the assembly of the scornful.

It’s a powerful start, with that shocking word “wicked”.

It reminds me that evil exists, that people are not always just “ill” or “misinformed”. 

It reminds me that we can find destructiveness even in ourselves.

And it reminds me that in each of our journeys, every day, we have to face dilemmas about where we “walk“.  Will we walk in the way of the wicked, or will we walk another way?  And what is that other way?  How do we know it?  Where does our walking lead us to?

“Blessed are they who have not walked

In the counsel of the wicked.”

Which “counsel” do I listen to?  There are voices in the world, voices in the media, voices inside me sometimes urging me one way or another.

How can I resist “the counsel of the wicked”?  How will I find the strength? What will motivate me to persevere on a different path?

Perhaps sometimes it is just laziness:

“nor lingered in the way of sinners,

nor sat in the assembly of the scornful.”

It is easy to linger over things we shouldn’t linger over…Especially if no-one is looking!

It is easy to sit back…Especially if we are in an “assembly” of others being scornful and critical!

And yet there is something positive in these words.

“Blessed”

That word “Blessed”.

What does it mean to you, to be, and to feel, “blessed”?

There is something about how we choose to live our lives, something about how we choose to walk, how we choose not to linger, how we choose not to scorn.  There is something about avoiding all these pitfalls, that leads somehow to blessedness.

How can we discover that blessedness?

What journey will we take?

And what will help us on our journey?

Spiritual Reflection: Time to Study, Time to Contemplate, Time to Pray

Study

Study forms our minds but also our inner character.

Study affect our beliefs and our values.

Study affects our understanding and our vision.

Study affects how we look at and perceive the world.

Contemplation

Contemplation is a near-lost method of thinking.

It has been preserved and passed down by some who engage in spiritual practices – for example those who follow the Benedictine way, or who use lectio divina, a contemplative way of reading.

The practice of contemplation can help prevent us reducing life to simplistic logical dualities of right/wrong, us/them, either/or. 

Contemplation allows expansive thinking, consideration of possibilities, engagement of the heart and soul with the mind.

Contemplation may help us to be more compassionate.

Prayer

Not everyone prays.

And not everyone who prays understands prayer as anything more than asking for things.

To pray is become aware of the presence of God.

To pray may involve just being there in God’s presence in silence.

To pray may involve listening – to our deepest thoughts, to our random and superficial thoughts, to what is revealed to us in the silence, to God.

An Ongoing Structure of Life

Study, Contemplation and Prayer may form the basis of an ongoing structure, or rule, of life.

We can try to set aside certain regular times of the day for study – like first thing in the morning, the evening, or “low times” during the day.

We can set aside times for silent contemplation. For example, using what otherwise might be “dead time” – time driving or commuting, time walking or shopping, time doing necessary but mundane tasks.

And we can set aside regular times of prayer.

Some communities support each other to pray at periodic intervals during the day – like at morning and evening; or morning, noon, evening and night.

I think we can only be deeper people with more to give if study, contemplation and prayer are an integral part of our daily lives.

Spiritual Reflection: Sustained By The Streams

Be like the tree, planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in season

Adapted from Psalm 1, verse 3

What sustains you, like the “streams”?

tree streams

…like a tree, planted by streams of water” is a phrase from Psalm 1, and I have found it so fruitful. It has become like a stream of inspiration for me.

Another phrase finds me out

just a few words are enough

for thought to be inspired

.

And my spirit drinks deep

from the waters of life

that never run dry.

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soul

The soul is patient

The soul is kind

.

The soul is not self-seeking

And does not rejoice in wrongdoing

.

The soul rejoices

With the truth

.

The soul bears all things

Blieves all things

.

Hopes all things

Endures all things

.

The soul

Never ends

.

And hope

Faith and love

.

In the soul

These remain

.

And the greatest of these

Is love.

.

Image by rawliana from Pixabay

Inspiring Poetry: Intimations of Immortality

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;

The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,

          Hath had elsewhere its setting

               And cometh from afar;

          Not in entire forgetfulness,

          And not in utter nakedness,

But trailing clouds of glory do we come 

               From God, who is our home:

Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

Shades of the prison-house begin to close

               Upon the growing Boy,

But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,

               He sees it in his joy

from “Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” by William Wordsworth

Perhaps children are more aware of spirituality than adults are. I posted on this recently, then came across Richard Rohr quoting from this wonderful poem by William Wordsworth in Rohr’s book “Falling Upward”.

This post tries to make the link between Wordsworth’s poem and thoughts about childhood and spirituality.

I remember being asked to write an essay at school about evolution, and everything in me (as someone who did not follow any particular spiritual way and certainly not Christianity) protested that all that I was was an advanced form of amoeba.  I struggled to find words for it, though – “humanity”, “emotion” were the best I can remember. As Wordsworth writes:

Not in entire forgetfulness,

          And not in utter nakedness,

But trailing clouds of glory do we come 

               From God, who is our home:

Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

Likewise, I remember as a teenager being moved by sunrises, sunsets, powerful songs, beautiful music – what I would now describe as “the transcendent” – what there is in this life that is beyond words, that takes us out of ourselves, that raises us, spiritually.

…he beholds the light, and whence it flows,

               He sees it in his joy

Sometimes people talk about “original sin”, but I think there is also “original awareness” of spirituality. 

To become like a child we do not need to regress in our understanding.  But we may need to be born again to a realisation of the reality of spirit in our humanity, and to a wondrous appreciation of the presence, everywhere, of beauty and transcendence, calling us out of ourselves to God, who is the ultimate transcendence, who is ultimate spirit and being, and who calls us to a relationship that will transcend our dreams and ground our spirit in the greatest love of the universe.

I think Wordsworth put it all so well in his poem!