Sunday, December 2, 2012

An Ignation Contemplation on the Healing of the Leper

Location: Late afternoon, a tanner’s shop in a village in occupied Judea, c. 35-40 AD

“Good afternoon, traveler.  Welcome to my humble shop.  How may I help you?  Yes, I am he, the one who used to be a leper, but was miraculously healed.  You wish to hear my story?  But of course.  I will never tire of telling it!  But first, let me fetch some water, to wash your feet; and some drink to quench our thirsts.  It’s been a slow day, and this will be a welcome break.

It was several years ago, in a small village far from here.  Before I became a leper, I was a tanner, just as I am now.

One afternoon, I was on my way to the synagogue, hoping to get something to eat and drink.  Although I was an outcast, at least the people of the village followed the teachings given through Moses, and made sure I had food and clothing.  Maybe not the best of either, but it was something.

I was trying to mind my own business, staying away from the others, when I saw one of the scribes headed in my direction, a solemn look on his face.  ‘Stop right there, brother Silas!’  ‘What is wrong, Adam?  I was just on my way to the synagogue, hoping for a bit to eat from the kitchens.’  ‘I’m sorry Silas, but I have to ask you to leave the village proper immediately.  We are expecting a wandering rabbi & healer, along with a large crowd of his followers, at any time.’

I knew it would do me no good to argue with him.  He didn’t make the decision alone.  He knew as well as I did that it would mean a long, hungry night for me.  So I retreated to my little camp.  It was on a low hill close enough to see and hear what was happening in the village.  Maybe, I thought to myself, this healer will come and go before dark, allowing me to return to the village.

I busied myself making sure that the fire had not gone out, and that I had enough firewood for the night, since it usually got pretty cold, and I didn’t have a proper cloak.  And it kept the animals away.

I guess I was starting to feel sorry for myself, just sitting there, staring at the fire, when I heard a commotion coming from the village.  I crept out to my vantage point and sat down.  It was clear which one was the ‘healer.’  No, he wasn’t dressed fancy or anything like that.  There was just something about it.  And there were maybe two or three dozen people there that I didn’t recognize who must have been with him – men, and women as well.  And all the people in the village were coming to him.  And he seemed to be healing them.  There was that little boy Samuel, who had been deaf and dumb since birth, now chattering away with all the other little boys.  And the shepherd Simon, who walked with a limp because he had fallen chasing away a lion from his herd, and his broken leg hadn’t healed properly.  Now he was hopping around like nothing had happened.

But why, why couldn’t I be down there too, seeking healing?  I was feeling really sad now, and started to turn away when the healer looked up in my direction, and I felt his eyes link with mine.  I thought I was well hidden.  And I can’t describe really what I felt.  Calmness and love, I guess.  Anyway, after a few seconds, he turned his attention back to the others.  Now I couldn’t stop watching.  After a while, he seemed to be doing more teaching, everyone just sitting around him, listening quietly.

Finally, the crowd began to break up, and I went back to my fire.  The sun was getting low, and I knew the healer would be staying the night.  No dinner for me.

I lost track of time, feeling sorry for myself, when suddenly I heard someone coming up the path.  Immediately, I jumped up and started shouting ‘Unclean!  Unclean!  Leper! Leper!  Go away!’  But the footsteps kept getting closer.  I was now holding my breath, standing by the fire, when a figure stepped out of the shadows.  It was the healer.

‘Sir, you must leave.  I am unclean, al leper!’  He raised a hand and looked at me, and a wave of calmness swept over me.  ‘I saw you earlier, and felt your despair.  I have come looking for you, to return you to the flock.’  I was about to protest, when I heard more voices.  ‘I think I saw him go this way.’  ‘No, that is where the leper lives.’

‘You must leave now!  Please!  I will be in so much trouble, sir!’  Again the man held up his hand, and again I felt strangely calmed.  ‘Do not be afraid’ he said as he came around the fire to stand next to me.  All I could think about was how much trouble I was going to be in.

Suddenly, several figures burst into the light.  I instantly recognized the rabbi, and my heart sank.  One of the healer’s people addressed him.  ‘Lord, why did you wander off?  The meal is waiting!’  ‘Peter, Peter, I will eat when the work is done.  Surely you know that by now.’  ‘Sir, this man is a leper!  Please stand away!’

I almost didn’t hear him when the healer said softly ‘There are no lepers here.’  Now not only would I be punished, but shamed publically as well.  ‘But sir, this man has been a leper for five years now.’

Suddenly, I felt the healer put his hand on my shoulder, and a surge of power rippled through my body.  ‘Hold out your hands, my brother’ I heard the healer say.  I knew I would be exposed now, and I couldn’t move, I was trembling so hard.  Again I hear him say  ‘Hold out your hands.’  It was clearly a command, yet all I felt was love.  ‘Have faith, my brother’ I heard him say, and again something surged through my body.  As if on their own, my hands raised and stretched outward.  I couldn’t bear to look.  Then I heard a gasp from the rabbi, and opened my eyes.  To my amazement all the sores and scars were gone.  In disbelief I turned my arms over and over, and only then did I become aware that all over my body my skin was tingling.

I don’t know how long I stood there, turning my formerly scared arms, still unable to believe what I was seeing.  Finally, I looked up, and only the healer was still there, just standing there, looking at me, waiting for me, yet not in any hurry.  ‘Come, let us get something to eat’ I heard him say.  I started to protest, but he held up his hand.  ‘Come –‘ that was all he said, and turning, he headed down the path back towards the village.  I followed him in silence, my mind trying to understand what was happening.

The healer led me to the center of town, where I had seen him earlier healing others.  It was deserted now – it was late, and people were retiring already. He sat on a stone slab, and motioned for me to sit on one nearby, facing him.  He looked at me, and I got that same feeling I had gotten earlier – when he looked up at me while he was healing the others.  It was more intense this time, yet not in a threatening way.  I felt a love and compassion that I had never experienced before.  I tried to make out the details of his face, but I couldn’t seem to focus my eyes.  I was feeling overwhelmed, and then he must have looked away.

When I recovered, he was talking to a man I didn’t recognize.  I don’t remember, but my stomach must have rumbled, for the healer said to the man ‘My brother and I are hungry, John.  Please bring us food and drink.’  As this man, John, left, the healer turned back to me, and began to ask me questions about myself.  I couldn’t seem to resist answering him, and by the time John returned with food I was talking non-stop, not holding anything back.  The healer took the meal from John and thanked him, and then offered the food to me.  Even in the dim light, I could see that this was way better than anything I had had in a long time, and the smell was overwhelmingly wonderful.

Again I lost track of time, so intent was I with eating.  Finally, the food was gone, and the wine skin was almost empty as well.  I looked at the healer, and suddenly realized I hadn’t seen him eat anything.  He must have sensed my embarrassment, for he just smiled at me, and I suddenly relaxed.  And before long, I was again talking almost non-stop, spilling my guts about the last five years.  The healer seemed to be happy just to listen, occasionally asking a question when I stopped, allowing me to catch my breath.

We, or maybe I should say I, continued to talk as the night got darker and colder.  So cold, in fact, that it was becoming hard to speak as I began to tremble.  It was then that the healer took his cloak off his shoulders and put it around mine.  It was warm, warmer than anything I could ever remember owning.  In just a few minutes I was talking again.

The healer just sat there, listening to me.  Listening to me, a nobody.  Yet he didn’t interrupt me like the people in the village always did.  I began to get the feeling that there was no other place, no other person, where he wanted to be with now.

The night seemed to fly by, and the sky was beginning to brighten when this friend of his, Peter, approached us.  ‘Lord, have you not slept?  We have a long road to the next town.’ ‘Peter, the town will still be there, whenever we get there.  We will leave when the sun is fully up.  When the meal is ready, send it to us.  And ask Judas to come as well.’

We had been talking only a short time when I saw another man approaching.  Instantly, I knew he was street-wise like me, and I began to get feelings of mistrust.  The man hardly glanced at me before addressing the healer.  ‘You requested me, Lord?’  The healer seemed to ignore the tone of voice he was being addressed in.  ‘Judas, give our brother here two denarii, please.’  I could see that Judas was about to protest, but the healer held up his hand, and Judas closed his mouth.  With a look of disgust, he opened his pouch and took out two coins.  He looked at them for a second, then tossed them on the ground between us, and walked away without looking back.

The healer seemed unmoved, and picked up the coins and handed them to me.  ‘Here, my brother, you will need these.  You will never be welcome in this town, just as I am not welcome in my hometown.  Go far away from here, and start a new life.  Be aware of those you find who are as you once were, and look after them as I have looked after you.’  ‘What village is that, sir, and what is your name, that I may tell of your great kindness?’ I blurted out.  ‘I am Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth.  But do not praise me, but our Father in heaven who makes all things possible.

I was about to question this Jesus further, but then one of his people brought us something to eat.  We ate in silence, and before long a group of people had gathered, as if they were ready to set off on their journey.

Jesus took a wineskin and a loaf of bread from one of his people and handed them to me.  ‘Do not worry about food and drink, only pray to the Father in heaven, and He will provide.’  Then he reached out and put his hand on my shoulder, and again I felt a strange power flow through me.  And then, when I looked up, he and all his people were nowhere to be seen.  A chill struck me, and instinctively, I pulled the cloak around me, the cloak that he had given me, and not taken back.

Not knowing what else to do, I headed south, and in two weeks I came to this town.  Their tanner was elderly and without sons, so I apprenticed myself to him, and took over his shop when he joined his forefathers..  And in my two weeks of wandering, there was always enough bread and the wineskin full enough for my needs.  And I was never cold at night.

And that, my friend, is my story.  I swear that it is all true.  No, you owe me nothing.  I am glad to tell it.  But it is time for me to visit my children, and bring them their daily meal.  If you could help me, I would be most grateful.  Thank you, kind sir.  The trip will be swift with two to bear the load.

Here we are, my friend.  What? Yes, yes, they are lepers.  But they are my children, I look after them.  You can wait here if you wish, then we will return to the village for the evening.  You wish to journey on?  You are hurrying to collect the stories of this Jesus before people forget them?  Well, safe travels and thanks for listening to my story.  It looks like it will be a cold night tonight.  Take this cloak, the healer’s cloak.  I have a fire to sit by, and you will need it more than I do.

An Ignatian Contemplation on the Baptism at the River Jordan



I’m not sure what drew me to the river that day, except that the urging was stronger than usual.  I had heard about the man, John,  who was there, baptizing people.  For some unknown reason I was curious.

There was quite a crowd at the river that day, all pushing and hurrying to get to the scene.  I, too, was getting anxious, as it would be getting dark soon.

As I pushed forward with the crowd, I suddenly felt a wave of calm come over me.  After a few moments, I realized that I was behind a man who was making his way steadily forward, untouched and unperturbed by the milling crowd.

In what seemed like no time, we came to a small, clear area in the river.  There was a man standing there, facing us, who I surmised to be the Baptizer, although the descriptions of his wildness that I had heard paled in comparison to the real thing.  This person seemed to be having a heated discussion with the man in front of me, although I couldn’t really make out the conversation.

Finally, they must have reached an agreement, for the Baptizer prepared to dunk this man into the water.  The next thing I remember, I’m sitting in the water.  There seemed to be this blinding light in front of me.  Somehow, I forced my eyes open, and I saw the man who had been in front of me, clothed in garments whiter and brighter than I had ever seen, even at the Temple.  As I struggled to stand, the man turned to face me.  I couldn’t make out his face, but that same feeling of calm washed over me again.

Suddenly, from above, there came a loud voice, like thunder.  ‘You are my son, in you I am well pleased.’  Now, in addition to being soaking wet, my ears were ringing.  As I looked at the man again, I realized that he was totally dry, yet I was sure that he was the one that the baptizer had dunked.  And now it seemed like it was only the two of us present.

Suddenly, I began to shake, from being soaking wet I presumed.  The man in white looked at me, and I felt a love deeper than I had ever felt before.  The man took his cloak off his shoulders and put it around mine, and the shaking stopped.  I looked up at him and heard him say ‘Blessed are you, for you have seen the light.’

The next thing I remember, I was stumbling towards the shore, through a mass of people milling about aimlessly and shouting at each other.  As I walked slowly back to town, all I heard people talking about what had happened.  ‘The baptizer was struck by lightning!’  ‘Surely he must have offended G-d!’  No one mentioned a man in white, or a loud voice.  Nothing.

As I sat at a table alone in the inn, eating my dinner, all around me the people were still buzzing about what had happened at the river.  But no one seemed to have seen what I saw.  Did I just dream that something different had happened?  I began to shiver again, and instinctively I pulled the cloak, the same one the man had placed over my shoulders at the river, around me.

Suddenly, I was back at the river.  But this time I was observing it from above, like a spectator.  Almost instantly, I realized that it was earlier that day, and then I spotted myself and the man, standing in front of the baptizer.  I watched as the baptizer dunked the man, and as the latter came up out of the water, there was a flash of light and a loud booming noise.  Everyone except the man was knocked backwards off their feet and into the water.  Then, amazingly no one moved except for me and the man.  The silence was total.  It wasn’t until I started walking towards the shore that everyone else started moving and talking loudly.

Then, just as suddenly, I was back in the inn where I had been sitting what felt like minutes ago.  Yet no one acted as if anything had happened – like I had been there all along.  I can only guess that somehow time had been slowed, or even stopped, twice.  But something must have happened, because I had this cloak that I hadn’t started the day with.

And sometimes, when I start to shiver and draw this cloak around me, my thoughts go back to my experiences at the river that strange day.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Prayer to end a morning meditation with.......

Gracious Father, Sustaining Mother,
I know that you have untold numbers of blessings and wonders you have prepared for me this day.
Open my heart and mind to them, even a small number of them.
I know that I will be surprised by them.
Revel in my joy and wondermen which you have made possible.

I thank you now, Lord, for what you will provide.
I thank you for what you have provided to me already.
I thank you, my Abba, me Amma.

Help me, as the prophet Micah wrote:
     'to walk humbly with you.'

Amen.  Amen.  Aleluia!  Aleluia!

The Saints are calling

The music of the Litany of Saints was in my head this morning - this is the result.  A bit more jumbled and raw, but it insisted on being put here as is.

The Communion of Saints is calling - calling me into communion with them as we raise our hearts and thoughts in humility to Our Creator, Our Sustainer, Our Joy - in all its mystery and wonderfulness. We seek to describe that which cannot be described. What Is, and Is Not, to put a more Zen-like approach (I think - as I seek there as well). Yet what draws us to pray with, and to, ask for their prayers - these saints who have gone before? Is it because we are all brothers and sisters, united in both our humanness and our divinity? That we have all, consciously or not, pondered deep within ourselves the why and the how? Seeking to answer questions which have no answer - yet we continue to seek. What is it that draws us? More than love, I think, although that is a great part of it. Love given, and received - in that we imitate the saints, drawn and intrigued by their journeys through this Great Mystery - sensing even as we read their descriptions that they as they wrote knew it was woefully inadequate in describing what they sensed, felt, even emotions and sensations indescribable.

More than love, more than relationship - things we all seek in our human existence - we seek union with eternity, the Eternal - that from which we spring and to which we return. Yet why, why do we ‘suffer’ through this separation from the Eternal if we are destined to return to it. (Recycling of the Spirit the eco-feminist might say!) Is it because, in being incomplete because of this yearning, this need, this desire, we actually make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Would there, could there, exist that very yearning, need, or desire if we were constantly a part of the Whole? The Whole could never experience these things without the separation; and all the pain, anxiety, and unsettledness is merely the reflection in the opposite direction of these same emotions, desires, feelings. If the Whole were truly whole these sensations too would never have been known to the Whole.

The Saints are calling - to each of us, saints in our own way - calling us to the journey, to seek the undefindable, to describe the indescribable, to understand the un-understandable. To do this is to enrich the Whole, the Whole from which we come and then return to - to provide It with all those unique things each of us goes through as humans - enriching It - making it evermore more than just the sum of its parts.

Yet the saints still call - call each of us to react with joy, wonder, and thankfulness - that we ‘endure’ all this - without the separation from the Whole, we could not have these experiences - experiences which enrich us as well as the Whole. Even those we find most painful! We should try to rejoice that we have been granted something unique.

And as we rejoice in the richness of these experiences the Whole rejoices too - sensing how it is constantly becoming more and more - expressing that even more things of beauty and wonder that it presents us. Leading us to more wonder and joy; leading to more wholeness for the Whole; leading to the expression of even more wonder and joy; leading to ...........

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sermon for the 3rd Sunday in Easter

Prepared and delivered in preaching class at seminary - the target audience is my fellow seminarians.

The Season of Easter is with us again.  In the ancient church, the fifty days until Pentecost was the time when the new initiates were introduced to the mystagogy, the mysteries, of the chirch.  Mysteries of scripture, for instance.  And just as the Season of Easter comes around every spring, so do the daffodils.  They lie dormant in the earth most of the year, and then suddenly, it seems, they spring forth and bloom.  Sometimes, we don’t even notice them growing, just when they bloom.  When that happens, we often have a special little moment of peace and wonderment.  Scripture can be like that too.  Like a daffodil, whose bulb is planted only once, the Word plants itself in our minds when we read it.  There it lies, until nourished by learning and other insights, it is ready to bloom the next time it is read. 
For instance, in today’s gospel, Jesus opens the minds of his disciples to understand the scriptures.  I can remember reading this passage many times throughout the years.  It probably wasn’t until I came here, and studied the Isaiah with Dr. Sanders, that my knowledge was sufficiently deepened and ready.  I can remember reading it again, and suddenly, the daffodil of understanding bloomed.  The words that G-d spoke when He commissioned Isaiah came to mind, the part where G-d tells Isaiah that he is to dull the people’s minds, stop up their ears, and blind their eyes so that they will not understand (Isa 6:9-10).  That was a WOW moment for me – so just maybe the disciples were never supposed to understand at all.  Brings more sense to the seeming denseness of the disciples to Jesus’ teachings, and each time I read about that in the gospels, I get this little tingle of understanding.  Perhaps, the daffodil bulb is growing a little closer to blooming again. 
In working with today’s gospel reading, I actually had a few new understandings – there was now a reason why a verse or passage was there.  Things that I had learned right here at seminary, while applied in a different place at that time, suddenly made a connection here.  Jesus calms the frightened disciples by saying ‘Peace be upon you.’  The third or fourth time I read that this week, understanding suddenly came – a big WOW.  A big daffodil just bloomed.  Jesus is reminding them, and us, that he is still divine by saying something calming.  Much as the heavenly messengers who came before him had done, saying things like ‘Do not be afraid.’   And now, his emphasis on his humanness makes more sense too, not just in calming the disciples, but reasserting his dual nature.  For me, the latter was more of a deeper understanding than something totally new.  Again, a daffodil bulb grew a bit, getting closer to potentially blooming.  And then, he eats a fish…….early symbol for Christ…..fisherman……catch.   Another sermon for another day in that, I suspect.
Then Jesus opened the minds of the disciples to the scriptures.  The bulbs of the Word that had been planted from the writings of Moses, of David the psalmist, of the prophets and writers; those same bulbs that Jesus had been watering and nurturing with his teachings, suddenly bloomed.  Now the disciples realized the fullness of G-d’s plan.  A new way of living, forgiveness of sins, and life everlasting at the Day of the Lord, among other things.  Then Jesus commissioned them to go out and plant the bulbs of the Word where there were none, and water and nourish those that had already been planted.   Nurture and water them with his teachings and their newfound understanding, and to commission others to follow in their footsteps, as they were following in his.  To start in Jerusalem and then move outward – and church history records that they did go to the far reaches of the known world, and that others in later times went to other new places as well; China, Ireland, and Russia, among others.
Speaking of far places, daffodils have another resemblance to the Word – they are hard to get rid of once planted.  You’ve seen them, those renegade daffodils that appear in the middle of nowhere.  We have a couple of those in our yard, near the driveway, nowhere near any of the other flower beds.  They keep blooming year after year, always surprising and delighting us because we forget about them.  The Word is the same way; once planted, it too is hard to uproot.  I heard a story that illustrates just that when I attended a Chrism Mass and retreat during Holy Week with a good friend.  The priest, who is also the presiding bishop of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, was asked to talk about a mission trip he had made to Europe this past fall.  He told of going to a tiny church in Lithuania which was connected to the Communion, and celebrating mass with the people there.  The first thing he noticed was that the women were all seated in the few chairs, and the men were lining the walls.  As he was celebrating the mass, he noticed that one by one, the men started crying.  And then, when the men came up to receive communion, it was the women who were crying.  Upon inquiry, he was told that for the many of the men, it was perhaps one of the few times, or the first in a very long time, that they had been to church and taken communion.  Because during all those years of soviet occupation, to so would have been a very bad career move.  Some of the women, it seems, were not so vulnerable, perhaps because they didn’t work outside the home.  Those women, in addition to keeping their own faith alive and faithfully attending church when possible, had been busy planting the Word, and then watering and nurturing it in their men all those years.  For them, seeing their men finally come to church and receive communion was like seeing daffodils bloom.  Lots of them.  All at once.  For the men, it was finally feeling free to being open to understanding what their women had been talking about and living out all those long years.  Once planted, very hard to remove - both daffodils and the Word.
As a reminder that these bulbs can bloom at any time, and that no sermon is set in stone until delivered, Friday morning at 3:30 I was lying in bed, going over the sermon where the calling of Isaiah had bloomed.  Unexpectedly, I heard in my head a part of an aria that I recognized immediately.  ‘The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the death unstopped.’  Handel’s Messiah, quoting Isaiah 35:5.  Some commentaries say that refers to the actual healings Jesus would do, others the new understanding of scripture he would bring, and still others to the spreading of the Word to the Gentiles.  As is so often the case, multiple possibilities in a single scripture.

As I close, let me leave you with this vision.  Because we are out there, right now, planting more bulbs, and nourishing others, the next time the gaze of the Trinity returns to a place where we are active, they see even more growth, and more blooms.  And just as daffodils bring smiles to our faces every spring, maybe they too, the Trinity, will smile. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thomas Merton, Shakers, and Donovan (Leitch) - an unusual trio

The presence of the Spirit within me is stronger than usual tonight.  Not so much that I am shaking, but enough to leave no doubt about It’s presence.

Is it because tonight’s subject (Spirituality class) is Thomas Meron?  One of his quotes early on is: you find yourself saying excellent things, that you did not know you knew and that you had not, in fact, known before.

That would certainly describe the writing that I have been doing.  Often I stop and reread what I have just written and am in wonder - ‘did I write that??  WOW!!’

I find myself resonating with his thoughts on self-knowledge - ‘self-knowledge is impossible when thoughtless activity keeps our souls in confusion.....It is not neccessary to cease all activity in order to think about ourselves....but we do have to cut down our activity to the point where we can think calmly and reasonably about our actions (Creative Silence, Love and Longing)

Has it been the Face of the Invisible that I have been feeling and that at times feels like It is seeking me?  (See blogpost A Hole in the Sky)

Is He calling me to join Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance?  Merton writes: ‘if we could just let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in his mysterious, cosmic dance.  We do not have to go very far to catch echoes of that game, and of that dancing.  When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they really are children..............’ (News Seeds of Contemplation, The General Dance).  Was Merton thinking about Christ talking about becoming like a child (Matt 18:3; Luke 18:17)?

“Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance.”  (News Seeds of Contemplation, The General Dance, 1972).

On the way home, the presence of the Spirit was still there. 
What came to mind was the old ‘Shaker hymn’ that I have often sung. 
And the song that it is often paired with - Lord of the Dance - by Donovan (Leitch)(didn’t know it was by him though), released in 1971.

Simple Gifts       
Listen to it here:

  'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
    'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
    And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
        'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

    When true simplicity is gain'd,
        To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
    To turn, turn* will be our delight,
        Till by turning, turning we come 'round right

*implies a dance move - as perhaps does the previous line - thus connecting it with ‘Lord of the Dance’ - as well as the similarity in the music.

Lord of the Dance
Hear it here:
(Slightly different lyrics than the official version)

I danced in the morning when the world was begun
I danced in the Moon and the stars and the Sun
I came down from Heaven and I danced on the Earth
At Bethlehem I had my birth:

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!

I danced for the scribe and the pharisee
But they would not dance and they wouldn't follow me
I danced for the fishermen, for James and John
They came with me and the Dance went on:


I danced on the Sabbath and I healed the lame
The holy people said it was a shame!
They whipped me and stripped me and hung me high
And left me there on a cross to die!


I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black
It's hard to dance with the world on your back
They buried my body and they thought I'd gone
But I am the Dance and I still go on!


They cut me down but I leap up high
I am the Life that will never never die!
I'll live in you if you'll live in Me
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!


Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Hole in the Sky

A Hole in the Sky

I was walking before dawn recently.  It was bright enough that I could see that the sky was covered almost completely by a thin layer of clouds - with only a few small, scattered patches of cloudlessness.

As I walked, I suddenly became aware of a strong sense of the Presence coming from above - one that had not been there before.

I stopped where I was, in a place of silence, and looked upward.  Much to my surprise, a large hole had opened in the center of the clouds.

As I gazed at this hole, I became aware that although I could see no stars, I was totally aware of something there - a sensation that I did not sense if I let my gaze drift away to the cloud cover.

I could not look away for long, however, before my gaze was drawn back to the hole in the clouds.

I stood there for several minutes, perhaps, as time became unimportant.  After that time, the compellingness of the Presence seemed to release me, allowing me to continue my walk.

A minute or two later, I noticed that this feeling had greatly diminished, and I stopped and looked skyward once more.

The hole had now been closed up and the cloud cover was much like it had been when I started my walk - complete except for small, scattered clear spots.

As I continued to walk, I pondered.  This was no hole in the clouds.  It was an opening, a portal, to the Infinite, the Divine.

And the spark of the Divine within me (which is within all of us) made contact with the Divine that is all around us - drawn together as if magnets.  Drawing me closer to Him.

A hole in the clouds- on a random early morning walk.  What can that be but the grace of G-d; from a G-d that wants to be with me, and me with Him.  To walk beside me - not leading, not pushing.  A companion, a partner to be with in the study of life, a havruta (from the Hebrew word meaning ‘fellowship’) to help me more truly understand.

Random addendums:
God walked in the Garden, looking for Adam and Eve.

‘You have already been told what is right
     and what YHWH wants of you.
Only this, to do what is right, to love loyalty
     and to walk humbly with your G-d.’  (Micah 6:8)

Jesus said ‘Follow me” – walk with me in my ministry perhaps??

‘two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus.....Jesus himself came up and walked by their side.....he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about Himself.’  (Luke 24:13, 15b, 27b