Continuing Eastertide...


As you know, according to the liturgical year in the Christian tradition, we are still in the fifty days of Eastertide, holding vigil, opening, softening, suppling, making space, strengthening our nervous systems and readying our hearts to be available to truth at increasingly subtle and intense frequencies. This becomes even more pressing within the ten days we are amidst between the Feast of Ascension (Thursday, May 13th) and the Feast of Pentecost (Sunday, May 23rd). These days can be experienced as liminal time in which we await the fiery descent of intense spiritual energies.

Again, the wager we are invited to live in this Pascal Season is that there may be a sudden release of stored potential spiritual energy that can propel us forward in our transformation or mutation (a distinct form resulting from a change in structure). This transfiguration may not manifest as something pronounced or even visible but rather may be quite delicate, an abstruse inward shift. Yet if we trust that the Universe, that God inside, in between, and all around us is conspiring for us, for our good, why not be open to such potential for such growth? Especially as we head into summer and pandemic restrictions ease up even more. Remember a wager is about seeing for yourself, about checking out this invitation from the inside and whether it speaks true for you from your own embodied experience.

As I have mentioned many times before, this year has brought collective trauma in many forms. It is difficult to process something while still experiencing it and this typically leads to a back log of processing, in this case both individually and collectively. There is a great need for our nervous systems to be stable enough not only to receive the intense spiritual energies availed to us but also to secrete them into the collective nervous system in ways that support alleviating the suffering of all. This is our task, our spiritual offering as we continue on.

I want to remind you of an upcoming retreat this month, May 21-31st, Living the Beatitudes: Discovering the Mystical Truth of Jesus’ Words. Emergence from this very difficult year of pandemic can be seen with the eyes of the heart as a great birthing of a new world. How do we align ourselves with this vision, join in this “one great act of giving birth?” What could be better guidance than the Beatitudes, Jesus' instructions for realizing the Kingdom of Heaven right here on Earth. And when we revisit his teachings with the help of Neil Douglas-Klotz’s translations from Aramaic, Jesus' own language, we are brought home to a transformed relationship with the cosmos. Join us as we give ourselves―body, mind, and emotion―to this labor of love. If you are interested in joining me, Joy Hayter, and Catherine Reagan you can find out more here as well as below. All are welcome and scholarships are available.

It continues to be such a gift to chant and meditate with those of you who are able to be a part of the collective contemplative pause space. Henry Schoenfield facilitated a beautiful sacred celebration of the Eucharist for us this morning. For those who would like to celebrate together in this way again, reserve 15-25 minutes on Sunday, June 20th after our centering prayer period. All friends and family are welcome to join. Keep your eye out for future dates as well. Henry has been missing and longing for liturgy and has had the unfolding of new expressions on his heart for quite some time. Recently he said, “I was just rereading what Cynthia says about Eucharist in The Wisdom Jesus. Cynthia says, "It will be some time yet before liturgies emerge above the radar screen that capture this wisdom understanding of Eucharist." That sounds like an invitation worth taking up! I wonder what that might look like...”

May we engage the act of mothering

May we create something new out of our pain

May we practice mutuality instead of hierarchy

May we choose self-love instead of internalized oppression

May we practice intersectionality, refusing to let hegemony “divide and conquer” us

May we be the way we heal

With love,

Heather


 


Here are a some of the readings from this week:

“God is an invitation to fall apart, a pressing vocation to learn how to limp. Learning how to limp is unlearning mastery. It is learning how to be intimate with other kinds of human and non-human bodies around us - especially those we are accustomed to making invisible.”

— Bayo Akomolafe

[Love in the voice of wisdom says] "When the world was born, I came into being. Before the centuries were made, I issued from the hand of God — half-formed, yet destined to grow in beauty from age to age, the handmaiden of [God’s] work. Everything in the universe is made by union and generation — by the coming together of elements that seek out one another, melt together two by two, and are born again in a third. God instilled me into the initial multiple as a force of condensation and concentration. In me is seen that side of beings by which they are joined as one, in me the fragrance that makes them hasten together and leads them, freely and passionately, along their road of unity. Through me, all things have their movement and are made to work as one.”

— Teilhard de Chardin

“For it is in the quiet which invades us and which becomes characteristic of our total respiration that we are most acutely aware of the operation of the Presence of God. Here is the ‘mercy seat’ of God before which all things are stripped to their true essence and their real character revealed.”

— Howard Thurman

And a poet said, Speak to us of Beauty.

And he answered:

Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?

And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?

The aggrieved and the injured say, “Beauty is kind and gentle.

Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us.”

And the passionate say, “Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.

Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us.”

The tired and the weary say, “Beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.

Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow.”

But the restless say, “We have heard her shouting among the mountains,

And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and

the roaring of lions.”

At night the watchmen of the city say, “Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east.”

And at noontide the toilers and the way-farers say, “We have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset.”

In winter say the snow-bound, “She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills.”

And in the summer heat the reapers say, “We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair.”

All these things have you said of beauty,

Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,

And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.

It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,

But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.

It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,

But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.

It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,

But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.

People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.

But you are life and you are the veil.

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.

But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

— Kahlil Gibran

“On [ascension] day Jesus is remembered as having ascended bodily into the skies in a dramatic final departure, recorded in the first chapter of the book of Acts. Ten days of hushed, expectant waiting follow. Then comes the promised fiery descent of the Holy Spirit, which Christians celebrate as Pentecost, the birthday of the church.” . . .

[We are still in this season of Eastertide and our invitation is to train ourselves] “so that our whole embodied being can be tuned up to support a spiritual aim we wish to achieve. In the case of Eastertide, what’s at stake —the aim we are striving for—is our physical capacity to be available to truth at a subtle and much more intense level.”

“Remember how Jesus, immediately after his baptism in the River Jordan, went into the desert for forty days of fasting? This was not a time of penitence and renunciation. He was actually ‘leaning out’ his nourishment at the physical level so that his heart would be able to listen more deeply and his subtle energetic body might feast directly on the flesh and blood of the divine Word stirring to life within him. He was fine-tuning his instrument so that he would be able to catch the more subtle drift of what was awaiting him up ahead. I believe firmly that during these great fifty days of Easter, that the same invitation is extended to each one of us: to catch the drift of what Jesus is really inviting us to and to deepen our capacity to receive the intense spiritual energy available to us during this sacred season as a catapult to our own transformation.”

— Cynthia Bourgeault

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