God Loves Us All . . . Equally

gods-loveGod loves us all . . . equally!!

God does not withhold anything that we need. We may not get what we want, but as long as we walk in His light, our needs are fulfilled. It is His, or Her, influence in our lives that both influence and fulfill us. We tend to hide ourselves from the Good, always searching for those elements in our lives that satisfy our lesser beings. It is no wonder that our world is so mixed up. I am trying to separate myself from the lesser things in this life and try to center on those that are most important, such as Love, friendship, hope, patience, charity. These are among the things that are truly important, that we tend to overlook in our daily, rushed lives.

Because of this impatience, we avoid God as much as possible, even if we think we are not. God offers us everything but builds no bridges for us to cross. We do this in our everyday life; it just depends on what kind of bridges we build. They can be harmful or beneficial. After a long life, I have finally realized that the bridges we build to attain a closer relationship with God are much more gratifying and fulfilling. This is one of the reasons I became a prayer minister. I feel closer to my fellow man and much closer with God when we share a prayer. I would rather build a bridge leading to the light, instead of building one that takes me into more darkness.

Sometimes, it is very difficult to hear God; she speaks in such a soft voice that we are forced to listen sharply. When we curse another, that is call them names, or degrade them for their personal views, or when we lose a friend over a silly argument, we end up estranging ourselves from those who love us, and we love; but we also separate ourselves from the Love that God offers. We lose the path of light that we so urgently need.

Just as a mirror reflects our face, our hearts can reflect the love in the hearts of others; if we allow them to. Those who try to belittle us because of our faith, our views, or our heritage, are not our true friends. All they desire is to uplift themselves by putting us down. They refuse, or are unable, to see the face of God in us. Our job is not to criticize or ostracize these friends; it is our job to keep our hearts open for them to re-enter, when they are ready. I have said this before, but I want to emphasize it again. I love all my friends, those I know and those I have yet to meet. I also love those unduly criticize me for my views on certain issues. When we truly believe that we are all of one family, it makes it a bit easier to love those brothers and sisters who are angry with us.

God loves us all . . . equally!!

 

We Are Love

cloud-love1We are Love

 

God is not just with us, not just beside us, not just under us, not just over us, but within us, at the deepest level, and, in our most being. This means that Love is also not just with us, beside us, under us, over us, but is within us, to the innermost depths. By just living and growing, we live and grow in Love.

There are many who try to reject this and try to refuse to see this in others. We cannot be these others. To do so is to reject and refuse to see this in ourselves. In our love for others, we must send goodness, especially if they are in sorrow, are weak or sick, or live in poverty.

Our objective is to be in union with all brothers and sisters to attain untethered unity with God. We fulfill our hearts when we are concerned with other people; we should not be at war with people; we should fight against infidelity and greed.

Our love cannot be left alone or else it will die. We must continually work to broaden our love.

I was in a diner this morning after delivering four crates of apples to church for our food pantry. As I looked around the diner, I saw people of all ages, all sizes, all ethnic backgrounds (not races – there is only the human race). It seems that all were talking at once, enjoying the company of their friends or family. All were having fun, except maybe the youngsters on their cells. The overwhelming picture was that we all are alike; we all share in love for one another. All we must do is expand that love to include all the people in the diner, not just at the table. I was not surprised when I realized that I do love them all – for their existence, for their humanity, for their sharing the life I live.

Love grows when you allow it. No matter what name you use, pray with God to help you broaden your love.

 

 

 

Walking in Light

enlighten

Walk in the light

 Most of our lives we walk in the darkness of our own existences. When we open ourselves to accept the love of God, we become filled with Her light. If we are all children of God, then we are Her fruit, and as with all fruit, we flourish and grow in the light. And, as with all fruit, we are good; we are true; and we are right.

What this means depends on our outlook and how we view our own lives. I was talking with an old classmate of mine who continually asked why she was becoming so old. She was very angry with herself, because she was aging, and her body was beginning to fail her. At one point, she said that her older sister died when she was on 65; she then said that she, her sister, was the lucky one. She didn’t have to suffer in old age. I pointed out that she may not have suffered old age, but she did not live to see her grandchildren grow. I asked if that was worth not living to old age. And, I am not talking about being 90 or 100; we are both in our mid-seventies.

I asked her if she enjoyed living in the darkenss of death. She asked what the alternative was. I then asked her if I could be philosophical and spiritual with her. Our conversation continued for several more minutes as we talked about walking in the light, God’s light. I explained that I was both a Stephen Minister and a prayer minister at church and apologized for being so “holy.”

I’m not, but I do believe that we have a lot to live for and appreciate. But I do believe that when we walk in His light, we are stronger for it. And, when we walk along our life-paths, we meet others walking on their life-paths. By recognizing this, we can share the beauty of the light we share, the light that makes us stronger. We must look for the face of God in all those we meet.

When I was attending the Christian Science church on Springfield Avenue in Summit, New Jersey, our senior high mentor asked us to select a special verse from the New Testament to make our own. Being a 17-year-old male child, I naturally waited until ten minutes before our session to select my verse. I quickly yanked a Bible from the bookcase and opened it to any old page. It fell open to the book of Matthew, chapter 5. Someone had circled line 16.

In my own words, it reads: let your inner light shine before men, allowing them to see your good works, and glorify your father in heaven.

As a young man and then a Marine, I did not always follow this. Today, however, I am sure that the Bible those many years ago opened to that page for a reason. Today I live my life by that code. I believe that if I walk in God’s light and share that light with those I meet, we are all much better for it. I explained this to my classmate.

After we ended our conversation, I did pray that she try to change her outlook on her own life.

Living in Virginia now, I have many friends who are older than I am. Many share this brighter view. Maybe it is age that lets us know that walking in the light is much more beneficial than living in darkness. I don’t know, but I am happier walking on a lighted path.

May God’s light shine on your every step.

 

Personal Faith in My Life

prayer2

My Faith in My Life 

 

I’m sitting here, at my computer, reflecting on the weekend. My son was in town, which is always a wonderful joy. He stays with his sister here in Fredericksburg, but we get to see him during these visits. Both of our children, in their forties, are the best things of our lives.

He returned to North Carolina after we had breakfast on Sunday; Linda and I were heading for church services. I had been wavering all morning as to whether I want to just go home; mornings are sometimes not kind to me. We did, however, attend church. We heard a nice sermon from the young adults’ pastor who serves three churches in Fredericksburg and is the youth pastor at UMW. What was truly important was my personal time for prayer; I first prayed for a dear friend from my high school days in Summit, NJ; he is in hospice, losing a life-long battle with cancer. I pray that he returns home peacefully, as we all will, eventually. When he leaves, his wife, three daughters, and many grandchildren will surely suffer for their loss. Herb is and was loved by all who knew him.

After this, at the end of the service, I stayed after with a newer dear friend, who is also having a rough time, having spent the last few weeks in and out of the hospital. We sat in the pews and prayed for her continued recovery and her comfort in the hands of God.

Both prayers allowed me to cherish this time in church yesterday. I attend church for the fellowship and the comfort of having people around me who are people of faith, as I am. My meditation at home allows me to be closer to God, and then share that closeness with those I love. I only wish I could be in new Jersey with the ones I love there who are going through such hard times; but, I know that the prayers I send from Virginia are just as comforting, and I need not be holding their hands in a hospice room.

I don’t understand the workings of God; I am not at His level, but I do appreciate and learn form what She sets on my plate. I embrace what I can and share that to the best of my humble ability. I am not egotistical; I only try to bring comfort to those I love. I make myself open to receive what ever She sends my way.

My life changes as I go through different periods. There are times when I face the sadness of leaving one part of my life to enter a different experience. Nevertheless, in my experience, these times are usually followed by rewards that are more than satisfying. My faith plays a vital role in this development. Let this be the way of my life that I may try, keeping my feet firmly on the ground, while I experience my heart soaring in the heavens. My true astonishment is that I am allowed to receive this blessing to share with others.

I pray that my friends, those I know and those I have yet to meet, can enjoy the freedom that I have.

 

Our Spiritual Connections

spirit-lives

The Spiritual Life  

The more we live a spiritual life, the more we can engage in our world and all its faults. We deepen our spiritual life through more silence and more listening. There are so many religious sects that teach mediation that more people are using silence to enrich their lives. This silence allows them to hear the word of God; this silence is also important when we listen to others, rather than try to plan our response. Listening to what others say invites us to truly understand them. Planning what we are going to say, eliminates both of these possibilities. I know that I am much more comfortable in conversation, when I listen. And, being a prayer minister, I listen carefully. Otherwise, I could not be effective in my pray offering.

Eberhard Arnold encourages us to have patience; this helps us in our relationship with God and all those around us. It opens up a world of beauty and vitality to enjoy and cherish. These are parts of God’s blessings, if we take the time, if we have patience to listen.

Listening to God allows our trust in God to grow; this trust will also grow with others. We are much surer of ourselves when we are silent and listen. The more assured we are, the more relaxed we are, aids us in handing our own problems, big or small. We are, in fact, more confident.

As I meditate this morning, I cannot help praying for those in need. I have a good friend from high school who is near death; his death will be a blessing to him, and, I hesitate to say, his family. I cannot be near him and his family at this time, but I know through prayer, I am sitting with them in his hospice room.

I also pray for all people and animals who are suffering from hurricane Florence. What these beings are experiencing is tragic, and in many cases, the people will need months, if not years, to recover. This does not touch upon the psychological issues they may suffer for years.

I can understand how you might think these subjects coincide with our spiritual life; well, I can only say that it is through our spiritual lives that se connect with these people.

I have experience death in my family. It is a time of sorrow, but it is also a time of praise and joy. I am one who truly believes that when a person dies, he or she returns home. Although I miss the people around me who have died, I am joyful for their happiness.

I have not experienced being ruined by a hurricane but have lived through them while in the Marines in North Carolina, and I have lived through the financial devastation of a business that failed during my recovery from an auto accident. I remember how destroyed financially and psychologically I felt at the time. And, occasionally, I have dreams about my business failing while I was revering. I both sympathize and empathize with these victims, but I also know that due to our spiritual connections, and their spiritual connections will others, they will recover. They will need help, and they will receive help, hopefully. I also pray that they have a prayer community for close-at-hand spiritual support.

I also am comforted by the fact that they, too, can turn to God for spiritual support.

I pray for all my distant families through God. May they find comfort in God’s love and the love of their families and friends.

We’ve Come a Long Way

desertchristian

We’ve Come a Long Way

I do a great deal of reading about the first century Christians. I am enthralled by the writings of these leaders, including the men who wrote the Gospels. Of course, we have to remember that there were many more than four gospels. The four that appear in our Bible are the ones not rejected by the Christian leaders in Rome after the 4th century CE. I have read four others, so far.

Most of the early Christians were desert people, who did not want to be ruled by what they referred to as the decadent state. They had no formal theology or doctrine. Like Jesus and the Jewish prophets before him, they told stories, parables to explain how God was within their communities. They abhorred ego and told stories of love, virtue, and inner freedom, or as Jesus said, the kingdom of God within. They sought a true relationship with the Christ and rejected those who desired to narrow the views of Jesus to their own narrow means.

I find it fascinating that the (modern?) church is eschewing much of the old-time religion and accepting that there is an individual relationship with God and that God is not confined to inside the church doors. Now don’t misquote me, or misunderstand me, I am not against organized religion. I happen to love worshipping in St. George’s Episcopal Church on Sundays, or on other days I am in attendance. I receive a great deal of love and enthusiasm that is shared by my fellow brothers and sisters in the congregation. The combined aura that permeates the sanctuary is the cause of many blessing that I have received. This is to say nothing about the fellowship and friendship I share with the men and women whom I pray with.

I am what is referred to as a healing prayer minister, who serves the congregants who want a special prayer either for themselves or a loved one. I feel the presence of God within the circle when we pray for a certain issue. I particularly love having a child or young adult join with me in prayer. I am also extremely affected positively when I am hugged by one of our hearing-impaired members. We all share a special bond when approaching God. I feel truly blessed by the love and confidence my fellow Episcopalians place before me. I know, and they know, that it is not me who is speaking. I form the words, but they are not mine.

We need to be willing to listen, willing to leave our egos aside and search for that which is greater than us. Just as the early disciples and the first century desert dwellers, we must open ourselves to something other than a world of technology. We must leave our cell phones behind. The communication we search for will not come in a text message; it will come through our very core, our heart.

The parables in the Gospels, and those told by early Hebrew prophets and the first century desert Christians are meant to challenge us to think beyond ourselves. Sometimes a mustard seed is not a mustard seed; sometimes it may be us, or an idea we have discovered to assist others. If fertilized it will grow into something that is worthy of God.

We’ve come a long way, but we cannot forget that our innermost thoughts need nourishing. Let’s listen to them, whether we are a church-goer or an independent spiritualist.

Cherish the Image of God in all of us.

questionCherish the Image of God in all of us.

The image of God as Lover is the image I find most conducive to prayer. Lovers long to know one another. They take pleasure in revealing their innermost thoughts and hopes and dreams to one another. They share their burdens with each other, knowing they will be heard and understood. They are willing to speak the truth to one another in love, to be open and honest in their dealings. They respect and cherish one another.

These are the words of brother David Vryhof of the Society of St. John the Evangelist. These mean a great deal to me today, because I had the esteemed opportunity to be with twenty-five brothers and sisters in Christ this past weekend, all who are working to find a solution to the racism that is again permeating our society. It seems that as man, we find it difficult to accept the other as one of us.

The session opened Friday with the leader looking into the eyes of one of us and saying that he sees the face of God in his face. And it ended with a suggestion to place a mirror on the outer church wall asking people to see God in one’s own face and if it were the face of another, would asking if that changed one’s view.

Throughout the weekend, the image of God was surrounding all of the participants, as we discussed, laughed, cried, and vowed that we must continue the work we began, because as the Bible says, we cannot love God if we do not love one another, no matter who we look like or what language we speak.

Racism is not fun to discuss; as a matter of fact, it is very difficult. We were male and female, black and white; we were honest with each other: and, I saw a video, in which early teenage black girls said that they weren’t pretty because they were not white; this upset me in a way that I was not prepared. And, I repeat, through it all was an aura of love surrounding us. We shared this love equally; we did not see each other as black or white, male or female; we saw each other as equal children of God, at one with God, and at one with each other. My prayer is that our society will address this issue, perhaps by showing more people of color in TV ads, so that these young girls will not feel ugly; they are not.

As we left the seminar, we each shared an idea that could make a difference, or, could allow people to think about racism and seeing the face of God. The mirror mentioned above was one; another, suggested by many, is to challenge ourselves and those we work with, live with, pray with, to speak out when we see something that is not right. We don’t need to be confrontational, unless we want to; but, we can suggest that perhaps there might be a better expression to use, or a better way to address an issue.

What does all this mean? Nothing, if we do not address this head on. The soon-to-be minority white population of this country must accept that people of color are also children of God and deserve a place at the table. If we profess to love God, and follow the teachings of Jesus, then we must do as He did – work for and with those living in the shadows of society.

Just a few thoughts to think about.