An Irish Blessing

“Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden

the hearts of those who travel with us. So be swift to love,

make haste to be kind, go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”

I find it interesting that love is the key to this blessing; however, I trust that most blessings begin and end with love, even if not mentioned.

Love shapes my soul through song

My common aura is spiritual Love

The beauty of Love is God as God is Love

The work of my soul and my hands is Love

See the good in each other. . . and Love

Problems disappear when Love is nonce

Love is the solution, let my eyes understand

Love is a verb; and creates more Love

The work of my hands establishes Love

And brings God to my doorstep

Understand – Love, a journey of harmony friendship

“Go in Peace, Love, and serve the Lord”

©Russell Kendall Carter

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Something Wonderful

Something Wonderful
I hear the songs from every church; listen, can you hear them?
Something wonderful is coming; open your heart, can you feel it?
We wait all year for this wonderful event, we hold our breath.
We decorate with lights and holy icons, to celebrate His birth.
 
We give gifts and receive gifts from loved ones, as did the one who loves us.
It is not about gifts, although many think so; He promised something greater.
It’s all about Love, but many don’t understand, and they should try.
We put away the presents we do not need, except for the One we celebrate.
 
We wait in vain for it does not come., for it is alive within.
We forget it is with us always, all year, every day, He has not died.
So let us celebrate His birth, but remember His greatest gift,
that something wonderful is Love, within us every day.
 
We cry for we  have not the room to decorate the way we should.
We cry for far away relatives unable to join us this glorious day.
We cry for the outlandish decorations of our neighbors, yet they have meaning.
We cry when listening to the ancient story retold in churches and by fireplaces.
 
We rejoice singing the holy songs written so long ago, but reborn each year.
We rejoice when we realize the stories are still so new.
We rejoice feeling the presence of our Lord Jesus.
We rejoice with the presence of Christ reborn within us.
 
©Russell Kendall Carter

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Prisoner of Consciousness

We live in our own self-made prisons. We are human; therefore, we are imperfect beings. This shows itself every day. We find it impossible to avoid this. We must face our imperfections and deal with them as God would want. If we overlook our imperfections to bring our spirituality into our lives, we may just begin to realize how perfect our lives may be.

We live in our own self-made prisons. We create our own conflicts, our own hardships. These can crush us! These can convince us that our future will collapse into the dust of the world. We lose sight of our mission in life; we know not where to turn. We trip over our own seeming failures and lose hope. But – there was a man born over two thousand years ago who showed us a different way; we have forgotten!

We live in our own self-made prisons. We may walk in our own darkness, but when we take the time to reflect, to meditate on who we are, we find a wonderful way to simplify our lives and reverse course. I am convinced that God loves us and always takes special care of those who are troubled by mortal life. This is a clear message that Jesus taught us. And perhaps, just perhaps, God is turning around and looking to help us.

Today, I evolve out of my self-enclosed shell and accept the presence of God in my life, as Jesus teaches me. . . when I decide to listen. I become less self-conscious of my self-imposed dilemmas and look to others, recognizing that when I turn to God’s Love, I become the second greatest teacher in the world (you know the first). When I model God’s Love to others, who benefits more. . . them, or me? I am a prisoner no more!!!

©Russell Kendall Carter

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What is God Calling us to be and to Do?

What does it mean to belong; I mean really belong? Every living creature is made in God’s image and God’s plan. We all belong. From the tiniest red ant to the grandest blue whale, God makes every molecule. We all belong to God’s kingdom, God’s creation. Every creature serves Gods purpose. That means us! That means them!

We are a reflection of the utterly amazing differences of God’s creation; if we really look closely, we recognize God in all that we see. Why can’t we see this basic truism? If we honestly believe that God is the creator, then we must see the value in all of His creation. Why do I carefully capture a spider and place it on a plant in my garden, when I simply crush an ant I find near my kitchen sink? I ask myself this question may times.

I invest in the lives of all people I meet. I believe that faith is the recognition of the value of all humankind. I look to the example and the leadership of Jesus and strive to duplicate how He treated all of the people He met. . . and cared for. My faith lies in my ability to accept what God tells me and trust in the faithfulness of others. It is simple; all I must do is remember that I am no more valuable to God than another is.

I understand why Jesus came into our midst and why He continues to appear every Christmas. We must learn to re-love those around us. We must go into the communities where people live and suffer. We must see their misery; but we must also see their faith.

Jesus saw and understood. We see and don’t understand. Our eyes are clouded by our own well-being. Our eyes are clouded by our own greed. We do not need to be billionaires to be greedy. We just need to be selfish. We need to open our eyes to God’s value for all creation.

Perhaps it is as simple as that. God is calling us to open our eyes!

©Russell Kendall Carter

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The Church

It’s odd how we as humans lock the doors to our minds and the love from our hearts by excluding those who call God by a different name. I won’t name them all but even in the New Testament there are several names for God, such as Emmanual, God, Lord, and then of course, Father. These are all legitimate and acceptable names; so why do we exclude YHWH, or Allah, except out of ignorant pride.

We are taught that the church is a family, a gathering of families that join together in prayer to God. But all too often, the gathering is closed to others who may have a different view. We shall not hear what they have to say. We don’t want to hear it; so, we lock our doors to those who are different. Yet, we say all are welcome! Come, join us; but believe only as we believe. This is neither love for or love from God. We deny we are all one family.

Church becomes this monolith of limited beliefs, losing its young because of its strictness of acceptance. For those with an accepting, listening heart and a mind that is attentive to God’s Word, the reality of the institutional church abandoning the attentive mind moves to the dwindling attendance and even a more limiting mindset because the inquisitive mind is no longer in attendance.

Sadhu Sundar Singh writes: “Both water and oil come from the earth. And though they are similar in many ways, they are opposites in their nature and their purpose. One extinguishes fire, the other gives fuel to the fire. Similarly, the world and its treasures are creations of God along with the soul and its thirst for spiritual truth. But if we try to quench the thirst of our soul with the wealth and pride and honors of this world, then it is like trying to extinguish fire with oil.”

Meditate on this for a while; then apply this to our 21st century life in church. Can we see how the church is engulfed in the flames of its own limited liturgy and rote recital of pledges? My Christian brothers and sisters condemn me as an enemy of Christ; my Jewish and Muslem friends laugh with me over a bottle of wine as we argue the greatly limited divinity of mankind. We argue over minute technicalities of our faiths; we revel in our lively discussions that only increase both our loves for God and all His peoples. God is our church, our family, regardless of what name we use.

©Russell Kendall Carter

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God the Only Cause and Creator

There are essential truths about God that man must live by to be God’s spiritual creation. But before we get into these truths, I must clarify some things. I use the phrase God is my rock; this is not to say that God is a solid substance, a piece of shale or limestone, or mountain. God is not physical. God is not substance in the physical sense; only in the metaphysical, metaphorical sense. When Ms. Eddy refers to God as Substance, she is referring to His metaphysical perfection of thought and truth.

Which brings us to her statement that God’s thoughts are substance and life. We exist only because of God’s perfect and eternal plan, spiritual plan. Although I suffer through my mortal life with the impediments of age and ancient injury, I know that in God’s eternal realm, I suffer not. The true me, the spiritual creation of God, is also eternal and perfect.

This is the message that Jesus taught ever day of His ministry. Isaiah writes, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (55:8,9)” this reminds me that regardless of how perfect my thoughts are, how perfect my prayers and meditation are, I cannot be perfect in my thinking. I am mortal striving for immortality.

As I gaze at the nighttime sky, I am awed by the vastness of God’s creation and know that my perfect mind is neither perfect or a mind; it is only an outreach, and extension of God’s perfection. I am a part of the creation I see above me. I study the teachings of Jesus; I try to understand His perfection. I cannot believe that He is the most scientific man as Ms. Eddy writes. The term scientific is a mortal creation of a limited mind. We use scientific to explain something that is so technical, so difficult to understand, that only the educated mind of the egotistical mortal can understand. Jesus is God and therefore is the perfection that mankind, that I strive for every day in my prayers and meditations.

I search for wisdom; but Wisdom eludes me. I suffer for the lack of understanding the Wisdom taught by Jesus. I can only see logic; I am limited by the teachings of the mortal mind. When I taught the prescribed curriculum in the college that employed me, I tried to raise the consciousness of my students to what God was saying through the written word of mankind. It was not enough; for I did not see the perfection, only what was exposed to me in my mortal life even though my meditations were aimed at trying to attain Wisdom.

God is the only cause and creator; and we are blessed to be a part of this Wisdom for we strive to His perfection.

©Russell Kendall Carter

 

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Gratitude and Generosity 

I read many inspirational posts every morning both before and after I meditate on my life and what I have done and will do according to God’s overall plan as I understand it. This morning as I was reading a post by Richard Rohr, I was immediately intrigued by his opening comments on gratitude and generosity. He writes, “Each and every morning offers us a chance to start anew, fresh, and to begin again. Each morning when we wake—should we choose to listen—is a message from the Creator to remember the privilege we were given of waking up.”

Although I attend a fairly liberal Episcopal Church (I do so because of the liberal policy of aid to the less fortunate members of society), I consider myself a Christian Scientist first, and then a person who follows and practices Buddhism. I have lived with pain most of my life, but when I awaken each morning, I do immediately thank God for another day with my wife and family and thank him that my only material concern is the pain I feel from activities in my younger years. I have no other mortal afflictions (except maybe terminal, mortal stupidity).

Every day I wonder why I am chosen to comfort my fellow man. I am not educated in the fundamentals of being a religious leader; I am neither priest or pastor. Yet I find that I am very comfortable bringing The Word of God to those in need. My clergy friends remind me that God often chose the uneducated and humble to lead His flock to justice and freedom. And to me, justice and freedom means to realize that it is our spiritual selves that matter when we speak of eternal live and salvation.

Won’t you join me with gratitude and generosity toward others and thanking God for all we have!

©Russell Kendall Carter

 

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Sleep Holds Us

From time to time, I come across a phrase in a book I am reading that jumps our at me and demands my attention. I read a lot; and I mean a real lot. I read many books in many genres and love them all. I am a member of two book groups, one is based on spirituality and one on all else. The members of the second group were speaking about the book: Hamnet: a Novel of the Plague by Maggie O’Farrell. I highly recommend this book.

Anyway, as Maggie is telling the story, I read a fascinating and mind-clutching phrase: “sleep holds us in its plumes.” Six simple words placed in an order that fascinatingly describes how sleep hold us. I am enthralled by this word picture.

I dream of comfort, the comfort of a warm blanket keeping me warm at night. This is a pleasure that many people in our world cannot experience; they are too poor to own a blanket, or they may be homeless, shivering on a park bench or in an alley with winds howling by them, picking up speed, making it colder, more miserable. I sometimes dream of these brothers and sisters, suffering as I have never done.

I dream of companionship; I am married, and for 55 years I have shared a bed with my wife. There is something about sleeping with arms and legs tangled such that it is impossible to say who belongs to what. This is a gift from God that I cannot believe I have lived my life with such a marvelous and caring person. This companionship gives me hope and love, but it also gives me security.

I dream of security. Because I am in my own home, which I am fortunate to have, hiding from the world’s problems, hiding behind locked doors that keep out unwanted fears and trials that I cannot and will not face when I sleep. Is this a false sense of security? My answer is that God secures my safety and comfort and companionship. When I sleep, I have not a care.

Yes, no matter what I dream, sleep holds me in its plumes of several layers of intrigue, and several layers of happiness.

©Russell Kendall Carter

 

 

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Lessons of Stone Soup

I love the fable of the stone soup. It was first put in print in the early 18th century, but nobody really knows haw long it was an oral folktale before this time. Timing does not matter, because this fable and its moral are as relevant today as it was three hundred years ago.

The folktale tells of visitors who do not share; nor do the people of the village. Has anything truly changed? Let us face it, as humans we are greedy. We do not share; and, if we do, it is merely the scraps that fall from the dinner table, the sharing is meager, and we are miserly. We do not place our assets with those we share life with. Being greedy, we never have enough, or so we believe.

Although this story is told in other areas of the Gospels, I love the version John shares with us. In the search for food to feed the multitudes, a small boy steps up: “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” John 6: 9. This age-old parable reminds us that there is always enough to share; there is always enough to give to those in need.

Love, like the bread in the parable, keeps on giving. When we share Love, when we share ourselves and gifts, we live forever; they live forever. This is God’s way and promise. The stone soup spirituality invites us to invest our assets in other. Then all will prosper and live.

 ©Russell Kendall Carter

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Women

Let us praise our mothers and sisters. Let us praise all women. Women are the gift that God gives all humanity. They are the beloved of God. To often we use women as servants of all of our needs. This is not in favor with God. Women hold great wisdom in their very beings; the Goddess Wisdom, the feminine side of our God, blesses women with great intelligence and great love. God has us the gifts of women that we are meant to share our joy.

I see the beauty of their hearts, the core of their reality, the person that is in God’s heart. I pray that they could all see themselves as God sees them. I pray that we could see each other the way God sees us all the time. We all live within the embrace of God, whose arms surround us always. We are awakened by God’s energy, the that holds us His presence within us.

Our very humanity is born with Divine Love, the key to existence, the basis of God’s Grace for us. We share this with all; we especially share this with women. Women birth us; women raise us from infants; women care for us; women love and nurture us. We are blessed to return each of these with our presence, with our attention, with our Love.

Heavenly Father, help us reflect Your love to each of Your children. Help us to return tender nurture and counselling You give and share with us. You are the strength and love that women are always ready to share with all humanity.

Amen.

 ©Russell Kendall Carter

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