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The holy Spirit is the wholly Other Spirit – the very Breath of God – that is sent to fill us humans in order to give us Life Abundant and all that Is God.
The holy Spirit is the Totality and Essence of God.
The Hebrew word for Spirit is “ruah,” meaning “Breath” – even saying it sounds like breath and breathing, Rue’ahhhhhhhh is how it is pronounced. So that even when we say the word for Spirit we are in truth breathing Spirit in and out of our bodies.
God’s breath breathed into us to give us God’s very Being. The holy Spirit, the wholly other Spirit, the Breath that is like no other, is the Divine Breath that contains the whole being of God and all that exists.
So even breathing, being mindful of the Source of our breath, is an act of prayer and surrender. In breathing and being mindful that all my breaths come from God, means that I am thanking God for my life and offering my life back to God, simply by living…as a fully alive human being.
So be mindful that every breath you take is a prayer to God, in thankfulness for Life.
Fear speaks to my doubts. God speaks my name.
Fear only exploits my weaknesses. God loves them and uses them to heal and serve.
Fear is a ruinous drug that blurs my mind and chokes my heart, God’s love and presence are a balm that heal my body, mind and spirit. God’s promise is divine presence. God’s gift is unlimited and unconditional Love.
God’s faithful presence and crazy Love open up my life and my days to the ever present abundance that Jesus told us He came to give us (John 10:10).
It is no secret that I am a verdant seeker and searcher of all that is mystical and practical, addicted to more of God and all that is Sacred. I am not easily quieted or quenched by safe answers. As a teenager, I would walk around my church youth group with a homemade t-shirt that said, “you know the Answer, but do you even know the Questions?”
As is often the case with me and God – the hand held Mystery, the Unsayable Said – Wisdom comes through fragments of papers, random Google searches, strange emails, etc., questing for deeper and richer experiences of all that is Holy and profane.
And today this Message came to me, from The Message (a modern day translation of the Bible) written by one of my favorite people, Eugene Peterson. This comes from his translation of Ecclesiastes, one of the least appreciated books of the bible precisely because it is not pretty, packaged or pedantic with gentle answers.
So, read it with me with rage, passion, love, pounding fists, and sweating palms. Read it as prayer, as mantra, as fodder for your Greater Life and the larger angels that inhabit your heart!
A right time to lament and another to cheer.
A right time to hold and another to part.
A time to search and another to count your losses.
One handful of peaceful repose is better than two fistfuls of worried work-
More spitting into the wind.
It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
God’s in charge, not you – the less you speak, the better.
Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift!
God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live.
But against all illusion + fantasy + empty talk
God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
Each day is God’s gift… Make the most of each one! Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
Be generous! Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns. Don’t hoard your goods; spread them around. Be a blessing to others.
Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does.
Life as we know it, precious + beautiful, ends. The body is put back in the same ground it came from.
The Spirit returns to God, who first breathed it.
It’s all smoke, nothing but smoke.
The words of the wise prod us to live well. They’re like nails hammered home, holding life together. They are given by God, the one Shepherd. But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy.
There’s no end to the publishing of books…
The last + final word is this: [Be in awe of] God. Do what He tells you.
Source: The Message (MSG)© Eugene Peterson
David Whyte is one of my favorite poets. Enjoy…
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief
turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe
will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for something else.
NOTE: this blog is raw, no editing, first thought, first word. And since it involves the rawness of realness, I felt OK with leaving it be.
My life has a funny way of having moments of “embodied Irony.” A moment like that crossed my path earlier this week. I had written the post about being in search of a bigger God and had set up my blog to auto post it. Well between the writing of the blog and the posting of the blog I had a miraculous experience: I survived a serious car accident.
A 4:30 p.m. on Palm Sunday, I was heading out from a friends’ house to get to evening Mass. I am far from a good Catholic or even a faithful follower of Jesus, but the events of Holy Week and Sacred Rituals of Easter and Passover are vital and important to my own spiritual l journey. So, I was pulling out of the gravel road onto a state highway. I looked left, then right and for some reason decided to go left to stop by a convenience store for an afternoon cup of Joe. I pulled out and there it was – a 1990 black Honda Accord traveling at about 60 miles per hour.
Time stopped or at least felt like it slowed down. I knew Juno and I were going to get nailed by this car so I reacted the fastest way I could: I simultaneously slammed the gas pedal to the floor (hoping to only have only the tail of my car hit) and I used all my strength to reach around and move Juno from behind the driver’s seat, pressing her against the rear passenger door (thereby putting her as far away from impact as possible). All of this occurred in 2 seconds or less…
The car slammed into us, never even hitting the brakes before impact. Then it became surreal: metal twisting and bending; pain and searing fire erupting through my body; the shriek of a terrified dog; spinning around and around with dizzying force; then a second or two of pure stillness.
Then I heard the voice of a young person, “holy shit that is a lot of gas….get out, get out, man!” I only remember scrambling to get my seat belt off and nothing happening. I was stuck and in blinding pain. The door had me pinned in. I just remember screaming out to God, “Give me strength NOW, help me, Lord, save Juno. I don’t give a shit about me but save HER!!”
The seat belt unclasped.
I flipped over into the back of the car, grabbed Juno by her harness, and we literally fell out of the car stumbling about 30 feet away from the car. I could not breathe and pain was setting my body and soul on fire. The rest is a blur. All I remember is asking a bystander to call my friend and have him come and take my dog to the ER vet hospital.
I also remember Juno being right next to me, tight up against what I would learn were my fractured ribs. She did not move. When the paramedics approached me she growled but then let them touch me. My friend Hugh came and did what he is great at: exhibiting grace under pressure and jumped into the Solution. He just said, “I’ve got Juno. The paramedics have got you.”
Then the pain took over…all over; searing, fire like, pained breathing, burning on my face and arms. Later I would learn it was the air bags and a few fractured ribs, one vertebrae fractured (L4) and another compressed (L3), bruised lungs, scrapes, cuts, and soreness all over, covering me like a blanket.
Out of all of this too, I learned I have a “shaded area” in my lungs that appears not to be affiliated with the accident. So, the accident afforded me the chance to learn that I need a biopsy on a shaded lump in my lung.
As I said before, my life is Embodied Irony. Read the rest of this entry »
“Our highest knowledge of God is nothing close to that which God truly is.” Attributed to St. Thomas, paraphrased
I have a confession to make: I am in search of a bigger God for you see my current one is too small. that’s right, the God that occupies my thoughts and heart has shrunk in size and scope, even divinity. Honestly, I need to get rid of him or I’m doomed to a small life in a small world with all hope suffocating to the point of death. I have made numerous attempts to give this God the pink slip, even writing him out of my life, but to no avail.
You see my God is too small, but he is equipped with a rather large “Ego” – this God I have currently is petty, pithy, and pedantic at best. The God that resides in my heart is an idol, one made up of fairy tales and freak outs passed down to me from my drunken fathers’ presence and absence. This God is narcissistic, needy, omnipotent, tyrannical, and just like my father my God is an Almighty Drunk. It is frightening.
I thought that decades ago I had been loosed of this Divine Schizophrenic but circumstances as of late have left me reeling in disbelief at the very core of my beliefs and just how small my God has become. Doctrine, dogma, stigma and stain all have left the remnants of a child-like faith based in innocence smashed and tattered by a full out frontal assault of FEAR. I am scared of my “oh so small God”
My current God cannot handle my pain, my emotional outbursts or my constant neediness. Nor can this God handle my questions or queries, leaving hope suffocated by the minutiae of daily life, questions big and small.
In fact, this God is too small precisely because He IS a He – a Zeus like old man resembling my Pops. Why can’t this God be a She? Or be like my mother? My mother was such a strong, lovely, regal woman who had wits and wilds about her…why can’t she be the source of my image of God instead of my alcoholic dad?!?
Here is something that piques my interest in the feminine face of God: one of the most oft used words to describe God’s wondrous glory in the Jewish Bible (the Christian Old Testament) is the word “Shekinah” – a feminine Hebrew word. And much like the French language and other Romance languages, gender is ascribed to words rather than leave them neutral and therefore neutered. Shekinah, to be more specific, is the English spelling of a grammatically feminine Hebrew name of God in Judaism. The original word means the dwelling or settling, and denotes the dwelling or settling of the Divine Presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem (click on here for more information on Shekinah).
In Abrahamic faith traditions, your name denoted not only your character, but your destiny as well. So, Shekinah, a word implying the very dwelling Place of Presence of God is a feminine word. So maybe just maybe my God can be She as much as He as much as neither. For the sake of my own sanity, my oh so small God can grow and I can acknowledge that the great traits of my mother (and all the amazingly strong women in my life) can be divine reflections of the God I need in my life: One Who is strong, faithful, creative, beautiful, tender, and compassionate (a Divine Mama Bear not to be reckoned with when one of her cubs was in danger).
The search for a bigger God continues…
I can cash in this Peon God for one much larger than me, truly a “Power greater than myself” or I can stay stuck in the minutiae of a miniscule God and drive myself into insanity.
It is for this reason I love the 2nd Step of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous when it says “we came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” A Power greater than me…” That can be understood in many ways, for me it can mean a Power greater than any limitation or fear I could ever have of God; it can mean a God Who is a Power that is Pure Love and desires unbroken intimacy with me, loving me no matter my foibles and frailties, no matter how needy or poor I am.
I am truly searching for a bigger God: not a health and wealth pie in the sky God; not a Polyannish one who never sees the darkness of life; not a Santa Claus God who gives me my wish list.
I am in search of a God whose Love is beyond being meted out by human restraint.
I am in search of a God who is holy – wholly other – yet dwells within me.
I am in search of a God Who is beyond dogmatic and doctrinal delineations; a God Whose very Being and strength is pure Love, infinite Mercy, holy Hospitality…a Liberator and Healer who is Radically Compassion.
I am in search of a God Who in turn is in search of me…