Grace and Peace to you, my sisters and brothers in Christ,
One of the chaplains I work with at CHS Cleveland gave me a book recently that I am really enjoying. The chaplain does missionary work in India and has learned a lot from his friends there of other faiths. India is truly a melting pot of the world's religions. The book he gave me, "One minute Wisdom," by Anthony de Mello weaves together wisdom from Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, in very short vignettes between a religious master and his disciples. It is east meets west in terms of spirituality.
I grew up Southern Baptist but have always known that no one denomination represents ultimate truth because God is bigger than any one denomination or religion. In college I read a lot of Thomas Merton, a Trappist Monk, and I discovered the spirituality of the Catholic Church and early church Mothers and Fathers. When my life was spinning out of control from living with the active alcoholism of my late husband, I discovered meditation (Step 11 of the 12 Steps) in Alanon, and began exploring Buddhism as a practice to help bring some sanity to the insanity of my life. Later I took a Mindfulness Course and learned some of the science behind meditation and breath exercises. So I've always been a seeker and somewhat of a mystic. I later chose to become a Lutheran and answered God's call to become a Lutheran Diaconal Minister whose call is hospital chaplaincy. Now, I am serving as an Episcopal Deacon here at All Saints. But mostly, I am a child of God seeking a closer relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
I wanted to share one or two of those vignettes from "One Minute Wisdom" with you. Like Jesus' parables, they are designed to help us think out of the box about God and spirituality.
Identity: "How does one seek union with God?" "The harder you seek, the more distance you create between God and you." "So what does one do about the distance?" "Understand that it isn't there." "Does that mean that God and I are one?" "Not one. Not two." "How is that possible?" "The sun and its light, the ocean and the wave. The singer and her song-not one. Not two." (Page 31, i.e., the Creator and the creation, not one, not two yet intrinsically connected).
Meditation: A disciple fell asleep and dreamed that he had entered Paradise. To his astonishment he found his Master and the other disciples sitting there, absorbed in meditation. "Is this that reward of Paradise?" he cried. "Why, this is exactly the sort of thing we did on earth." He heard a Voice exclaim, "Fool! You think those mediators are in Paradise? It is just the opposite - Paradise is in the meditators." (page26-a new take on Jesus' words, "The kingdom of God is within.")
Understanding: "How shall I get the grace of never judging my neighbor?" "Through prayer." "Then why have I not found it yet?" "Because you haven't prayed in the right place." "Where is that?" "In the heart of God." "And how do I get there." "Understand that anyone who sins does not know what he is doing and deserves to be forgiven." (Page 17- a new take on Jesus' words, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do.")
May God bless your journey,
All Saints Messenger >