School of Christian Mysticism

•August 16, 2018 • Leave a Comment

No time for writing. Working on the school atm. Check it out https://www.schoolofchristianmysticism.co.uk

LOVE IS FREE

•July 21, 2018 • Leave a Comment

MagdaUpon my bed at night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not… when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go…
…Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me

 

THERE IS a deep intensity about the love poem or collection of love poems we know from the Hebrew Bible as The Song of Solomon. So much so that the ‘wisest of sages’ Rabbi Akiba said at the turn of the second century AD, “All the (biblical) Writings are holy, but the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies.” It is traditionally read during a high point of the Passover festival. For many, the poetry is allegory for the covenant relationship between God’s ‘chosen people’ and God. In Christianity it is often Interpreted between the Church and Christ, sometimes Mother Mary and God. In our extract this morning, the bride is searching hard for her bridegroom and we can perhaps relate it to Mary Magdalene searching for Jesus’ body in the tomb and the garden.
Within the intensity of the search, in the poem and in the Gospel extract, there is a possessiveness, a desire to find what is rightfully ‘hers’ and to take it to some primal sanctuary where ‘she’ can somehow take care of it. When Mary exclaims “Rabbouni!” in the garden, her Aramaic tongue is actually saying not just “Master!” but “My Master!” And Jesus’ response? “Don’t hold onto me”, literally “Don’t cling to me”. He goes on, “I have not yet ascended to Abba”, the parenting One, the I AM, to that which is Real. Don’t hold on, don’t cling, I must fully become what I AM.
I AM is the being or essence of all that is real, Absolute Love. Love is freely given but it cannot be possessed. It is found when the frantic searching ceases, when the sentinels of reason have been passed in the streets of our conscious thoughts. Only then can we find that this Love has been there all the time and it will never be gone. Letting go is to receive it in its fullness and so become whom we really already are.
Christ – we can’t possess Christ – the Church does not possess Christ or contain Christ. Our creeds and theology are responses to Christ but nothing more than that, they do not delineate Christ or limit Christ. Christ is not limited to the historical Jesus of Nazareth either. Jesus lived 2000 years ago and then only for 30 or 40 years. Christ was in the beginning, Alpha and Omega, eternal, cosmic, not limited by time and space, expressed in the cosmic, timeless dance that is the Holy Trinity, F, S and HS.
Mary Magdalene’s story holds a mirror to us, in which we can see our lives, our relationships and our pilgrimage through this physical, material world, with Christ, with the unconditional Love of God.
Toward the end of the early Christian writing known now as the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, hidden for most of Christian history because the Roman church banned it in 4th Century, after Mary has talked to the disciples about her ‘visions’ of the risen Christ, “Peter said to Mary: ‘Sister, we know that the Master loved you differently from other women. Tell us whatever you remember of any words he told you which we have not yet heard.’ Mary said to them: ‘I will now speak to you of that which has not been given to you to hear.” Mary describes then how Christ appeared to her in a vision, and taught her mystical awareness, contemplative prayer, an opening of the veil between what seems and what is, about the ‘nous’, where soul and spirit merge. Meister Ekhart tells us that nous the “Openness that reaches to the depth of being, where the uncreated in humanity is One with the uncreated in God.” In other words, Jesus taught Mary absolute Communion.
Mary finishes her speech, “Henceforth I travel toward Repose, where time rests in the Eternity of Time; I go now into Silence”. Finally we are told, “Having said all this, Mary became silent, for it was in silence the Teacher spoke to her.” The Gospel ends with rebuke from a jealous Peter and demands from him and others that she be ignored but Mary has already made the teaching clear.
In Chapter 4 of Interior Castle, 16th Century Spanish mystic,Teresa of Avila, deals with the “prayer of quiet”; “In the interior of the soul a sweetness is felt so great that the soul feels clearly the nearness of its Lord.” And further, “It’s as though there were poured into the marrow of one’s bones a sweet ointment with a powerful fragrance.”
Enough talking then.

Let us too fall

into silence a while,

for it is there we also meet

the Christ in us.

Be still.

And know God.

ARE WE HUMAN? OR ARE WE DANCER?

•July 14, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart… When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests…

TWO DANCERS, one timeless, cosmic dance. Sometimes in our life, experienced as one finite life, though multi-dimensional for sure, we can dance the dance of abandonment, like joyous King David bringing home the Ark of Covenant through streets of glory, celebrating the freedom of being, all chains of captivity broken and fallen to the ground. Sometimes, we dance with artist’s control, a darker shade, with a desire or intent to receive something worldly – appreciation, notoriety, influence, wealth, power, revenge, justice…
King David was no ‘saintly’ super-being. He had a heart full of God, innocent and free, from which music and poetry flowed and he was also a man of war, given to wild excess and unable to resist the woman beautiful, to whomever she may be wed. Salome, femme-fatale of Baptist narrative, could she yet be the disciple of Jesus named among the women at the Cross – Mark 15.40?
Our true nature and egoic false-self dance in us as we journey through our lives. The former lets go and loves what is True – God, Life, Love, Peace, Freedom. The latter grips tight on the wheel or the rein. This imprisons, binds, restrains.

Be still. Go free.

Dance!

T RexI danced myself out of the womb
I danced myself out of the womb
Is it strange to dance so soon?
I danced myself into the tomb
But then again
Once more

                                                                    (Cosmic Dancer – Bolan)

STRIPPED

•July 9, 2018 • 1 Comment

He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics…

front Celts
CDS AND downloads of Celts are now in the final stages of post-production. It is very much an album of stripped down, raw acoustic music, mixed with the natural sounds of Gower. It is inspired by the stripped down and natural church of our ancestors on these islands and we hope it will inspire people to come to the thin places, whether through geographical or spiritual pilgrimage, or both. This being Sea Sunday, here is a poem by Leslie, which is included on the album with just his voice and the sounds of the sea.

Brendan
The sea is still this blessed day, the colour of a flattened sword.
Not like last night, shrieked like a horse, and tried to throw me off its back.
I am proud, not my only sin, but Lord I tell you true I wept,
And quaking, vomited my fear.
Though still now, it is cold, despite my monks’ brown wool,
My hands are numb on the paddle, I stink like a goat.
This coracle is clumsy, fragile, small, I fear death yes, but failure more,
And why? To tell God’s truth I do not know, some urgent force propels me on
To find the victim folk who live in fear, and tell the story of the risen Christ.
The current flows beneath my eggshell craft of leather, willow, pitch and sweat,
And soon I’ll fall on foreign sand.
For now Lord, keep me safe to do your work,
And guide me with your healing hand.

GET YOU UP TO A HIGH MOUNTAIN

•June 23, 2018 • Leave a Comment

 

solstice sunrise eucharist

Llanmadoc Hill, Summer Solstice Sunrise: Communion in the wild

 

A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God… (Isaiah 40.3)
The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly… (Luke 1.80)

“WILDERNESS or wildland is a natural environment on Earth that has not been significantly modified by human activity. It may also be defined as: “The most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet—those last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed with roads, pipelines or other industrial infrastructure.” So begins the famous internet encyclopedia Wikipedia’s definition of wilderness.
Like Isaiah and all biblical prophets, John the Baptist was called to “appear publicly” and speak the Word of God; like all biblical prophets, before he speaks he is compelled to dwell in the wild, away from the crowds, away from mainstream programming of any kind. Of course, Jesus too was tested in the desert before he began to speak and teach, and the Gospels are clear that retreating to the wild continued to be a constant feature of his ongoing lifestyle and ministry. Luke tells us here that Jesus’ teacher? cousin? anam cara soul friend? John the Baptist lived his entire pre-ministry in the wilderness; even when he finally “appeared publicly” it was on the border of wilderness in the Jordan river.
Perhaps this week you would like to bring the wilderness into your prayer time, maybe do some walking meditation in Gower or in the garden (street, park in town, just as good!)
Where are the wild spaces in your life? Where can you be still and let God do the talking? What in your heart, mind, soul is real and what is merely worldly program? Who are you, really?

B Flat A Sharp: Variation in Morning Prayer

•June 20, 2018 • Leave a Comment

2 Church in Wales priests praying without words

LIKE…A MUSTARD SEED

•June 14, 2018 • 1 Comment

 

mustard tree 3

…for I AM does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but I AM looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16.7)
…he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples (Mark 4.34)

THE ANCIENT CHINESE TAO TE CHING begins, “Tao that is called Tao is not Tao.” The wise master Lau Tsu is opening to the listener that Tao, the Way, Road etc might be something he can point to but it is not something he can manifest in words. Tao is to be experienced rather than apprehended or communicated with the mind. Language cannot transmit the essence but merely signpost the presence. St Thomas Aquinas taught that when we speak of God we speak in analogia, analogy; we can say something about what an attribute of God is like by relating to some human or phenomenal experience but God is always more than we can imagine and are therefore able to name.
That Jesus taught with parable and metaphor is beyond any reasonable doubt. Even the most reason-conservative scholars accept that the parables are “among the sayings which we can confidently ascribe to the historical Jesus; they are, for the most part, authentic words of Jesus” (Dr Madeline Boucher). All Jesus’ major themes, most agree, are to be found in the parables. Why did Jesus teach in this way?
Just like the prophet Isaiah, Jesus makes comment in the Gospels that people often do not understand. In Mark 4.10-12, Jesus references Isaiah 6.9-10 when he says “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that ‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.” But we can read this not as Jesus being harsh, angry or exasperated but rather as an exclamation born in regretful love. Jesus uses metaphor to flash light into people’s hearts and minds to illumine truth in them about God within and without them. Contemplating the flash and the light away from the crowds of our actions and thoughts, we let Christ take us to the Experience.

 

 
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