WHAT SEEMS AND WHAT IS

•June 9, 2018 • Leave a Comment

 

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Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day…because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal… 2 Corinthians 4.16-18

IN OUR GOSPEL reading today (Mark 3.20-35) we hear Mark’s account of Mary and Jesus’ brothers and sisters coming to try to rescue Jesus from a crowd. The people are so keen to hear and see Jesus by now that they are crowding into a house where he and his disciples had been hoping to have something to eat and no doubt a break from the crowds and the teaching. Various translations say that Jesus’ family have gone to get him because they think he’s gone mad but the Greek doesn’t make that explicit, just that the general gossip is that he ‘has gone out of his mind’. But more urgent, no doubt, than the need to respond to gossip is the fact that powerful authorities are getting involved now and they are hostile to Jesus’ teaching and to his growing popularity. Attempts on his life are already brewing, both from the authorities and from within the crowds themselves. Whether or not the family actually think Jesus is mad, his lifestyle has exploded; there are crowds building wherever he goes, so much so that he can’t even get time to eat.
Why are the crowds so hungry for Jesus and why are the authorities so interested in shutting him up? Why do some of the crowds literally want to rip him apart or stone him to death?
Let’s spend some time this week looking deeply into ourselves, with Paul’s teaching about the wasting outer nature and our renewing inner selves, in our hearts and minds. Jesus was teaching about the unseen truth and the illusions of the visible. Deep inside, this resonated with many ordinary people who crowded to get to him; for the powerful and the surface surfers, it agitated and challenged their ‘grip’ on ‘reality’. Hence the transference of ‘madness’ onto Jesus, the source of the crisis. What in our lives are we clinging to in order to try and hold back the decaying of physical circumstance? How far are we really willing to trust the great Unseen? What in us is true and what must we let go?

 

LAW AND FREEDOM

•June 2, 2018 • Leave a Comment

 

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But they (religious/political authorities) were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’

JESUS, BEING WATCHED, to see if he would break the law by healing, and therefore be guilty of doing work, on the Sabbath, had asked the simple question to those who would punish him under the law, “Is it lawful to do good or do bad on the Sabbath, to save life or to kill?” For Jesus, their silence speaks loud!
It is hard to imagine in our society there being a law against working on any day, let alone a day set aside to be still with God. The sabbath must certainly have been a God blessed day each week and we can only dream of such a day being enshrined in our laws. However, the Pharisees in the Gospel reading are not upholding the virtues of a law given to set people free to pray, rest and worship. They are using the letter of the law as a tool of oppression while hiding behind its institutionalized authority in order to wield power, shrinking from any responsibility to think about its meaning or intention. But Jesus has come “to proclaim good news to the poor… freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4.18). For him, hiding behind laws or using them to inhibit or enchain is not an option and he will not bow to those who administer such. The question the Pharisees cannot answer in their twisted hypocrisy is the question the Christ within each one of us asks: “Is this thing that I am doing or am about to do, life giving or life damaging?” If we are bound by the letter of law and not free to think and act in the Spirit of God, then we cannot answer this question. Our conscience may yet nag but the chances are we will make big efforts to blot it out, and a self-righteous interpretation of law is a powerful sedative. Jesus says, “The sabbath is made for humankind, not humankind for the sabbath”. Listen to him. He sets you free!

 

TRINITY, THE DANCING

•May 24, 2018 • Leave a Comment

 

Trinity Dance

Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

BORN AFRESH IN THE MAYIM AND THE RUACH ~ the Water and the Spirit ~ we are set free, like the wind, like the breath of God, to dance in the beginningness, to return home to whom we really are. Every time we remember, each time we touch beauty, life, being, suffering, nature, the elements, and know that we touch them, we return to the time before time, moment before moments, the original dance in the mind/heart of God. It may just be for an inspired flash or we might stay longer, but we do return. Parent, Child, Breath dance then in self-emptying, eternally replenishing Love. We can do this because God has put Godself in all of us, in the very DNA of our being and all being, physical, spiritual, eternal.
Alright, for sure it seems easier to cover up the Dance with our fears and the pressures on our lives to conform with systems and structures, social, political, religious and philosophical, than it is to trust the freedom of the Holy Dance. But Christ has shown us how to do it and Christ empowers us to do it. Jesus of Nazareth lived in the Dance. John’s Gospel is perhaps the best attempt by any writer in history to meditate on how and why this was so, as well as how and why, through the risen Christ, we can do it too. This is our calling and our destiny. Through our baptism in the primordial Mayim and the Ruach Haqodesh (Spirit of Truth) we are already dancing. All that is necessary is that we let go the fear and the pressures to conform, and dance! Yes, those fears and pressures will fight back, you can be sure. They put Jesus to death after all. But they could not destroy the Dance.
Christ lives and in Christ, so do we.

Freedom!

 

PENTECOST – THE DANCING AND THE PAINTING

•May 19, 2018 • 1 Comment

 

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” I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away רוח הקודש (ruach haqodesh – spirit of truth or Spirit of JHWH) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send her to you …When the Spirit of truth comes, she will guide you into all the truth…”

THERE ARE SO MANY WORDS in our readings this morning, so many I had to keep reducing the font to let them all in. Some of the words are packed with theology. The Greek word, παράκλητος Paraclete, translated in our version today Advocate, for example, has had many books of theology written about it, theologians over the ages striving to unpack it’s meaning. Who knows really why the writer of the gospel chose that word and would he or she be amazed, amused or bemused by all the fuss and mental gymnastics it has inspired? So many words! Dry bones animated, right judgement prayed for, fishermen and desert travelers speaking simultaneously in the diverse tongues of ancient Afro-Eurasia, promises of “portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist”, dark suns and moons of blood…where do I start, what words can I write and hope to make sense? Words, words, words…
What if Pentecost isn’t just something that happened a long time ago, that we remember each year 49 days after Easter, forgetting again its Judaic root of 50 days after Passover, fondly call it the birthday of the church, then sing some hearty songs and go home? What if Pentecost is still going on? What if God is still saying something to the world, to the people, to creation? What if God hasn’t just given us a history book of fairy stories and a set of religious rituals and rules to make us “behave” and left us to get on with it? What if our very lives and being are infused with the ruach hagodesh, the spirit of Truth, spirit of JHWH, spirit of What Is, of I AM? What if our lives and being are the very canvass on which God paints? What if we just shut up and let God paint?

 

THE ONENESS

•April 28, 2018 • Leave a Comment

 

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” I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower… Abide in me as I abide in you.”   (painting by Liliane Davies, Penclawdd, April 2018)

In Liliane’s painting of the mist at Mew Slade, which she painted last week after picking up the litter on the beach, the mist is like elements manifest as oneness: earth meets sea meets sky. As sea meets sky, mist rises; as sky meets earth, mist descends, rises and descends, evaporates, re-manifests… Indeed, a painting itself is elements manifesting in oneness but let’s not get caught in an endless intellectual spiral here! The point is made. In the Nag Hamadi scroll which we have come to know as The Gospel of Thomas, it is recorded that, “Jesus said, ‘It is I who am the light which is before them all. It is I who am the All. From Me did the All come forth, and unto Me did the All extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find Me there” (Saying 77). There is nowhere that Christ isn’t. Christ is in us and we are in Christ, as is all that is. It is separation that is illusion however we have been “educated” to the contrary.
Also recorded in the scroll is a question from Jesus’ disciples, “When will you be visible to us, and when shall we behold you?” Jesus replies, “When you strip naked without being ashamed, and take your garments and put them under your feet like little children and tread upon them, then you will see the child of the Living, and you will not be afraid” (Saying 37). In the Book of Genesis, it is when Adam and Eve become ashamed in their newfound awareness of their nakedness that the illusion of separation comes into the story of human being. They have sought the knowledge of the mind of God, desired to know how it all works so that they might take control of their lives, put on the robes of the learned. They have bought the illusion and found themselves to be separated from the Garden, from God, from whom they really are.

But in Christ, we can remove the robes, trample them into the dust, and come home.

Christ calls us

and Christ enables us.

 

CENYDD

•April 17, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Cenydd’s Island, Burry Holmes, is a thin place. Cenydd had a heritage here in 5th Century and he taught the people of West Gower about the Way of Christ. This is recorded in his memory. Rhythmic panting is by Libby.

The didj was made by didgeridoo artist and maker Joe Caudwell from driftwood washed up on the beach at the Isle of Wight. According to legend, Cenydd was washed up on Burry Holmes, a the small island where I am playing here, in a little coracle into which he was dumped because he was the illegitimate baby of a West Walean tribal chief.

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THREE DIDJ MEDITATIONS

•April 8, 2018 • 2 Comments
 
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