ADVENT RECORDING 4: CENTRING PRAYER, 20 MINUTE PRACTICE

•December 5, 2019 • Leave a Comment

A simple aid to practicing centring prayer – no interesting cut-aways to distract your attention, just the sitting!

ADVENT RECORDING 3: CENTRING PRAYER

•December 4, 2019 • Leave a Comment

centring

Picking up from yesterday, a short reflection and instruction on Centring Prayer.

ADVENT RECORDING 2: BLESSED ARE THE EYES THAT SEE WHAT YOU SEE

•December 3, 2019 • Leave a Comment

ilston gif

Here’s the second Advent recording. It can be a lead-in to a more extended period of contemplative prayer. Set a timer perhaps for 10 to 20 minutes after the recording finishes (it is 10 minutes long). Responding to today’s Gospel reading (Luke 10.21-24) and to the teaching about prayer (Matthew 6.6) the reflection includes an adaptation of the Lord’s Prayer for breath practice.

ADVENT RECORDING 1: PUT ON THE ARMOUR OF LIGHT

•December 2, 2019 • 1 Comment

 

Each day in Advent, there will be a short reflection (about 10 minutes) as an aid to your daily spiritual practice or prayer time. Here’s the first one. Click on the link below.

GETTING DARKER: DON’T BE SCARED

•November 30, 2019 • Leave a Comment

ilston dusk.jpg

“you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep… then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light”  (Romans 13)

“ Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour “ (Matt 24)

AS WE ENTER THE SEASON of Advent, the nights in the Northern Hemisphere are approaching their longest hours; daylight time seems very short. Walking through the Gower forests at dusk with our dog Libby has been the special time of day for Emilia and me these last few weeks, as  spaces in our working days meet. Ilston woods, and the top of Parc y Coed down to Giant’s Grave and back are my favourite places at the moment, particularly as the last of the sun fades and the moon, if there is one to be seen, bounces silver, white through the naked tree branches. My senses become sharp and the music of trees and breeze, rain and night creatures, dances in me gently like an Irish air or sometimes swirling like jigs and reels. Surrounded by caveman caves and overgrown, reclaimed dwelling places, time is very thin here; what was, what is and what is to come interplay and mingle and there seems no divide between heaven and earth.

There is nothing to fear in the dark, other than what is fuelled from our own imaginations or lack of trust. On Christmas night we will read again of the Light that no darkness can ever overcome (John’s prologue). Advent is about waiting for that Light, to be born again in the Mother and the Child. The waiting is about taking some time every day – once, twice, three times, all the time – to simply stop and be. Let the noise of Christmas – shopping, cooking, partying, worrying, doing – fade. All the fuss is just fuss and it will be there for you to go back to if you want to. Find the space where darkness and light play. You don’t need any armour! Just believe in the Light and know that from  the dark womb of mother earth the cosmic, eternal Christ Light has been, is being and will always be. God bless you in your Advent contemplation.

KING OF DUST AND STARS

•November 23, 2019 • Leave a Comment

readings for Christ the King, Nov 24th: Jeremiah 23: 1-6; Psalm 46; Colossians 1: 11-20;Luke 23: 33-43

dust and stars

AS CHRIST BLEEDS TO DEATH on the cross, Luke’s Gospel tells us that one of the two men of violent rebellion crucified on either side of him added his voice to the noise of the mocking executioners and spectators, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ His voice echoes the very conceptual understanding of reality of those he had sought through violence to depose of power. The Christ/Messiah/King for him is one who mimics and endorses self-motivated, self-resourced, systemic and/or institutionalised power. If the man Jesus nailed to two planks of wood a few feet from him is this thing, then why is he not liberating God’s chosen people Israel and putting those who had struggled for the cause on his right and left to administer the one true kingdom?

Christ’s body is collapsing in on itself in the most excruciating pain that the self-important noise of the world could possibly inflict on it. Christ’s brain must be screaming in the agony of it. Yet, in that darkest, most blood draining moment, there comes the voice of the shepherd king, who loves all humanity still and weeps for us in the sweat and dirt of our non-understanding, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Through the noise, Christ has not lost touch with יהוה YHWH/ I Am, The Being.

And here we are now, Christ’s church surrounded by the noise and sometimes mocking of a world that still doesn’t know. Much of institutional religion within the church as well reflects and manifests the noise! We are called to speak of God’s Love and to show the way to the Kingdom. How can we be the shepherd of the King? By returning to the Kingdom in us. By learning again how to pray as Christ prays and so let his Light freely flow…

TEMPLE OUTSIDE, KINGDOM WITHIN

•November 16, 2019 • Leave a Comment

…grant that we, having this hope, may purify ourselves even as he (Christ) is pure; that when he shall appear in power and great glory we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom

                                                                    (from the Church in Wales Collect for 17th Nov)

‘As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.’ (Luke 21.6)

JOHN’S GOSPEL COMMENTS on Jesus’ teaching about the impending collapse of the stone walls outside the Jerusalem Temple that, “ the temple he had spoken of was his body.” The non-dualistic, spiritual/physical texture of John’s Gospel contextualizes the teaching in the verse before, when Jesus says: “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” With this in mind, we can read between the lines of Luke’s context for what is probably the same original saying or teaching. When Luke was writing his Gospel, the early Jesus Movement was undergoing persecution, both within the Judaic environ from which it was emerging and from the powerful ruling Empire. He uses a contemporaneous apocalyptic literary style for dramatic effect (possibly present in Jesus’ original teaching) but focuses on the resolve of the suffering early church to use the present moment as an opportunity to testify to the truth. Apocalyptic wars and disasters may well be happening and about to happen, but the Jesus Movement is to hold fast to the teaching of Jesus and not be distracted by any charismatic or powerful alternative leadership. No matter what is going on, locally, globally or cosmically, the kingdom of heaven is present right here, right now. Here and now is where kingdom of heaven being and kingdom of heaven work is to be done.

John wrote his Gospel at least 30 or 40 years later and so had time to work the spiritual and theological aspects of Jesus’ teachings and “signs” through. However, stripped back, both these Gospels, and Matthew and Mark also, reveal essentially one central teaching: No matter what seems to be going on, however powerful or indestructible the given conditions, politically, systemically etc apparently are, Christ calls us to live in the present moment, knowing and trusting the kingdom of God that exists already within and among us, and which is coming into its fullness of being in God’s time and God’s way. We connect through our spiritual practice (John) and respond, from the kingdom in us, to the manifest world (Luke).

 

 
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