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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Saved!

by Doug Wysockey-Johnson



At a recent Lumunos Men’s retreat, I asked the question “Have you ever been saved by God?”  Not in the altar call, conversion, ask Jesus-in-to-your-heart-and-he-will-save-you-from-your-sins kind of way.  I meant more like an answer to the cry of the Psalmist:

Save me, O God,
    for the waters have come up to my neck.
 I sink in deep mire,
    where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
    and the flood sweeps over me.  (Ps. 69) 

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect—I had never asked this question before on a retreat.  I wasn’t even sure how I would answer it.  But the guys jumped in with lots of responses that touched me deeply.



A few told stories about being in the grip of addiction.  For them, God’s help came in the form of someone inviting them to an AA meeting.  One man talked about the death of his 12 year old son.  In the midst of his grief, a mom in church simply invited him to hold her infant son.  Healing came as he and the baby locked their eyes on each other.  Most of the stories involved a combination of acts of caring and compassion by fellow humans, the timing of which was more than just coincidence.  It was, as I once heard it put, more like a ‘God-incidence.’



I am probably not quite ready to get a “Jesus Saves” bumper sticker for my car.  But after hearing these stories, I am more convinced that he does.  More often than not, through a person responding to a nudge, calling or intuition.



 God is hiding in the world.  Our task is to let the divine emerge from our deeds.” ~    Abraham Heschel, I Asked for Wonder                   

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Returning and Re-membering

by Lauren Van Ham



Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart.
- Joel 2:12

Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come. **(See video below) - Rumi


Two summers ago, I was taking an online course with a favorite Buddhist teacher.  Midway through the course, he posed a thought that really grabbed me and offered great comfort.  It’s a lesson I’m quick to forget and re-membering myself to it, almost always offers great comfort.  The teaching is what he calls, “the elasticity of time.”  He offered that, since the past has already happened and exists as a memory, and since the future is purely potential that merely exists in our imagination, in truth, the present moment holds BOTH the past and the future.  We needn’t push-pull ourselves between either extreme but rather, we can notice current time and space as the place that understands and knows all that has been.  AND is ready to receive all that will be, in a spacious, elastic sort of way.

Ahhhhhhhh…..

And now, when I’m lost in nostalgia, or regretting something I did that’s already occurred; OR when I’m worried and anticipating the things that have not yet happened, I catch myself.  It takes a couple of seconds to see I’m deep in a rabbit hole and then, something else happens…  Do you know this feeling?
For me, it feels a bit like waking up and realizing I have an unscheduled Saturday.  I instantly feel my interior rest in That Which Is Greater (God).  I do not have to fix the past (not anymore than I have already tried), nor do I need to solve for all the anticipated hurdles I cannot confirm will actually happen.

This experience of resting is, I think, is what Lent asks of us – that we re-member ourselves to the great, loving Source who holds us always (even when we forget).  And that we, upon re-membering, return to Divinity’s intimate embrace.  May we know we are part of God’s vast web, simultaneously contributing to and receiving from a deep, multi-dimensional flow of Grace that has been, and will be, and Is.  And from this place – the, “elasticity of time,” – may we move and act and serve as the living Body of Christ.

Where do you tend to get most lost – in the past, or the future?  Where do you do your best re-membering?  What does Returning feel like for you?

About Lauren: Lauren lives in Berkeley, CA.  She serves as Dean at The Chaplaincy Institute (ChI), an interfaith seminary and tends her private practice as a spiritual director.  You can read Lauren’s blog at: http://www.laurenvanham.com/