Sunday, February 27, 2011


A sermon for the Eighth Sunday after the Epiphany, February 27, 2011. The lectionary readings are Isaiah 49:8-16a, Psalm 131, 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, and Matthew 6:24-34.

In the late 1980’s, and especially after the Tom Cruise movie, “Cocktail,” almost everywhere you went, you would hear the Bobby McFerrin song, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy......

McFerrin got the phrase from a poster he saw that had popularized the teachings of an Indian mystic, Meher Baba, who was especially popular in this country through the 1960’s and 70’s. McFerrin got the words from a poster, but he could have just as easily gotten them from today’s Gospel.

The words, “Don’t worry, be happy” also went right along with some of the excesses and superlatives that were so much a part of the 1980’s. Big hair, shouldered sport coats and jackets, big cars, and big credit card bills were the thing. I remember hearing thoughts in church and by cultural commentators pointing out that it was just this kind of sentiment of “don’t worry, be happy,” that contributed to self-centeredness and all kinds of worse problems. It was easy for me to agree with those who criticized the idea of not worrying, and just being happy. I was in seminary in part of those years and took EVERYTHING seriously. I was too busy trying to be righteous to think much about being happy, and I was far too anxious about everything to even begin to understand that simply little phrase, “don’t worry.” And yet, we meet that sentiment head-on in Jesus’ words.

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear… look at the birds… consider the lilies…do not worry”…. Again he says, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today.”

Jesus is talking about trust in God. He’s talking about practical living, but he’s also simply telling a very basic truth, too, isn’t he? All the careful investing in the stock market over the years…. And look what happened in just a few months. One can invest time and energy and teaching and faith in children, and yet, they can very well make their own decisions about which way to go, what to do, even which god to follow. And one can invest one’s heart and soul into another person, only to lose that person whether through death, or divorce, or distance. We can hope and plan and pray and work our way into the future, but when it comes right down to it, we don’t own the future. We have only THIS day.

The old Robert Burns poem talked about it so well, in which Burns notices the scurrying of a little mouse. He observes the mouse’s hurrying, the mouse’s desperation in stealing a little something to eat here and there, the mouse’s little house all falling apart, and then notices

But Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leaves us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

And yet, Jesus DOES promise joy. He promises joy not in success, or health, or in finding love in this life, or in answered prayers, but joy in what he calls the “kingdom of God.” And whenever he talks about God’s kingdom, Jesus is careful not to talk about it in terms way off and distant, but in terms that are immediate, intimate, and close-by. The kingdom of God is in your midst, he says. The kingdom of God is upon you. And in today’s Gospel, I think Jesus is giving us an important key to the kingdom, the key of trust.

It’s easy to say, “have faith,” and “trust,” but it’s hard to do. Even as a child, I used to worry about all kinds of things I had no control over whatsoever. Some of that continues into today, but when I’m occasionally sane (or even slightly faithful) I can laugh at myself, give thanks for the moment, and remember to trust God. But I think this “trusting in God” involves faith, and it seems to involve at least three types of faith. For trust to build, it seems like there needs to be faith in God. But there also needs to be a measure of faith in other people. And then, there’s the hardest of all, there trusting in God also involves our having a little faith in ourselves.

We talk about having faith in God, but how often do we really pray to God? I don’t mean the kind of prayer that presents God with a little box and then gets mad when God doesn’t fill the box with what I’ve imagined. It’s more mysterious than that. I might feel like I need a car to get to work. One kind of prayer might really spell it out, “God, please give me a green Porche with leather interior.” I might pray with all my might, but will probably be disappointed at the result of the prayer. I could get angry at God, use this as a simple proof that God doesn’t exist, and do what I need to do to buy my own green Porche. But perhaps a more faithful prayer might involve my praying to God for an answer to my transportation problem. I would not just mention this while walking down the street. But I would commit to praying about it. I would pray to God for an answer to my transportation problem every morning for several weeks, or maybe for a month or two. [When have we ever prayed like that for anything?]. God might answer that prayer, but it might involve a friend or neighbor suggesting we carpool. Or it might involve looking more closely at public transportation. Or it might be the nudge I need to look for other work. Or, there might even be what feels like a miracle, with a friend mentioning that her mother is looking for someone to give a decent car to—it’s no Porche—but it runs, and she’d like it to go to a good home. Who knows, but trusting in God, having faith in God, includes our having the faith to pray for God’s will.

The second kind of faith is faith in other people. Let’s look at my “car problem” again. In addition to praying to God, perhaps I might mention my need for new transportation to a friend or a coworker. Granted, this risks me looking needy. It risks me showing others that I might not have my life together as well as I might have liked to portray it. But it opens me up to other people—many of whom also might even have a relationship with God through which God is also trying to work. Having faith in other people might involve our asking for help, asking for advice, asking for guidance.

And finally, all of this trusting in God through faith takes a little bit of what is obvious, but so often overlooked. It takes a certain amount of faith in myself. There have been other times that God has brought me through difficult situations, and so I recall those, and remember that God has made me strong and alive. I can make choices. I have agency. I have skills, though some might need to be developed more consciously. Having faith in myself doesn’t mean getting all puffed up in a Stuart Smalley kind of way, looking in the mirror and saying, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gone it, people like me.” Having faith in myself means taking stock, being honest, but still at the end of the day and its beginning, remembering that I’m a child of God. It means remembering words like those of Jesus that remind, “You are of great value . . . Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

The kingdom of God is a place of faith. Yes, faith in God, but also faith in others (who are God’s children) and faith in ourselves, God’s child.

The Collect of the Day, the prayer that begin this Mass is one that perhaps we, who have a tendency to worry, should all memorize:

Most loving Father, whose will it is for us to give thanks for all things, to fear nothing but the loss of you, and to cast all our care on you who care for us: Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from us the light of that love which is immortal, and which you have manifested to us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

It’s a prayer that sustains, and reminds, and encourages. It says, “trust in God. Have faith.”

May God’s Spirit be so alive in us as to chase always all worry and fill us with love. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Not so perfect

A sermon for the Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany, February 20, 2011. The lectionary readings are Leviticus 19:1-2,9-18, Psalm 119:33-40, 1 Corinthians 3:10-11,16-23, and Matthew 5:38-48.

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the completion, printing, and distribution of the King James Bible. While the King James version has shaped much of Western Civilization, adding majesty and imagery to our prayers, our worship, and our pictures of God, we have also, 400 years later, inherited a few of its problems. In some places the translators guessed at the meaning of a word. In other places they did what people of every age do, and wrote in their own cultural assumptions. Especially since the discovery of scrolls in the Dead Sea area in the 1940’s, scholars have had additional texts to compare, and in many cases words that were ambiguous before have found more definite meaning.

Also, there is the issue (as with a Shakespeare play or a Tallis anthem) of the English words themselves having very different meanings today.

When the King James Bible uses the word, “conversation,” it means behavior, not talk between people. “Meat” refers to any food, not just that from an animal. And “prevent” really means, “precede.” So when Psalm 88:13 says “Unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer PREVENT thee.” The psalm is not asking that prayer might keep God away, but rather, that prayer would come before God, prayer would welcome God in.

My favorite example involves the appearance of unicorns. In six different places the King James Bible mentions unicorns. The translators were not sure about the word in the Hebrew. More contemporary scholars understand it as a wild bull of some kind, with two horns, not one, but for what reason the 17th century scholars chose to use unicorn, no one knows.

And then we come to a word that appears in today’s Gospel. Among the most misunderstood and most unfortunate words we have inherited is used verse 48: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This is the King James Bible, but the same use of the word perfect follows in the New King James, the Revised Standard Bible, and the New Revised Standard Bible, and many more.

We know what “perfect” means. When we perfect a draft of a paper or a document, it means that we try to get rid of all the mistakes, all the errors, all the misspellings and typographical mistakes. Perfection usually has to do with the ideal, with what we may agree out loud with our mouths is unobtainable, but all the while on the inside we are still measuring ourselves against some idea of perfection.

But the word used in today’s Gospel doesn’t mean what we usually mean by “perfect.” The word used is the Greek word “teleios.” And while I usually hate to sprinkle sermons with fancy-sounding words, this is one that finds it way into other fields, as in Philosophy, teleology has to do with the end or the final result of something. A teleological argument for creation would say that all of nature is aiming and building toward an end, and this supports the argument for a creator who is behind that design.

More than “perfect,” the word has to do with reaching maturity, with being whole or complete. One writer (David A. Duke) uses the image of an acorn to explain this word. A “perfect” acorn, in this biblical sense, would not be the biggest acorn on the tree, nor the prettiest, nor the meatiest (except, perhaps to a squirrel). Instead, the “perfect” acorn in the sense Jesus is using the word, would be a full-grown, leafy, majestic oak tree. The “perfect” acorn would be the acorn that has grown to full adulthood, has grown beyond its “acorn-mind,” has grown into something that is beautiful, and helpful, and useful.
Eugene Peterson’s version of the scriptures, called “The Message” makes this especially clear. He translates and paraphrases verse 48 not as “Be perfect;” but rather, Peterson hears Jesus say: “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

The kind of perfection Jesus encourages us towards is related to God and the generosity of God. “Be whole as God is whole, be complete as God is complete.” At the end of it all, there’s the culmination in Jesus’ saying, “Be like God. Be generous like God. Surprise other people with that generosity and amazing things will happen.”

This famous saying “if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also,” has nothing to do with accepting abuse or acting like a doormat for others. As many commentators have observed, to be hit on the right cheek in the Roman world would have normally meant that someone used the back of their hand to smack you, so it would not only be a violent act, but also—if not more so—an insult. It meant that the person striking regarded you as lower than himself or herself, as though you were inferior—in that world, a slave, a child, a woman. Hitting back would just continue the cycle of violence. Offering the other cheek, however, is a statement: “Ok, hit me again, but this time, you have to view me as an equal.” It would change the power dynamic.

And in the other example, a rich person takes a poor person to court. If they sue for your outer garment, give them your undershirt as well, so you’re standing there naked. It won’t shame you, but will shame the other person who has gone to such lengths to get money from a poor person.

And a similar thing is meant with the situation of a Roman soldier asking someone to carry his equipment. There were cultural rules and expectations for this sort of thing. So by carrying the equipment further, you would not only startle the soldier, but break the cultural code and risk his embarrassment. You would make him look foolish.

N.T. Wright suggests that these stories are a snippets, almost cartoons. Jesus is saying through these images, “imitate God.” “Be like God.” God is generous beyond what anyone would expect, so be generous with each other, be larger than your usual self.

In the 3rd and 4th centuries, holy men and woman went into the Egyptian desert looking for God and looking for themselves. Some probably went looking for what they thought might be perfection, but when confronted with their own internal demons, when confronted with the teachings and sayings of older, wiser hermits, they soon came to understand that the way to perfection is through imperfection. The way to wholeness is by admitting one’s brokenness.

There’s a great story about a desert father called Abba Moses. It seems that a brother living in community in another part of the desert had committed a fault and a kind of council was called. The brothers all wanted Abba Moses to go, but he refused. Finally, someone sent a messenger to him and said, “Abba Moses, please come. Everyone is waiting for you and for your opinion on the matter.” So Abba Moses got up and went, but he took a leaking jug filled with water, and carried it with him. The other monks came out to meet him. They saw the leaking jug and asked, “What is this, Father!” Abba Moses looked at them and said, “My sins run out behind me and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the faults of another.” When they heard that, they said no more to the brother, but forgave him.

We have seen that the King James Bible is not perfect. Those who have tried to live a Christian life before us were not perfect. We are not perfect, but the really good news today is that we’re not called to be perfect. If anything, we’re encouraged to admit our imperfection and to be generous in allowing for the imperfections of others. This generosity leads to wholeness. It leads to maturity. Such generosity helps us to grow into something like giant, beautiful, long-lived well-loved trees.

In the final chapter of Revelation there is an image of the holy city, the New Jerusalem. There is a river of the water of life. The Lamb of God presides. And there is a tree of life, “and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

We are those leaves, imperfect, but growing, changing, developing in generosity, all under the watching care of God. Thanks be to God that we don’t have to be perfect.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Choosing Life

A sermon for the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, February 12, 2011. The lectionary readings are Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Psalm 119:1-8, 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, and Matthew 5:21-37.

In our first scripture reading from Deuteronomy, Moses is giving Israel an enormous pep-talk. After forty years of wandering in the wilderness, of wondering if God was till directing them and leading them, of worrying about what might come next, Israel is on the edge of moving into the Promised Land. I don’t know the geographic setting for the speech, but from its imagery and majesty, I wonder if it wasn’t on a hill somewhere, overlooking a great expanse of land down below, and far away. Moses speaks to the occasion in grand terms, “I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous…[You will be blessed.] But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, [then] I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in [that] land….” Life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord you God, obeying him and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days.” Choose life.

Choosing life can be every bit as dramatic as Moses makes it sound. We choose life when we move into a new relationship. We choose life when we plan for a child. We choose life when we make a new and better decision about the direction in which we’re headed.

But choosing life also involves smaller decisions. The decision of conversations entered into, and conversations avoided that help us choose life. There are decisions of what we eat and drink, of how we move or exercise that go into choosing life over death.

Those who study the relationship between the mind, the body, and the spirit would say that we choose life whenever we pray or mediate—that this calms the body and the mind and the spirit and opens a way for God to live within us and among us. Choosing life is not so hard, but it means choosing life at every moment, not just when we’re at the edge of a precipice.

The Gospel today can sound like a real “laying down of the law.” It can be off-putting and scary. It can sound like a faith that leaves out people. In fact, if we were to miss the fine points of the Gospel, most of us would probably find ourselves left out.

Jesus is re-interpreting the old law, saying, “it’s not enough just to keep the law. That probably won’t work very well, anyway. The key to living faithfully is to try to understand the things that move under the surface, the motivations and moods, the fears and fantasies that lead us off-track.”

Jesus repeats the commandment, “You shall not murder.” But then he goes further by uncovering some of the things that lead to murder. We might hear the talk of murder as extreme, until we begin to think of the anger, the frustration, the road-rage, the minor annoyances that can all too easily escalate. We might begin by harboring a grudge or nursing a resentment, and if we’re not careful, we can end up in court.

Instead, Jesus says we should work at reconciliation. He speaks of going to the temple in Jerusalem for worship, but if you remember your neighbor has something against you—stop your worship and go work things out with your neighbor beforehand. Notice how Jesus puts this—he doesn’t even say, if “YOU” have something against your neighbor, but rather, if your brother or sister has something against YOU. That changes the responsibility for reconciliation, doesn’t it? Our tendency is to ignore the problems. Especially at church, or in any organization, we think that if we just avoid “such and such” or act a certain way or say a certain thing, then future conflicts can be avoided. But when we come to the altar, we feel the break in community and it haunts us. Here, Jesus is exaggerating his point. If one left the temple in Jerusalem to go and be reconciled to a neighbor, it might take hours or days. You wouldn’t just leave the goat or turtledove or whatever you sacrifice might be sitting there on the temple steps. And yet, his point is made, isn’t it? Until we at least begin to pray for the person who has a problem with us, or with whom we have a problem, whatever we offer at the altar will be less than what it might be. And we will not quite be free. Prayers of confession are a beginning. A note, or phone call, or email, or conversation with another person is a beginning. A prayer for one’s enemy or one’s hard-to-get-along-with brother or sister, is a beginning, and that opens the heart to God’s grace. If we took Jesus’ words literally, we would have a whole lot of unused communion wafers every Sunday. But instead, we confess that we are broken people on the mend, and we ask for God’s grace to restore us and help us restore broken relationships.

Jesus goes on in the gospel, and it gets even messier. “You shall not commit adultery,” he reminds us. But then goes on to warn about lust and about all the urges and senses that, if given energy and encouragement, lead to adultery. Answer is to watch the emotions, watch the heart.

Jesus talks about divorce. And this is one of those topics (like abortion, like homosexuality, like many issues) that really warrants an entire series of looking closely at what scripture says, at how the culture of the time influenced the scriptures, at how faithful people through the ages have understood the movement of the Holy Spirit, and how we, today, live openly and honestly believing that “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3: 16-17) but also, that the Holy Spirit helps us interpret scripture for our own day and our own lives. There are times when a divorce is an unfaithful decision, made out of selfishness or spiritual immaturity. But there are also times when divorce is the ONLY faithful decision, and then one really needs all one’s faith to continue choosing life even in the midst of dark days. Choosing life means reconciling as much as possible. Choosing life means praying for the other people involved, it means working on one’s issues, and choosing life after divorce or the ending of any relationship means being open to a new relationship or re-marriage when God opens that possibility.

The Ten Commandments, and the shortened versions we read at every Mass (that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul and with all our mind, that we should love our neighbor as ourselves.)”—these commandments aren’t kept by pronouncement or decree, but by the little, daily decisions we make to be faithful.

In a short video we saw this morning during the Adult Forum, we heard Karen Armstrong talk about dogma as being very much like the rules to a board game. Reading the rules is boring and abstract—it makes no sense until we begin to throw the dice. It’s that way with living into the commandments and hopes of God.

We choose life with the attitude we adopt when we wake up in the morning. We choose life in our thoughts, in our conversations, in our willingness to apologize, in our ability to forgive, in our faith to move on in the Spirit of God, and in our thinking about what will follow us in the future.

What we do (or don’t do) affects those who come after us.

This idea was used as a motivation by Coach Mike McCarthy last Saturday night as he sought to motivate the Green Bay Packers before the Super Bowl. Not only did he have the whole team fitted for their Super Bowl rings the night before (a bold move and show of faith, by any standard), but he also brought in a motivational speaker. When he was asked later what the speaker said, McCarthy explained that the message had to do with getting the players to think about what people would remember about them later. “Outlive your life,” he said. The Super Bowl they were about to play would, indeed “outlive their lives” as family and friends would remember it for ever.

We can all make mistakes and hurt other people in such a way that we leave behind us a whole way of wreckage. Broken relationships, hurt feelings, words that can’t be taken back.
But Christian faith gives us daily opportunities to outlive our life—to live in such a way that what is positive, what is good, what is uplifting, what is forgiving, what is encouraging, might follow us.

Before us is set “life and prosperity, death and adversity.” If we obey the commandments of the Lord our God, walking in his ways… then we shall live, and we shall live in such a way that our life is outlived by the one who is Love Himself.

Redeemed by Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, let us choose life this day and for ever.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Spirit at the Center

Labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral

A sermon for the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, February 6, 2011. The lectionary readings are Isaiah 58:1-9a, (9b-12), 1 Corinthians 2:1-12, (13-16), Psalm 112:1-9, (10) and Matthew 5:13-20.

Salt and light are strong images. They gain even more strength in the teaching of Jesus. He ties them to faithfulness and suggests that by resembling salt and light we will not only be useful to him and to God, but we will please God, and will be a part of what Jesus calls the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s easy to see why these images have guided Christians for centuries. But taken out of context and blown out of proportion, salt and light become destructive and imperialistic.

As the Puritan John Winthrop sailed towards the Massachusetts Bay Colony, he preached a sermon on the ship entitled, “A Model of Christian Charity.” Winthrop said, “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.” The words have been used again and again by preachers and presidents to inspire and to encourage. The trick is to remember that they are words having to do more with service than privilege. There is such a thing as too much salt. And light can sometimes blind rather than lead.

St. Paul’s words to the Corinthians moderate some of the possible zealotry of the Gospel.

When Paul approaches the worldly and urbane Corinthians, he does so not as though he’s got the light and they’re living in the dark. He does not as though rubbing salt into a wound. Bur rather, he approaches them simply, as he says, presenting Jesus Christ crucified. Paul describes his approach as one of weakness, fear, and trembling. Of humility, really. He trusts God more than he trusts his own words or wisdom.

Paul describes beautifully the word of the Spirit of God—the Spirit being that part of God’s movement and energy in the world that appears when words fail, that soothes when answers are hidden, that accomplishes when plans fail. The Spirit is the sometimes our last resort, but it’s often God’s first choice of presence in our lives. “The Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”

And then Paul does an interesting thing, he relates this Spirit of God to the mind of Christ. In that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully human, his mind was filled with God and the things of God. And so, to be like Jesus Christ, to set our mind on the things he values and teaches and lives out, that is to allow our mind to be filled with God and the Spirit of God.

Filled with the Spirit, we discover a funny thing: all of a sudden, we are acting and thinking and living like the people Jesus has described in the Gospel. With the Spirit of God pouring through us, we shine like light for others—not in a self-conscious or self-aggrandizing way, but in a way that comes from God. And we become salty, as well—not in a way that overpowers or offends, but in a way that is distinctive and delights. If you cook at all, you know that too much salt overwhelms a food and so you taste nothing but the salt. But just enough, and the salt encourages other flavors, and the whole dish is made better. It’s that way in the world, as well. Empowered by the Spirit of God, we add our own Christian perspective and find that it adds rather than obliterates, it promotes rather than dominates.

And that second part of the Gospel, about the commandments remaining firm and how, if we should break a commandment or teach others to do so we will be “least in the kingdom of God” but how, if we keep the commandments and teach others to do so, we will be “great in the kingdom of God”—all of this sort of takes care of itself. Enlivened by the Spirit of God, we realize it when we fall or fail or break a commandment. And so we say we’re sorry. We might go to confession. We stop and re-evaluate and pray for the grace to carry on. It’s not the focus of our faith, but a by-product of living faithfully.

How do we get this mind of Christ? How do we get the Spirit of God?

At baptism, the Holy Spirit is given to us. But we spend our lives living into the Spirit of God, through the process the church sometimes calls sanctification—a way of being made holy. And one way of allowing the Spirit room in our lives is through prayer.

From time to time, we have offered what is known as Centering Prayer at All Souls. We don’t currently have a communal time for this, but many of us continue to practice Centering Prayer or something like it on our own. It works very simply. One sits still in a chair or on a prayer stool or a mat, and one opens oneself to the Origin of all that exists. When a thought shows up, simply let it pass on through. Just return to the silence, the space, the place where you are inviting God to be. Sometimes a “centering word” is helpful. It can be anything like “grace,” or “blessing,” or Jesus’ word for God, “abba” or perhaps “amma.” The word isn’t the focus, it just reminds you to come back to center and simply “be.”

Centering prayer usually happens for about 20 minutes or more. It takes practice because it is counter-cultural in so many ways. In such prayer, we’re not struggling to keep up with emails, with news, with tasks, with people, with expectations, with hopes. We’ve not even paying attention to our own faith, or beliefs, or prayers. It’s a time for being quiet, for practicing the quiet. As Cynthia Bourgeault describes it, “What goes on in those silent depths during the time of Centering Prayer is no one’s business, not even your own; it is between your innermost being and God; that place where, as St. Augustine once said, 'God is closer to your soul than you are yourself.'” (Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, p. 6)

We are called to be salty, bright, freed and forgiven people, living in the Spirit of God and sharing God’s love with any who will have it. Helped by one another, may we continue to live into the Mind of Christ.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


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