by Christine Sine
When you do things from the soul
you feel a river moving in you
a joy (Rumi, Moving Water)
Last week our associate rector Danae Ashley handed out star words. It was part of her sermon for Epiphany. She had a whole basketful that circulated around the church until we each had one. She encouraged us to take our stars home and use the word as focus for the coming year, allowing God to speak to us through our contemplation.
My word was DEPTH.
At first I wasn’t sure what to do with it. After all, as I expressed in my new year’s prayer, I already had my phrase for the year – Newness beckons . Yet the word DEPTH wouldn’t leave me alone so I didd what I always love to do in a new season of the liturgical calendar, I created a garden, with the epiphany star at its center.
Then I remembered Christine Valters Paintner’s words in her post Embracing Mystery in Discernment:
What if the season ahead wasn’t about growing more certain about things but about releasing the hold of your mind so something deeper and more fertile could arise.
I sat in silence, letting go of my expectations and preconceived ideas and God spoke:
Go deeper – into the mystery of God, into love, intimacy, compassion, listening, vulnerability. Let the promise of newness beckon you towards new depths in God.
So I pulled out some rocks and my paint pens. Each day over the last week I painted a rock to add to my garden and wrote down what I felt God said.
Embrace the mystery of not knowing who God is, what is doing or where your journey will take you.
Listen carefully to the voices of friends and strangers, to the stories unfolding in the news and on social media. Be sensitive to the wind of the Spirit blowing through unexpected places and unlikely people.
Care passionately for the marginalized, the excluded and the misunderstood. Care passionately for our sick and suffering creation.
Love unconditionally those who think differently from you. Love those who abuse you. Love all the colors of the rainbow.
Be vulnerable. Do not harden your heart when life is challenging and people mistreat you.
Welcome intimacy with God. Allow the sweetness of God’s presence to penetrate those closed off places where you have not invited the divine presence to enter. True love doesn’t intrude but “speaks in a voice gentle enough for us to ignore.” (Rich Weyls rector St Andrews)
I have felt this week that my daily meditation bubbled up from the depths of my soul, bringing with it the truth that God has already hidden within me. What Merton calls “the hidden wholeness”.
My new garden sits on my desk and will do so throughout the season of epiphany, this season of discernment in which I am sure God will continue to speak to me.
What is your response?
Perhaps you would like to adapt the process I have used this week. Get together with some friends. Sit silently for a few minutes allowing the Spirit of God to anoint each of you. Get each person to write a word on a piece paper. You might like to do this several times. Place the words in a basket and prayerfully have each person choose a piece of paper without looking at the word on it.
How could you use your word as a focus for meditation and prayer throughout the coming season?