on yard work, dreams and affirmations...

Today I woke up remembering last night's dream about prayer and presence: I entered a hospital room where an old woman I didn't know was descending into death. Her body what frail and diminished. She was returning to a fetal position in a hospital bed that was to become her final home. Members of her family gathered around their dying matriarch to whisper words of love. I felt awkward and unnecessary within this intimate circle of caring. After standing in silence with them for what seemed like half an hour, I reached out my hand and placed it on the dying woman's brow for prayer. "Lord, in your mercy," I began, "bring your servant into your everlasting peace. Be her comfort now as she enters the arms of your grace..." Before I could continue (in my dream) someone from her family placed a hand upon my head and spoke: "Lord." And as soon as this happened, a chill swept through my body - a feeling of sacred presence - and I awoke knowing this was a holy affirmation to honor what Jean Vanier calls our "second calling."

While cutting the grass yesterday I found myself praying, "Lord, give me the words to grasp what my second calling is all about." Last night I read more of Vanier's description of the spirituality of L'Arche community.

Jesus' identification with the poor remains one of the greatest and most incompre-hensible mysteries of the gospels. How can God, who is all powerful, all beautiful and all glorious, become so powerless, so little, so weak? The logic of love is different from the logic of reason and power. When you love someone, you use her language to be close to her. When you love a child, you speak and play with him as a child. That is how God relates to us. God becomes little so that we will not be frightened of (God), so that we might enter into a heart -t-heart relationship of love and communion ... The mystery is that our God is a hidden God. Our God is not a God of rules, regulations and obligation, or a master teacher who wants to impose a path of salvation. Our God is a God of love and communion; a heart yearning to communicate to another heart the joy and ecstasy of love and communion that exist between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

My dream was an answer to prayer.  It affirms for me that the way of this "second calling" is saturated in compassion and dedicated to being rather than doing. "Lord" was all that was spoken - and Lord is apparently all that I need. Can I see the Lord in other people's pain, embrace the Lord in my own wounds; trust the Lord to be my guide in all matters of my life, and rest in the Lord's love for me and all of creation as the foundation of my still unfolding ministry?  Vanier adds: 

By identifying with the poor and the weak, Jesus reminds us that he identifies with all that is poor and weak in each of us. We are called to become more open, trusting, child-like and filled with wonder. Each of us is sacred, no matter what his or her culture, religion, challenge or fragility. Each person is created in God's image; each one has a heart with a capacity to love and to be loved.

This morning feels as if a sacred gestalt is coming into focus from within my favorite Scriptures giving me the elusive words from six clearly inter-related texts:

+ I Corinthians 1: 27-28:  God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are,

+ Isaiah 55
: Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live...Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near... For my thoughts are not your thoughts,nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts
... For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

+ Psalm 131: O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me

+ Matthew 11: 28-30
:  Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

+ Philippians 2: Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was

in the form of God,did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.

+ Psalm 37: Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers, for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices. Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret—it leads only to evil.

Now it is time for more gardening: weeding and reclaiming the long neglected raised beds so that flowers and herbs might prosper. I wonder what will be revealed in this? 


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