Celtic Blessing

“Within each human breast shines two mystic hearts, one hid subtly within the other. The outer one loves and desires the beauties of the outer world, and in obtaining them is led into happiness and song; and in losing them, into grief and lamentation.

But the inner heart is a secret heart. It gazes with unbroken rapture into the Great Mystery that is the soul’s true desire. Gaining or losing do not disturb this gaze. All things are perceived in their true nature, and living is delivered from all limitation.” (Celtic Blessings, by Michael Green)

Good Friday Meditation

Jesus BlueTime to Break the Silence
by Doug Langille

A cross is carried to Golgotha
And our Lord is hoisted high.
Above the crowd that continues to gather,
As Mary begins to cry.

A silence thunders through the crowd
As the crucifixion begins.
But Jesus does not pray to save himself,
He asks forgiveness of our sins.

The Good Shepherd rises above the wolves
Protecting His faithful flock.
And all are saved that believe in Him,
Though for now, they remain in shock.

Please forgive us Lord, for we have sinned.
Our silence speaks so loud.
We voiced no opposition,
Concealed within the crowd.

We turned our backs in Your time of need,
Something You would never do.
For a moment we thought of just ourselves
And then Your life was through.

And although this fulfills the scriptures,
Prophecy does not lessen our pain.
There is so much that we need to learn.
Teacher come back again!

You forgot to tell us the parable, Lord,
Where the shepherd returns to his father’s home.
And what becomes of his frightened lambs,
When left to walk alone?

Or had You already prepared us, Lord,
Through the seeds that You have sown?
Placing us in the good soil
And then nurturing, until we had grown.

 

Letting Go

Forgiveness is perhaps one of the most misunderstood words in all of Christianity, and yet it is the thing that gives meaning, purpose and power to our faith. I think we need a new vocabulary for most of what we say and do in the course of living out our faith, and forgiveness is a case in point. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean we let them escape the consequences of their actions. It means that we’re going to stop hanging on to our pain, grasping our anger, and tightening our emotional fists around our animosity. To replace the word ‘forgiveness’? I’d suggest ‘letting go’.

Archbishop Desmond TutuThis is Archbishop Desmond Tutu, from “The Book of Forgiving: The Four-Fold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World.”

Forgiveness is not dependent on the actions of others. Yes, it is certainly easier to offer forgiveness when the perpetrator expresses remorse and offers some sort of reparation or restitution. Then, you can feel as if you have been paid back in some way. …This is the most familiar pattern of forgiveness. In this understanding, forgiveness is something we offer to another, a gift we bestow on someone, but it is a gift that has strings attached.

The problem is that the strings we attach to the gift of forgiveness become the chains that bind us to the person who harmed us. They are chains to which the perpetrator holds the key…

The one who offers forgiveness as grace is immediately untethered from the yoke that bound him or her to the person who caused the harm. When you forgive you are free to move on in life, to grow, to no longer be a victim. When you forgive, you slip the yoke, and your future is unshackled from your past.

On Communion…

Jesus BlueI asked us to share some thoughts as we took communion. Here’s what you wrote:

  • Broken so I don’t have to be.
  • I surrender my body and take part in His. I live not by my own authority and strength but by His alone
  • God’s Love
  • A chance to anticipate, feel, share, receive, know and be amazed by brokenness and wholeness.
  • The body of Christ, broken for me.
  • The single intersection that connects all that open themselves to an honest truth. No matter race, creed, life choices. The honest truth that God is love.
  • The truth of God, his glory, being shown to us.
  • That He, Jesus Christ, took my place, bled ans was beaten and died that I could now live eternally with Him, the Father and the Holy Spirit. Thank you.
  • Forgiveness

For a New Beginning – John O’Donohue

John O'DonohueIn out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

~ John O’Donohue ~

Community and / or Church

037The typical Evangelical church is built around two primary activities: bible teaching and corporate worship. There may be other purposes at work, but remove teaching and worship and most evangelical churches cease to exist. Other activities – evangelism, baptism, communion, discipleship – would not be readily apparent as a primary activity to an absolute newcomer to Christianity.  And some Evangelical churches continue to function without much emphasis on evangelism, baptism, communion and discipleship.

So a typical Evangelical church is designed to have, as its primary activities, teaching and worship. A  Christian community, on the other hand, exists so that God can be experienced in the context of relationships. Practitioners in both contexts would immediately agree that when people encounter the Living God their lives are changed. Both would agree that discipleship  is the end result of a sustained exposure to the mind, heart and work of God. But the approaches to this end result are very different.

In the context of a typical Evangelical church the work of God is mediated by the leadership. Prayer is when we sit and listen to one person pray. Worship is led by a worship team. The Word of God is interpreted for us by a preacher. In Christian community, however, the  work of God is experienced through relationships with one another. Prayer and worship are shared activities, both in their creation and execution. The bible is interpreted collectively.  In church we are told how to experience God. In the very best of churches we are shown how to experience God. In Christian community, however, we are opened to the experience of God.

In community we  practice forgiveness, and are often reminded of our own need for forgiveness and grace. In community we know others, and allow ourselves to be known, celebrate the lives and accomplishments of others as we are celebrated, and discover why we are more blessed to give than to receive. In community we care for one another as we allow ourselves to be cared for. And, in community, we mourn, even as we will be mourned.  In Christian community we allow ourselves to become vulnerable, and treat as a sacred trust the vulnerability of others.

You cannot be a Christian by yourself. You can, however, be lonely in church. At Third Spacer we strive for community to counteract both of those realities.

New Year’s Thoughts on Third Space

037We are church.
We are not a church.
We are church.

We are community. We are individual.
We are one. We are many, and as we are many, we are one.

We are the invisible made visible.
We are the kingdom of God.
We are not yet the Kingdom.
We are becoming the Kingdom.
We will never be all the Kingdom is.

 

We were birthed in the heart of God.
We are being birthed in the heart of God.
We will be birthed in the heart of God.

We are whole. We are complete.
We are broken. We are incomplete.

Jesus said,

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it:
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

And we take him at his word. We believe him.

And so we are asking:
“How do we love you, Lord?”

Asking:
“How do we love you Friend?”

Asking:
“How do we love ourselves?”

And as we have been, we are not;
and as we are, we will not be.
We will journey on, holding our questions dear,
for our questions open our spirit to The Spirit:
God is in the questions,
God is in the unknown,
God is in the mystery.

Our questions lead us to God,
and our questions lead us to our one true self.

We are community.
We are Christ-shaped community.
We are Spirit-led community.
We are God-ordained community.
We are sometimes messy.
We are sometimes disordered.
We are sometimes lost.
But we are always loved.