Jesus, I See You in the Seed

The seed

is it better to eat the seed itself

or to plant it in the ground?

The seed will feed in the moment

THERE IS A DYING

To forgive or not forgive

To forgive is the planting of the seed

which will supply so much more

It takes time for seeds to grow

How do we tend the soil

through prayer, through reflection

through gratitude

and through action.

The Will of God, part 2

“it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”  Matthew 18:14

Is our will stronger than the will of God?  A friend and I were discussing this.  If our will could not, at times, feel as if though superseded God’s will, then would there be any such thing as free will?

God does not intend pain for us.  “The intentional will of God means the way in which God pours himself out in goodness, such as the true father longs to do for his son.”  In The Will of God, Weatherhead expounds on the intentional will of God, verses the circumstantial will.  “We simply must break with the idea that everything that happens is the will of God in the sense of being his intention.  It is within the will of God, if you must use the phrase, in circumstances we have hinted at already.  But we must come to terms with the idea that the intentional will of God can be defeated by the will of man for the time being. If this were not true, then man would have no real freedom at all.  All evil that is temporarily successful temporarily defeats God.”

Can God be, even temporarily, defeated?  I think the difficulty lies in semantics, in the struggle to define the experience, because for many, it is a given that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent — how do your thwart that kind of a presence?  Because we are in an imperfect realm, our lives are somewhat like a film strip, with frames pieced together into a seeming continuity that can best be described as our mind’s and our brain’s way of perceiving what is. From that perspective, the imperfect describes the imperfect pretty perfectly.

“Come with me to some slum home in the dark back streets of a huge city, where men’s lives and services are means to other men’s ends, where there is disease of body and distortion of mind, where evil festers and grows in sordid and terrible conditions, where men have not even the spirit to rebel, but accept their lot with a listless apathy that is more terrible than a revolution. And if you say concerning those stunted lives, ‘This is the will of God,’ I say to you that there is a greater blasphemy than the denial of the Holy Trinity.”

Weatherhead states a few pages later, “Evil is never creative of good, though the circumstances of evil have often been an occasion for the expression of good… If we say that the suffering caused by evil is essential because of the qualities evoked, then logically we must assume that God needs evil to produce good: that he could not produce such a thing as courage unless an evil like war demanded it…Will all the qualities which evil reveals atrophy into nothing because there is no evil to evoke them? I repeat that evil does not make good qualities.  It reveals them and gives them exercise, but there is always the possibility – and surely this is God’s intention – that those same qualities may be revealed and exercised and manifested as a response to goodness.”

What a beautiful book of my father’s… What clear writing and thoughtful communication! There’s no better time than the present to feel ourselves enveloped safely in the loving Will of God.

No Doubt

When doubt is there, just acknowledge it. I’ve tried rebuking it, sermonizing it, understanding it, accepting it, beating it, blackmailing it, bribing it, denying it, biting it, fighting it, and just plain slighting it. But when I acknowledged it, I gave it room to be so I could look at it. The more I looked at it, the more I realized that doubt isn’t a metaphor for me; doubt is a universal condition, not God’s admonition. You are not a canned ham, you are being put through the works and you’re real and honest because of it. And when you believe, when you really believe and allow doubt to just be and not judge it, you’ll find it disappears and all you have left is you, multi-faceted and changing into the future you, with steps forward and backward along the way, and that’s okay.

(Just wrote this as a reply to something and decided that maybe it was a post, too. There is something very Carlin-esque about it.)

The Will of God

In The Will of God, Leslie D. Weatherhead, clarifies three distinctions of God’s will. One is the intentional will of God; the next is the circumstantial will, and the last is the ultimate will of God.  This represents a sort of trinity aspect of God’s will that allows one to potentially better understand the love of God and His response (or seeming lack of one) via our life experiences.

“So we concentrate on the first and think of the will of God in the sense of his ideal intention. To accomplish that, one of the first things we must do is to dissociate from the phrase ‘the will of God’ all that is evil and unpleasant and unhappy.”  This makes a great deal of heart sense. Although life is difficult at times, and there is a great deal to learn in going through difficulty, God’s first intention is that we live abundant, full lives of joy.

The Buddhist way of acknowledging suffering, so as to give it room to leave, and the desire to overcome suffering, resonates with this idea. This is not meant to compare the merit of ideologies, but to address the commonalities here. For Buddhists, it is the dharma, or as was explained to me, the phenomena in our lives and how we relate to it in such a way as to help relieve our own suffering.  This, at least in part, is a  philosophy which implies that the will of God  (the way) is not in sync with the idea of our hells being equivalent to God’s heaven.

As I and friends of mine come to terms with a tragic situation, a death of a man loved by our church community, I am reading this book. I felt the urge early this morning to find it and it now seems timely to me… The Will of God is a book that came from my father’s personal library.  I awoke thinking about “My Father’s Folder,” and then the thought about this book came to mind, and I at once got up and began to look for it, like a woman looking for a lost coin.

I think there is much more to be gleaned from it, and I will be writing more soon about my thoughts on the understanding conveyed within it. At times like these, a new study of an old idea, such as the facets of God’s will and our best attempts to comprehend them, can be helpful in healing a hurting people in need.

From My Father’s Folder

Lord, why did you tell me to love all men, my brothers?

I have tried, but I come back to you, frightened…

 

Lord, I was so peaceful at home, I was so comfortably settled.

It was well furnished, and I felt cozy.

I was alone,  I was at peace.

Sheltered from the wind and the rain, kept clean.

I would have stayed unsullied in my ivory tower.

But, Lord, you have discovered a breach in my defenses.

You have forced me to open my door.

Like a squall of rain in the face, the cry of men has awakened me;

Like a gale of wind a friendship has shaken me.

stealing in like a shaft of light, your grace has disturbed me.

Rashly enough, I left my door ajar. Now, Lord, I am lost!

Outside, men were lying in wait for me.

I did not know they were so near; in this house, in this street,

in this office; my neighbor, my colleague, my friend.

As soon as I started to open the door I saw them with outstretched

hands, anxious eyes, longing hearts,

like beggars on church steps.

 

The first came in, Lord.  There was, after all, a bit of

space in my heart.

I welcomed them. I would have cared for them and fondled them,

my very own little lambs, my little flock.

You would have been pleased, Lord; I would have served and

honored you in a proper, respectable way.

Until then, it was sensible…

But the next ones, Lord, the other men — I had not seen them;

they were hidden behind the first ones.

There were more of them. They were wretched; they overpowered me

without warning.

We had to crowd in, I had to find room for them.

 

Now they have come from all over in successive waves,

pushing one another, jostling one another.

They come from all over town, from all parts of the country,

of the world; numberless, inexhaustible.

They don’t come alone any longer but in groups, bound one to another.

They come bending under heavy loads; loads of injustice, of resentment

and hate, of suffering and sin…

They drag the world behind them, with everything rusted, twisted,

badly adjusted.

Lord, they hurt me! They are in the way, they are all over.

 

They are too hungry; they are consuming me!

I can’t do anything anymore; as they come in, they push the door,

and the door opens wider…

Ah, Lord! My door is wide open!

I can’t stand it anymore! It’s too much! It’s no kind of a life!

What about my job?

My family?

My peace?

My liberty?

and me?

Ah, Lord! I have lost everything; I don’t belong to myself

any longer;

There’s no more room for me at home.

 

Don’t worry, God says, you have gained all,

While men came in to you,

I, your father,

I, your God,

Slipped in among them.

 

— From Prayers by Michel Quoist

 

(I found this in a folder that contains my father’s sermons.  He typed it and kept it, so it must have meant something to him.  Miss you, Dad;  1925 – 1996.) 

God is a happening, disguised as my life

Ian Birthday, drawings, me after ballet 057

Meeting God continually

disguised as my life

God is a happening even more than a being

He is existence, happening to me and to others

If we say we know no God

Then we know no life

for life is His/(dare I say Her-ness) continual walk with and in and through us;

I meditated with a group

how lovely

and quite supernaturally

and unsupernaturally

and with-now timeliness

I heard the voice in the wilderness

Crying out to Christ

from those who are judged to be

too open-minded

It sprang forth in the background;

“stay with your focus”

they said,

and I did.

My focus was

“I do love you.

Thank you for coming here today.”