Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Friday, April 22, 2011

Week V - Day 5 - Pouring from the Cup

Whirling Dervishes of Sufism
I enjoy how Joyce pulls spiritual references from teachers of other faiths.  It is a reminder how connected and how similar we are in so many ways.  Today, she once again goes to Rumi, the 13th century Muslim poet who founded   the Mevlevi Order of dervishes, better known as the Whirling Dervishes of Sufism. Through a turning movement, body posturing, mental focus, and sound, the dervish achieves ecstasy through union with God.

Rumi, a man with a fascinating story said, "Anyone who gives anything to the Divine will find that it comes to them turned to gold."

Again, Joyce speaks to my though she has been watching me.
"MY carefully crafted timetable."
"Our lives are such that our deepest compassion and generosity often get masked by our frustration with schedules, calendars, and clocks...I find myself becoming closed and selfish.  Sometimes it takes a challenging or humbling moment to shake loose my tenacious hold on trying to get everything done on my carefully crafted timetable." (Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Life, p 123)
I was so touched by Joyce's story of receiving a tape from a blind woman. Seems after returning home from a three week absence, Joyce was overwhelmed by the amount of mail waiting for her attention.
Glad I've never had
grumbling moments!! 
"I moaned and groaned, thinking of all the time it would take me to open, process, and the pile...was an envelope with a cassette tape in it...I grouched and grumbled to myself for a day and then decided that I had better find out what was on that tape. I discovered it had been sent by a blind woman. It contained one of the most beautiful letters I have ever received. I was deeply humbled and very regretful of my initial response...I was only willing to pour out a thimblefull of my time and attention for someone else while God was offering me a bushel-basket of golden insights and reflections." (Rupp, p 124)
We are encouraged throughout scripture to be generous and loving.  We are assured that we can live from an attitude of abundance rather than the fear of scarcity. Jesus told his followers that if they were generous in their giving that the same measure of generosity would be returned.
"Their giving would be turned to gold. Compassion is like that. When we let compassion pour forth generously from us instead of holding back with meager giving, it can be a powerful experience. We often receive more than we give." (Ibid)
Today's reading follows a wonderful Maundy Thursday service last evening where I was once again reminded of Jesus' compassion and generosity.  Joyce asks that today, I reflect on my generosity AND on God's. Have I, she asks, had any life experiences when I hesitated or resisted giving and then, later realized how much I had received in return?

Breathing in:  I give to you...
Breathing out: ...You give to me

Giving - Receiving - Giving - Receiving
Hold the cup in your hands.
Look and see all the space it has for filling.
Visualize God pouring love into your heart.
Picture your heart filled with this love.
Bring to mind someone who is suffering.
Let the love within you go out to this person.
Picture your love poured out profusely, filling this person's whole being.
Sit in silence and be at peace.

Scripture: Luke 6:37-38
    37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

When someone is compassionate toward me, I...
God turned my giving into gold when...
One of the situations in my life where I tend to hold back and not offer compassion is... because...

With last evening's service still on my heart, with the thoughts of several I hold within my prayer journal, as I walk into this Good Friday, a song by Third Day comes to mind, which I think I've used before, but it is one of my favorites...Cry Out to Jesus - Third Day

When someone is compassionate toward me, depends upon who is compassionate to me. I have sat here for several minutes, watching the images on the Third Day video...and the truth is that I have a different inner response depending on who I see offering me compassion.  This little ah-ha has surprised me and I am not sure what to do with it.  I am feeling that this insight is not the answer Joyce would have been looking for...and while I am "feeling that thought"...I recognize the demon of expectations and/or judgement tempting my trembling heart away from healing, growing, wholeness.

The demons in scripture and in movies are often portrayed as noisy, ugly, and obvious.  My demons are much more subtle and cagey.  They sneak up on me, sometimes without my noticing. Nudging me away from a new insight or nudging to not investigate that opening in my heart Light is shining through.

Cry Out To Jesus - Third Day
And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keepin' you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing
And there is no one who can make it right

There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary
And love for the broken hearts
There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are

Cry out to Jesus - Cry out to Jesus

I am on my fifth week of this reading and journaling...Lent is nearly over.  On this Good Friday morning the insights, the writing, the images, the songs...I remember:

  • How interconnected we ALL are! I am as connected to a beggar on the streets as I am to an individual at my church as I am connected to someone who lives a lavish lifestyle.  I am connected to a stranger just as I connected to someone I know.  That when ANY of these people show me compassion, it is Jesus working through them to "meet me wherever I am."
  • Barbara Streisand  sings There Are Lessons To Be Learned. "We start to doubt..."
  • That I am not in control. 
  • That Jesus provides lessons and gifts through the voice and hands of others...not just me....but others!
  • That compassion runs both directions.  A Gift is to be GIVEN and RECEIVED.
When someone is compassionate toward me, I... I can look into the face of the one offering me compassion and see the face of Christ...and be glad!!! I can receive the gift of compassion with the same generous heart in which it was given.  Just as I can receive the gift of compassion that Jesus offers on this Good Friday...I can receive it in praise and in the love in which it was so generously offered rather than feeling guilty, rather than demanding why, rather than trying to give a logical explanation...I can receive this gift and I can can receive future gifts of compassion ...and see the face of Christ and be glad! Praise God!
I can see Christ in the homeless man
who offered to pray for me.

I can see Christ in the
woman in the checkout line.
With this insight, I can appreciate that there have been times when God turned my giving into gold when... when someone I was to be giving to, ended up blessing me.  Or someone who was younger, someone who was struggling, someone I didn't know...or someone I am not comfortable with...have given to me.  I let those sneaky demons enter my heart, creating a feeling of guilt, suspicion, anxiety...and I missed the gold that was mine for the taking.
I can receive Christ in the
smallest, not realizing they
have a GIFT to give me.

O, my Lord! Open me today to receive as well as give from your heart of generous compassion.  Help me to see your face, where I least expect...and to be thankful for that moment...for that opportunity to give to you AND to receive.  Yes, in today's world, sadly we do have to be cautious.  Yet, you told your disciples, 16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." (Matthew 10:16) 
I can see Christ in the woman with
cancer and RECEIVE a gift from her.

Perhaps our fears are nothing new...they have been around for centuries, just with different faces and called different names.

Some of my fears stem from the demons that demand I feed my EGO.  That EGO that wants to appear to be smart, in charge, sure of self, the "go to person".... Some of my fears stem from thinking I am not doing what I should for someone...they are the needy one!  Again, that EGO demon subtly working on my heart...preventing the light of Christ to shine forth as it can when "I" get out of his way.

So many lessons yet to be learned...yet as Barbara sang, there is no right/wrong...just lessons to be learned. 

O God, you turn my meager offerings into golden treasures. Let me not be hesitant when you ask for my love in the form of compassion. You are so abundant in your compassion to me. May I be as generous with others. May the measure of compassion I give be the measure of compassion returned to me. AMEN.

I will pour generously from my cup of love and kindness today.

Many images to carry in my heart today.  A few more...Give Me Jesus

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

1 comment:

  1. "Give me Jesus"
    How fitting for this moment in time!
    I am guessing that was what Mary was thinking as she stood outside the tomb and said, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." - JUST GIVE ME MY JESUS.
    Oh, how I hope to focus my world so that my thoughts from the moment that I rise in the morning until the last breath I draw
    is fixed on the eternal. May I "Cry out to Jesus"
    I am always fascinated by the passage of the curtain in the temple being torn in two from top to bottom. I think that God knows what it takes to gain the attention of his people. Not everyone responds to the same stimuli in the same manner. How powerful it must have been for those around the temple that day.

    As the sky gets dark and the bad storms are here, you can feel the power of this holy day. May I focus on Christ and learning what I am called to learn today. May I willfully respond to his gift.