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

Monday, May 23, 2011

Frail and Glorious - VIII -The gift of God is the Divine Indwelling

 Two frail moments in the life of Jesus richly bless us: the crib and the cross. ~ Macrina Wiederkehr

This past Christmas Eve we focused on The Cradle and The Cross.  As we neared communion a young woman entered from the rear of the sanctuary.  She was robed and barefoot, but what was the immediate focus was how she coddled the "baby" in her arms.  She was oblivious to the congregation and to the dark robed man entering from another side of the sanctuary. The man was caring a large wooden cross who quietly made his way to the front of the sanctuary and placed the cross behind the empty manger.

The Mary character continued to move forward until she came to the manger, where she knelt, kissed her "baby" and placed it in the manger. I gave a short mediation and then the congregation stood to sing, "O Come, All Ye Faithful".  At the end of the carol, the congregation sat down, I walked over to the manger, picked up the "baby" and moved behind the Table.  Once I unwrapped the "baby" I held up the bread, blessed it, and broke it.....

John 14:16-20   16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

"I will not leave you as orphans" was the focus of my message and communion yesterday.
"Every time I say no to the birthing and dying that is set before me at the table of daily life, I seem to hear the echo of Jesus' words to the woman at the well, 'If you but knew the gift of God...'" (Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels, p 24)
Remember Macrina's anger when she realized the liturgy of a daily office suggested that a baby was the "tabernacle of Satan"?  As this chapter ends, she states her belief that at baptism, I became a tabernacle for the "Source of Life."
"When you come to understand this old, yet often forgotten truth, you will know what is meant by the words 'heaven on earth.' This is it. You are beginning to live heaven on earth in the Divine Indwelling. You, frail earth-creature, having given your frailty over to God, have created a place of splendor within the depths of your being, a holy and eternal space where you meet God face to face. Cherish this truth. It is costly grace." (Ibid)
I have heard "Christ within me" so many times, yet if I pause to REALLY consider what that means.... I can only say, "Wow."

"A splendor within the depths of my being".  It would have to be splendor for God to be there.  He could not inhabit anything less!

It is 'costly grace' because if I live into this reality, I will never be the same. If I live into this reality, I let go of my illusion of control and allow God to lead me.

Still, journaling about this reality, I still all to often Edge God Out (EGO).  I was reminded of this yesterday morning as I prepared a communion kit to take to the surgery patient and her family from this past Friday.  Lifting the lid my first thought was, "Wow! Someone already anticipated my need!" But, then I looked closer...

The bread was MOLDY.  Very moldy.  I lacked the nerve to take the lid from the juice container.

I started to throw it away, but then paused and really looked at that awful bread.... Several thoughts came to mind:
1. What a waste...
2. YUK!!
but I stayed longer than the initial "yuk"...

3. "How sad. Something that was created to be nourishing has become moldy because it lay forgotten on a a container used for communion no less!!!"

4. "How often do I become like this moldy bread. A Child of God created to be nourishing and life giving to others. How often have I become like this moldy bread?"

5. "Thank God, I do not get tossed out in the garbage like this bread will be tossed! Thank God, I am given another opportunity to live and be as I was created."

Macrina closes this chapter with another poem:

O frail and glorious creature
whoever you are,
Cherish this truth:
there are hints of glory in your being
seeds of splendor
traces of holiness.

To be divinized is your destiny.
Your original union
yearns for a place in your life.

Walk gently, then, with your frailty
Like a treasure hidden in a field....
Allow it to bless you.
It will not cripple you
unless you run from it.
Embrace it instead.
Carry it as one carries
the cherished secret of a great wealth
hidden away in a holy, eternal space
like a treasure hidden in a field.

That's you!
You fragile, noble being
Yes, there are whispers of greatness 
in the frail envelope of your being.

The dust of the Ash Wednesdays of your life 
is tinged with the glory of your Easters.
Your tomb is a womb of life;
you are hidden with Christ in God.
The dust of your life fades into glory.

O frail and glorious creature
from the crib to the cross
to be divinized is your destiny.
Your original union cries out
to become flesh in your life.
Your frailty and your glory
Your littleness and your greatness
yearn to come home in your heart.

The heavens have heard
whispers of your splendor
and God still weeps at your birth.

Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and your peace so that I might travel fearlessly through the steps/process to become life-giving and nourishing to others.  Life-giving me become the Child of God I was created to be!

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the cradle to the cross and Holy Trinity reminders.
    Praise be that God allowed you the moment to reflect on the moldy bread rather than just discard it. How often do I miss the small reminders of God's love for me and others in the daily rush of life.
    I do not want to be moldy bread to others.