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 2, 2011

Week VI - Day 6 - The Greatest Blessing

Beginning today's reading with the news of Osama bin Laden's death being broadcast on TV, paper, radio, Facebook... and today's reading is The Greatest Blessing? My mind begins to swirl with all the images of celebration and death.  Questions arise in my heart. Emotions, as I  remember Steve's death in the Pentagon on 9/11, as I recall the images from the Twin Towers, as I remember Steve's mothers grief....

In confusion and a touch of anger I looked at the title The Greatest Blessing...

Breathing in:  Guide me....
Breathing out: ....guard me

Caryll Houselander reappears saying:"The finding is never complete. We can never know God exhaustively or completely...But we can sometimes know...for sometimes we become so aware of the fierce beauty of God's light that it seems to be known because it is burning within us.

What a beautiful image...yet, I am not sure what it would look like! Just when I can imagine a person radiating God's light, something mystical comes to mind.  But then, other images begin to fill my heart.  A homeless man.  A woman in the late stages of cancer. A child holding a new baby. An elderly lady helping in a soup kitchen. A young mother wrapping CARE packages to send overseas. A business man inviting a student to lunch.....

Jessica Powers 1905-1988
Joyce tells me of Jessica Powers, yet one more teacher I would like to learn more about! Joyce says Jessica has a marvelous poem in which she addresses God as a "God of too much giving."

Giving me a bit of information such as this, is like putting a dove chocolate in front of me and expecting me to be satisfied just looking at it! I went looking for the poem and found it:

But Not With Wine
Jessica Powers
 "You are drunk, but not with wine." Isaiah 51:21.

O God of too much giving, whence is this
inebriation that possesses me,
that the staid road now wanders all amiss
and that the wind walks much too giddily,
clutching a bush for balance, or a tree?
How then can dignity and pride endure
with such inordinate mirth upon the land,
when steps and speech are somewhat insecure
and the light heart is wholly out of hand?

If there be indecorum in my songs,
fasten the blame where rightly it belongs:
on Him who offered me too many cups
of His most potent goodness-not on me,
a peasant who, because a king was host,
drank out of courtesy.

Joyce writes of this poem:
"She [Powers] describes herself as getting inebriated with God. She is filled with overwhelming joy, because God has offered her 'too many cups' of divine goodness. I think that the closest I ever came to being 'drunk on God' was in my late twenties on my first visit to Switzerland. I remember sitting on top of one of the hills in the Alps and gazing in absolute awe at the immensity of the world. I was swept up in the beauty of God and the song 'O God of Loveliness' kept resounding in my soul. The magnificence of it all was staggering." (Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Life, p 148)
Joyce continues by saying that above all else, God is a being of immense beauty. It is a beauty that continues to draw us and enfold us in eternal goodness.
"This mysterious Beloved is forever wooing us, longin for us to be totally immersed in love of the purest kind. As I look at my life, I count as my greatest blessing the gift of God's own essence. Being able to know this wondrous God of beauty, being embraced and welcomed home time and again, all of this is truly powerful." 
I am sitting here shaking my head, trying to create space for all that I am reading.  In some ways, Joyce is articulating something I would not have words to express...or maybe I wouldn't have words because she is so far over my head as she speaks of God's essence...the beauty of God.  It feels more than I can hold.  Because I gain clarity with my fingers...I will keep writing what Joyce has written in her book, along with a prayer that I will begin to understand...
God's mystery and power is beyond my imagination. 
I see this immense goodness of God reflected in every variety of people and in all the facets of the universe that sing out the goodness of the Creator. Each one mirrors the essence of God's beauty. Each one is a vessel filled with manifestations of the Creator. I know this beauty, also, within myself, in the silent encounters deep within my own being. Every once in awhile, each of us senses, for a moment, this rare blessing of the touch of God. Brief as it is, it is enough to remind us that there is an underlying harmony beneath all the chaos. There is an eternal beauty giving a loving texture to all of life.

Any and all experiences of God are pure gift. All moments of encounter with this Diving Beauty are given with unconditional love. As we end these six weeks, let us recall once more that we are in the embrace of a God of love who calls us 'the Beloved,' a God who is our chosen portion and our cup' (Ps 16:5). Could we want for anything more?" 
Breathing in: God of beauty....
Breathing out:  ....Beloved One 

Put your hands around the cup.
Image yourself enfolded in God's hands.
Let the beauty of God sing in you.
Let the comfort of God wrap around you.
Let the goodness of God draw you closer.
Let the generosity of God open you to the world.
Let the love of God bring you peace.
Remain enfolded in this Eternal Beauty for as long as you can.
Read and ponder: 
Colossians 2:1-4 1 I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

and Romans 11:33-36  
33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! 
   How unsearchable his judgments, 
   and his paths beyond tracing out! 
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? 
   Or who has been his counselor?” 
35 “Who has ever given to God, 
   that God should repay them?” 
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things. 
   To him be the glory forever! Amen.

2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! 
   How unsearchable his judgments, 
   and his paths beyond tracing out!

The most wonderful thing about God is...
A listing of the ways I have particularly known the beauty of God:
God of loveliness, I...

God is my stronghold
Be still and know that I am God...
The most wonderful thing about God is... I Googled "destruction" and images of what Patton found in Berlin, Sherman in Atlanta, Beirut Lebanon, ...the Temple was being destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D..all these images of destruction and I was reminded that the times I am living in...God has witnessed before and God has been present. Scripture tells me:
 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. (Ps 46:1-3, 7)
I cannot conceive of God...
The most wonderful thing about God is that nothing is new.  He has been faithful in the past and he will continue to be faithful to those who come to him, to those who seek him... The most wonderful thing about God is that I cannot comprehend God! God is more wonderful, more powerful, more beautiful, more loving, more patient and kind, God is....more than my small human heart can imagine and I trust and lean into the fact that God loves me and whatever comes my way, I, and all that I know and see, are held in God's hands.

A listing of the ways I have particularly known the beauty of God: the beauty of God...where do I begin?
This prayer, first given to me by my Buddy
has taken on new significance these last weeks.
The birth of my daughters, Pikes Peak, the ocean, the death of my uncle, seeds sprouting in the spring, harvest in the fall.  Beauty within a sunrise, sunset.  Beauty in the way my parents smile at one another and hold out loving hands to me.  My grandchildren.  Beauty in the homeless I met downtown with Andy's Project. Beauty of the elderly served communion in a nursing home. Beauty of a child racing to give me a picture they have drawn.  Beauty of a tree as it bends within a storm. Beauty within music and within art. Beauty within great cathedrals and small wooden churches. Oh...the beauty within baptism and communion.  The beauty within the mystery of Christmas, the horror of Good Friday, and the wonder of Easter. There is no end of the ways I have known the beauty of God...

God of loveliness, I...  I thank you and praise you for Joyce Rupp and her willingness to use her gifts to bless bless me. I thank you and praise you for the technology that has made it possible for me to learn to reach outside of myself by using a blog to journal. I thank you and praise you because through these gifts, my heart has been opened to see you within this see your beauty, your power, your grace where I might never have looked before!  Imagine finding you within a cup my grandmother painted 100 years ago!

Stand with arms outstretched and eyes wide open. Speak aloud all the names and qualities of God that come to your mind and heart. Let this be a litany of praise and thanksgiving for the gift of God in your life. When your litany is completed, fold your hands across your heart and bow your head in honor and reverence:

Names of God wordle....

Qualities of God... God is love...

I will place my hand over my heart, unite with God's beauty in my soul and in my world, and give thanks.

What a journey this has been!  I still have some things I want to write before beginning A Tree Full of Angels by Macrina Wiederkehr.

So many prayers, songs, and images come to mind as I end Joyce's reading. I decided to end these readings as I began:

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

1 comment:

  1. I loved the poem in this chapter. I liked the ending prayer in the chapter. I also think the music at the end of the blog is perfect.

    As the book comes to a close, my heart desires to "be", but I do not think my actions reflect it. I am so thankful that God is not finished with me yet. Thank you for encouraging me in my walk with Christ.