Friday, November 4, 2011

Resist Not Evil

Recently I watched the documentary, "The Phenomenon Bruno Groening."  Throughout his life, Bruno Groening served mankind as a faith healer.  With regard to healing the sick Bruno has been quoted as saying, "There is no such thing as incurable - God is the greatest physician!"  In spite of mounting opposition from the medical profession, Bruno stayed true to his life's purpose. Whenever anyone with an illness came to him seeking help he healed them. 

Bruno stated also that the way to healing is through love, peace and joy.  In other words look to the good in life and in every situation.  Perhaps that is what is meant by "Resist not evil."  When we perceive a situation to be evil, or not good we are essentially saying that it has power.  Whatever we give our attention to generates power. 

According to Neale Donald Walsch in Conversations with God, that which you resist persists.  If you want to be healed of an illness begin by releasing yourself from the illness as a power.

With so much uncertainty and fear around money and the economy, there is no better time to put our faith into practice.  I propose that we try for one month to abstain from fearful thinking about our economy.  Instead of worrying about what might or might not happen, let's focus our energy on all the good around us. I'm not suggesting that we stick our heads in the sand and try to ignore what's happening.  What I am suggesting is that it does not serve us to walk around talking gloom and doom.  Let's use our words, thoughts and actions to elevate our moods and the moods of those around us. 

Tell your loved ones what you love most about them.  Smile at strangers on the street.  Hold a conversation with your neighbor that is light and uplifting.  Show kindness and generosity to everyone you meet.  Make a decision to be a healer of this world.  Start right where you are.  Begin with yourself.  Look in the mirror and say kind and loving words to yourself first thing in the morning.  Carry that energy with you throughout the day and share it with everyone you meet. 

In Philippians 4:8 Jesus encouraged us with these words: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

God sent Jesus the Christ to teach us how to live.  The light of the Christ consciousness lives on in each one of us.  But, like any power source, it only works when you turn it on.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Voice of the Infinite in the Small

This morning I woke up thirty minutes before my alarm clock was set to ring.  I got up and went to the bathroom, since that was the reason for my premature awakening.  I am currently using my cell phone as an alarm clock.  So, I picked it up on my return to bed and held it in my hand, while I tried to gain a little more much needed rest.  The alarm sounded as scheduled and I promptly turned it off.  I lay there for roughly fifteen minutes more.  The cell phone, which was still in my hand, rang.  No one ever calls me at 7:30am.  I looked at the caller ID and immediately recognized the name of my good friend (who will remain anonymous).  Her mother has been in a nursing home for quite some time slowly losing herself to alzheimers.  My first thought was that her mom had made her transition from this human experience of being.  

I answered and immediately she spoke.  "I'm so sorry for calling this early but I am in need of prayer."  She went on to say that she was scheduled for a biopsy this morning and was feeling some fear about the prognosis.  Of course I said yes, absolutely I would pray with her.  So began my day.  

I was a Prayer Chaplain for almost two years for my church.  So, it was not unusual or out of the ordinary that my friend should call me with her request.  For several months I've been asking the question, "How can I help? How can I heal? And, how can I serve?"  I gave up being a prayer chaplain because I felt that what we were doing as a group was too structured.  I was not feeling the free flowing way of Spirit.  I did feel it when I was actually praying with someone, but all the meetings and retreats that were required did not feel to me consistent with the process of connecting and allowing the spirit of God to move through me as a vessel.  So, I gave it up.  Or so I thought.

About mid morning my phone rang again.  This time I let it go to voicemail because I was engaged in conversation with someone else.  Later after retrieving the message I learned that another friend, (who too will remain anonymous) was also asking for prayer.  Her father was lost in the mountains.  She believed that he had gotten snowed in and was hunkered down awaiting rescue.  There had been no word from him for three days.  She felt that he was still alive, but just wanted to ask everyone she knew to pray for him.  My friend is probably the most positive person I know.  She recognizes the power of prayer and the use of positive words  to help and heal any situation.  I immediately said a prayer for him, and then called her back just to assure her that I had received her message and had responded accordingly. 

To the African Bushmen the praying mantis is the oldest symbol of God: the manifestation of God come to Earth.   The praying mantis is thought to be a divine messenger sometimes referred to as, “the voice of the infinite in the small.”

It seems completely appropriate that I have seen two praying mantis in the past week. Especially, considering that it has been years since I've seen one up close and in person. I spotted the first one on the hand rail outside of my residence early one morning, as I was leaving to take my daughter to school.  The other was on the window screen peering into my art studio.  I watched it from inside the room for quite some time with my face almost pressed against the screen.  It amazed me that it just stood there peering back at me.

With all aspects of my life up in the air I could certainly use a little guidance. The praying mantis is a symbol of quiet, meditation and reflection. Just what I need right now.  The last three weeks have been one of chaos and too much busyness. So now I am finding the need to turn within.  Perhaps it's all about timing.  It is after all, fall.  And, nature is turning down the covers preparing to settle in for the long winter's night.  A perfect time to retreat from the busyness of life. 

The first friend who called to ask for healing prayers for her body called back in the afternoon.  Somehow I missed the call, but she left a message. She received a clean bill of health from her doctor.  Good news indeed!  Did our praying together change what was going on in her body?  We cannot know. What I know for certain, is that this morning on the phone I heard the fear and stress leave from her voice.  So, if for no other reason, I can say that prayer has the power to connect us in a loving, peaceful way.  Perhaps, that is where true healing takes place. 

The praying mantis is quite small in comparison to a human, but we humans are miniscule in comparison to the allness of God.  I can honestly say that I can see no better way for me to serve than to open myself as "the voice of the infinite in the small."  As I breathe, trust and know that all that God is I am.  And, we are.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Then and now

When I was a young girl growing up in Alabama in the early 60's my family and I would on occasion attend the local Baptist Church.  What I remember most about that experience was that every one was all dressed up.  And, that it was VERY LOUD (I'll speak more about that later in this article).  My Mom and most of  the other ladies wore hats.  Mom had quite a few hats that she wore on special occasions, but one was my particular favorite.  It was black velvet with a wide brim in front that tapered off in the back.  It also had a large ribbon bow on the front.  She looked stunning in that hat, with her hour glass figure, black tailored dress, and fake pearl necklace.  But then again, she looked stunning no matter what she was wearing.

I can't really say that we were a particularly religious family.  My parents seemed to believe in God.  But, there was no outward appearance of a solid religious practice in our family.  There was of course the family bible, used mainly to record family history.  A very large and very heavy white bible that occupied a prominent place on a bookshelf by the door in our living room.  By the door, I wonder if that was in an attempt to keep evil out.  Or, was it to keep the evil in?

So, on rare occasions, Easter Sunday or when some one died, off we went to Church.  Dressed in our Sunday finery.  My little sister and I in our patent leather shoes, frilly dresses, purses to match the shoes and white gloves.  We looked like two dolls.  The kind that people collect, but are never allowed to be played with.  Just stand there and don't get any dirt on your new clothes.

I remember sitting beside Mom trying desperately to stay awake.  There was no air conditioning and the Alabama heat was intensified in the small, packed with people church.  Mom would give us peppermint candy to suck on.  That was supposed to help us stay awake.  Some times my sister or I would get fidgety and start looking for ways to amuse ourselves.  One look from Mom had us back at attention.  That's how it was then.  Children knew not to step out of line.  You were supposed to be seen and not heard.  Don't get me wrong.  Mom was not what I would consider abusive to us.  It's just that there was a strict moral code of conduct and she did not want to be judged harshly by her peers.   

I'm a mom now.  My only child is about to enter her teen years.  We attend church regularly.  It's a non-denominational church, and there is no dress code to speak of.  People show up dressed pretty much any way that they want.  I remember a particular Sunday when one of the guys had been out camping all weekend.  He was on his way home when he decided that he really wanted to go to church.  So, he showed up, dirty and very smelly.  I was sitting three rows behind him and I could smell him.  There were a lot of whispers about him showing up that way.  No one cared about the way he was dressed, but they were quite offended by the over whelming smell of B O.  I guess one really should show some consideration to his fellow humans by not imposing unpleasant odors on them.  Or, we could have all just let it go and move on.  Easier said than done when you've got an over whelming stench wafting up your nose.  But, enough of that.

I was about to write something about my daughter.  Now, I still hold to the tradition that my mother set regarding church attire.  I have deviated just a bit.  I don't usually wear a hat.  Although I did buy one recently and actually wore it to church.  It was a little awkward for me, because every time I went to hug someone I had to grab my hat to keep it from falling off.  Not a major problem, but one that caught my attention because I did not want anyone to see my hat hair.  Yes, I can be a bit vain.

My daughter and most of the girls her age have defined their own unique fashion sense.  There are times I must admit when I just don't understand.  The mix of colors and patterns are bad enough, but I can't tell you how many times I've had a melt down because she wanted to wear a sun dress when there was four inches of snow on the ground.  "No body cares Mom."  she tells me often.  Not true I say, "I care very much. I don't want my daughter going out into the world looking like a homeless person."  Okay, my vanity is showing again.

Back then, when I was a kid attending the Baptist church, I must admit it was not a pleasant experience for me.  It wasn't just that I had to sit there for what seemed like days.  I was terrified by the threats of hell fire and damnation.  The preacher's voice was so loud, and every time he banged his fist on the lectern I felt as if I'd been struck in the chest.

As if that were not enough, it never failed that someone would be over come by the "Holy Ghost."  I didn't understand what the "Holy Ghost" was, but I was certain that I wanted no part of it.  Invariably, some woman (usually) would jump up, throw off her hat (with or without her wig) and start running up and down the aisles. Throwing herself all over  the place.  Then the Deacons would surround her, and attempt to keep her contained.  Some times they were successful, but not always.  Some of those women were big, and stronger than three men.  These were farm women, hard working and to my eyes fearless.  I certainly wouldn't try to hold one back.  Not then, and not now. 

It's been many years since I've attended a Baptist church.  I have to admit that I prefer a more peaceful, contemplative form of worship.  There is no talk of hell, or damnation of any kind.  Although there is the chance that someone will comment on whether or not you smell acceptable.  There is a lot of talk about oneness, and the loving presence of God active and available for everyone.  This style of worship is for me a better fit.  People are free to be themselves.  There are traditional families, single parent families, gay and lesbian couples, and people of varied race and ethnic backgrounds.  It's a wonderful melting pot of people who just want to love God, themselves and each other.  What more could anyone want?