Warm Reminders:

v With the change of the clock, Our Spirit of Life Eucharist time has moved to 4pm on Sundays through the winter months until the clocks change again in March.

v In this month of November, when we our especially mindful of our loved ones who have died, we invite you to inscribe the names of your loved ones in our Book of Remembrance which we will place on the altar at the offertory.

Dear Holy Ones of The Spirit of Life, 

What enchants you? We recently took some quiet retreat days up in Vermont near our beloved Weston Priory, where I (Ron) picked up Thomas Moore’s The

Reenchantment of Everyday Life.  The Sunday Gospel reading about Zacchaeus fits wonderfully with this theme. Zacchaeus was enchanted with Jesus—longed to see Jesus; he climbed up into a tree (a sycamore tree) to get a glimpse of Jesus. Beyond Z’s wildest dreams, Jesus spots him and invites himself to Zacchaeus’ house , (reminding us of Jean’s favorite plaque which states: The One you seek is causing you to seek!).        There a great transformation takes place. Z’s heart has been shortened by cheating his neighbors and overcharging them for taxes, enabling him to skim a healthy profit off the top for himself. Z is enchanted by Jesus’ largeness of heart and is moved to turn his way of life around and repay those he has cheated and give a handsome donation to the poor. His closed heart is reopened and takes on a new sense of wonder and engagement with life.

What enchants you? Thomas Moore states that it is difficult being busy and enchanted at the same time. Enchantment invites us to pause and be seized by whatever is before us.  Instead of doing something; something is being done to us. Moore says this is the way of the soul, which is the receptive power within us: letting ourselves be slowed down and affected by nature, music, art, another human being. In divesting ourselves of busyness, we find ourselves enchanted by…  

Moore goes on to say that not all enchantment is positive: we can be “seized” by fear, jealousy, depression, rage, disillusionment—a “seizure” that falls over us, clouding our understanding, impeding our freedom. He asserts that enchantment is an opportunity to enter a different level of experience that has more charm than practicality—it is in the realm of imagination, play, eros; seriousness, busyness gets in the way. Enchantment takes a sense of wonder, curiosity, what Buddhists call “a beginner’s mind.” Moore reminds us that when we walk into a natural forest, we can’t go first to a card catalog or find all the plants and trees arranged in alphabetical order or have enough light to see everything in just the right detail. We have to let something happen to us, let ourselves be captured by what is in front of us. He says, “Nature usually invites contemplation, wonder, reverie.” What enchants you? 

(A counter-point is to think of God being enchanted with you and me. Today is the feast of John Duns Scotus, a Franciscan theologian who defined God as Infinite Love. “Disagreeing with those who taught that the Incarnation was required to render repayment for original sin, he believed that the Incarnation was willed through all eternity as an expression of God’s love, and hence God’s desire for consummated union with creation.” God being enchanted with me and you is food for prayer for a lifetime.)

Moore goes on to say that ecology is taking care of the world-soul, our world-home and in the process finding a home for our own souls. He says that when we do, we will feel like we are living in the right place, that we are around people who offer a sense of belonging, that we are doing work that is truly appropriate, that we feel enlivened by the natural world and that we belong to a nation and world community. A pipe dream or something that is worth spending our every breath to build?

This new text by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is sung to the tune of AURELIA (to which “The Church’s One Foundation” is often sung). It is based off the gospel lectionary passage for this upcoming Sunday – Year C). Enjoy!

Zacchaeus was a tax man who one day climbed a tree,
For he was short in stature and said he could not see.
And yet he had a problem that mattered even more:
He didn’t see the suffering his greed had caused the poor.

O Lord, you saw Zacchaeus — so wealthy, yet alone.
You said, “Come down — and hurry! I’m coming to your home.”
For you broke bread with sinners and saw within each one
A person loved and treasured — God’s daughter or God’s son.

It wasn’t just the treetop that helped Zacchaeus see;
Your love and welcome showed him how different life could be.
He said that he’d start over and work to make things fair;
He’d speak the truth, bring justice, and find new ways to share.

O Christ, you bid us welcome and help us all to see!
May we respond by building a just society.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Then children won’t be hungry and all will share your bread.
Then those who now must struggle will live in joy instead.

The following prayer is from the United Church of Canada.

Like Zacchaeus, help us, O God,
to lose our fear of stepping outside our place,
of doing things differently,
of seeking Christ in our lives.
Christ’s invitation awaits us
to start anew,
to make amends,
to live in Christ’s way.
God of change and renewal,
we give thanks for your love
that makes this possible
for each one of us.

At The Spirit of Life, we work together in prayer and companionship to loosen the attitudes and brokenness which can hold us bound. We believe that God’s desire for us is that we be “Whole” and thus “Holy”… full of life , unfettered by life-destroying prejudices and free to move openly as the Spirit calls us. Our belief in the sacredness of all created beings and loving relationships compels us to respond with care and compassion to all who are marginalized in our church and world. We invite you to come and to pray with us as we “do our own work” in growing into a deeper awareness of our own gifts and ‘growing edges’ and together create a community that invites diversity and honors the uniqueness of each individual and every journey. We are confident that you will feel welcome in the “home” of The Spirit of Life. 

Praying for you the blessings of breathing together, con-spiring as we become what we pray,

Ron & Jean