We hope that you are safe and well.
Today's Meditation is a reflection by Joyce Rupp on the nearness of God: "I Am Whewrever there is Love." She tells it through a lovely story, a journal of compassion entry and then questions to ponder.
We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in the church, in healthcare, in the workplace--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.
In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that it is God's economy of abundance: when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.
We hope and pray that you find peace, healing, hope and the infusion of joy in your life!
With our love and care,
Jean and Ron
Reflection - October 2022
A story has been singing in my heart all month. I found this account in The Way of Love, a book with selections on the topic collected by editors Michael Leach, Doris Goodnough, and Maria Angelini.The experience described in “I Am Wherever There Is Love” took place in 2006. Joy Scribner tells how her daughter Meredith wrote a letter to God after Abbey, their aging dog, died. The four-year-old asked God to take care of Abbey, added a photo so her pet would be recognized, and then popped the envelope in the mailbox. One would presume this to be the end of the story. Instead, an anonymous person with a sympathetic, tender spirit left at the front door a beautifully wrapped copy of Mr. Rogers’ book, When a Pet Dies. Inside the book was the following note from God:
"Dear Meredith, Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away. Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in so I am sending it back to you. ... Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I’m easy to find. I am wherever there is love."
Not only am I enthralled with how one person cared enough to step out of a busy life to give time and energy in responding to this little girls’ broken heart, it is also the stranger’s spirituality and positive view of God that resurrects a joy-filled hope in me. The simple, caring deed of this one person assured Meredith of the presence of a divine being who is always there for us. It's natural to want the big, bold G-O-D of Biblical stories—a burning bush, the annunciation, the transfiguration—yet a story as basic as one compassionate individual reaching out and touching the saddened heart of a girl who loved her dog reminds me that this compassionate Presence most often squeezes into our quite ordinary lives through the kind attentiveness of other human beings in whom this Love dwells.
We may not encounter the big G-O-D but there are endless times when this veiled Presence slips into our lives, into our hearts. John Kirvan tucks this profound reality into just a few lines in his book, God Hunger:
"We impose limits on God we would never impose on our friends, deciding a lifetime in advance what kind of God shall enter our lives and under what conditions, a program that in every day life would leave us friendless or lifeless. ...“I am,” says God, “where you are. No place is a stranger to my presence, no time of day, no time of your life. I am with you all days even to the end of time.” Be open. We are already and always in the presence of the God we seek, and God is present to us."
So, this October let’s keep our inner antennae on the alert—noticing how we can be the expression of the Holy One’s dearness by some intentional, caring deed we choose to do.
Are you looking for a resource to inspire your spiritual growth and strengthen your compassion? The Boundless Compassion Journal offers this to you. In this book, you will find thought-provoking poems, quotes and suggestions for prayer and pondering.
You need not be “a writer” or someone who chooses to regularly use a journal in order to benefit from the Boundless Compassion Journal. A wealth of insight and creative approaches are contained in it. This resource can be used as a source of discussion with faith-sharing groups. as a starter for creating communal prayer experiences, or as a jump-start for your daily reflection.
Here is a sample from the Journal:
With the spring rains long departed
the hidden sandbars come into sight.
The broad river slowly recedes
disclosing gloomy, tan blotches
intruding upon my notion of beauty.
I long for full, flowing currents of water,
but the blue herons seem not to mind.
They find a safe perch to keep vigil
for the next meal swimming their way;
thin-legged sandpipers skitter along,
happily pecking insects on the dry sand,
while newly freed shoots of green grass
are able to finally breathe the air.
I stand on the bank of the sparse river
pondering the uneasy flow of my life
with its insistent visitation of loss,
unwelcome and unmerited suffering
seeming to bring with it nothing of worth.
But I have learned a valuable lesson—
if I cease resisting and simply allow
whatever appears in the dry shallows,
a veiled gift eventually reveals itself—
one my shuttered heart failed to recognize.
~ Joyce Rupp
Question for Integration
What do you believe about the experience of suffering How have your difficulties influenced the way you approach others who are suffering?
Quote to Ponder
Who knows how I might have turned out if my father had lived, but through the loss of him all those years ago I think that I have learned something about how even tragedy can be a means of grace that I might never have come to any other way.
(Frederick Buechner, “Telling Secrets”)