Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Vision

Thursday, December 23, 2010 -- Week of 4 Advent, Year One

To read about our daily commemorations, go to our Holy Women, Holy Men blog:
http://liturgyandmusic.wordpress.com/category/holy-women-holy-men/

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 938)
Psalms 80 (morning)       146, 147 (evening)
Isaiah 29:13-24 
Revelation 21:22 - 22:5 
Luke 1:39-48a(48b-56)

It is usually most fruitful to read the book of Revelation as a description of an interior, spiritual landscape.  Attempts to historicize the work have always proved futile, often downright ridiculous.  (See The Late Great Planet Earth, or the Left Behind series)

Today's description of the Holy City is a beautiful and compelling picture of the desired destiny of our souls.  It is an image of life fully lived, an abundant and fruitful human existence.  It is a picture of how we can live when we are in conscious relationship with God.  Jesus told us that we are each a Temple of the Holy Spirit.  John the Divine gives us an inspiring description of the potential we each posses for the indwelling of God within us.

John says that there is no need for a special place, set apart, for returning to God, for moving from the profane to the sacred.  When we come to union with God, God's presence will infuse the whole being of the city of our self.  "And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the sun."  God's inward light is our source of illumination and energy. 

This vision imagines all relationships enlightened by divine spiritual energy.  Even nations and kings will be drawn by the light.  A spiritually centered person helps create coherence, which moves out into the world as healing energy, and draws others to its comfort. 

Nothing unclean enters into the grounded spiritual consciousness.  Instead, we are as Jesus described to the Samaritan woman at the well, refreshed by living water springing from within us, "the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb" at the center of our being. 

The centered, Spirit-fed soul is fruitful, feeding from "the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month."  We can live in union with the natural patterns and cycles of life, as the fruit of the spirit grows and nurtures in every season and time.  St. Paul tells us that the fruit of the spirit is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and temperance."  These are the gifts God which manifests through us when we are transparent to the Divine life.  These are the virtues which will bring "the healing of the nations." 

Living in union with God, we worship God, seeing the face of God, our minds filled with the Divine identity.  "And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever." 

John has given us a beautiful vision and metaphor for our end and our purpose.  We were created to be filled with God's life.  God's Temple is within us as the center of our being, where our True Self and God are one. 

As we move toward the annual remembrance of God's coming into the world through Jesus, may we open more fully to the rebirth of God within us.  May we drink from the water of life and walk by the light of God.  All of this is God's gift to us through Jesus in the Spirit. 

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel  

Lowell

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Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
--
Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at missionstclare.com -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html --  Click for Divine Hours

Discussion Blog:  To comment on today's reflection or readings, go to http://lowellsblog.blogspot.com, or click here for Lowell's blog find today's reading, click "comment" at the bottom of the reading, and post your thoughts.

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

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