Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Listening

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 -- Week of 4 Advent , Year Two

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p 939)
Psalms 66, 67 (morning)        112,115 (evening)
1 Samuel 2:1b-10
Titus 2:1-10
Luke 1:26-38

Traditionally many religions including Christianity have used feminine imagery to speak of God's Spirit and God's Wisdom in the world.  The Hebrews used the word Sophia to personify the creative, active presence of God's Wisdom-Spirit within creation.

Some people will imagine the presence of that Spirit within us, at the center of our being, a few inches behind our belly button -- in a place that is deeper than thought, close to the heart yet even deeper than emotion.  Spiritual directors have encouraged those on the spiritual journey to listen and to be open to God's direction within, to the prompting of Sophia, Wisdom, Spirit.  That prompting is often accessed through another feminine resource, our intuition.  Intuitive openness and acceptance of the Spirit's yearning for us is an ancient path for God's creative activity.  God honors us by inviting us into cooperation with what God is doing, allowing us to be co-creators with God's Spirit in the new birth of God's blessing.

One of the things people will say over and over is that God is full of surprises.  What God is up to is truly unpredictable.  Another thing people will say is that God comes to us through our weaknesses, often using our most frightening life-events to announce a new beginning.

We look at what happened to a young peasant girl in Galilee.  She found herself inconveniently pregnant.  It was a pregnancy that could cause scandal and would probably ruin her plans for her future.  But she experienced a message from God so powerful that it seemed personified.  The messenger first told her that she was not condemned, but favored; that God loved her and blessed her, as odd as that seemed under the circumstances.  And something about the messenger and the message took away her fear.  Perfect love always casts out fear.  She listened from deep within her. "God favors you. Do not be afraid."

From her depths she answered:  "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word."

When I imagine the Annunciation to Mary, I imagine something happening right below the belly button, in the very center of her being, in that intuitive place where we experience Sophia-Wisdom-Spirit, and where God invites us to be co-creators to cooperate in what God is doing.

Mary is not the only one pregnant with the gestating birth of God's being in the world.  Each of us carries God's work within us.  God's Wisdom speaks gently at the center of our own vulnerability saying, "You have favor with God.  Do not be afraid.  Listen."

Lowell

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

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

2 Comments:

At 12:27 PM, Anonymous janet said...

Hi Lowell
How beautiful and shimmering your reflection is this morning. One time, in the circles of trust with the incomparable Suzanne facilitating I was trying to listen to my soul speak. I was able to write a psalm during our quiet time. One of the lines from that inspired psalm has stayed with me. "My soul delights in the unknown.." It is posted on my door and lintel (I guess I should wear it on my forehead..) as I leave and enter my apartment, together with the gentleness quote from St. Paul. It is a lovely way to live, to remember to live into this vast goodness that we are given, where heaven enfolds earth and all her creatures. I am often forgetful and that is when the fear comes in..never when I am mindful of Sophia, God's wisdom with us.

Peace and delight,
Janet

 
At 7:55 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

What a delightful embrace of the vast mystery, Janet -- the dazzling darkness that enfolds and carries us. Thanks for sharing such a tender story.

Lowell

 

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