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'For Everything There Is A Season'
Candlemas/Light




'For Everything There Is A Season'




Cuthbert cross

Candlemas/Light
Unfolding, Being Seen and Beholding 


Read : St Luke 2: 22-38 (Voice) 

soul space happens once a month. In this current series we've already looked at Seasons, Harvest, Remembrance, and Advent. This month's focus is Candlemas, where Jesus is presented at the Temple, as a baby.  

Three themes came to mind: unfolding, being seen and beholding. 

At the temple are Simeon and Anna - Anna is 84. And they see the baby as the fulfillment of God's promise of the Messiah who will liberate his people. Simeon and Anna were looking for God. They didn't miss the moment. When we look for God, we won't miss him. 

In that encounter, Simeon sees Jesus for who he truly is - a great gift. But what struck me, this year, is that Jesus is looking at Simeon

And that leads me to think of God, the Creator, seeing us. God really sees you, for who you are. And we can open our minds to the possibility that he knows us totally and he loves us completely. 

I hope this reflection will help us all to enter into that experience. To allow God to see us. To be open to him. 

So the themes are: unfolding, being seen and beholding

What do those mean?

Unfolding=moving towards peace
Being seen=considering that the Creator sees us and looks at us with love
Beholding=coming towards the Creator's face  

So now, let's explore some ways into rest. 

Let's look at the first stage: unfolding.  


UNFOLDING

A lot of today's options are to slow us down. To give us time. To have time to think, time to feel. And time to connect. For everything there is a season, a time. 

Over on the table are scrunched up sheets of paper. How can they help? 

We can feel like that piece of paper - life is busy, and it scrunches us up - our foreheads become creased, with worry, and thought. And it's like our spirits do, also. We arrive at this space to meditate and be thoughtful - but our minds are spinning round like a fairground circus ride. 

If we take a piece of paper, we can ask: do I feel folded and pressed in on every side? Not the shape I was made to be. 

We can gradually unfold the scrunched up balls of paper. As we do that, we can identify our busyness and rush as being scrunched up - as we attentively unfold the paper, slowly, so we slowly unfold inwardly and settle ourselves. 

The goal is not to open the paper quickly - it's to open it in such a way that WE feel unfolded and quietened. 

So you may take, say 5 minutes to do this. 

soul spacesoul space


soul space
soul space 

PALMS DOWN, PALMS UP

Now, together let's do an exercise in bringing our distractions to God. It's called "Palms down, palms up". We can do this 3 times. You put your palms down as you think of what is distracting you - you can choose to give it to God. 

Then you wait an instant and receive from God the opposite, the answer. You signify this by holding your hands open. 

Here's an example 

So, you might say silently to God, palms down "I give you my worry about . . . [e.g., a situation] . . . " Then after a short bit, you turn your hands over, and inwardly pray: "I'm open to receive your peace for that situation . . . "  

Take a few moments to do this now, in silence. 



BEING SEEN

So now that we're a little bit unfolded, let's think about being seen  

I used to feel quite nervous about coming before God. I felt not worthy. But I recently heard a talk which really helped me.** It was on the verse when God says to Abram: ""Walk before me and be blameless. . . " (Genesis 17:1 (NET))  

Like many people I felt God is coming to Abram, saying sternly: "walk in front of me and try very very hard to modify your behavior, then I can make a covenant with you." Actually : No! It's better than that. I heard a recent talk on it which was very freeing for me: 

Walk before me uses the Hebrew word PENA=the skin of the face  

God is saying "Abram, would you walk towards my face and you WILL (imperatively) be blameless." 

He's saying: the secret is in my face, not just proximity but in intimacy with you, my perfect nature will overcome the weaknesses in your nature and allow my nature to make you blameless. 

As we orient ourselves towards God, his light is shining on us. His love is shining on us. We can pause to receive that. Love is not earned. It is given. We take time to receive it, with thanks. And to respond silently also in our hearts. 

Let's be open to him. Imagine flowers unfolding before the sunlight, hands being opened, or birds opening their wings and taking flight. I invite you to imagine yourself unfolding before God. Open to him. 

** NoteThe talk about Abraham and God can be heard in a preach given by Paul David Guidry, pastor of Bridge Metro West church in Massachusetts - and he delivered it as a live video on Facebook, shared to Facebook page, "Art of Easter", on 17th December 2017. Reference from 9 minutes 30 secs in. Also, viewable as videoed church preach: Ref: http://www.bridgemetrowest.com/media scroll down to service on 10th December 2017. (Begin playing viewing from 1 hour 20 minutes point in the video).


and finally 

BEHOLDING HIM 

The rolling video has a presentation on the names of God, some of the ways he has revealed himself. If you find a name you want to absorb - that is important to you today - you can close your eyes, and just focus on that phrase.  

Meditate on it. 

Behold God in that way. 

Respond to it with faith.  

Then when you're ready for another title, open your eyes again.  

(For more names, see also : Names of God

soul space
soul space soul space 


MEDITATION

We're going to end this reflection with another way to behold God. In Meditation. Meditation is like sucking the goodness out of a sweetie. 

So I've scrunched up the verses we'll be thinking about, around some barley sugar sweets.  

Read it out slowly the first time. Then we'll reread it. This first time, Just let it flow over you.  

Psalm 139: 1-4 (The Voice translation.) A song of David.
O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am;
You even know the small details like when I take a seat and when I stand up again.
Even when I am far away, You know what I'm thinking.
You observe my wanderings and my sleeping, my waking and my dreaming,
and You know everything I do in more detail than even I know.
You know what I'm going to say long before I say it.
It is true, Eternal One, that You know everything and everyone.
 

Now read it again, even slower, and this time see if a tiny bit of it, a word or phrase, intrigues you. 

Psalm 139: 1-4 (The Voice translation.) A song of David.
O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am;
You even know the small details like when I take a seat and when I stand up again.
Even when I am far away, You know what I'm thinking.
You observe my wanderings and my sleeping, my waking and my dreaming,
and You know everything I do in more detail than even I know.
You know what I'm going to say long before I say it.
It is true, Eternal One, that You know everything and everyone.
 

That interesting phrase, slowly consider it silently. Like tasting something . . . 



Heather Gregg, 2018


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