Weekly Devotional

August 16, 2017

by Ruth Siress


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farmLift out of the Ordinary

A farm in the middle of Kansas, about 25 miles south of Hays, is where I grew up. A favorite chore then, and a memory I recall freguently to relive its significance, is walking up the pasture to bring the cows down to the barn for milking. At the farthest edge of the pasture stood a lone tree where the cows frequently gathered for shelter. I would sit there for several minutes, sometimes longer. My time under the tree stood still. I look back now, savoring its significance, being lost in the peaceful beauty of this place.

We all have memories of beauty and oneness that can be recalled at anytime. And, in the recollection of the memory, we discover layers of meaning that continue to expand our depth of reverence and unity with all of life. Think of a signifant experience in nature. Where were you? What did you feel? What sights, sounds, textures of this place live deep within you. When you recall the memory you are there. Once again you are lifted out of the ordinary and feel one with creative energy.

Now, think of a day that was extraordinaryly challenging. You drag yourself home and all you want to do is put your feet up, close your eyes and shut out the world. You resit that option and choose to do something you love, even if for fifteen minutes... arrange flowers, read or work on a poem, take a walk, .... There you loose all sense of time and tiredness. You begin to feel one with a creative energy. You are energized to move on with the rest of your day. At times, preparing a meal provides that lift out of the ordinary for me. Suddenly I am lost in the texture of spinach, the plumpness of a ripe peach or the aromas of basil and rosemary. These are momentary sensations of beauty and abundance.

Richard Rohr, in his book The Divine Dance, says we have a hard time finding grace in "just this". Right now can be the hardest place to be. Our egoic selves don't know how to wrap around these mystical moments. It may feel like a loss of power. Our ego wants to prove that it earns the grace. Mystical moments are times when explanations don't mean anything. As Richard Rohr says, "if God wants to get to you, and come alive within you, these liminal moments are where God has the very best chance."

A spiritual practice that I treasure, is reflecting upon and journaling these times of being souly connected with beauty, goodness, oneness.... It is in this reflective place that new and deeper meanings are uncovered. In addition, it is a good practice to share these stories with another or several others. Shared stories often serve as an opener to others' memories. There we are connected and graced with a sense of being at home in our universe.

P.S. Last week Jim and I saw the Sequel of inconvienient Truth: Truth to Power. It speaks clearly and urgently of how comprimised our home in the universe is rigt now. We do not have the leadership necessary to lead the US forward in meeting the agreed upon committments of the Paris agreement. It is up to us.

Holy Creator, we stand before you awed and humbled by Your Beauty. There we rest in you with a heart filled with gratitude and a call to be wise stewards of your abundance. In Your name we pray.

Ruth and Jim Siress are members of Saint Andrew since 2008.