Native American Wisdom

A55635E0-EA15-4186-B119-7F204FF82826Treat the Earth and all who dwell there with respect.

Remain close to the Great Spirit.

Show great respect to your fellow beings.

Work together for the benefit of all mankind.

Give assistance and kindness wherever needed.

Do what you know to be right.

Look after the well being of mind and body.

Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.

Be truthful and honest at all times.

Take full responsibility for your actions

Letter to Trinity Church

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Dear Friends,

You may remember that at last year’s Methodist conference a rainbow of wrist bands had been produced with the Methodist church logo on them and the words of Micah 6:8  Do justice, love kindness and walk humbly. I had one in each colour and wear them even now. Apart from the fact that this is one of my favourite verses from scripture, these wristbands also remind me on a daily basis of what a great motto this remains, even in the 21st century; or perhaps especially for the 21st Century. It does seem that in this global world, dominance  on a variety of levels including finance, armaments and exclusive territorial rights – seems to be a somewhat aggressive strategy for a number of world leaders. It is a strategy that is totally at odds with this verse from Micah, which deep down we all know to be the path to harmonious equitable and abundant life for.

I don’t know about you but sometimes I feel that the self centered, exclusivism of some of the most  powerful in the world right now is  a narrative that is becoming increasingly scary…How do we ever draw back from this? Where will it end? What is the future for our children and their children if this trajectory of abuse of power continues?

And yet if you look closely at  grassroots level you will notice that something quite remarkable is happening…a quiet revolution is taking place which shows that the old order of division is breaking down and the desire to do justice, act kindly and walk humbly is springing up in all sorts of places. Such stories are not hard to find if we can just divert our attention from the attention grabbing headlines of global politics and look for the stories of Love.

Take this headline in the Independent for example

‘A multitude of different faith groups are teaming up across the UK to help the homeless, Muslim NGOs are working hand-in-hand with churches in London to distribute food and sleeping kits.  Anglicans, Catholics, Methodists, Quakers, Jews, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs meanwhile opened up a night shelter in Leicester last week, in what is believed to be the first enterprise of its kind.’

And this is not a one off story! Every day new stories of love, kindness and of people bravely standing up for justice come across my news feed in many different guises. People of different faiths and people of no faith sharing and caring together and doing whatever they can to bring comfort to the vulnerable and to victims of injustice.

Change is undoubtedly happening right now, it is painful and sometimes terrifying but a new order of things is being birthed and we have a choice set before us. We can either retreat into the fear and despair that plays into the hands of the powerful demagogues or we can follow Micah’s call and walk humbly together that collectively we might do our part to help bring this new world into being.

As I write my last letter for this church before moving onto my new appointment, my prayer for you is that you will continue to write new stories of kindness, hope and justice and to make a stand for the weak and the vulnerable. I pray that all the  green shoots of hope and new life in this church will be nurtured and brought into full bloom, and I have every confidence, that when I come past this way again, which I surely will, the one thing that won’t have changed is the love and grace with which you hold all. This has been such a blessing to so many and something that I will carry with me always. Thank you.

Blessings, Jayne

Silver

If you are a moongazer as I am you should be enjoying the beautiful full moon at the moment. There are some clouds in the sky giving her a veiling her, but ever she is beautiful. Tonight she reminds me of Walter de la Mare’s beautiful poem…Silver.

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep;
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws and a silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream

Walter de la mare

© The Literary Trustees of Walter de la Mare

Heart or Mind


The important shift in the journey of the soul is the movement of consciousness from the head space where our thinking and analysing and mental chatter occurs through verbal language, to the heart space where silence is the all pervading method of communication.

By its structure and nature the head space is dualistic. It is designed to help us navigate our temporal world and does so through judgement based in duality; us or them, right or wrong, male or female, dark or light.

The heart, in structure and essence is an integrated whole. When our consciousness resides here we know no dualism. There is no God, self or others as separate entities, there is only all in all. In this space there is a melting of all the barriers that divide – verbal language being amongst the most critical.

Thus our most powerful prayer is the contemplative silence of the heart space where we do not engage words or images – not even those of God – for mainly these are constructs of the dualistic mind.

In the silence we gradually begin to integrate what the psalmist understood so well when he wrote ‘Be still and know that I am God’. Such knowing is deep – it is the dissolving of all that created the illusion that we were ever separate from God at all, and in the bliss of such oneness the deep yearning of the soul is fulfilled.

Spring

Spring – Christina Rossetti  

tumblr_o74l1r22aV1rsmd6ho1_1280Frost-locked all the winter, Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
What shall make their sap ascend
That they may put forth shoots?
Tips of tender green,
Leaf, or blade, or sheath;
Telling of the hidden life
That breaks forth underneath,
Life nursed in its grave by Death.

 

Blows the thaw-wind pleasantly,
Drips the soaking rain,
By fits looks down the waking sun:
Young grass springs on the plain;
Young leaves clothe early hedgerow trees;
Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
Swollen with sap put forth their shoots;
Curled-headed ferns sprout in the lane;
Birds sing and pair again.

There is no time like Spring,
When life’s alive in everything,
Before new nestlings sing,
Before cleft swallows speed their journey back
Along the trackless track –
God guides their wing,
He spreads their table that they nothing lack, –
Before the daisy grows a common flower
Before the sun has power
To scorch the world up in his noontide hour.

There is no time like Spring,
Like Spring that passes by;
There is no life like Spring-life born to die, –
Piercing the sod,
Clothing the uncouth clod,
Hatched in the nest,

Fledged on the windy bough,
Strong on the wing:
There is no time like Spring that passes by,
Now newly born, and now
Hastening to die.

From the Soul

IMG_3620“The wind smelled like the moon. I went up there so many times in the weeks that followed that I no longer remember which night it was that God finally answered my prayer. I do not think it was right at the beginning, when I was still saying my prayers in words. I think it came later, when I had graduated to inchoate sounds. Up on that fire escape, I learned to pray the way a wolf howls. I learned to pray the way that Ella Fitzgerald sang scat.”

Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith