Spirit Category


John

John

Visiting from Oregon, my cousin, a spiritually enlightened and gentle soul, was asked if he believed in Jesus. Sincerely and honestly, he responded, “No.” Perplexed, the questioner asked again, “You don’t believe in Jesus?” To which my mystically wise kinsman simply replied, “No.”

Had the questioner delved deeper, he would have found that my cousin KNOWS Jesus.

Isn’t this the purpose of meaningful relationships? Isn’t this the message of the Bible? Isn’t this what Jesus meant when he said “Before Abraham was, I Am?” Isn’t this the heart of all Jesus’s messages, parables and healings? Wasn’t this the purpose of the crucifixion of Jesus?

I do not ‘believe in’ my dad. To believe in my dad is to be separate from him. To know my dad is to have a mutually loving and trusting relationship with him. In lighter terms, when children ask an adult if he or she believe in Santa Claus, the adult—with a twinkle in his or her eye–can truthfully answer, “no, I know him.”

“To know in these ways Jesus points to, is to realize that the truth of all of us, prior to all belief, is this most simple knowing that knows itself.”  In other words, “The Christ in me greets the Christ in thee”  which is God’s intimate knowledge of Herself, in and through that which She created out of Herself—sacred, holy Oneness.

Isn’t this what Jesus had in mind in John 14:9 when Philip said to Him, show us the Father, and Jesus responded, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Or in John 10:27 when he said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

The pharisees and sadducees believed in God, and Jesus countered their claims of piousness with, “Woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers and P’rushim (Pharisees)! You go about over land and sea to make one proselyte; and when you succeed, you make him twice as fit for Gei-Hinnom (Hell) as you are!” Matthew 23:15.

To ‘believe in’ Jesus is to remain lost in illusion. Time and again Jesus illustrated the futility of the belief in separation, or what the Bible calls unbelief—lack of trust.

The story of the man with the demon-possessed son exemplifies this perfectly. A father, at his wits end, brought his son to Jesus to be healed. Tormented since childhood by a spirit that often tried to kill him, the boy was unable to speak. The story continues in chapter nine of Mark with the father begging Jesus,

“But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.” Yeshua said to him, What do you mean, ‘if you can’? Everything is possible to someone who has trust!” Instantly the father of the child exclaimed, “I do trust — help my lack of trust!”

I am not saying that Jesus’s words and actions cannot have other significant meaning. Everything He said and did has infinite revelatory purpose. Additionally, I am not saying the word ‘believe’ does not appear in the Bible. I am saying that perhaps the word ‘believe’ would better be rendered as ‘trust.’ Multiple verses from the book of John in the Complete Jewish Bible are translated in this manner.

Don’t let yourselves be disturbed. Trust in God and trust in me. John 14:1

Yeshua declared publicly, “Those who put their trust in me are trusting not merely in me, but in the One who sent me. John 12:44

Yeshua answered, “I am the bread which is life! Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever trusts in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35

Whoever trusts in the Son has eternal life. But whoever disobeys the Son will not see that life but remains subject to God’s wrath.” John 3:36

For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed. John 3:16

After Adam and Eve ate from The Tree, God reassured them they were not separate from Her by calling out to them, “Where are you?” Obviously, He knew where they were and they knew too; as do we.

My intent here is not to debate semantics but to suggest that knowing and trusting someone–in this case God–delves more deeply into relationship, cosmically.

Love knowing Love, Truth hearing Truth, Beauty seeing Beauty—in other words, the Grace-filled dance of the Trinity which encompasses all of life.

This is the eternal now message.

Namaste.

Mystical Union

Mystical Union

I do not know from where you may be reading this meditation, but here in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia the weather is absolutely beautiful. The low humidity, cool gentle breeze and diamond-like sky have made my heart seemingly burst with Truth, Beauty and Love.

Reverend Forest P. Reynolds, a gentleman preacher—having long ago moved on to glory—was very much in my awareness and presence as I walked this morning.

A friend of my parents, I vividly recall the day he sat at my kitchen table listening intently while I unburdened, what I believed at the time, were my unpardonable sins. Believing myself lost in pain, fear, and in the grip of darkness and death, I spilled my guts. Never once did he bat an eye in derision nor raise an eyebrow in disdainful judgement. He was completely present as God’s tangible Grace when I most needed Her Light, Life and Love. Had he not shown such genuine and authentic acceptance, I do not know how long I would have continued walking in suffering and hell.

He and many other beloveds have played and continue to play an essential role in my life as God extending Herself to Himself—the calling for all of us, one to another.

Paul explains it this way,

From one man he made every nation living on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the limits of their territories and the periods when they would flourish. God did this so that people would look for him and perhaps reach out and find him although in fact, he is not far from each one of us, ‘for in him we live and move and exist.’ Acts 17:26-28

Or to paraphrase Alexandre Dumas,

All are one, and one are all, eternally unified in Truth.

This mystical union, or if you will—non-dual theology—is ever present throughout scripture whether literal, allegorical or both in nature.

For example, in Ephesians 5:28-30 . . .

This is how husbands ought to love their wives—like their own bodies, for the man who loves his wife is loving himself. Why, no one every hated his own flesh! On the contrary, he feeds it well and takes care of it, just as the Messiah does the Messianic Community because we are parts of his Body.

. . . and John 15:5 . . .

I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who stay united with me, and I with them, are the ones who bear much fruit; because apart from me you can’t do a thing.

. . . additionally, Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 goes to great lengths to express . . .

But as it is, there are indeed many parts, yet just one body.

Whatever your spiritual practice may be, my hope is that you have at least one person in your life to whom you can turn for peace, healing and comfort.  Perhaps one day you may, in turn, be that one person for someone else in compassionate acts of endless reciprocity.

Thank you, Rev. Reynolds.

Greatest

Greatest

“We are one in the bond of love,
We are one in the bond of love;
We have joined our spirit with the Spirit of God,
We are one in the bond of love.”

I was deeply moved by a recent interview of Stephen Colbert by Anderson Cooper (which can be found on YouTube) and their discussion of grief, loss and their mothers. In it, Mr. Colbert expressed, what I believe, are exceptionally profound insights:

“. . . we’re asked to accept the world God gives us and to accept it with love . . . if God is everywhere and in everything, then the world as it is, is an expression of God’s love—you have to accept it with gratitude because what’s the option . . . this is it, the bravest thing you can do is accept the world as it is . . . it is a gift to exist and with existence comes suffering, there’s no escaping that . . . if you’re grateful for your life, then you have to be grateful for all of it . . .”

His statements along with past and recent moments in my life . . .

. . . my mother, dying, wrapped in mine and my father’s arms–all being, all awareness, totally encompassed in the aliveness of the bond of Love . . .

. . . “I miss you” . . . “I miss you, too, Mom” . . . my three sons—one very close to home, two much farther away . . . no distance, time or space in the bond of Love . . .

. . . serve to remind me the only thing that matters is Love.

Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:13 states it this way,

“But for now, three things last—trust, hope, love; and the greatest of these is love.”

An awakened heart serves as a prism for Love which shines with infinite possibilities and in infinite manifestations.

For example, my friend Sherry who has endured more than her share of sufferings in this world, but remains one of the most truly joyful people I know . . .

. . . or Ingrid, who has also lived through excruciatingly painful life circumstances while staying genuinely loving through and through . . .

. . . or Mary, the most trusting and faithful soul, amid chronic health issues that would have made me give up long ago.

These women, and many, many other dearly loved beloveds, allow themselves to radiate and point to that which is truly “the greatest” . . . Love.

“Let us sing now, every one,
Let us feel His love begun;
Let us join our hands that the world will know
We are one in the bond of love.”

Otis Skillings “The Bond of Love”

I am so sincerely grateful “for all of it,” I hope you can be too!

Meaning

Meaning

At the end of March, I became a PASS (Providing Academic and Self Esteem Support) volunteer for two students at Charles Town Middle School in Jefferson County, WV. This was an opportunity that I had talked about with a friend before retiring a year ago, but I wasn’t able to attend the training until after the first of this year.

After discussion with the school guidance counselor and gaining permission from each student’s guardian, I began meeting with them individually in the school building once a week for forty minutes beginning in April. I was fortunate to have taught each of these students while still employed at CTMS so the “icebreaking” had already been done for us.

As with any middle schooler, getting them to talk about school (or anything else for that matter) can be challenging. I just tried to be present and open to whatever arose in our conversations. Sometimes we played Scrabble, Yahtze, or the card game War, but their favorite seemed to be Uno.

I was told, and knew from my past experience as their teacher, that their private/home lives were difficult and challenging to say the least. But you would have never known that if you saw us giggling uncontrollably while playing Uno.

With the school year ending, last Tuesday was my last time within the program to meet with the seventh grader and my last time permanently with the eighth grader—the PASS program is not in place in the high school where this student will attend.

As I walked to the parking lot feeling kind of blue, I thought “did I really make any kind of a difference in this student’s life?”

Between this student’s absences and my late start, we only met five or six times—a total of maybe four hours—240 minutes—14,400 seconds in a lifetime full of disappointment, discouragement, and disillusionment.

What difference could I have possibly made?

Little did I know that God would answer that question at church on Sunday . . .

“There are going to be times when we don’t know if we are making a difference.”

. . . said my pastor in his message. He was preaching on 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, particularly verse 58, “So, my dear brothers, stand firm and immovable, always doing the Lord’s work as vigorously as you can, knowing that united with the Lord your efforts are not in vain.”

A friend recommended the book It’s Not Supposed to be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst to me and the following quote seems to get at the heart of what Paul is saying to the Corinthians and what my Pastor was saying on Sunday. “Understand that no time showing up and bringing compassion to another human is ever a waste of time. Rather, it’s our chance to bring context, purpose, and meaning to all of life.”

That’s it, isn’t it? The meaning, the difference we make in another’s life, is in the here and now trusting God with the outcome. “For we live by trust, not by what we see,” 2 Corinthians 5:7 because what we “see is temporary and what is unseen is eternal” 2 Corinthians 4:18.

“I have done what was mine to do; now you go and do what is yours to do.”
St. Francis of Assisi

Trust, go, do!

Hugs

Hugs

Among my many nick names acquired over the years—Frinkerdinker, Fry-Dinger (my maiden name is Fridinger), Mario (I’ve been known to exceed the speed limit when driving), Smiles, Shuffles (from dragging my feet in basketball practice), Rebel, and recently Soul Sister—the most endearing and longest lasting is Nutty Hugger.

This moniker was bestowed upon me 25 years ago during the teaming process for an Emmaus weekend (a three-day spiritual retreat) by a dear, dear friend. Forming an instant connection, we bonded over the healing power of hugs and are known to family and friends as the Nutty Huggers—or NH for short (NH1 for me and NH2 for her).

As the name implies, I just love to give and receive hugs–for me a natural and compassionate response. I am aware, though, that there are some folks that don’t want to be hugged and I respect their personal space.

She entered the food bank with what seemed the weight of the world on her shoulders. Although she was very polite, as I went through the list of questions, the cloud over her head appeared grayer and grayer. We prepared her order and since the cart was rather full, we offered to help her load it into her car.

Once finished, this gentle soul gave me and my coworker THE-BEST-HUG. One of the things that made this particular hug so special was I wasn’t expecting it.

I didn’t realize until after she left how cloudy my own heart had been feeling and how much her hug ministered to me.

That’s the thing isn’t it? We just don’t know what challenge or heartbreak someone may be experiencing. Sometimes we don’t even understand the grief, sorrow or anguish of our own heart which is really the remarkable experience of a simple hug . . .

. . . two hearts, meeting as one in pure honor, love and awareness.

He is Here

He is Here

Chapter twelve in the Gospel of John, verses 12 through 26, tells the story of what is known in Christianity as Palm Sunday, describing Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem six days before Passover. Three different responses and expectations are noted in this text, those of the Jews, the Pharisees and the Greeks (God-loving gentiles).

The Jews were expecting a national deliverer, one who would overthrow Roman authority; they loved what they thought Jesus could do for them.

Zealots for religious orthodoxy, jealous of Jesus and in direct competition with him—the Pharisees feared they would lose their power over the people.

Concerned for their safety and full of questions, the Greeks just wanted to see Jesus.

“Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’”

Seeing Jesus . . . I had just such an opportunity this past Wednesday at the Jefferson County Community Ministry food bank.

Since activities had slowed down, I was sitting at the desk reading, when a young lady entered with her yellow form to receive food. After a friendly greeting, I began asking the required intake questions:

“Do you have any food allergies that you know of?”

“No.”

“Do you have access to a stove or microwave for cooking?”

“Yes.”

“Do you . . .”

The young lady jumped in . . .

“Wait a minute. I think I know you. Didn’t you use to be a teacher?”

“Yes.”

“Are you Mrs. Spurlock?”

As I looked at her more closely and then at her name on the form, I remembered her.

Here He was standing before me; I had not recognized Him thirteen years ago in a school classroom.

I lovingly grabbed her hand and told her how very sorry I was that she found herself in these unfortunate circumstances. As I finished the intake questions, she told me a few short details of her life; not much—she had always been a quiet and reserved student.

When her order was ready, I gave her a hug and she went on her way.

“I just want to help people” . . . my heart’s desire in volunteering . . .

. . . in doing so, I keep discovering, over and over, He is here.

He is here, Hallelujah. He is here, Amen.
He is here, Holy, Holy. I will bless His name again.
He is here, listen closely. Hear him calling out your name.
He is here, you can touch him. You will never be the same.

Kirk Talley