Creation Spirituality: You...blossom!
By Reverend Bill Calhoun
Deuteronomy 6: 4-12
Before we read the Bible together, I want to thank each of you for this chance to worship God with you today…with me up here rather than out there…and to thank you for being YOU…individually and together, as the church in this place…where YOU are…here…now!
We read from the Jewish/Hebrew Torah, which is also the 5th book of our Bible. Here the leader Moses speaks really for God’s heart as if God looks us in the eye and says in effect: I, who love you completely, hope you will love me completely…and on this interesting and bumpy human journey, remember that (I) go with you…walk with you, talk with you, call you my own.
You can tell by how we read the Bible today that I have human blossoming on my mind. In this flowering season of June, where at our mountain family cabin… Columbine and Golden banner flowers blossom boldly with joy…in the spirit of Creation Spirituality, may you and I blossom more fully, Just as we are, ourselves to be, created by God (in us) God’s love to see.
I must begin with a confession. When I sit in the pews with you, which I do as often as I can, my favorite focus is to study the people sitting around me. Particularly those of you under 45 or so…Catching your spirits, wondering about your lives, your faith, your gifts, your struggles, trusting in the right unfolding of your lives…your right and faithful blossoming.
Now we blossom in different ways…as mother, teacher, doctor, HFH, architect, soloist…But today I suggest we focus our blossoming on God’s love in and through us…So these thoughts today about blossoming into God, blossoming into being our true selves…and blossoming into a loving presence with each and every human soul before us. In other words, may I and YOU blossom all the more in these ways.
Let’s say that you and I have lunch with God today after the worship service. We sit quietly…hoping God will speak. God says: you know, our book…is loaded with rules. (God’s eyes roll) The rules are meant as coaching points to deepen relationships. But the church for 2,000 years has too often used them to control people in the pews. Today just focus on two rules/coaching points…just focus on love…for now. Love me completely as I do love you completely…blossom in this way. And love others, starting with the hard work of accepting, being and loving yourself…JUST AS YOU ARE. And out of that love for yourself, that blossoming, you are positioned to love each and every fragile and precious person before you, not just those like you, but each human person.
Blossoming into God…i.e., meeting and opening deeper to that love. One of my spiritual directors, Sister Mary, a Catholic nun, nudged me, at the end of each day, to reflect on the three to five things that day that I was most grateful for…an effort to see more deeply into our lives, opening up into God’s blessings and strengths in our lives; the green lights of God’s grace flow.
We also blossom into God as we listen for God’s Word and Truth to each of us. Throughout my life time, as I listened to sermons and read the Bible and devotional prayer books, I would write what jumped out at me in the margins of those books. One time in reading Ps. 18:35…your help O God makes me great…it came to me that I didn’t like the word help (even though God does help us) and the word great (our culture worships greatness). I retranslated it: your gentleness (a right translation of the Hebrew) has made me a rock (root of the word great). And in the bottom margin of the page, I wrote…may my gentleness make others a rock. Listening to what stirs within us is a way to blossom into God.
These and other practices help us go deeper with God. Ps. 51: you desire truth in the inward being, so teach us wisdom in our secret hearts. Going deeper with God in your own…right…way…that works for YOU. So often through the 45 years, after a sermon, someone would say thanks for saying such and such. But often, that is not what I said…but that is what they heard and that is most important as they blossom into God.
Traditionally, going deeper with God usually happens in quiet…. In the quiet, look at life and see what you see in the quiet. Some do this in the morning, some in the evening, some at stop lights…moving from thinking to seeing, watching light play on leaves…being still…into wow and awe…mystery. BLOSSOMING IN GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU.
Blossoming yourself…being you who God loves…Being YOU…in a world that wants us to fit into certain boxes. Barbara Reed, an old friend, once gave me a coffee mug with this Parker Palmer quote on it: before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen to what your life intends to do with you. That quote is one of my most important guides in my life. Give time and attention to being you, …catching your gifts and nudges, and what your life as it unfolds…wants to do with YOU. Notice how the right pieces come together for good…for you…for others. God’s Grace is there…if we are still…and open to its gifts…its flow.
To do this, might we move more from doing to being. So much of life is out of our hands…we simply do our small part, Living Jesus…which is the true function of the church. This means doing the hard work of moving from ego to soul…[me -> all of us]. We who carry our certain burdens…moving to living light in love. Remember…To God we matter…there are no unimportant lives. God knows our struggles and longs for our completion…in God…walking with us. Each of us gets to be ourselves…Living out of a centered quiet…blossoming into God’s love for YOU!
Blossoming into loving others
Parker Palmer recently said, you know, you and I really don’t give advice to others. We simply engage others with a listening, loving, seeing presence, in the hopes that that caring presence helps activate the inner advice system of the one before us. The best gift that you and I can give others and the world is to live our lives deeply, lovingly, faithfully. Then we human persons have a nudging role in deepening God’s loving presence. I have long said that the most important thing we can do at worship is, as soon as the organ postlude is over, turn to another person and ask them how they are and shut up and listen very, very deeply and completely…that in our caring listening presence, they may blossom all the more.
At a Starbucks this week, the one taking my money was having trouble with the math. He confessed: I am not a mathematician. I am an artist. I simply said to him, thanks for being YOU, just as you are! A couple years ago, getting coffee to meet a friend in a booth and figure out life, the young woman gave me my coffee, took my money and gave me my change. She had a great and present spirit and confidence. She happened to be a black woman. When she handed me my change, I stopped and looked at her, actually pointed to her, and said, thanks for being YOU! And light filled not only her face but her whole being…a confident and happy glow. She came alive. She blossomed.
I tell you that story not to say, oh look at what Bill did, but to see what she did…blossomed! Just as she is, herself to be, created by God…in her…God’s love and her love and being to see. And I saw the light of God in her…as I seek, and I hope you seek to see the light of God in each and every fragile and precious person before you…blossoming…
So…thanks for being you! JUST AS YOU ARE, YOURSELF TO BE, CREATED BY GOD, in you, GOD’S LOVE TO SEE/TO BE…to blossom….