Encountering God: Receiving a Mission

Encountering God: Receiving a Mission

Reading:

“Moses was minding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, priest of Midian. He led the flock along the side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the flame of a burning bush. Moses noticed that, although the bush was on fire, it was not being burnt up; so, he said to himself, ‘I must go across to see this wonderful sight. Why does not the bush burn away?’

When the Lord saw that Moses had turned aside to look, He called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses.’ And Moses answered, ‘Yes, here I am.’ God said, ‘Come no nearer; take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground…’

The Lord then said, ‘I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard their outcry against their slave-masters. I have taken heed of their sufferings and have come down to rescue them from the power of Egypt…I will send you to Egypt…I will send you to Pharaoh, and you shall bring my people out of Egypt.’

‘But who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ God answered, ‘I am with you…’ (From Exodus 3:1-5, 7-8a, 10-11.)”

 

Biblical Note:

Earlier in his life, Moses had showed his readiness to sacrifice for his people. He had killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave and then fled, finding refuge in the land of Midian. At the time of this passage he had just adjusted to the life of a shepherd. Now he meets God in the form of the messenger Angel in the flame. Moses is awed, but also receptive. He is modest; therefore, he experiences some doubts and frustrations at receiving this mission. But God promises to be present. It is clear that this is God’s project, not one left to Moses, and God enables Moses’ modesty to be transformed into the humility of faith.

 

Meditation (to be read slowly):

Close your eyes. Become quiet and take a few slow, deep breaths. Become aware of yourself as a shepherd walking along tending your flock…you are walking along, and you notice something which catches your attention because of its awe…you turn aside, and as you turn, you hear God speak to you…God speaks your name…you respond…God tells you to take off your shoes, for this is holy ground; you do that…God tells you that he has seen some concern in your life or the life of others. He mentions this and you listen…He informs you that you can do something about it, and you listen…you question what you can do…

Allow yourself to ask any questions that you want…share any doubts that you might feel or any other concerns or hopes…allow God to reassure you that He is with you always…allow yourself to sense this…communicate anything else that feels necessary…

When you are ready, finish your dialogue with God and continue herding your flock…as you are tending your flock, think back on what has occurred and let it soak in…when you are ready, open your eyes.

 

Debriefing

Give attention to the guidance received for action and take the next step…

(Source: Opening to God: Guided Imagery Meditation and Scripture. By Carolyn Stahl.)

 

Looking for more support? Please reach out to me at laura.lies@streamsgrace.com

 

Calming the Storms Within

Calming the Storms Within

“So, they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress.

The storm sank to a murmur, and the waves of the sea were stilled.

They were glad then that all was calm, as He guided them to the harbor they desired.

Let them thank the Lord for His enduring love.” (Psalm 107:28-31)

Biblical Note: This passage describes the power of God even as passages in the New Testament refer to Jesus’ ability to deliver people out of storms, literal and figurative (see Matthew 8:23-17, Mark 4:36-41, John 6:16-21). Since the Hebrews were people of the land, this nautical theme of this Psalm is a novelty.

For your Meditation: This meditation may be especially valuable in a period of stormy times. Harbor can represent a “safe place” to which you can return.

Meditation:  (To be read very slowly with eyes closed.) Take several, slow deep breaths and get in touch with the depths within…Now visualize yourself in a boat…Notice the size and type of boat…Discover who is with you…Become aware how you feel being there…Now you notice the water is very troubled, a storm is surrounding you…Stay in touch with your feelings in this storm…When you are ready, become aware of the calming presence in your midst…You might call out to that presence to calm the storm, or you may simply become aware that the presence is calming the storm…Let yourself experience that movement from storm to calm and reflect on how you feel and what is occurring…Now move into the harbor and stay alert to your feelings and thoughts as your boat nudges into its harbor…Before you disembark, look around on the boat for a symbol or image which represents this deep calm for you, and take that symbol with you as you get off the boat…Become aware of your thankfulness for the loving presence enabling the calm…When you feel ready, open your eyes.

Debriefing:  Write or draw whatever image emerged that might represent calm for you. And about how the storm in your life is affected by this deep sense of calm. Notice any changes in attitude toward the storm in your life. If you were unable to allow the calmness to occur for you, simply acknowledge that this is where you are right now. Feel free to do this meditation again and again. And feel free to write out the stormy feelings too.

 

(Source: Opening to God: Guided Imagery Meditation on Scripture. By Carolyn Stahl.)

If you would like further support, please reach out to me at laura.lies@streamsgrace.com

 

 

 

A Holy Journey with Pain

A Holy Journey with Pain

“Somewhere along my journey, I became aware that angels of God were accompanying me. I saw the angels and knew that I belonged to God.

Well into my travels, messengers came to tell me, ‘Pain is coming to meet you and he brings death to some, great pain and suffering to you, your family and friends.’

At first, I felt as if God was telling me, ‘Do not be afraid, this will be a holy experience for you, and a gift and a blessing to many others.’ Almost immediately, that began to happen. As I was invited to tell my story, and it proved to be a source of hope for me, and inspiration and hope for others.

But then my health began to deteriorate, and I became afraid and distressed. And I prayed, ‘O God of my ancestors, I want to remind you that you said this would be a holy experience and a gift and a blessing. It no longer feels that way. Deliver me please from the hand of Pain, for I am afraid of what he will do to us.’

And as I continued on the journey, I found myself unwittingly out ahead of my family and friends—leading and loving them. I bowed in front of all kinds of Pain challenges and honored them. Pain in turn honored me, weeping for me because of the pain he was subjecting me to.

I said to Pain, ‘You may well take all that I have—everything that I own. But, God has given me everything I need, and you cannot take that: community, family, friends, intimacy with God and friends, vulnerability, authenticity, powerlessness, brokenness, knowing I am God’s beloved in whom He is well-pleased, finding my own voice, finding my own identity, interior freedom, meaning and purpose, and a rich interior and spiritual life.’

Then Pain said. ‘Let us journey on our way together.’ And I replied, ‘My family, friends and I are weary from our struggles with you. You go on ahead and we will travel at the pace at which we are capable.’

Further along the journey, I encountered the Dark Night, and I found myself all alone. And Pain came and wrestled with me until someone died. And there was great wailing, moaning, and grieving, followed by a great silence…

And still I continued to wrestle with Pain. When Pain saw that he could not prevail against me, he struck me on the hip socket and my hip was put out of joint.

Then Pain said to me, ‘Let me go, for I have taken your beloved and it is time for me to move on.’ But I said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ Pain replied ‘You shall no longer be called by your name, but rather be called ‘wounded healer.’ The wound you have endured at my hand has made you whole.’ And then Pain blessed me.

So, I called this encounter ‘holy,’ as I said, ‘For I have seen God face-to-face in this disease and yet my life has been preserved.’

A new day came after the death of my beloved and the sun rose on me as I moved forward with my life—now limping because of my hip—moving forward as a wounded healer, bringing a message to a world in need of all that I had learned.”

Sources:

Jacob Wrestles with God. Genesis 32:22-32

Who are you God?: Suffering and Intimacy with God, by Janet O. Hagberg. Adapted from Tom’s story pages 185-186.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practicing Hospitality

Practicing Hospitality

Questions for Reflection:

  • What or who do I think of when I hear the word “hospitality?”
  • What Bible stories come to mind when I hear the word “hospitality?”
  • How does Jesus exhibit hospitality?
  • In what ways has God provided hospitality to me?
  • How am I extending hospitality to God, myself and others?

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The Gift: A Guided Visualization of Epiphany for a New Year

The Gift: A Guided Visualization of Epiphany for a New Year

Ask the Spirit of the Beloved to open your being, to quiet you…

Picture the scene of Three Wise Ones coming to offer homage and gifts to the Christ, the One sent by the Beloved…

See yourself as one of the Wise Ones…

You come to offer a gift…

There is a wonderfully wrapped gift in your hands…

Inside the gift are aspects and qualities of your life that you most enjoy and appreciate. Reflect upon these aspects and qualities…

Which are especially meaningful to you?

Which have been most apparent in the past year?

Which have seemed hidden or absent in the past year?

Gather these qualities into your gift…

Visualize yourself coming and presenting your gift-wrapped package…

As you offer this gift of yourself, see the love, joy, delight with which your gift is received…

Now, visualize a gift being offered to you. It too is beautifully wrapped…

There is a note card on it with a special message from the Beloved to you…

Imagine what is written on the note card…

Receive the gift, open it, and ponder its meaning for your life…

Offer thanks to the Beloved for this gift of the new year…

(Source: Out of the Ordinary: Prayers, Poems and Reflections for Every Season by Joyce Rupp.)

Please email me at laura.lies@streamsgrace.com to discuss the possibility of working together in Spiritual Direction.

 

 

 

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