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A Poetic Reflection on Light & Love

I sit here in my simple house, and find myself caught by the light flowing into the room through my blue curtains.

Each thread is visible, each shade of the curtains colors fade in and out of shapes created by pleats—shadows both deepen and disappear as your eyes travel over the bare body of the fabric.

My cat sleeps only a few feet away from this colorful and minimalistic dance; the same light is highlighting each hair on her body as she breathes taking her own part in the dance.

My eyes are glued, my mind is clear, and my heart rests to take in the sight.

This light that God has created, that gives form and color, and beauty to everything we can see, is given to me.

In this light is infinite love and compassion; a balm for the cracks of my heart, but also a window for my soul the recognize the God that is within and around and beyond myself and all that is created.

In this light, there is ultimate love and possibility.

Most humbly of all, and hardest to fathom and understand, I am the light…and the light is me….and the light is everyone.

I’ve been found by beauty.

I’ve been found by transcendence.

I’ve been found by stillness and love.

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Interfaith Ministry

A Journey In Prayer

Over the past few years, I’ve struggled to have a prayer life that was meaningful to me. Being drawn deeply by liturgical traditions and monastic spirituality, I’ve come to find my prayer life to be written for me in the form of liturgical prayer and daily offices. I’ve pushed myself to wake up early and say multiple offices a day–sometimes pushing myself to chant them out of a sense of traditional duty. While this has taught me much about prayer, and is a beautiful practice in our tradition, I’ve used it to rob myself of an authentic prayer life that opens and inspires my heart and leads me closer to God.

It wasn’t until recently–very recently–that I noticed this and decided to push myself beyond the boundaries that I had created. I’ve looked within, and listened to the voice that calls me to a deeper part of myself, and found the beginning of a new journey in prayer. Rather than praying the offices, I’ve found myself reading through the Gospel stories and meditating on them. I read them, and watch them in my imagination; I observe what I see and the perspective I have in the meditation; I observe how I relate to Jesus and the disciples, and try to imagine what they must be feeling in those moments. This practice has proven to be much more meaningful to me, and has shed light on things I never thought about–such as why I always see myself at a distance from Jesus.

I’ve also learned a lot about myself. I’m not really a morning person. While I’m generally lively and positive in the morning, I’m not in a mood that is conducive to prayer and meditation. Over the years, I’ve almost forced myself to have a morning prayer service–early mornings even, to be more monastic–and that really wasn’t fair to my spirit. I’ve come to learn that having a late afternoon or evening time set apart for prayer is much more meaningful to who I am as an individual. Being aware of how my body naturally functions in this way has brought myself to a deeper awareness of who I am as a creation of God, and has brought me closer to my creator.

While I don’t think there is anything wrong with the offices or traditional methods of praying, I think it’s wrong to force or limit ourselves to them based solely on tradition. God is so much bigger, and he created us to be the unique expression of his love that we are. We should listen to that, and seek to use it to connect back with God. It is God whom we should learn from, not the pushy “voice of perfection” in our heads. That voice only leads to being self-critical and unloving. Prayer is meant to be a relationship–a connection–to God, and we should take the time, to open the hearts God has given us, to that relationship.

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Interfaith Ministry

Christian Honesty

Something that I don’t think is talked about enough , is the feeling of doubt that leads to unbelief in Christianity–and more than likely in every spiritual or religious tradition in some way.

Honesty is a pillar of Christianity–so much so that even those who do not practice the Christian faith are aware of it’s centrality in our faith life. More often than not, however, we put on a holy mask and parade around like nothing effects us because we have Jesus and we believe in the Bible. While that’s great if it’s true, I’d venture to say that more of us have more doubts than we appear to have.

I’ve been a priest for six years now, and a spiritual seeker for many years before that. I spent so much time trying to find right belief and the right practice–being told by seemingly spiritual people that once I put my faith in Jesus, he would take care of everything else. The advice I was always dished out: just believe. Just believe? That’s a tall order in a faith that preaches love and is known for their condemnation, or for a faith that proclaims that a first century Rabbi was the divine son of God–the second person of a trinity, that’s really a unity, but not really at the same time–who died and rose again.

Of course, I’m not saying that these things aren’t true, because they are essential to my faith as a Jesus Follower…but I am saying that it’s okay to doubt it sometimes. Faith tells me that putting my trust in this person called Jesus doesn’t mean that my questions and doubts disappear. Faith tells me that, even though I don’t understand (and sometimes when I straight up don’t believe) my faith in God is not diminished. This is a vast universe, and life is too complex for us to have all the answers to anything–including our own scriptures–and that’s okay!

It’s time for us to be honest about what is going on in our hearts and minds. Jesus’s followers had doubts when the events of the Bible were taking place, and they still walked along the path Jesus led them down. Being able to express these beliefs and vocalize our questions is essential to our mental and spiritual health. It keeps us from feeling like we’re drowning, or inherently evil, or like God is condemning us to hell because we can’t accept everything like the smiling seemingly-spiritual people around us. It’s time for Christianity to be honest, and to see where God–who we believe makes his home with the doubting, the hurting, the broken, and the outcast–takes us. I bet, if we can have the humility to be honest, the soul of the world could start coming back to life with love.

May it be so.
Amen.