Monday, January 31, 2011

Finding your song

Artist: Gerard van Honthorst

Recently, a reader commented somewhere on this blog that not everyone is gifted in the realm of contemplation as we usually understand that practice. I agree. And so I really appreciate the following:

You can help yourself hear God by creating harmony and rhythm in your life. This does not mean you need silence. It means you have to find your song, and you have to surround yourself with sounds that are part of your rhythm. Different people have different songs: some might find theirs in a machine shop, others in the woods, others shut alone in their study. Engine noises or the rustling of leaves or the ticking of a clock or silence will distract some of us but will be part of the orchestration for others. If you find your own harmonious way and listen carefully, you will hear the voice of God. It is always available, but the sounds may be very subtle. God leaves it to us to set our antennae in the right direction, be still, and listen.

-- Bernie Siegel

1 comment:

  1. I have to be honest and say I haven’t felt much harmony or rhythm in my life for a while now. Perhaps that is because I’ve recently retired from, to coin a word, full time clergydom. : ) I’m more tired and have more basically nuisance forms of physical limitation than I feel my age of sixty-six justifies or than I was expecting to face at this age.

    There are those things about full time ministry that I miss and those that I don’t. I’ll mention something about of each. I miss preaching/teaching and celebrating the Eucharist on a regular basis. Often it was in the celebrating that I often felt closest to God. I also miss regularly engaging scripture, tradition and reason and the satisfaction of occasionally feeling that I have been able to use the gifts that I believe God gave me to say something that perhaps touched or caused a light to go on in the mind or spirit of even one person sitting in the pew. I miss the platform for holding forth with prophetic fervor and some righteous indignation on the subject of the failure of our people and nation to care for the poor, the despised and the rejected.

    I don’t miss being in the center of the political storms of church life. But, I suppose somewhat ironically for a clergyman, though during my spiritual journey I’ve engaged in religious fervor and spiritual seeking, on the whole I’ve always shied away from those who, whether literally or figuratively, knock on my door with answers to my problems or road maps to spiritual fulfillment. Personally I have, for the majority of my active ministry, tried to avoid preaching that might be interpreted as an attempt to box others into any theology or even any religion. If anything I’ve done my best to tear open the religious and spiritual boxes that I sometimes suspected entrapped or encased others. I suppose if I dedicated my ministry to anything it was to opening religious/theological/interpretive boxes while simultaneously preaching a message rooted in Luke 4:18-21 and Matthew 25:31-40 but not verses 41-46.

    For me harmony and rhythm have always been difficult to find and have never come easily. In large part that is by my choice. Over the course of my life I far too often experienced the harmony and rhythm purveyed by the religious as attempts to seduce me into their boxes. I have, in fact, always believed that much of what motivates atheists and agnostics is about keeping religious/spiritual seduction at bay. Whether that be the case or not it has been an ever-present part of my own spiritual caution.

    Having said that, I am glad to have been introduced to this site, “Does Not Wisdom Call.” I find myself stimulated by the variety of art and ideas and reflections. On the whole therefore, though I don’t feel called to meditation in the traditional sense, the majority of posts on this site are calming to my spirit while allowing room for some level of engagement. I experience here no heavy agenda. And the underlying theology and spirituality feels open and welcoming.


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