Soul Fiber: It’s Time To Wrap It Up

combined photo“20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelations 3:20 New International Version 

In January 2010, a Clinical Pastoral Education Resident and I started writing a book titled ‘NOT I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP: On Death and Dying: a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Perspective. Today, the book is one chapter shy of being sent to the publisher. Imagine that, one chapter holding up the publication of many chapters.

Procrastination (stalling, delay, postponement) is not always friend and should never be a show stopper. I heard the Voice say unto me, “Write the vision for the grief stricken.” And I promptly engaged a co-writer and contributing writers, all of whom have completed their work. The book has been proof-read by three people and corrections have been made. Just as I was wrapping u[ the corrections, I realized that it was needful to write a chapter about the realities of death from the Psalmist perspective and I titled it “Becoming Un-knitted.”

This week, we are launching Space for Grace Fellowship Center: The Inclusive Gathering. The Vision: Creating safe space for inclusive spiritual development. This particular vision is born out of a sense that too many folk have been held back from the opportunity to freely develop their spirituality; a people who hear God differently from the preconceived traditional ways.

How often do we hear that eternal, sweet Voice of the Divine calling us, putting in our heart ideas that become like fire locked up in our bones…and then, procrastination comes along and the vision takes a back burner, so to speak; Days, weeks, months and, God forbid, years go by and we have yet to write the vision and make it plan.

The writer of Revelation could make more than a supposition by changing “if” to “when.” God is always speaking, the real question becomes, “Am I hearing?” “When” gives the hearer the benefit of the doubt whereas the word “if” is often the parent of doubt. When I hear with my third ear or feel with my spiritual heart that I am drawn to being still, to writing, to praying, to reflecting; when the Holy Spirit whisper peace upon my troubled soul and, when I long for intimate moments with my God, I am given a divine meal of God’s vision that calls me to again, make it so plan that a child can understand it.

What is the Spirit saying to you today?

Becoming Un-knitted has been on hold long enough. I do hear the Spirit is saying to me, “It’s time to wrap it up.”

Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action,
their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: Be Ready – To Witness

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13 Who will harm you if you are zealous for good? 14 But happy are you, even if you suffer because of righteousness! Don’t be terrified or upset by them. 15 Instead, regard Christ as holy in your hearts. Whenever anyone asks you to speak of your hope, be ready to defend it. 16 Yet do this with respectful humility, maintaining a good conscience. Act in this way so that those who malign your good lifestyle in Christ may be ashamed when they slander you. 17 It is better to suffer for doing good (if this could possibly be God’s will) than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:13-17 Common English Bible

Many of us supported the mission and marches associated with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. Most of us benefited from the freedoms gained as a result of Dr. King’s cadence “Let Freedom Ring.” And, too few of us have continued in the struggle for justice and peace. Clearly, many of our children and grandchildren have been left behind as many baby boomers forget to pass on the history and heroics of Dr. King.

This week a flyer was passed around Flint, MI, showing a manipulated photo of Dr. King’s face pasted onto a body of a man wearing a gold chain and making a “westside” sign with one hand. The flyer was advertising a dance party for teens titled “Freedom2Twerk Martin Luther King Day Party.” The story went viral. Through the efforts of such activist as Joe Madison, calling on the clergy to put pressure on the proprietor of the dance hall to cancel the contract, this distasteful celebration has been negated. This is the thing; too often, Holy Writ is not taken into consideration because it, too, has not been shared by baby boomers with subsequent generations. Those who put together the party appear to be without knowledge of its witness.

HiRes_5759446380111On the other hand, I received a call from the Reverend Louise R. Ott (pictured here) from the Congregational Church of Birmingham, United Church of Christ in Bloomfield Hills, MI. I asked her if she would bring a message in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I explained to her that both Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message and the Civil Rights Movement was for all of God’s people and we must return to doing things together to make this as much of a level playing field as possible. Clergy and Laity should work together as often as possible to become the beloved community. No more all black or all white churches can meet the needs of the present generation. We must, again, be ready to witness the radical inclusivity and hospitable message of love, justice for all, and peace and goodwill; all while letting freedom ring.

Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action,
their families and, especially their children.

Soul Fiber: Relationships

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Within the past sixty minutes, the electricity was restored at our place of worship. The ice storm of 2013 may be remembered for many years to come. Many family members and friends had to make a few adjustments; staying in hotels or with others during the week of Christmas. Even church members either postponed their services or relocated to hold services in places where there was electricity and heat. Thankfully, we had another opportunity to unite – as is often the case during a time of crisis. Yes, this ice storm was/is a sobering reminder that we have no control over the weather. Hopefully, each crisis helps us to know the One who has total control over the elements and all things.

2014 is my year to go deeper in my relationships – both vertical and horizontal. It is a year for using soul fiber for cleansing and strengthening our internal stamina for the 2014 journey. What is Soul Fiber? It is the grit needed to keep the channel of communication open and healthy. The intent is to look at the Spirit of Grace denoted in Holy Writ and other Inspirationals that provide in-depth opportunities for internal forgiveness, unity, power, building relationships (internal, vertical, and horizontal), and any other spiritual tool that draws us closer to God and vice versa.

Traditionally speaking, the church liturgy calls for us to focus on the visitation of the Magi to the toddler, Jesus, a manifestation of the physical presence of divinity in the flesh. In some traditions, there is an emphasis on the baptism of Jesus, a manifestation of the physical presence of divinity in the world. This cycle in church liturgy is named Epiphany, meaning the sudden appearance of a deity.

As we look at the idea of new beginnings that come with every New Year, instead of rehashing the same old resolutions, I invite you to think of something new, fresh, and refreshing. Let’s look together at building stronger relationships within our families, our church families, our partnerships, and our ‘inner-self.’

Building a strong relationship is not easy especially if there has been broken promises, unaddressed painful memories (that may have nothing or everything to do with how you are perceived), unresolved conflict, and unanswered prayers. There are people, Christians, who are angry with God, feel forgotten and/or betrayed by God; and disillusioned, often taking their dissatisfaction out on the church and church folk. Let’s make this year the year to tear down the walls – emotional, spiritual, mental walls – between us and within us, through relationship building.

Let’s take the journey of the Magi, find the Christ, and give Him our best gifts – mind, body, and soul.

Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action,
their families and, especially their children.