Awake out of Sleep

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Awake out of Sleep

This reflection is based on a sermon I preached a week ago.

11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12 the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; 13 let us live honourably as in the day, Romans 13

 

I wonder if you have ever had the experience of waking up, in a religious sort of way – many people speak of such moments.

I suspect many of us were brought up in Christian homes – were taken to church – but even then there must have been a moment, when we said, “Aha this is true for me.”

I remember waking up to this at school – in apartheid South Africa- with a sense that this was all wrong, and that Jesus and Christianity showed us another path, in which all humanity is valued and respected.

I love this poem by Rumi the Sufi Mystic about waking up.

The breeze at dawn has something to tell you,

don’t go back to sleep

You must ask for what you want

don’t go back to sleep

people/angels are going back and forth across the doorsill

where the two worlds meet.

don’t go back to sleep

The door is wide and open

don’t go back to sleep

You must ask for what you want

don’t go back to sleep

 

The bible speaks of time as Kairos, and not as Chronos, not tick-tock time, but as season, as quality and significant time, a moment when time disappears or expands, and we lose all sense of it, and a meeting takes place with the Wholly Other.

I have been reading the work of Meister EckhartSAM_1543, a 14 century Dominican philosopher, theologian and mystic. I feel that I have found/ woken up to someone who explains how I feel about my faith, and how I express it. It would be very difficult for me to explain adequately and simply his approach.

He is not an ascetic who believes we have to chastise our bodies, because it gets in the way of our souls.

He believe in original blessing/ not sin. The first thing to say about us is that we are loved- children of God, that God blesses us, and that we are a blessing in the world.

That Being/God is a circle and we and all creatures are in this circle of Being.

That God infuses all creatures. God is Knocking at our door, asking to be let in.

As he uses images as God as Father, so he uses images of God as mother as well.

God is at home, it is we who have gone for a walk.

The moment we realise this and open the door, the moment we Wake-up, God enters and Gives birth to his Son in us.

He calls this our Breakthrough

 

He quotes a beautiful passage from Wisdom 18:14-15

When peaceful silence lay over all,

and night had run the half of his sweet course,

down from the heavens, from the royal throne, leapt

your all powerful Word;

into the heart of a doomed land the stern warrior leapt.

He writes:

In our Creation we are in God, but in our breakthrough we know we are in God and in the Godhead. The union is total in our breakhrough. There “God and I are one”. In such ecstasy all dualism dies, all separation ceases, union takes over. But this union is not enough, fruitfulness is richer than union alone. Our union needs to bear fruit, it needs to give birth to compassion in the world.

 

So how do we meet with God. One way is through prayer?

But we have to go beyond words, beyond images, for though they are necessary for our being human in our wonderful God created world, they do not help in this kind of prayer.

How is God to be known?

In silence, beyond all images of God

We have to let go of all these things

We have to reach for silence beyond the silence,

For God is beyond all images of God

 

Eckhard says that the Our Father prayer, when we pray:

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done

Means just this, a letting go of everything, and letting God be God in us.

Is this difficult? So many people are aware of this – Classes of mindfulness, yoga, relaxation exercises; a way of breathing that brings us to a deep silence.

No it is not difficult for us to enter such a practice.

 

I should think that growing old is a wonderful practice of letting go; would that politicians would not cling to things so much.

Perhaps then real compassion would be born in them, in our country and in us.

Bob Commin Sept 2017

 

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