Monday, February 2, 2009

As a Fire is Meant for Burning

I have noticed in my teaching, and in my life, that until a person is ready to 'hear' a message the words will simply pass through them unheeded and ignored.

And conversely, when the time is right the message or lesson continues to come at you unceasingly. It's like my friend Joy and the purple car story from her childhood. She never saw a purple car until her family was going to get one. All of a sudden there were purple cars everywhere.

Lately this notion of 'readiness' has been tugging at all aspects of my life. In church this Sunday our pastor spoke of the gifts each of us has been blessed with and the gifts we may not possess. In our journey through life we have the pleasure of sharing these gifts with one another. My gift may not be the same as yours but we assist one another, working together as a whole. This sharing comes about at different points for each of us. Each in their own time. No mistakes. No judgements.

Our last hymn As a Fire is Meant for Burning called out to me and I thought it would be a wonderful choice for today's fourth annual bloggers (silent) poetry reading. Perhaps someone is ready to 'hear' the message. Perhaps not. All I can say is "I was".

As a Fire is Meant for Burning

As a fire is meant for burning with a bright and warming flame
so the church is meant for mission, giving glory to God's name.
Not to preach our creeds or customs, but to build a bridge of care,
We join hands across the nations, finding neighbors every where.

We are learners; we are teachers; we are pilgrims on the way.
We are seekers; we are givers; we are vessels made of clay.
By our gentle, loving actions we would show that Christ is light.
In a humble, listening Spirit we would live to God's delight.

As a green bud in the spring time is a sign of life renewed,
so may we be signs of oneness 'mid earth's peoples, many hued.
As a rainbow lights the heavens when a storm is past and gone,
may our lives reflect the radiance of God's new and glorious dawn.

Words:Ruth Duck


Barbara said...

You have the advantage of knowing the tune to this lovely hymn! It's very positive and uplifting.

Reya Mellicker said...

This is beautiful and powerful. Thank you!

YES about messages coming through, getting through to consciousness only at the moment of complete ripeness.

What you're talking about is spiritual literacy - at least that's my term for it.

The purple car phenomena is a function of consciousness. One of the main things consciousness does is screen out all information it considers to be irrelevant. It scans for what it expects - in the case of Joy's family, purple cars suddenly became part of the radar.

What you're talking about for yourself has to do with a divine timetable. I don't know what change you're about to make, but I send love, encouragement, and every kind of support as you make your transition.

Much love to you!

Gary said...

Barbara - This is a familiar tune that I sure would sound beautiful with you playing. An added bonus this past Sunday - Communion Sunday - was that we also sang my favorite hymn, One Bread, One Body. Do you know that one? I think it strikes a very resonant chord within me at the most fundamental level.

Reya - Thank you so much for your thoughtful, supportive comment. I have been working quite a bit lately on my pilot study for my dissertation and the things that seemed so large and scary before are now turning out to be hurdles that I am beginning to understand. It will be years before I complete the degree but slowly I am meeting each challenge in its time. There is a power in that somehow. Much love to you!

Arielle Lee Bair said...

I like the way you think, Gary. :)

Aileen said...

This hymn is such a fitting reflection of you! Love it!!!

Lauren said...

I used to try to hammer my points home--but now I find it so much more effective to just "plant a seed" and leave it at that. That's what works for me. After hearing a message, it takes some time for that message to take root and become meaningful. Once I am finally able to hear the message loud and clear, I feel...eerily silly! :)

mouse (aka kimy) said...

gary, there is a little something waiting for you at the mouse. make sure you pick it up!

and another great post! best

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I guess this is the same theory put forth in the book "The Black Swan" which I've thumbed through but have yet to read. I've been trying lately to think about undiscovered abundance instead of pettiness. That's not always easy.

lettuce said...

mission can be such a scarily (negative) value-laden word but mission is caring seems to me what religion should be about, thats when its at its best

I'mm glad you are making progress with the research

(also poop! i missed the poetry day!)

findingmywingsinlife said...

Gary, Always a pleasure to read your thoughts. This was very insightful I think.

WAT said...

Yes. My left headlight went out a little while ago, and all I notice now are the other cars on the road with burnt out headlights! LOLOL! This means I gotta get it fixed soon, so this observation can stop driving me crazy!

We're all a big piece and part of the puzzle ultimately. Six degrees of separation right?

Gary said...

Wat - When I first read your comment I thought you were being philosophical, using the 'headlight' as a metaphor for something spiritual. Then I realized you were talking about an actual headlight and I LAUGHED. See, it doesn't take much to amuse me. Now, go and get that fixed young man.

Wings - And always a pleasure to have you stop by FYB. Thank you.

Letty - Well, you missed Poetry Day but at least you made Theme Thursday - even if they were headless. I always miss Theme Thursdays and after they pass I come up with a "brilliant" post that could have connected to the theme. This morning I thought "OH! I could have written about little Alice Cosgwell who had an influence in bringing FSL into America. There is a 'famous' statue of her with Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Darn it! I need more time to prepare this stuff.

JT - I have not heard of 'The Black Swan' but when I googled it I realized that I have seen that book cover before. I read a description on Amazon and it does seem interesting. Let me know if you enjoy it (when you get around to reading it). Based on your thoughts I may pick it up myself. As for "abundance instead of pettiness" you have a much broader world view than I do and you do quite a bit to bring abundance to so many. You are one of the good guys.

Kimy - Thank you so much! I am usually terrible about passing along these blogger awards, probably becasue I don't post often enough, but I will try to do my bit by passing it along in a timely fashion. We'll see. But I appreciate your words.

Lauren - You are fabulous.

And finally, Aileen and Arielle, you are both fabulous too.

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

You will like this Kerouac quote . . . it's a favorite of mine:

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the sky . . . "

Know that I'm here for you as far as support goes. I know I'd be "virtual" (unless I happen to be in NYC), but I'd welcome the chance to talk dissertation (or whatever) with you.

lilmarm said...

I love poetry, it is so meaningful and powerful. I also write poetry and shorts about my own personal disturbed life. No really, they are not all bad. Some are pretty good.

I love kids, and your students sound amazing; out of the mouths of babes (I), I love it.


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