The Rise of Rich Face

Have a look at this picture.  Have a good hard look.  What do you see?

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I see a woman who has lived a full and rich life hiding behind a mask of youth.

Is this mask demanded of us?  Do we place it upon ourselves?  Are we so ashamed and afraid of getting older that we hide behind false youth and cosmetic procedures.

I took this photo recently whilst on a trip to Mexico.  It was hanging in the Cultural Institute of Cabanas in Guadalajara.  Undoubtedly the finest place for art in Jalisco.  Once a home for orphaned children it is now home to several art galleries.   Unfortunately I forgot to take down the name of the artist and I wish I knew the year that this was painted.

Once upon a time,  growing old was seen as honourable.  The elderly were revered and held positions of honour in the community.

Today Growing old gracefully is increasingly seen as a failure to make the best of yourself – and even shows a lack of respect for the self and or for others. Some might say that you have “let yourself go”.

One day when I was walking arm in arm with an Aunt, I would have been about 22.  I can clearly remember thinking, “I cant wait to get old…. I will be wise… I will be able to help people… I will be respected and revered”.

Now getting old is seen as a fate worse than death.  For the first time in human history, 

“The young have become a model of emulation for the older population, rather than the other way around,” Richard Harrison

The problem does not stop here.

It is not enough any more just to have youth on your side.  We don’t just worship youth,  we worship the youth of the medias imagination.   Now the pressure is on us to be a ‘perfect youth’.   One that hopefully looks a lot like Jenna Kardashian or Barbie.

Recent studies, have revealed how much this is affecting people – particularly girls of a young age. The Girls’ Attitudes survey has shown how body image worries affect many aspects of young girls lives – stopping them wearing the clothes they like, having their pictures taken, taking part in sport and speaking up in class.

The survey reports that 47% of girls aged 11 to 21 say the way they look “holds them back”, while 69% of girls age seven to 11 feel like they are not good enough.

A recent pilot study has found girls as young as 11 are seeking cosmetic surgery for their genitals. What’s going on?  Andrew Trounson, University of Melbourne

When I was 11 I was obsessed with wanting to be Heidi and living on a mountain with goats, eating cheese and hard bread.  I vaguely recall thinking I had two bottoms but that was the end of it.  I certainly would not have know what a labia was.  

This new pilot study is aimed at understanding why a growing number of Australian girls, as young as 11, are seeking cosmetic surgery on their otherwise normal genitals.

University of Melbourne health researcher Emma Barnard says: “Pictures in textbooks and magazines are stylised or airbrushed, and there is a real lack of understanding about the real range of genital diversity.”

I am sorry, I must live under a rock, but how are tween girls getting access to stylised or airbrushed pictures of their genitals?  

The desire to look picture perfect in today’s camera culture fuels this over-the-top approach to grooming and has extended to our genitals.  The rise in pornography has also given rise to the desire for highly sexualised body shapes and images.

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 “The selfie has turned an extreme aesthetic that wouldn’t normally be acceptable into something people want on a daily basis,” explains Melissa Gibson, a senior artist for M.A.C Cosmetics. “It doesn’t appear very natural outside of a photograph, but for some women, that synthetic look is now part of the appeal.” Some choose to make their exaggerated features more permanent with the help of injectables.

A recent study by the University of Macquarie has linked the time women spend on Instagram per day with the level of body dissatisfaction they experience. Women are also likely to experience more body image issues when they use social media to compare themselves to celebrity.

These cosmetic procedures have produced the term Rich Face.  This is where women and girls are proud to wear their over exaggerated features as a badge of wealth.  Much like wearing or showing off $500.00 bag or shoes.  It is now a status symbol.

The most common cosmetic procedures sought out by teens:

If teens are facing this pressure,  imagine the pressure on the ancient 30 plus year olds.  

Did you know that Australia has leapt ahead of America regarding cosmetic surgery.  Australians love plastic surgery. That’s $1bn-worth of  love.

Roughly 500,000 cosmetic procedures were carried out last year. That includes 20,000 boob jobs, 8000 breast argumentations , 30,000 liposuction procedures and $350m dollars’ worth of Botox injections. (Reference)

The fastest growing area of cosmetic work is in non-surgical enhancements. In Australia we know that procedures like dermal fillers for cheeks and lips, or anti-wrinkle injections such as Botox, are fast becoming the most popular choice for people looking to enhance their appearance.

In 2015, Australians spent over $1billion on non-surgical cosmetic procedures  – up from $773 million in 2012. (Reference)

The top five most popular procedures are anti-wrinkle injection, fillers, laser and IPL, breast augmentation and reduction and liposuction.  At the same time the cosmetic surgery industry is booming, eating disorders are the number one killer of any mental health disease in Australia. (Reference)

I am exhausted just writing this article.  The pressure to keep up, look better, look younger is horrific.

Don’t get me wrong,  I indulge in beauty procedures.  I have my eyebrows tinted, my hair dyed, my body and facial hair plucked and waxed.   I spend money on cosmetics and moisturizer.  But how far is too far?  When are we able to feel happy and safe in our own spotty, wrinkled skin.

What happened to the days when wrinkles and flabby skin were a sign of wisdom and respect.  Why are we repulsed by the road map of life etched upon the faces of our elderly? I used to love sitting on my nanas knee and playing with her flappy skin and looking for the red lights on her arms.

Red lights which I now have.

Red lights called cherry angiomas or senile angiomas.  Senile... that is a very strong word.  I will continue to call them red lights.

What happened to loving fresh faces and clean skin?

In 1970 – this was the face of cover girl.

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Move into the 1980’s and 1990’s – clean and fresh becoming replaced by sophisticated party looks.

2000 fresh skin is still looking good……..

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Fast Forward to 2016 and Cover Girl has its first guy as a spokesperson and we begin to see the shift to contouring and shape changing in makeup.

2018 and Cover Girl is now full into face shaping, contouring and  full features.

What am I trying to say?  

Fashion always comes, goes and turns around.  However, what was once used to enhance the features you were born with, is now being used to distort and stylise your features into those that resemble cosmetic procedures.  Actually into those that resemble a mask.  None of this is bad in itself, as long as you have a good grasp of who you are and actually like who you are.

Returning the original photo.  What happens to the woman under the mask?

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What happens to her at the end of the day when the makeup comes off, when the procedures expire.  Is she happy with the person underneath?

Thus comes the saying. BE happy in your own skin.  

I have become a person obsessed with being happy in my own skin.  I am not sad about getting old.  I have worked bloody hard to get old and have the stripes and scars inside and out to prove it.  I feel like a warrior.

I also at times feel insecure and flabby and bumpy.  But I want to enjoy my later years and find joy in who I am within and without.  I want my daughters and my grand daughters to feel safe and happy in their own skins.  To know that they are beautiful because of the light that shines out of them and the brains and thoughts in their heads not the makeup on their faces.  I want them to know that kindness and grace and mercy are worth more than youth and good looks.

Beauty truly is only skin deep.  Like a flower, the beauty  of our youth will fade.  But it will be replaced with many stunning sunsets,  reflected in our wisdom, humour and grace.  The joy of being perfectly at peace and safe in our own skin.  Of rocking grand babies and holding family close and being able to say,  “Its okay,  this will pass.  I know for I have been there”.  You are safe and you are beautiful.

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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The Way

A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no Traveller , not even fools, shall go astray. 
Isaiah 35:8.

The Christian movement was referred to as ‘The Way‘.  Ancient Christians were known as followers of ‘The Way’.  They did not follow a Church or a denomination.  They followed the teachings of Jesus.

This is a description written  to describe these new followers of Christ from The Epistle to Diognetes, c. AD 130..

They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all others; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring.

They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and restored to life.

They are poor yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things and yet abound in all; they are dishonored and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil spoken of and yet are justified; they are reviled and bless; they are insulted and repay the insult with honor; they do good yet are punished as evildoers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred. To sum it all up in one word — what the soul is to the body, that are Christians in the world.

This post was written by Ray Simpson for Way Marks Of Life.

Traveller  1    How can I follow this way when I’ve had two still births, my one baby that survived has a chronic condition, and I feel drained day and night?

Guide             This way has lodging places that exactly meet the needs of each person. Jesus said ‘In my Father’s House are many lodging places (John 14:2). The Greek word suggests that Jesus had in mind the lodging houses that were familiar to people who walked along the trade routes.  By being fully present to your child just where you are, you show you are in fact on the right way. Your baby is also on a journey. Take each day at a time. Each day take a step of love.

Traveller  4    I am a mother of five children.  My life is taken up with household duties. I love my family and Jesus, and I welcome my neighbours to drop in, but everything revolves around relationships and the changing needs of people. I could not keep to a regular rule or routine. Surely that’s for people with a high level of energy and organising ability?

Guide             God has designed his Way for people of all types and circumstances. In today’s Scripture Isaiah points out that everyone can travel it, even fools; only the unclean will be unable to make it. Everyone who has begun to love their children and their neighbour has begun to walk this way. However, Jesus said ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’ (Matthew 22:39). In order to love yourself and others you need to renew the springs of care. Otherwise you burn out and cease to be a life-giving parent and neighbour. If you refuse to rest and to snatch moments for prayer and reflection you are disobeying Jesus who said ‘If you love me, keep my commandments’ (John 14:15). If you disregard the way your body is made you are disregarding Jesus. If you disregard the way the days and weeks are made you are disregarding Jesus. Jesus has built rhythm into the fabric of your being and of the earth.  So being mindful of the sun rising and setting, being aware of how the food on the plates came to get there, is not an impossible extra burden, it is intrinsic to you being a good human being, a good mother and a good neighbour.

It is true that you will not travel this Way in the same manner that a commando officer or an elite athlete would, but God does not want everyone to be like that. So relax. Breathe in God, take a step, and share the journey with a soul friend.

Traveller  5    Isaiah says the unclean can’t walk this way. I have unclean thoughts, my room is in a mess, I’ve broken up with my partner and I’ve got into debt, so even though I believe in God, I can’t walk this way until I’ve sorted everything out, can I?

Guide             Jesus enlisted a prostitute (John 8:11), he knew that everyone has unclean thoughts (Matthew 5:18), and he explained what people with messed up relationships and debt could do about these (Matthew 5:23, 24; 18:23-35).  The first New Testament followers of the Way did not include many big wigs and egg heads, for God chose people who looked foolish in their eyes to be followers of the Way (1 Corinthians 1:27).

———————

Into reflection

Jesus, you are ahead of me, I come to you just as I am.

Anthology on Prayer: Part Two

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of gratitude. James 5:13

Anthology on Prayer:  Part 2

A few weeks ago I contacted several of my friends and asked them to comment on two questions about the topic of prayer.  They were kind enough to send back their responses for us to read. These were the questions that I asked.

1:  What is prayer to you?

2:  Does prayer work?

In Anthology on Prayer Part 1, we had guests Nicole Conner, Dr Ps John Drane and Cameron Semmens.  You can read their thoughts here:  Anthology on Prayer Part One.

Today our guests on the blog are Joel McKerrow and Mark Conner.

Let me introduce you to Joel McKerrow.  Joel is one of the most beautiful and deep souls you will ever meet.  He is a safe place, a harbour of peace and a wonder with words.

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Joel McKerrow  is a writer, speaker, educator, community arts worker and one of Australia’s most successful internationally touring performance poets. Based out of Melbourne, Australia he is the Artist Ambassador for the aid and development organisation ‘TEAR Australia’ and currently teaches at Whitley College.  Accomplished author and poet, Joel is passionate about discovering a new way to live outside the system of the Empire of Greed and spends much of his time trying to match his actions with this belief.

Father Richard Rohr talks about Joel here: 

“The old windows are not letting in much light. Nor do they allow people to look out, through and beyond. We see it everywhere: in the cynicism of politics, the machinery of the market, the intransigence of religion passing for faith, and the ravaged quality of so many human lives. Light is not getting through. We have always waited and asked for better windows, a truer lens, some ways to see the brightness and goodness that we somehow know is there. It is to this deeper, already knowing, that Joel McKerrow appeals. He draws us through a much better window.”

~ Father Richard Rohr, The Centre for Action and Contemplation ~

Joel, what is prayer to you?

1. Prayer is a movement of the self toward the divine. It is, in the everydayness of life, a choosing to be present and a giving of ones attention to the God who is always present and attentive toward us. It is an opening up of ones cognition, emotion and physicality toward this God.

Prayer is the thin place between the invisible world and the visible. It is the turning of the ache and the wound and the desire and the shadow toward the sacred one and in doing so being transformed.

Does prayer work?

2. The term ‘work’ might be problematic when we come to prayer. Especially in our Western understanding of progress and production and fast-food gratification. Most often prayer does not feed our expectations, which can feel as though it is therefore not ‘working’. However, prayer is never about the destination of an answer, of something that ‘worked’. It is more a re-orientation of the self, it offers a way to know the presence of God regardless of what the reality of life might about to be.

If the point of prayer is simply a movement of the self toward the divine, then it works every time.

Mark Conner is one of the kindest people you will meet and is a family friend.   Mark  has been involved in church leadership for over three decades. He is a gifted leader, author and speaker who brings a wealth of wisdom and life experience to whatever he engages in.

Mark has a genuine love for people and a passion to help them grow and change. He has a Masters of Arts degree in theology from Ridley College and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.  You can follow Mark here on his blog: Mark Conners Space

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1. What is prayer to you?

To me, prayer is simply conversation with God. It is endeavouring to live all of life with a constant awareness that he is with me and for me. It includes speaking to him – audibly but also just in my thoughts at times – but also listening for him – not always speaking through tangible words to me but also through thoughts, promptings, feelings and sometimes simply through an amazing sense of peace. Like our very breath, to me prayer is meant to be like the air that we breathe, not something we merely do at the beginning of the day in a ‘quiet time’ or in a formal church meeting.

2. Does prayer work?

I don’t see prayer as a way to manipulate God to do what I want him to do. Much of the formulaic methodologies of how to pray in order to twist God’s arm to act as I think he should smells of magic incantations to me.

To me, prayer works in that it makes me more aware of God and it reminds me that I am not in charge of the world, which is good news.

Thank you Mark and Joel for your insights and your wisdom.

Our prayers are precious to God. They represent His promises to us, and His relationship with us. If you are going through a really challenging time at the moment and you feel like there is no hope.  Or that prayer is just a waste of time.  I will leave you with these words from N.T.Wright. Taken from an interview with Dargan Thompson on August 18 2015. 

So what do you say to people who are in a rough period and they’re waiting for something to happen and it just isn’t coming?

In that period of waiting, it’s like when you sow a seed in the ground in the fall, in the autumn, and you want to be impatient. You want to say, “I planted the seed, I want something to grow straight away, please.” But you have to wait through the winter.

During the winter, it isn’t that nothing is happening, it’s that the seed is germinating out of sight underground. It needs to be there. In the spring, when the new shoots happen, it looks sudden to us, because we haven’t seen anything going on until then, but actually, stuff has been going on underground.

Again and again, God works underground in our lives, in our imaginations, in our personal circumstances and in the wider world, and then suddenly something new happens, a new project, a new moment in our lives, and we’re astonished at it. T.S. Elliot had that wonderful poem that’s part of his four quartets where he says, “Wait without thought, for you are not yet ready for thought.” In other words, don’t even try to figure out what’s going on. If God has kept you in the dark at the moment, it may be because you have to go through a winter season in order that the spring, when it comes, will find those new plants well rooted and well bedded in.

That’s very difficult, because the darkness looks just dark. But that’s where we cling onto the teaching and promise of Jesus. Jesus taught those parables about seeds growing secretly and so on precisely in order that people could latch onto the promise that even when it looks dark, looks as though nothing is happening, God is at work and the seeds will indeed produce fruit at the right time.

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If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on-line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Does Prayer Really Work? The Power of a Mothers Prayer.

Does Prayer Really Work? The Power of a Mothers Prayer.  by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

I was born under an umbrella of matriarchy, steeped in prayer and giggles.

My Nanna was a woman who prayed constantly for her family.  She had each of their pictures in frames on shelves in her little room and every day she would pray for each of her children and grandchildren.  I knew that I was the luckiest little girl in the ‘whole world’ because when I was about 10 my Nanna came to live with us.  There was nothing better in the universe than being close to Nanna.  She was sweet and cheeky.  Even her name was like a cloud of Spring Sunshine –  ‘Violet’.

She loved a cup of tea but she detested dirty feet.  Oh ouch ouch !!!!!  My little sister and I would sit in two inches of lukewarm bath water at the end of the day with our feet in the air while Nanna scrubbed our feet clean with a flannel and we tried not to squirm or she would scrub harder.  “Dirty little heathens” she would mutter.  ‘These dirty little feet wont be getting into my clean sheets’.

My Nanna loved tea, ‘Lan Choo Tea’.   Lan Choo tea because The LAN-CHOO Bonus Plan offers you a choice from over 500 useful gifts in exchange for the Bonus Labels on the end of each LAN-CHOO packet.

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“Next time you are in town visit the LAN-CHOO ‘Bonus Showrooms’ and inspect the useful and interesting range of Bonus Presents awaiting LAN-CHOO customers”.

I’m not sure that we ever went to those magical  ‘Bonus Showrooms’ in Flinders Street Melbourne, but she was passionate about saving those labels.  She even had a special tin for them.

Often I would creep into her room and kneel with her by her bed and listen to her pray.  I remember her saying to me,  “Lisa, we don’t ever need to fear.  Sometimes things may go wrong in life, we may be haunted but we’ll never be daunted”.  She was a funny lady, full of mischief, a wicked sense of humour and a woman of prayer.

She smelled like lavender and washed my hair with curly pet.  ‘Curly Pet’ the wonder of wonders was ordered every month.  The label stated that it was “guaranteed to give your baby curls”. My head was liberally smothered with it which is hilarious because I actually have naturally curly hair which of course was attributed to the wonder working powers of ‘Curly Pet’ and not my DNA.

She used Curly Pet on my hair and the magnificent Dippity Do on hers.  I’m not sure what excactly dippty do did, but as a young child I loved nothing more than to get into all the magical pots and formulas on Nanas dressing table.  Dippity Do was also a great standby if you ran out of clagg.

Nanna taught me how to tap dance, how to play pranks, how to play scrabble and how to pray.

Nanna had three daughters and two sons.  The eldest child, my mother, and my two aunts Carol and Bev, have also inherited this mandate of prayer and my Nanna’s wicked sense of humour.  Although our families have been through some traumatic times, two thing stands firm in their lives:  prayer and an irreverent sense of humour.

Prayer and humour have helped us navigate some dark days.  Somehow we always bounced back because:

1:  The Lord is good and He answers prayer

2:  We were never allowed to be daunted

I didn’t really know what daunted meant as a child. Today I finally looked up what daunted means. It means to: “take aback, shake, throw, demoralise or dishearten.  AND if ever we were thinking about being a little tiny bit daunted, there was always a strong cup of tea with lots of sugar to knock that nonsense out of us.

I learned from my Nan that Prayer is simply a conversation with God.  The bible tells us that prayer brings peace, and wisdom and that it is effective and powerful.  ‘So we…petitioned our God about this and he answered our prayer’ (Ezra 8:23).

Today I have asked my mother Lauris and my two aunts Aunty Bev and Aunty Carol to answer some questions for me about prayer.  My Mother is 87 this year.  I can’t tell you how old my aunts are because I’m still scared of them and they could kill me for telling you.  Or ‘slap me over the wrist with a tram ticket’ as my Nana would say.

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Aren’t they beautiful they are so precious:  Aunty Bev on the left, Aunty Carol in the middle and Mum (Lauris) on the right.  Standing outside the home they grew up in Abbotsford.

To this day each of my siblings and 19 cousins know that at any time of the day or night,  they have an open line to either of these three women for prayer requests.  They pray regularly and often pray  together over the phone.  Many times I have joined these matriarchs in times of prayer.

In the movie ‘The Castle’, presents go straight to the pool room.  In our family prayer requests go straight to the ‘hot line’.

From: The Sisters about their mother

Mum used to get up very early in the morning to pray and then would return to her room several times during the day to pray some more.  She called her bedroom her ‘prayer closet’ or her ‘sanctuary’.  Prayer was very important part of mums life and she would receive prayer requests from friends and family daily.  You would often hear her on the phone praying with someone.  She was a warrior woman and would never give up.

As sisters we do a prayer reading everyday.  Prayer is a major part of our lives too.  We do a reading together every day so that we have read the whole bible through each year.  We pray in the morning and at night and there are many times when we are woken up in the middle of the night to pray – or have a burden of prayer.  When we are worried about one of our kids or grandchildren we say “Well there no use worrying about it,  Lets Pray!”

We have seen our prayers answered so many times that there are too many to mention.

Does prayer work?   Of course prayer works.  Bev could not have children and Mum got us together to pray.  Mum said to Bev “you are not barren” and we will pray believing.   A few months later Bev was pregnant.

We feel so happy and excited when we pray.  We feel really free in our spirit and Bev really gets revved up (don’t put that bit in cause she’ll get mad).  Sometimes we cry and laugh for joy at the goodness of God and how good he has been to our families.  We are truly blessed.

Even when there seems no way out or ‘no answer’, prayer bring us peace, joy and an assurance that we can rest knowing that God cares for our families and we can trust Him.  He has never failed us.  God is Good.

This testimony from Bev concerning her friend Kirsten and the power of prayer.

Kirsten’s husband Sam was destroying his life on ice and had become abusive to the family so he left her. Kirsten needed prayer as her two young sons were being hard to handle.  They did not want to go school, they were sleeping in her bed  and generally not coping with the situation.

One day Kristen came  to visit me with her two boys.   I could sense that they were very distraught so I asked the  boys if I could pray with them and they said yes.  I asked them ‘what would you like me to pray for?’   They asked if  we could pray for their dad to get better.  I said if I pray will you believe with me and they said yes.   So together we prayed for their father.   After texting the boys daily to encourage them and pray with them, we then heard  that Sam had come home and asked forgiveness for being so nasty.  He also asked if the boys would thank the ladies that had been praying for him.  He was so amazed that two ladies (Lauris and Bev) who didn’t even know him, were praying for him.

Sams recovery was a miracle.  He went and asked for professional help, he then attended every meeting needed to get well.  He ended up getting a  certificate to say he was free from drugs and is now home with his family.

The truth is that the faith and prayers of the boys was answered.  God answers prayer.

Final comment from Lauris

It is very important to pray.   The ‘big thing’ is that you pray with faith and believe God and you must believe in what you are asking for.  Speak to God as if you were speaking to your father who loves you and who wants to look after you.  Speak with an open heart like a little child because He cares about you with an everlasting love.  Get started on exercising your faith, people are always talking about how we need to exercise,  but forget to exercise their faith.  Exercise builds muscle and endurance.  It’s no different with faith and prayer.  Believe in God and you will see some mighty things begin to happen.

I hope you enjoyed this little journey into my family heritage.  I feel very blessed to have these precious women in my life.

 

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people.

Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support to help pay for annual fees etc..  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

https://www.patreon.com/SundayEveryday

 

 

 

 

 

An Anthology on Prayer: Part One

An Anthology on Prayer Part One

by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

What is Prayer?

Does prayer work?

Over the next weeks you will hear from, poets, theologians, authors, musicians, pastors and leaders from Social Justice platforms.

These posts will be done in the form of an anthology, which is a collection of writings or poems.  In this post,  ‘An Anthology on Prayer Part One’ we will be hearing from:  Dr John Drane, Nicole Conner and Cameron Semmens.

The last two decades for me have been years of un-learning. I was raised in a pentecostal fundamentalist cult. When I left the cult in 2000 I attended the pentecostal Mega Church. During that time I studied Theology at Tabor College. One of the hardest and healthiest things I have done.

I say this because we all look at life through the prisms and perspectives.  The way we have been raised usually has a big influence upon us.  My perspective was, in the past, very myopic, narrow and mostly driven by fear. There were many rules and certainties around my faith.  I have now come out into a larger space and am certainly more reflective and open about God and His relationship with us in this world. I am less dogmatic and less certain. In fact the more I know the more I realise I don’t know.

In this season of sifting, one of the topics I have been re-visiting  is Prayer.

I am letting God out of His box now. I want to hear from a range of people who view life and faith from different angles.

Along with this season of unlearning has been a growing suspicion of leaders. I don’t think I am alone in this. I believe that generally as a society we have all felt let down by pastors, politicians, sporting heroes and civic leaders.

Who do we go to for answers when there is such a feeling of disconnection?  Who can we trust?

There are still several people on the planet that I hold in high regard and whom I trust to speak their hearts with integrity.  So I decided to enlist their help on this topic.  I contacted a dozen or so of my trusted friends, colleagues and mentors and asked them for their perspective on prayer.  They come from all walks of life.

Rev. Dr John Drane is a gift to me and I am very grateful for his input on this topic. John is a theologian who is probably best known for his two best-selling books on the Bible, Introducing the Old Testament and Introducing the New Testament.  Among many other things John is founder of the religious studies program at the University of Stirling, Scotland. He is also appointed to teach Practical Theology in the Divinity School at the University of Aberdeen. Currently a self-employed consultant working with churches of many different denominations throughout the United Kingdom as well as internationally.

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An adjunct professor in New Testament and Practical theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, California, a visiting scholar at Spurgeon’s College in London and a visiting Fellow of St John’s College, Durham. John is also an ordained minister and well-known throughout the UK and western world for his academic contributions.

If you wish to follow John you can do so on his YouTube channel John Drane

These are the two questions that I asked them all to consider: 

1:  What is Prayer?

2:  Does Prayer Work?

What is Prayer?

Prayer is an attitude or environment when we live in conscious awareness that we are surrounded by the presence of the divine in every moment of life.  Martin Luther didn’t say that prayer is work, but that work is prayer – and so is (or can be) everything else.

Sometimes that awareness of God comes unexpectedly out of the blue, at other times it’s about making space for it intentionally.  Prayer can be a sense of awe and wonder in the face of something or somebody beyond ourselves, at other times it can be words and actions.  Conversations, listening as well as speaking.

First and foremost though it’s an openness to ourselves, to others, and to God.  Jesus pretty much summed it up with talking about loving God with heart, soul, mind and strength, which is a pretty holistic vision.

Does it ‘work’?  

Depends what you mean by ‘work’.

Researchers have concluded that living in an attitude of prayerfulness can improve your health and help you live longer, and there’s evidence from the Harvard prayer project that suggests being prayed for by others can improve your chances of recovery from serious illness.

There’s a lot we don’t understand, and though prayer never seems to get us the parking spaces that others claim, we would say that yes, prayer does work – in all its many forms.

Nicole Conner

A bit from Nicole: Perhaps what you need to know about me is that I am a story-teller. I love stories. I always have. I have devoted my life to stories – as a writer and public speaker I believe stories can change the world.  Nicole brings three decades of experience in speaking and training about topics such us spirituality, liminality, social justice, volunteerism and theological perspectives.

Check out her blog:  Reflections of  a Mugwump 

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Nicole is one of my trusted and closest friends.

What is Prayer? 

My prayer journey has changed over the years – it has changed in accordance with my understanding of who God is. I can apply this to Richard Rohr’s thoughts about first and second half of life – in some way we frantically build structure and meaning in the first half – it is about ego, image and success.

As we enter the threshold or liminal space into what contains our second half we begin to deconstruct, hold paradox and mystery. God is mystery and God is love – my prayer life centres around this.

All that preamble to say that I no longer see prayer as earning some invisible brownie points with God – I believe in ritual but only because it ties into the rhythm of life. My prayer ritual is taking certain moments every day and breathing and recognising God who is all in all – it includes silence, contemplation, listening and spoken word. These rituals for me are enhanced in spaces of natural beauty – but that is not always possible depending on where I find myself throughout the day.

Does prayer work? 

It’s a great question and one that triggers me back to my frantic first half where I made all sorts of promises to people about prayer using my privilege of dominant platform voice. The question is what do we mean by ‘does prayer work’? Work what?

And let’s consider our answer as a global citizen … with thousands and thousands of desperate human prayers asking for safety, food, liberation from horrific acts of violence.

I think prayer works when we begin to stop seeing prayer as a  spiritualised form of our Christmas wish list that we were privileged to construct in our often dominant, wealthy, insular culture and context. Prayer works perhaps when we recognise our responsibility in what it means to see the ‘kingdom come’ … and this often means letting go, living sustainably, saying no, and making a rich contribution in the issues of justice.

Unknown

Cameron Semmens

Cameron Semmens is a 2 times broken-hearted, award-winning performance poet, poetry educator and book designer. He’s got 21 books to his name and 4 spoken word albums. His most recent book, ‘Get Poor Quick through Poetry – 101 super easy steps to obscurity, disappointment and straight-up cashlessness’, luckily has only sold 82 copies, so it’s keeping well within his hopes and expectations.

Some call Cameron ‘a connoisseur of fine words’; others call him ‘dad’ (specifically his two little kids); and still others call him on the phone to chat about his writing workshops, or performing, or commissioning a poem, or just being arty.

He lives amidst the foggy ferny forests of The Dandenong Ranges, and can often be found in cafés head-down, fingers-a-blur dreaming up words to move, inform and discombobulate.

He’s been drawing a lot lately… with Indian ink and a falcon feather quill. This seems to be developing into a new artistic expression, but it’s still a bit too early to call.  Listen to his podcast ‘Shards – The 1 Poem Podcast of Cameron Semmens’ and check out www.webcameron.com

Cameron never fails to bring joy and hope to my life.  He is a rare human and his view on the world is one that I cherish.

Answer 1: Like a Wave Veiled With Spray Rushing to Her Groom

Presence

is the only true

prayer.

Move

to the bloody edge of your body,

where skin becomes see-through

and only membranes of thought hold you in

– there

you have a chance of seeing

‘the other’

beyond;

– there – 

you may see

how a hand may be perfectly placed

to worship.

Lean forward

to the very edge of this moment;

the closest you can get to the future

before you become

tomorrow

(or one hundred thousand years from now)

– here – 

pressing hard against potential

with hammering hope

and storm-front love;

– here – 

you might just see things

beyond any known horizon;

and you might just

be things

you thought

un-poetry-able

and impossibly connected.

Prayer

is the only true

presence.

Answer 2 :  How to Build a Permanent Sandcastle

Prayer doesn’t work;

it isn’t off makin’ a buck;

it is always at play;

toying with our oh-so-serious priorities;

it is a sly-eyed larrikin

in the poised and pretty shop-front display

of this-season’s fashionable importances.

Listen!

Listen to the bloodied lips of a heartbreak.

Listen the shag-pile rug

frayed and flattened with our living.

Keep listening!

Don’t stop listening to all the world around you –

it is all at play;

it is all in prayer.

Like the chubby hand of a toddler

patting firm the crumbling walls of a sandcastle

with waves surging at its oyster shell gates –

prayer

is every beautiful, bumbling attempt

to ‘build up’

in the face of certain oblivion.

Play for me.

Oh God, please,

play for me!

Summary

To be honest, reading and re-reading these thoughts makes me very teary.  “Wham right between the eyes”,  I am hit with the reality of answered prayer.  These amazing friends of mine who I love and who am privelaged to do life with are answered prayer to me.

I designed this series because I was struggling with prayer, what it was and was it real.  I now feel held, blessed and a little humbled.  Thank you dear hearts.

Stand outs for me:

Prayer can be a sense of awe and wonder in the face of something or somebody beyond ourselves – John.

As I just explained,  I have recieved answered prayer in the faces of my friends. Totally unexpected. Thank you.

Let’s consider our answer as a global citizen … with thousands and thousands of desperate human prayers asking for safety, food, liberation from horrific acts of violence. – Nicole

I constantly struggle with this.  I am praying that my son suceeds in a job interview whilst somewhere in the world a child is sold into sex slavery.  Prayer is not a Christmas wish list.  Prayer changes US.  Profound

Finally

Prayer doesn’t work; it isn’t off makin’ a buck;  it is always at play.

Seriously I have read this and laughed at least 12 times.  Ahh Cam you always make me laugh with the truth.  A rare gift.  Prayer isnt off making a buck.  Lol…….. It is always at play.  Let’s not forget to play and to live in moments of mirth and wonder.

What resonated with you?

I hope you are blessed by this as much as I have been.

Stay tuned for Part Two next week. 

xxxx Lisa.

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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God Is Us

In the  beginning God said let US make man and woman in OUR image (Gen 1:26).

God is Us

God is communion

God is relationship

If you are trying to understand Christianity you need to understand Jesus.  The one who began it all.  Jesus thought about everything through the lens of relationship, through the lens of multiple, through the lens of inclusion and equality.  He lived and exemplified non-duality.  Non-dual means, not two, not separate.

“In spirituality, nondualism, also called non-duality, means “not two” or “one undivided without a second”. Nondualism primarily refers to a mature state of consciousness, in which the dichotomy of I-other is ‘transcended’, and awareness is described as ‘centerless’ and ‘without division'” (Wiki).

We however, live with dualistic thinking. We think in division.  We always fall into the trap of Us and Them.  We naturally exclude, compare, segregate.  We like to put things into black and white.  We are constantly and naturally dividing without even thinking about it.

The dualistic mind is essentially binary, either/or thinking. It knows by comparison, opposition, and differentiation. It uses descriptive words like good/evil, pretty/ugly, smart/stupid, not realizing there may be a hundred degrees between the two ends of each spectrum (Rohr).

“The dualistic mind cannot process things like infinity, mystery, God, grace, suffering, sexuality, death, or love; this is exactly why most people stumble over these very issues” (Rohr).

Jesus, the Spirit and the father are one and different.  NOT two.  As soon as you have two you have oppositional thinking.  You have to chose sides.  Three flows,  three is relationship, it is the flow of life.  “Whatever is going on in God is a flow, a radical relatedness, a perfect communion between Three—a circle dance of love. And God is not just a dancer; God is the dance itself” (Source).

An infinite flow and rhythm of love.  Flowing ceaselessly and eternally. God is the life force and energy that flows through everything in the universe.  God is with us and in us and flows through us.

I would suggest that today we have been stuck with a small God.  A dualistic version of God. God the threatener, God the watcher, God the punisher.  A black and white, small God.  The God of division, the God of them and us and the God that is preoccupied with exclusion.  This is not the God of Jesus and it is not the God that I know.

I would go further to even suggest that true salvation is not so much about sin, (black and white),  a transformation from dualistic thinking to non-dualistic thinking.  Where we think about inclusion, acceptance, life and love. Where God is involved in everything that we do, all of the time.  God is life and His/Her life is a flowing, moving force all of the time whether see it or not.

We only exist in relationship.  Outside of love and relationship we die very quickly.  Thats why loneliness, which is living in a state of exclusion, is a Global  epidemic that is killing us.  (See Loneliness is Killing Us).  The Trinity, or the Godhead, invites us to participate in the living, loving relationship with them, here and now.

Happy group of diverse people, friends, family, team together

All relationship happens through mirroring.  In the reflection of each other.  All of the references to the Holy Spirit are dynamic words: elusive wind, descending dove, falling fire, flame and flowing water.  God is trying to help us to see, with the eyes of our understanding, who God is.  HE is dynamic, multiple, reflecting, moving, flowing.  Either God is moving in and through you or He is not moving at all.   It is a process of loving and being loved.   As soon as you lock down, take sides,  stand back, isolate.  God is not moving through you.  As soon as you start thinking dualistically, you have stepped outside of the flow of God.

People admire strength and individuality, God it seems loves vulnerability and mutuality.   While we accept and gather those who look like us and think like us, God gathers anyone and everyone who believes.  We like boxes and boundaries, God dissolves boundaries and cannot be contained.

When I think of this model of relationship I think of a picture of the basic building block of the universe.  The Atom.  

stock-photo-illustration-of-atom-which-is-basic-building-blocks-of-all-matter-of-the-universe-in-d-with-105396998
Everything in the universe is created in the divine image.  In the Atom you have the electron, neutron and proton all circling around each other.  Flowing and holding the life of the atom together.  This is perfect picture of  mutual relationship.
Ezekiel saw it this way when he was given a vision of the divine: Ezekiel 1:16-21

“I saw something that looked like a wheel on the ground beside each of the four-faced creatures. This is what the wheels looked like: They were identical wheels, sparkling like diamonds in the sun. It looked like they were wheels within wheels, like a gyroscope.

They went in any one of the four directions they faced, but straight, not veering off. The rims were immense, circled with eyes. When the living creatures went, the wheels went; when the living creatures lifted off, the wheels lifted off. Wherever the spirit went, they went, the wheels sticking right with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When the creatures went, the wheels went; when the creatures stopped, the wheels stopped; when the creatures lifted off, the wheels lifted off, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels”.

I believe this is perfect example of relationship.  Us the many, wheels within wheels.  Moving constantly and being led by the Spirit of God.  Wherever the spirit went, they went. The spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.  What a beautiful picture of the atom.  The building block of life.  Wheels within wheels.

If you take the metaphor of a wheel and apply it to community it is a beautiful picture of balance and sharing.  Only a part of the wheel is connected to the earth at any one time.  The wheel moves and in doing so the load is shared.  The load is carried by all.  Every part belongs and every part of the wheel has a part to play.

In Ezekiels vision the wheels sparkled – they were reflective.  What a beautiful picture of vulnerability and transparency.  Each wheel reflecting back to the other and seeing each other.

In contrast, humanity’s  picture of structural  relationship is the pyramid.  A couple of power controllers live at the top with the load building and getting heavier the further down the pyramid you go.

power-pyramid

Its not a stretch to say that all of our industries and governments are run with money at the top of the pyramid.  All of our institutions and global enterprises are run like this and so are a lot of families.  How many times have you heard the term, “I am the head of this house?”.  Totally opposite to the dynamic and moving flow of the Spirit of God where everyone and everything belongs.  Where people and relationship is the primary focus not money or power.

When men and women feel threatened they always pull out the power card.  Dualistic thinking by its nature is one that controls and pulls rank.  In relationship breakdowns it is always: “What about me”.  It is about the ego and how to protect our patch.  You said this and I said that.    A truly holy person will always protect relationship at all costs.

They know that Gods highest priority is relationship.

 

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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An Age of Darkness and Anxiety

An Age of Darkness and Anxiety by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

I believe that this age will be known as the age of anxiety.  The world seems very big, very out of control and we seem very small and we don’t know what to do about it.  The sign posts have all changed.  The world is no longer a simple place.  We don’t even know who our enemies are any more.  It is no longer black and white.

One reason that people have lost heart today is that we feel both confused and powerless.  The forces against us are overwhelming: consumerism, racism, militarism, individualism, patriarchy…these powers and principalities seem to be fully in control (Richard Rohr).

We don’t know what to do with our fear.  365 time in the bible instruct us: ‘do not be afraid’ but we are not sure how to not be afraid when every morning we wake up to a new level of terror and pain.  Fear is a very real enemy that we need to recognise and learn how to deal with.   Fear is negative energy and if we don’t know how to hold it, to transform it, we expel it.  We breath it over our lives and it consumes everything in it’s path.  We expel it in anxiety, rejection, hatred and by shrinking the world around us into manageable bite size pieces that we can control.  Unfortunately this suffocates relationships and is the exact opposite of love.

People with anxiety perceive the world differently—their brain lumps both safe and unsafe things together and labels them all unsafe.
The very definition of spirituality is to be able to sit with pain.  To hold it, to embrace it, to understand it and to allow it to transform us.  It is the opposite to expelling.  Richard Rohr says that ‘Spirituality at its best is what you do with your pain’.   We are bombarded, literally daily with global pain and we are overwhelmed.  We have no idea what to do with our pain and this is causing a global crisis of anxiety.

Talk to any psychologist and they will tell you that the fear response works two ways.  Fight or flight.   We use these responses to avoid pain.  It is an natural inbuilt response to avoid danger, to avoid the predator.  Think of a animal being hunted, its first reaction is to flee from danger,  if it can’t, it will stop and fight.  How does this look in our daily life.

Fight

You hear and see the fighters.  They are loud and aggressive.  Their opinions override you.  They are the zealots.  They are the ones condemning, controlling.  They are always look for the evil person so that they can hate, reject, expel.  They do it for all the right reasons and in self righteous rage.   They get energised by having an enemy.  You don’t have to look far – look at the American Presidential race and see the hatred and vitriol, or bring up the topic of refugees, the American gun lobby, ISIS or LGBTIQ.

Flight

These respond out of ignorance.  They are often ill-informed and very conservative.  They hold to their moral ground at all costs.  Everything is black and white.  We are right and you are wrong.  There are good people and bad people and they have nothing to do with the bad people.  They are the bubble people who surround themselves with other bubble people who safely hold the same opinion.  The world is a bad place and we need to keep all the bad people away from us.  Secure our boarders,  send back the boats, get rid of the Muslims, don’t allow LGBTIQ people into the church. Why?  Because its wrong and that’s enough for me.  They are in denial and live in naivety and they like it that way.

Third Way

There is a third way, Rohr calls this the way of wisdom.

The other day I took my kids and their partners out for dinner.  The topic came up about the recent QandA which hosted Pauline Hanson and then the following media storm around the comments made by Sonia Kruger.  My kids are all pretty vocal,  so the partners sat quietly for a while and let the lions roar.  They were enraged at the ignorance of comments made against Muslims.  They were furious at the racism, the fear and the stupidity.  I was trying to say what was on my heart but had to let the roar continue for a while.  When a quiet voice piped up,  can you three quiet down, I would really like to hear your mothers opinion.

My concern was that although I didn’t agree with Pauline and Sonia I could hear and see their pain.  My question to my kids was this.  Instead of just slamming them, who is helping them with their pain?  Watching Sonia on the Today Show you could see she was visibly shaken and frightened.  No one is addressing the fear or the pain.  We are just getting fight of flight responses.

The third way to look at these issues is through the eyes of wisdom.  Wisdom teaches us to see the pain and to learn how to process it but more than that, allows us to transform the pain.  Transformation is always a process, it is confusing, dark, disorientating.  The end game of transformation is that takes you to a place where you can comfortably hold paradox, where you can weigh up both flight and fight responses but see something more.

If we don’t transform the pain we will transmit it.

“The way of wisdom is beyond flight and beyond fight, and yet is a certain sense including both of them.  It’s fighting in a new way from within and fleeing from the quick egocentric response.  Only God can hold such an act together within us.  The small self is always too small” (Richard Rohr)

bridge_over_water_by_vanity_alchemist-d5761uz

I believe that the true Christ followers of our age will be bridge builders.  They will be the ones to walk with grace, and peace and light to show the way.  These will be the ones who are able to see both sides, hold the tension, build the bridge and allow both sides to not only meet in the middle but to transverse to the other side.  To engage in empathy and to walk a mile in the ‘others’ shoes.  Bridge builders are more concerned for the other, they see pain and they embrace it, they walk alongside it.  This is the message of the gospel.  The gospel that loves the enemy and embraces the marginalised.

Bridge builders operate out of love and love is the opposite of fear.  Fear burns the bridges, fear build walls, fear isolates.   Love dispels fear.  Love is a healing balm in this rageous and enflamed society in which we live.  Love pulls down the middle walls of division and extends the olive branch of peace.  Love looks at darkness and chaos and sees creativity and possibility.  Life is birthed in the dark womb.  Life was breathed over the darkness and chaos of a world which was void of life.  Life comes to a seed which is planted deep in the darkness of the womb earth.

Love sees possibility, life and creativity where fear only has the ability to expel, reject, hate and kill.

Featured Image by Matt Lawson

Richard Rohr Quotes taken from his book Hope against Darkness.

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Prayer, Contemplation and Solitude

Yesterday I read back on some notes that I took a few years ago on ‘Rhythm, Solitude and Creation’.  I was in a break out session listening to a dear dear man Ray Simpson.  Reading over these notes again gave me such a sense of peace and rest.  I realise that that peace is only a step away and can be found in silence, solitude and rhythm with creation.  Read these thoughts and be blessed.

Continue to meditate on solitude and creation.  We become too busy and too disconnected and then wonder why we struggle.  Well at least I do.

Ray Head shot

Ray Simpson

Ray Simpson is the founding guardian of the community of Aidan and Hilda.

He is an ordained Anglican Priest who lives on the Holy Island of Lindisfarm in England, the cradle Island of Christianity.

He has been there for nearly 20 years where he runs retreats for pilgrims, and consults on church renewal strategies.  He is the author of number of best-selling books on Celtic Spirituality, new monasticism and patterns of prayer.

Rhythm, Solitude and Creation

Deep in every human heart is a longing, most people don’t have a name for this longing, so they look for substitutes.  The problem is that the substitutes don’t work.

“Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you’

_Augustine

How does our heart become one with God?  We connect to the heart of God, creation and the contemporary world through the rhythms of prayer, contemplation and solitude.  These are the three things that unite us with God.

Rhythm 

The garden of Eden is a parable that we can use to model Rhythm.  We are supposed to walk and talk with God in rhythm with creation.  It is the default programme that the creator built into us and we have taken it out.

Rhythm has been built into the universe and we are now disconnected from it.  We are disconnected because of: business, ego, work, screens, disconnection from land and country, 24 hour working conditions and many more.

Many religions like the Jews and Muslims are disciplined to pray  in rhythm and at set times.  We can also do this.  It doesn’t have to be difficult.  We can use the rhythms that we already have like: getting out of bed, having lunch, going to bed at nights.

In the morning when we get out of bed we can pray mindfully.

As I wake today

As I get up today

I rise in peace

I rise in hope

I rise in love

As the sun rises we can also let the awareness of God rise in our hearts.

Personally, every morning when I wake I say something like this:

“Good morning Lord, I love you.  I commit this day into your hands.  Will you help me today?  Im not sure that I can do this day without you.  Will you lead and guide me?”

Sense God, acknowledge him in the morning.

Pause at sometime in the middle of the day.  

You may be  in the bathroom at work.  “Lord be with me in the middle of the day, I trust you”.

At night as you lie down.

“I lie down this night with God.  And God will lie down with me”.

The bible says, “Don’t let the sun go down  on your wrath” Eph 4:26.  This also means don’t let the sun go down on your unprocessed material. Don’t let it build up.   Reflect on the day, be mindful of what happened in the day and reconcile it.  Make it right before God. Go to bed in peace rather than unresolved.

This is called ‘Intentional Rhythm’.

We also need time to be cut off from distraction and awareness.  Most of us are over-connected, overstimulated.  We need rhythms, times and seasons where we withdraw.  Jesus often withdrew to the mountain, to the desert, to the boat.

In Hebrew, the word ‘shalom’ is holistic.  It encompasses peace, wholeness of both mind and body.  In our western society we have separated mind and body through dualism.  We need to allow Jesus to heal the split between our mind and body.  So that we are healthy  and whole.

Tree reflection in the book

Solitude

The journey into solitude is very important.  God is deep within us. We have this Gold in each one of us.  The deepest thing within us is the light of God.  Silence is like God. Yet silence can disturb us in the very un-silent world.  Modern society is so terrified of silence that it drowns itself in noise.  It is in solitude that we reach God.  Become one with God.  Become one with heaven.

Go into your room alone, write out all your thoughts , park them.  Face your inner demons.  Test your thoughts.  Test them by the beatitudes.

Is it loving?

Is it merciful?

Is it kind?

Creation

“For since the creation of the world, god’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse”.  Romans 1:20

Gods invisible qualities are seen and understood in creation.  Jesus urges us to be watchers of creation.  He uses parables of seed, weeds, wheat, fish, birds, trees, sheep , etc.  He uses creation to point the way to God.

The heavens declare the Glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of HIs hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they reveal knowledge.” Psalm 19:1,2

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Patterns, rhythms, cycles, seasons, tides, life and death.  The cycles and rhythms of life are all found in creation yet we have become so disconnected from creation that we fail to see the therapeutic value and healing that creation has to offer.  We also forget that we can glean understanding  about who God is and what He is like by looking at creation.  His creativity, His wonder, His magnificence, His infinite care, His precise and miraculous balance and harmony in all of these cycles and rhythms.

When we spend time in nature, on the land, outside, on a beach, on a moor, in a field on a mountain,  we are connected to the bigger picture and are invigorated and enlivened by the source of life.  When I walk on a beach I find myself bursting into spontaneous praise and worship I get so excited and invigorated.  I am refreshed and revitalised immediately.

  • Why don’t you practise a simple intentional daily rhythm so that you take God with you all through the day.
  • Learn to put time aside to spend in solitude so that you can sort through the deep things of the heart.
  • Make sure that you spend time in creation.  If you don’t like to attend a church, attend the cathedral of creation and learn about the creator there.

Love Lisa

I took these notes in a class that Ray Simpson took at the Surrender 15 conference on Saturday the 21st March 2015 at 4.00pm.

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Love Lisa

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