RSS

Tag Archives: Brother

Discipleship & Spiritual Direction: A Fable

MoonlightOnce upon a time, I was not yet “Little Monk”… I was simply “Little”. I first awoke in darkness and I was afraid. I don’t know why I was afraid… I just was. And in my fear I would not, could not, move. I just lay there, still, eyes closed… quiet.

But then I heard voices around me, friendly voices, peaceful voices, comforting and loving voices…

They said, “Little, do not be afraid. Here, take our hands, stand, rise up and walk…” And so I did…

After a while, I felt around at things, learned that these voices (I learned to call them “friends”) meant me no harm. They meant me only good. I learned I could trust them, that they would not hurt me. I explored everything around me, by hearing and touch.

But then one day, my friends said, “Little, open your eyes. Look around. Discover your life, your world.”

Again, I was afraid. This would be very daring, very different. I feared hurt. I feared… I don’t even know what, I just feared.

But my friends said, “We will be with you. You will come to no harm. Trust us.”

So… timidly… fearfully… I opened my eyes…

And I could SEE! O… My… what Wonders! Imagine, blind since birth, and now I could SEE!

It was nighttime, but yet the stars! The stars were SO Beautiful. They gave forth Light! Who could imagine this?

I could see my home, our hillside, this monastery I was sheltered in. I could see… I could see FACES! I could SEE my FRIENDS! They smiled at me… they embraced me with joy! They… they LOVED me… and now I could SEE that! What wonder! I learned more that I could trust to the voices of my friends. I came to see them as my “brethren”.

But THEN… (you may not believe this)… but THEN the MOON came out! The Light of It! No words… My joy overcame me. I could see for MILES! I could see beyond our hill, across plains and valleys, and just barely make out OTHER hills, and perhaps even something beyond that! I gasped with the sheer overpowering wonder and joy of it all.

I began to laugh and to dance and to cry all at the same time. I grabbed onto my brethren and dragged them out to the clear hillside to share in the wonder of the vista and view. You, Gentle Reader, would have thought me mad to see this, but it is just a leaping of heart I cannot describe.

My brethren laughed with me, danced with me, wept with me… sharing my joy and my wonder. It was an amazing time. A time I yet enter into now and again… for time is very “wibbley wobbley” on the hillside of my monastery.

But as I caught my breath, panting in joyful recovery, my brethren said, “You are no longer just ‘Little’. Welcome among us, now ‘Little Monk.'”

And I understood… it wasn’t a matter of where I was from, or what I had learned, or what I did. It was simply a matter of what I could see and understand. And one other thing…

I was no longer afraid. Not of anything. I could SEE, and my brethren embraced me and I them. Oh, pain may come or go, I could bark my shins or fall or anything… but I could TRUST… and that meant everything was, and would be, all right. I had nothing left to fear, for I could SEE! Even in this ever night, illumined by nothing but moon and stars… I could SEE and I could trust.

And then… one incredible day… the brethren came to me and said, “Little Monk, we want to show you something you’ve not yet seen, and it will amaze and delight you.” They reached out their hands to me, and trusting them utterly, I followed their lead.

They walked eastwards, and pointed at the farthest ridge of mountains there…

O, Gentle Reader… there was a Glow there! It was the most incredible thing… totally indescribable. I have lived this entire life in the blue and purple hues of moonlight and starlight, and that has been wondrous. But there… there to the East… there was the coming of Dawn.

New colors, new radiance, a promise of brilliance so far beyond my imaginings as a mountain is to a grain of sand. O… My… Word. I looked about us, and found that many monks, many brethren, just sat on this western hillside gazing in love at that growing glow. For a quite long time, I did so myself…

~ ~ ~ ~  ~

We now go on about our affairs, take care of one another and others in the love of this twilight of stars and moon. We dance, we sing, we embrace, we eat and feed others, and we love in trust and without fear. This is a wondrous and wonderful life.

But deep within, at least, my own heart… I gaze eastward. I see that growing glow of the coming Dawn. I can nearly feel its warmth and can only imagine its brilliance. I know, I absolutely KNOW, that when Dawn comes… when the Sun (as the brethren have spoken of) breaks above the horizon… that it will be more marvelous than I can possibly imagine or speak of.

And within me, I wonder as I look about this life… Once the Sun rises in Dawn… When the promise of that Light and Radiance touches me… WHAT will I be able to SEE then?

We all wait together, embraced and anticipating with breathless love and trust…

No words…

Advertisements
 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 23, 2015 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Don’t Touch Me!” — Why Not?

Empty TombNow after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus *said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.” [Matthew 28:1-10]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Jesus *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she *said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus *said to her, “Mary!” She turned and *said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene *came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her. [John 20:15-18]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

There are two accounts of the first few hours of Resurrection Day, from two different Gospels. So much wonder, beauty here. So much we could speak of. But today, I’m simply going to savor the day… and point out an “odd thing” here, it seemed to me for a long time.

Both passages clearly express the feelings of the women who came to the Tomb. Great grief, ready to anoint His body properly, confusion at the empty Tomb. Then, the first passage shows us how overwhelming their joy was when He appeared to them directly (verses 9 & 10). They bowed down and worshiped Him, taking hold of His feet. (Would we do any different? I doubt it.) He sends them on to the Disciples, to deliver His orders. (By the way, they are not believed… but anyway.)

In the second passage, we see Mary Magdalene grieving, distraught at His body having been stolen. Jesus comes upon her quietly incognito and asks why she is so sad. She tells Him. (Did He plan to reveal Himself before she exposed her pain? Was His “original plan” just to deliver His message and go His way? Did her tears move His compassion to reveal Himself? How often do our tears move His compassion to reveal Himself, when He may not originally have planned to? — Sorry, those are the kinds of questions that come to me when I ponder Him in scripture.)

Jesus reveals Himself, simply by speaking her name with all that Love in His heart. She melts, calling out to Him AS HER TEACHER! “Rabboni”.

But, that’s when Jesus does something very strange, indeed. Grief or not, compassion or not, love or not, joy or not… He forbids her from touching Him! Really? REALLY? Is He KIDDING? No, He’s not. He gives a very specific reason not to be touched…

“Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’”

What a strange thing to say… Certainly it must have seemed so for those who heard Him that day. And this passage confused me for a long time. But one day, when I realized that as I grew in my own maturity in Christ, Jesus’ relationship changed with/to/in me. Is He my Lord, Savior, Master, God? Yes… all of that… yes. But ALSO, as I have become an adult in the Father’s House, Jesus has become very much my Friend, my Captain, and beyond all else, My Big Brother. (Now, I was blessed in this life to HAVE an incredibly wonderful Big Brother, so this has not been a difficult transition.)

Now, as I’ve grown up, did Jesus CHANGE? Of course not. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. But with reference to me, my life, my experience, His relationship has changed over time. What’s more, the “old relationship” has to pass away, to make room for the new.

I’ve spoken before of absolutely fabulous teaching that has blessed my life. I have worked with and for some incredible men and women of God. They poured themselves out to help me grow and learn and serve, and any good you see in me is to their credit and God’s. (My faults and failings are entirely my own, thank you!) But over time, these wonderful people have become peers and colleagues… no longer mentors and teachers. Oh, that’s not to say I still don’t learn tremendously from them, or that I do not seek their counsel from time to time. But equally they sometimes learn from me, or seek my counsel. The relationships have changed. They’ve grown RICHER, but distinctly different.

Jesus, through the Cross, had changed not just the Universe… but EVERYTHING. His relationships with those who had loved Him in His earthly life had changed. There was going to be more change. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit was to come, and He would be INSIDE them!

This Resurrection Day was the beginning of this “interim time” between the Cross and the Pentecost. And it was of critical importance to Him that they, ALL of them, Disciples, family, holy women… everyone… begin to release and let go the Old relationship with Him as “Wandering Rabbi”… and prepare for the new relationship with Him as Glorious Lord Within.

Please notice the strange words He wraps around His instructions to the Disciples…

“Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” 

He must ascend to the Father, yes. But He takes great pains specifically to point out… “brethren”… “My Father and yours”… “My God and yours”… These are words of equality, peerage. These are words I would never dare to say but that He said them intently and first.

He puts Himself, now, and “His brethren”… on level and equal ground.

I haven’t got all the answers about this, Gentle Brethren. I just point it out. And He brought it to me very intently, when I asked about the “Why Don’t Touch”?

He no longer wanted to be seen in His old relationship. That needed to make way for this New One. As Firstborn among many brethren, that we be joint heir with Him.

More to come…

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 20, 2014 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: