Joann Nesser  - Resources for the Spiritual Journey
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DEATH
The Gift
What I have learned.
Religion and Spirituality
Ooops!

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Contemplative Christian Spirituality
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Reflections

DEATH

DEATH
The reading today
was about death.
At my age
the thought of death
doesn't linger far behind
As I think about
what I want to do,
the things I want to accomplish,
the projects that are unfinished,
I am reminded
to do it now.
Now is the acceptable time
There might not be a tomorrow.
Inside I am still me,
being renewed every day,
in soul and spirit.
Yet my aging body
tells me
that it won't last forever.
Common sense reminds me
that I am in
the last stage of life.
Death is waiting in the wings,
reminding me
to live today,
to love and give and enjoy
this day.
Do the things I want to do,
finish the projects
I want to accomplish,
so what I have been given to do,
the words I have been given to say,
will be done and said,
that my little peace
of the great puzzle of life
won't be lost.
Death is my friend,
reminding me
of what is important in life.
Death is a mirror
reminding me of who I am.

The Gift

THE GIFT
I am overwhelmed
at your goodness
gracious Holy One.
You always give
more than I
could ask or imagine.
Sometimes the gift
comes wrapped
in old newspaper
or a brown paper bag.
It is only when
I dare or care
to open it
that I find
the hidden treasure
like a diamond
in the raw
so dark and plain,
whose beauty
is only discovered
with the delicate care
of the chipping
and cutting
of the master.
Each gift of life
seems to come this way,
hidden,
until,
with eyes to see,
I look inside
and discover with gift
that glitters
in reflection
of the generous Giver
and take it as my own.

What I have learned.

They asked me what I have learned.  That is a difficult question at my age  I feel like I know nothing at all anymore.  Forty years ago I was certain about a lot of things.  Today I only know one thing for sure........GOD IS.........And another...........I am.......that all our descriptions of God are just that, descriptions, the frail human mind trying to describe the indescribable.  Everyone describes what they have interpreted as their own experience which is distorted by culture, theology, doctrine and all the other ways people have laid down belief like concrete on the great Sea that is God.  In time it all sinks and all that is left is the Reality we call God.  Jesus said, "when you go out on your journey, take no bag, no staff, nothing but yourself." We must travel light holding on to nothing....no-thing  To go the whole way through the narrow gate into God, who by another name is Love, Love is all there is in the end.  All our baggage is left behind, personal failures or virtues are simply extra baggage.  Being in Love is all that matters.  We cross over to God's side to live in a state of acceptance and forgiveness, being a loving Presence, loving the world as it is....because it is....shot through with the glory of God.

Religion and Spirituality

    

                    Some thoughts on Religion and Spirituality

Religion supports our spirituality.  It is an outward expression of the inner reality of our relationship with God.  Spirituality is the inner reality of our relationship with God, with ourselves and others.  It is what goes on in our deepest Center/Heart.  Religion, at its best, supports and nourishes our spirituality.  Religion is our doctrines, creeds, an avenue of service and involves learning about God.  Spirituality is knowing God and ourselves intimately.  It is about paying attention to what is real inside of ourselves and responding to that Reality.  Spirituality is about relationship and knowledge gained through love. Spiritual deepening takes place inside when we come to know and love God (Christ-Spirit) more and more and in the process come to know and love ourselves more and more.  Spiritual growth is about becoming whole, healed, fully ourselves, our truest self.  Our true self is the image of God in whose image we are created and as we grow and deepen we are becoming the likeness of Christ in the world.

Gerald May writes:  "Spirituality refers to our deepest values and desires, the very core of our being.  A Holy longing, to know the meaning of our lives.  Spirituality is religion's root.  Spirit is the wind all around us, the Breath we breathe in and out.  Religion supports our spirituality." 

Ooops!

My last three posts are rearranged and I don't know how to fix them.  Please read the third first and the poems will make more sense.  Thanks.

A Walk in the Park

A beautiful morning
for a walk in the park.
Every tree ablaze,
shedding leaves no longer needed,
getting ready for their long sleep.
vivid drops of autumn colors
whisked together by a light breeze
geese and ducks noisily gather
in the ponds
waiting for an internal command
to begin
the journey south.
A back hoe sounds in the distance
as the world awakens from sleep.
Dogs romp and bark and play
and take their humans
for a walk.
Friends chattering and laughing
getting their morning exercise.
A train sounds a warming whistle
and rumbles on.
An airplane roars overhead
leaving an airstream
in the blue sky.
A child laughs
on the playground,
another cries for attention 
in a stroller.
A beautiful day
for a walk in the park.
A cacophony of sound,
the sound of God.
What once seemed discordant noise
has become the symphony of God's love
breaking through
joining my reverie of praise.

A couple of poems


Love of my life
hiding behind every corner
peaking out just enough
every now and then
to give me a glimpse
of Your elusive figure
teasing me along
enticing me
to search for you
promising
that if I seek
 I will find.
Your beauty, your sweetness
so compelling,
I can't look away.
You are the pearl
of great price,
beckoning me
to see all
to gain what
I can never own
but dazzles me
with radiance
blinding
my inadequate eyes
as I continue to walk
in bright darkness
on this journey of life. 

Staying Centered

      Once again I apologize for not writing on my blog.  Remodeling our house, moving to temporary quarters, visiting children, grandchildren and all the other events of normal life seem to allow time for spiritual direction appointments and other necessary meetings.  As life settles down I hope to get better at this.  This morning one of my readings prompted me to want to share it.  It speaks to me at this time of life that has what could be taken as so many distractions.  It is from the great Quaker, Thomas Kelly, a favorite of mine.

     Longer discipline in this inward prayer will establish more enduring upreachings of praise and submission and relaxed listening in the depths, unworded but habitual orientation of all one's self about the One who is the focus.  The process is much simpler now.  Little glances, quiet breathings of submission and invitation suffice.  Voluntary or stated times of prayer merely join into and enhance the steady undercurrent of quiet worship that underlies the hours.  Behind the foreground of the words continues the background of heavenly orientation, as all the currents of our being are set toward God.  Through the shimmering light of divine Presence we look out upon the world and in its turmoil and its fitfulness, we may be given to respond in some increased measure in ways dimly suggestive of the Son of Man.
    
     Staying Centered makes helps one notice the Spirit peaking through all things shining like the Sun.
    

Reflections

Today is the day I am starting to do things I have wanted to do but keep putting off.  One is to start this blog.  The other is to create a web-site for my paintings.  Yippee.  I have done both. 
 
 I have so many reflections on the spiritual journey floating through my mind that I often wish I had a place to share.  Maybe it is the extravert in me that needs to process "out loud".  I am not much for talking to myself so this might be another way to process together with others some of what I think about.  I welcome your response as well.  Today this little blog is just to get started but to set the tone I will share with you a prayer that I have written at the back of my journal.  It speaks to the way I am and what is the desire of my heart.
 
You have set in my heart a restlessness
that forbids me to be satisfied
with what I have made of my life.
Help me then to open the channels
between the great Ocean of Yourself
and the great need in myself
and let your wisdom and inspiration and strength
flow into me in full tide.
Take hold upon me and with me
with Your might at all times
whether in darkness or light
so Your will shall be
accomplished in me and through me
for my own good and
for the good of the world.
 
Taken from an out of print devotional book that I have used for 50 years.
To Know God Better
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