Joann Nesser  - Resources for the Spiritual Journey
RSS Follow Become a Fan

Delivered by FeedBurner

Recent Posts

Morphing from smoke signals to the internet
The Gift
What I have learned.
Religion and Spirituality


Contemplative Christian Spirituality
powered by


Contemplative Christian Spirituality

Morphing from smoke signals to the internet

At one time in prerecorded history and even in early recorded history the world of a people was very small.  Communication was smoke signals, drums and messenger between groups of the same tribes.  Each group had their own gods or ways of trying to express what somehow they innately knew that there was a force behind the created world.  They named their gods and worshipped these gods in ways that seemed appropriate to appease the gods and protect themselves.  All these groups and tribes thought they were they only people on earth.  The earth was flat and if they went too far they would fall off.  They could not imagine the world we know today. People lived in their own little worlds not imagining what people were like that lived in another part of the world.  Gradually the smaller gods were absorbed into what have become the great religions of the world as conquering groups overtook and absorbed tribal religions.   Even in the great world religions there are differences of practice and belief depending on the culture of the people in a particular part of the world.  Every culture worships the creator God in their own way and has developed their own sacred writings.  It has been only in recent years that communication and travel have made the world so small that we are living side by side with people of all religions and cultures.  The sacred writings of all religions are available to all no matter where one lives. When we were separated from people across the globe it was easy to think they were heathen, backward people that needed saving.  Particularly Christians tried to do just that.  It was easy to think that one’s scriptures were the only holy writings and one’s truth the only truth.  Now that we have everyone’s holy literature at our finger tips and can observe the spiritual practices of people of all faith traditions it becomes more difficult to make such triumphal claims.  Being able to read each other’s holy writings helps us realize that we aren’t so different after all.  We can see the same truths and hope for love, justice, peace and happiness in all who look to the creator God.  How we all have arrived at the particular path and tradition we now live in might be different but somehow we know that we all experience the same God.
Just as we have all morphed from our narrow view of the middle ages to the open forum of today’s culture, from and belief that the world was flat and everything revolved around it to understanding that the world is round and revolves around the sun it seems to me that we are evolving into a new understanding of God and scripture that encompasses more than we could every imagine
I think that the work of this age is to seek God and follow where God is taking us and let it unfold.  What is the new reformation people are talking and writing about?  Aren’t we in it?  I believe we are living the new reformation and each of us is part of the whole of what is happening.  There is a reformation going on inside each one of us that affects what is happening all over the world.  We are all connected.  The Mystery we call God is in each of us transforming us from within as well as transforming the world from within.  As Jesus said, it is like yeast in bread dough.  There is fermenting going on that will eventually leaven the whole but it doesn’t happen by some random act by a God up in the sky waving a magic wand. It happens inside the people who have ears to hear and are open to follow where God is taking them.  This is scary business.  It requires huge trust.   In order to have the needed trust it is important to reflect back on your own spiritual journey and the faithfulness of God.  It is important to remember how God has brought you safe this far in order to trust that God will lead you home.  
By this age most of us have come to realize that the God of our childhood and younger years in more than what we could conceive of then. Can we trust that even at this age, the God as we have understood God, is even more than we can conceive or imagine? What will happen to us if we let go of all our images, all of our creeds and doctrines that have served the Church until this time and let God take us into the new age that is far more than any way we have known God before?


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

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,
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  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." 


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
Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint