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This week: The VoiceEdited by: Sophy v.2021
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Hi, I'm Sophy v.2021 ~ your editor for this edition of the Spiritual Newsletter.
The Rev. Scotty McLennan, author of the book Finding Your Religion, compares humanity's innate need for spiritual searching to climbing a mountain. In his view, we are all endeavoring to climb the same figurative mountain in our search for the divine, we just may take different ways to get there. In other words, there is one "God," but many paths. I honor whatever path or paths you have chosen to climb that mountain in your quest for the Sacred.
Sorry Adam Levine or Blake Shelton fans - this isn't the "Music" newsletter, so this newsletter won't be about their hit TV Show on NBC, "The Voice." It's about a different kind of a voice - an inner voice, a voice from God, or a combination of both, maybe?
Most of you probably know the story of Moses, the deliverer of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, who lead them to a promised land he never saw. Moses is a powerful (*) figure who personifies the human struggle for personal freedom, balanced by a sense of belonging to and thus having responsibility toward a community. According to the story, Moses was out doing his job one day, minding his own business, keeping watch over the flocks, when he saw a bush on fire. When Moses went to investigate, he saw that the bush was burning, but was not being consumed by the flames.
We’ve all seen something like this bush in our lives, haven’t we? I saw it one morning at sunrise, as I watched the dawn light skim the tops of the tops of the trees, blinding me with a bright flash of yellow-gold, and then meandering down the red canyon walls in Zion. You’ve seen it in the smile of a baby, or in your lover’s eyes. You’ve felt it in the middle of a church service while people were singing a familiar hymn as chills covered your arms, or in the silence after the last note. It has whispered to you in a tender voice. It has held your attention and stopped you in your tracks.
Moses went to investigate his burning bush, and when he got close to it, he heard a voice that seemed to come from inside it. According to the story, the voice told Moses to do something – first to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. And then the voice told Moses to become a spokesperson for his people, who were being held as slaves in Egypt – specifically, the voice to go to the Pharaoh and persuade him to give the Hebrews their freedom. Quite understandably, Moses didn’t want the job, and offered legitimate excuses for not being able to accept the mission – chief among them that he was not a good speaker and there certainly must be somebody, anybody, better suited for the task. Perhaps his brother? Without going into more detail we know that eventually the voice and Moses worked things out, and Moses accepted the call. This was Moses’ “burning bush” experience, when he came face to face with something unexpected, which at first made him curious, and then made him anxious, but ultimately caused him to change his way of thinking or believing or feeling about himself and his world and to do something he didn’t really want to do.
Have you ever had a burning bush experience in your life? Have you heard a voice from an unexpected place calling you to do something outside of your comfort zone, making an offer you couldn’t refuse? An epiphany of conscience? We’ve all had these kinds of experiences at one time or another, whether we realize it consciously or not. What do I mean by a burning bush experience? Whether it is a major, life altering one, or one that has more to do with something on a less global level, think of it as one of those experiences that may have the following components: it comes unsolicited, unexpected, perhaps un-welcomed, unwanted; it changes your way of thinking, or believing, or feeling about some aspect of the world and/or about yourself and leaves you unsettled and perhaps distressed, compelled to do something; it places a burden on you that you feel is uncomfortable and seems unfair, which may test you in some way, or require you to go outside of your comfort zones.
One that has stuck with me happened when my father was dying – I was 42 at the time, spending one of my last precious moments with him, and was already struck with the epiphany of how fleeting life if and how little time we really have on this earth. My father knew that he was dying and didn’t have much time left, and he shared with me that he had regrets – some about things he did in his past, and others about things he didn’t do that he’d always wanted to do “someday;” things he’d put off because he thought he had all the time in the world. So one of his parting gifts to me as we were in the process of saying goodbye was to plead with me not to have any regrets when my life was ending, or to have as few as possible. If I was angry with someone, walk away and think carefully before speaking. If there was something I wanted to do I should do it, if I were at all able. If I had a dream I should pursue it, and not look back later in life, when it was too late to do anything about it, and regret that I hadn’t followed that dream.
That was one of my burning bush moments – it hasn’t saved the world, or a people from slavery, but it has bettered my place in it and changed my perspective about life, which can’t help but have positive ripples outside myself. Please share one of yours with us.
Until next time, Sophy v.2021
* Some were offended when I referred to Moses as a powerful "mythological" figure in this newsletter. I meant the term with the utmost respect and truest meaning of the word "myth" (ala Joseph Campbell) and did not mean to insult or to offend anyone. I have removed the word for now so as not to take away from the rest of the piece, and will address the issue more fully next month (in terms of what I meant by mythology). Apologies to anyone who was offended or insulted - twas not my intent.
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Now for some comments about my last newsletter "Spiritual Newsletter (August 20, 2014)" about creating rituals from routine life:
Thanks for a fine Newsletter and thanks for highlighting my lyrics Rain
You are most welcome, and thank you for the compliment!
Truer words have not been written. Our church observes ordinance (communion) quarterly. This time while in a ritual format is held with a special feeling because it hasn't become a habit.
Yes, so very true. Regularity that forms into a habit can both enhance and harm the meaning of rituals.
Being spiritual is not becoming routine or ritual. It's an ongoing flow of the Spirit Within you. The Holy Spirit Doesn't Do a repeat performance which becomes routine and ritual, but He's This Well that Springs Up from deep down in our being.
Thanks for sharing!
From Steve adding writing to ntbk.
I used to have to walk; or ride a bike; to work out of necessity. I had no car for about 3 years and lived about 3 miles from my work place.
As I passed the endless houses and businesses along the way, I would pray for each address, the people I saw on the streets, and even the people I know had evil intentions as I hurried a little faster to get to work.
Your newsletter shows me that I was making the routine into a ritual. With the intention of involving the Lord's influence on the inhabitants of the home and businesses I passed on my way to work.
Thank you for writing in to the lives of the WdC Sohpy!
Copenator out! BA, M Div
Founder of Copenator's Crew
Thanks for sharing this - what a perfect way to make routine into something spiritual!
And one from an earlier Newsletter on living your wild and precious life:
I absolutely adored this newsletter. The words were so beautiful in some parts and it made a lot of sense; so much so, that my eyes began to water as I contemplated my own path and I have not discovered yet. I thought I did long ago, but now it doesn't seem like it. I am good at my job, but do I truly enjoy it? Is this truly what I am supposed to be doing? I don't know...
Now, if you could write a newsletter with very specific step-by-step instructions on how to discover each of our individual path... :)
Its hard to settle on just one path especially since we do only have the one wild and precious life. If only we could head part-way down one path, turn around, and try a different one without losing any time if we felt it was the wrong one.
Thank you for the inspirational newsletter.
Thank you for your kind words - wouldn't it be great if I could write those step-by-step instructions! Problem is, they are unique to each of us. Blessings on your journey .... and remember that the destination is not as important as the journey itself.
Please keep your comments and suggestions coming! Until next time! Sophy v.2021
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