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Nicole

Spiritual Abode

Spiritual Abode

Spiritual Abode 2560 1920 Nicole

We are interconnected. We are accountable to God – together. Which means, we are accountable to each other, too.
The whole earth is full of God’s glory. This holy God fills the land with plenty of what we need – exactly enough. But we are accountable to one another for its care. Men and women put their lives on the line, and have given their lives for the protection of this land. Your land. My land. But it is rebelling against us because of the disregard we’ve given it.
Perhaps, as we remember and honor the veterans who have and who are even now in service to the protection of our freedoms in this land… consider what our responsibility is to the land – this land that was made for you and me.
And we might see the reality, God’s glory, the reality of God’s presence even here, and see more clearly that material things “only collect rust or dust, and once we know that the only thing that counts is treasure in heaven, surely we [will] find a new way to live!”

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Cosmic Abode

Cosmic Abode

Cosmic Abode 2560 1920 Nicole

The result of living out of a mythology of self and without grace, the grace of dignity – the truth of who I am, who you are, as uniquely imaging God – the result of living for the myth and not living in the grace of knowing my true worth … is shame.
If each of us understands of what our relationship with God consists, If each of us let go of the mask that we made identity – cobbled together as a façade – our entire sense of worth is no longer in question; and there is no longer shame.
But we have to have faith. Believe that the end is present because God is timeless, and God is near. In fact, God is among us. And we are not alone.
“Everything in God’s universe is present-tense. Divine love transcends time and place.” In the Eucharist, taking communion, we remember. Today we remember – remembering the saints, in communion. And together dwell in this Cosmic Abode of the communion of saints.

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Disciple's Transformation

Disciple’s Transformation

Disciple’s Transformation 2560 1920 Nicole

We are accountable to each other. God created us to be in community and to be unified – one with God and one with each other. Not identical, not doing ministry in the same way, but at one with who God made us to be and live out of that strength, leading and moving with dignity: knowing our worth, knowing the worth of those who lead and move and live beside us, with us.
Transformation in the spiritual life is experiential and perpetual. It is a verb. An occurrence, and ongoing. It is not a one-and-done this side of glory.
“As long as you do not have experience of this dying and becoming, you are only a troubled guest on this dark earth.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Disciple's Faith

Disciple’s Faith

Disciple’s Faith 2560 1920 Nicole

Sometimes faith is believing that you are enough, that I am enough – believing that God’s love is the only true standard – and that if I fall short in loving others (or even myself), God’s love has covered even that. Because, you know, grace.
Faith gives us the courage to be vulnerable.
God promised that this new covenant will mean that every bit of who God is and God’s intention for creation will already be writ large on their hearts. This hope is timeless. As it was for the Israelites, so it is for us. Faith is what got them through it all, and it is faith that moves us now.
We can be fewer in number, decreasing in mobility and endurance – and permeate the community, disciple with nothing but who we are. And that is enough. Because God alone, is enough.

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Disciple's Communion

Disciple’s Communion

Disciple’s Communion 2560 1920 Nicole

It requires a fair amount of faith to live in unity, with a bond of peace. We must believe there is “one body and one Spirit, … called to the one hope … one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” It is communion; it is the disciple’s communion. It is active faith – not unthinking, holding to some literalism that creates a fissure between us – but genuine, ‘working out our faith’ (Phil2:12) working hard at it, with even a bit of fear and trembling. For this kind of faith we must be gentle with each other and with ourselves, patient, bearing with each other in Love. Because those who love are born of God and know God. Those who don’t love – and it is easy to love those who love you, but Jesus says, “love your enemies too!” (Lk6:35) those who don’t love, don’t know God. Period. Because God. Is. Love.

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Disciple's Attention

Disciple’s Attention

Disciple’s Attention 2560 1920 Nicole

The Japanese concept of ma – the sound of silence – is the silence that can be found between sounds. It is being present to the moment, attentive to the noises and sounds – and finding a sense of well-being, even joy, within it. It is only enjoyed, however, when there is true listening. Only when we pay attention to what we hear can we also detect the substance that is in the in between. Crucially, if I’m not listening and noticing those spaces, hearing into the nuance, the life contained with them, I “may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; . . . [and fail to] turn again and be forgiven.” Mk4:12. I may not turn to you and be reconciled, or truly understand from where you are coming . . . and alienate you.

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Disciple's Sight

Disciple’s Sight

Disciple’s Sight 2560 1920 Nicole

When I look, actually see – because I’m not paying attention to you if I’m trying to say everything I want to make you understand – when I see you, I notice more about your expression, sense your presence. And it is powerful. This is what Jesus did. He went to the people – the outcasts, the immigrant, ones that made other people uncomfortable – Jesus went to the people and listened. He noticed the sick and healed them, he recognized the foreigner and offered acceptance, belonging. And Jesus said, “Follow me.”

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Instruments of Reconciliation

Instruments of Reconciliation

Instruments of Reconciliation 2560 1920 Nicole

I wonder if the idea of changing our perspective on a matter – which previously we considered sinful (surely they’re going to hell for this) we might feel something like the sibling to the prodigal son. The sin of the prodigal son was not that he spent all his money. That he drank too much or ate more than he needed. It wasn’t even that he had sex with multiple women. The sin of the prodigal son was that he thought he didn’t need anyone else – or that anyone else counted on him. The prodigal son thought that all he needed was a bunch of money and to find all the ways he could be entertained, feel “good,” to live a full life. What God calls sin has nothing to do with whatever thing a person does, and everything to do with being in right relationship with one another and God, the dutiful son – doing all the “right” things – became indignant. When the dutiful son forgets that it has nothing to do with the things we do, per se, he becomes just as much the “sinner” as his brother. Not until he recognizes why he stays, what actually does belong to him – belonging itself, for one, and all the rights of an heir – then he too is reconciled with the father.

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Reconciling Action

Reconciling Action

Reconciling Action 2560 1920 Nicole

Reconciliation is not just agreeing to disagree. Reconciliation that argues it out and settles the matter of how to move forward together, that is based on a covenant with one another, that is obtained by communing together – this reconciliation is active. We choose to listen into one another’s perspectives without assumptions.

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Reconciling Communion

Reconciling Communion

Reconciling Communion 2560 1920 Nicole

Communion is a sacred, holy space-time because we recognize God’s presence in it – God is known in this act, in our coming together. The sacrament of communion is an enactment, a remembering what Jesus did so we are reconciled to God. And it happens in community, our communing together, enacting, remembering that we are continuously reconciling with one another in our relationships. – and here is where the living water does not flow through the cracks: our community is the cup with which we offer that water to all who have need of it. ALL who have need.

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