• Eirenicole

Spiritual Formation

Just Enough

Just, Enough

Just, Enough 2050 1920 Nicole

Paul addresses the Corinthian church in 1:1-9 as the “Church of God” and reminds them they are sanctified already – called to be saints! Not only that, they are called to be saints together with all, in every place! Grace to you and peace from God…
Then he reminds them of some truths of what this actually means: the grace of God is given them – they possess God’s grace. And it is by this grace (profound, unimaginable, more than anyone might even consider needing) by this grace, they are enriched in every way: in speech and in knowledge of every kind! Already – because the graces have already been poured out.
And the testimony of Jesus – that others witness those graces among them – reveals an even more remarkable truth: they are not lacking in any. spiritual. gift. They are enough. You are enough. You already contain and are strengthened by the graces of Jesus – will continue to be to the end.
And this calling means you are called into the fellowship of Jesus. Together. With all. In every place.
Martin Luther King, Jr. taught, “For systemic and personal transformation to occur, there must be “an honest confrontation with [the truth] and a willing search for the truth and a willingness to admit the truth when we discover it.”
Consider. Notice. Invite the Spirit of God to expose you to truths – or, at least, an openness to be willing to admit the truths of our prejudices and apathy and fear. To uproot guilt and plant forgiveness with us. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Sprout hope and sow resilience. Listen. Reflect. Be transformed. (ala, Maya Angelou)
Because, we are called to be saints together with all, in every place! And we are enriched in every way: in speech and in knowledge of every kind! And we are not lacking in any. spiritual. gift. All are chosen by God. All are created in God’s image – through Christ, our Redeemer, sustained by the Spirit. All are enough. Just, Enough.

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First Light to a New Day

First Light to a New Day

First Light to a New Day 2560 1920 Nicole

Epiphany calls us, it lures us into the light. Epiphany is the light of the Good News that Jesus lives. And we have the life of Jesus, the Light begging us to Live out the light we experience, the life of Christ living through us. This light – always points to justice.
When light shines on an object the subject becomes easier to see, is more nuanced, increasingly faceted. It might even surprise us. An epiphany!
When the light of Christ shines on creation, it becomes easier to see, is more nuanced, increasingly faceted. Wow, I never thought about worshiping God in that way! With that kind of music! Considered what salvation means in that context!
Because if we say we believe in a Creator God; a Redeemer Christ through whom all things were made, “and without him not one thing came into being;” and a life-sustaining Spirit who makes us one with these Three, a Trinity God… (Jn1.3)
if we truly believe these things, we will look for it everywhere – all things that came into being did so by the power of God through Jesus Christ given life by the Spirit – We can see and know God if we truly see, actually notice, intentionally find God in everything.
Every one of us are chosen, we were intentionally brought into being, created to be – holy and blameless in love.
We were made for good works. Not painfully specific and minutely mundane lines of doctrine. But, for good works – already prepared by God – to “be our way of life.”
The Good News is for everyone, and the news is Very Good. But it only seems like good news to everyone if those who know the Good News look for God everywhere! Can you see God in a cannibal? Is the light of Jesus shining on you, through you to your neighbor, or when you go into Rockford, or Chicago, or to Florida?
So we come to this table to confess where we have not lived in unity of purpose: loving everyone, intentionally seeing God in those who are different from us. Blessing the doors of our homes to bless all who enter, and blessing the doors of our hearts so all are welcome to you.
We begin this process at home. This is a new year, and tomorrow is a new day. And we ARE a light, illuminating the facets, the nuances that make each other uniquely God’s image.

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Between the Night and First Light

Between the Night and First Light

Between the Night and First Light 2560 1920 Nicole

It is in this darkest night of the year that God pierced time and space entering the utter darkness of the world, to be the light of, and to, all creation. This light who guides us “more surely that the noonday” to where Jesus is already waiting. To be one with us, with me, with you, – and only here, in the darkness that the beloved is joined with love, Lover transformed in the Beloved!
All of us have known our fair share of darkness. And when, at our darkest moments we cannot bear to even be seen by anyone else, the pain and fear of it so profound, that our, that my soul is best ready to commune with Jesus at the very center.
It is precisely this state of senselessness of the soul (a suspension, not the eradication of senses) that exposes the inner being to the rapture, complete abandon to Jesus’ healing, transforming embrace.
It is in the darkness that our internal compass is a reality because that compass is the Christ, through whom all things were made, our true Mother who bore the world, gave birth to everything – this Christ, who ordered the boundaries of the waters, the edges
of cascading cliffs, the expanses of fields in which we attempt to cultivate
our corn – Christ, the Way, Truth, and Life, IS the Light.
The Christ, Emmanuel, God-with-us, came into this world in the most vulnerable state: a naked, unequivocally dependent infant, an itty bitty of a baby whose birth we celebrate this dark night. God-with-us was born to a vulnerable teenaged young woman who also experienced the reality of every aspect of motherhood.
Abandoned senses – that space between the darkest of the darkest, longest night and the first light of a new day – senses suspended, the Christ born in the most vulnerable state to one of the most vulnerable people in her time-space, in whom God, the Creator of everything, this Christ, through whom all things were made, the Mother who bore the world, gave birth to everything – this Christ, who ordered the boundaries of the waters, the edges of cascading cliffs – our internal compass – IS the Light Who guides us into transformation!
This light who guides us “more surely that the noonday” to where Jesus is already waiting. To be one with us, with me, with you, – and only here, in the darkness that the beloved is joined with the love, Lover transformed in the Beloved!
Together, let us be present to the night, this longest night let us be present to the night. Be vulnerable. Suspended senses.
Steeped in the profound Peace of this night.
Steady in the Hope of the new day.
Nurtured by a joy that is a reality beyond sensing.
Provoked to Trust a God who trusted a young woman to carry, give birth to, and raise the Mother to all Creation.
Ready, in the darkness, to be joined with Love, to be transformed in the Beloved.
Pay attention to that space between the darkness of the Night and the First Light of the new day. Be changed. Be transformed.

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Members of Peace

Members of Peace

Members of Peace 2560 1920 Nicole

The fullness of God the Creator – of everything! was pleased to have all of God’s own being (fullness) dwell in this itty bitty of a baby whose birth we claim to Celebrate on December 25th.
Still, “without justice and love, peace is an illusion.” #DomHelderCamara
The project of God’s justice – making all things right, reconciling us to God and each other, AND all creation (whether things on earth or things in heaven) – this project of God’s justice is fueled, empowered, made personal, purely by Love: by making peace through Christ’s blood, shed on the cross.
Then, God’s presence will be known, the people will consult God – and pay attention, and an industry of war will no longer be necessary: indiscriminately, across the board, the only commerce will be the facilitation of peace.
Put on the armor of light – walk in the light of Jesus. Live with honor. What does that look like to live honorably? For one, it means living honestly – let your actions live out what you believe. What is it that you believe? We believe in Jesus Christ – the messiah, anointed Present. So if you say that you believe in Jesus Christ, to live honorably is to act on that, to live it.
Awake! remember your baptism and, together, let us center on Jesus who dwells in me and in you – take time allowing the spirit of Jesus (in whom God is pleased to dwell) to speak; confess our frenzy and anxiety at the onset of Advent. Awaken, and remember. Together we are members of peace. Know peace; be an instrument of peace.

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Anointed Abode

Anointed Abode

Anointed Abode 2560 1920 Nicole

For whom do I create? Well, for everyone who listens to what comes from my mouth and views the art I’ve crafted. Ultimately, though, I know I do all of this because I believe in Jesus Christ, and the project of Kingdom building – a kin-dom of all creation, perfecting, becoming… Opening hearts, opening minds, opening doors.
So why would I ever give potentate status to anyone other than Jesus? What convinces us that others’ opinions or disposition toward us should have unlimited power or influence over us?
To say, “I believe in Jesus Christ,” ought to indicate that my life would display something of that belief. Christ, the Messiah, Redeemer – Anointed – is present, now. I believe this reality because I experience that nearness, the truth of Jesus’ voice and strength and love. And because if I don’t? where else can I go? everything about who am I will eventually fall apart.
What does it mean, might it look like, that we live our belief together?
Maybe it means not looking to other “successful” churches to find answers to our problem of dwindling numbers, but look to the Presence, the Jesus Christ we claim to believe in, praying together for God’s leading, praying that we can be the light of Jesus in this world. Perhaps if we pray like we had nowhere else to go, we might even pray ourselves into truly believing it.

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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 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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Inked By Love

Inked By Love 2560 1920 Nicole

See goodness. Jesus asked Peter, Do you love me? three times. Jesus replied, Feed my sheep. All of them. The unforgivable sin is to not recognize the work of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ performing God’s work. When I notice a person living in a certain way and judge that lifestyle as contrary to God…

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