Thursday, April 23, 2009

Simple Baptism Analogy

While at the beach today I asked my daughter if she wanted a quick theology lesson. She said sure. So I wrote the word "sin" in the sand and as the waves came in and then went back out I asked her to look for the word again. She said she couldn't find it. I told her that is what happens to our sins during baptism, they are washed away, never to be seen again. What good news that our sins are washed away and that we live in the waves forgiveness.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


While watching the amazing shows at Seaworld today I was reminded of the coming Kingdom. When the Kingdom comes our relationship with the animal world will be changed and we will cooperate with animals in a new way. I was excited to see a hint of this reality now and look forward to its coming in fullness.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Tonight we stood on the bluff above the Pacific Ocean and watched an amazing sunset. In addition we saw dolphins playing in the ocean and jumping out of the water. Watching the sunset is a devotional experience to say the least.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Space in the Heart

As our interior life grows we are more able to be gracious and open with more people. Our natural inclination is to segregate and judge. The Spirit enables us to open our heart to more experiences and more people. This makes us more open to others and more loving to all people. This means dropping our judgement and meeting others in love and grace. We may still speak a word of correction into their life but it will be based from love and not judgement. The words won't be based on our needs but for the sake of others.

Friday, April 17, 2009


One of the key skills to develop is the ability to contemplate God in nature. This is one of the key ways God reveals God's self. Many people naturally are able to do this and it is important to deepen this grace. The reason why is that there are so many places to "see" and experience the depth of awareness if we simply can look. Today I was at LegoLand which is a busy theme park. It has so many beautiful plants all around. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of a theme park the beauty of God was so apparent. There were so many opportunities to deepen my contemplative living simply by being aware of the beauty that was right in front of me. Then there is a natural extension of seeing the beauty of the people which God created which were also all around me.
This ability can transform what could be considered a totally secular exercise into a day of prayer. This also makes the whole day much more enjoyable.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I was at the ocean today and it occurred to me as I watched kelp be carried by the ocean that it was another good analogy to help understand the spiritual life. We are to be as available to God as the kelp is to the ocean, it simply picks it up and moves it where ever it wishes. One of the spiritual axioms of the Northumbria Community is availability.
Availability means that we are ready to go and do what God wills when God wills it. Often this comes in the form of ministering to our neighbor and leaving our own expectations behind. The calling of God also comes through others, they challenge us to new endeavors, challenge our ideas of the Divine and help us move out of our comfort zone.
This is a difficult thing to do because it means we have to live not for ourselves but for God. This means dropping our ego and trusting that where God leads, God will provide.
We should consider making availability one of our words that defines our life and shapes how we live.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Grace to grow

As we move forward in the spiritual life we will find ourselves challenged. We will look at our own slowness, hardness of heart, complicity in sin and a myriad of other shortfalls. Sometimes we will get frustrated out our downright stupidity.

We must not let this discourage us though. The whole journey is a gift of grace. We are able to deal with each of those issues because the love of God sustains us in all things. The deep reality present in all things is the energy, passion and presence of God. This is love and it holds us in all things. This presence frees us to pursue the spiritual life and grow.

Stop, look at the beauty of a budding flower. There is awesome life and energy in this simpe act of a flower budding. Let the beauty of it take you beyond the flower to the reality behind the flower. There is the hand of the creator at work, constantly, silently yelling the beauty of the moment. Let yourself be in the moment, listen to the beating if your heart, feel the movement of your chest as you breath and realize with each breath that you are completely immersed in Presence, it is a gift. Laugh, rejoice, smile and praise.

Then pick up your practice and continue the journey of inward transformation for you are called to go deeper, to a greater sense of awareness. This is the life is worth living for. Everything flows from this wellspring.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Much of the spiritual life is about being freed to see the ways things really are. Our bondage can be blinding. We can miss the beauty in a sunset, the smile of a child or the many other blessings in life. We can get so caught in our hurried, fractured lives that we miss what is right before us. Freedom creates an openness in our hearts to perceive things at an intuitive level and to begin to see the hand of God in all things. Much of our spiritual practice should be about slowing, looking and listening to the ways God is present now.

So often we try to search for, or earn access to God through some act or form. Rather the act or form should help us to see what is already in front of us. This brings a light to soul, joy to the heart and contentment to life. All this is a gift which is being given all the time.