What will change?

I have had a number of conversations with people in recent days and almost all have asked me whether I think anything will change after this crisis is over. The way that the question is phrased left me to conclude that all of these people wish some things were different.

My reply to each of them has been to ask “So, what you like to be different.” Their answers were interesting and varied and included wanting a better work life balance to reducing our dependence on China for so much. Another said that he was going to buy less from supermarkets and use local shops, while a fourth hoped that working on Sundays would cease so that we all had one less day of commercialism. My next question to them was, “What are you going to do differently to make that happen” followed by, “And who will you ask to ensure you keep to that change?”

I do want to remain conscious and sensitive to those who have already lost dear ones to Corona-virus and I have been in conversation with such people. I also am aware of those who have lost most of their business contracts but this unusual time could become a significant and once in a lifetime opportunity to re-zero our lives. A time to instigate a factory reset so we genuinely live more wholesome caring lives. Many people’s first response is to expect the Government to start doing things differently but that can just be a way of abdicating our own responsibility to make the world a better place. Of course, it is not that we don’t want to live more caring wholesome lives, but rather we seem to get carried along by the deceits of success and reputation. Soon we are unknowingly pursuing our own agendas at the expense of our health, well-being and general peace and inner joy at being alive on this beautiful generous planet.

One of my hopes for a change in this world is that people learn to become less afraid and scared of death. Some people seem to go to all possible lengths and costs to prevent and put off that day for as long as they can. Others live in daily fear of cancer while many of us simply refuse to consider the prospect of dying. Yes, I know that unlike you, I do not have my own children that I desire to watch grow up but I am learning to live at one with all of life and with the Great Unseen and with all of nature. My encounters with this Great Unseen suggest to me that there is so much more than this physical life. Surely what follows this life will just be another exciting abundant reality and I really do not mind when that time comes about. There is something much more profound and precious within all of us than the self-made image that we surround ourselves with. It seems to me that there is nothing as sad as seeing someone trying to cling on and discover immortality through all manner of physical means. I know of people who say that they now regard their cancer as being a gift to them for it has taught them to value both life and death. That is amazing but not surprising to me.

So, my encouragement to you and all who I meet is for each of us to determine to pursue what we may have recently discovered is of worth in our lives. Then we need to share that with a trustworthy friend and when this crisis is over to ask that person to continually remind us of our new aims. Then, we could just find that not only are we living ‘well’ but so also is our neighbour and their neighbour and suddenly much good will have come out of this current lockdown. Remember, the change you and I want to see in this world has to start with you and me! Someone much more important than me said that but I have forgotten who!

To conclude, I am reminded of some friends who joined me on walking the Camino De Santiago some years ago. As a result of that pilgrimage, their walk became a journey of self-discovery which resulted in them choosing to make a complete change towards simplicity in their life circumstances that continues to this day.

Stay well, be at peace and may you be true to that inner call of reality.

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Greetings!

Greetings Dear Friends,

It was Christmas when I last wrote and so I thought I would write to say hello in these unusual and strange times. Elizabeth and I are blessed by living in the country and so are not disrupted by some of the changes that may have affected you. Apparently farmers are now ‘key workers’! For a moment or two after I first heard that description I felt quite important. Don’t worry, it did not last long!

These are certainly unique times in which we live in and especially for those who have sadly already lost loved ones to the virus. It is also unique for all the Health workers who are serving us so wonderfully as well as those in Government who are doing the best that they know how. I bless them all with wisdom, patience and protection.

Yet, we are also living in unique times for family and community. I have so enjoyed seeing sons out with their dads and whole families out walking or bike riding together. The tales of neighbour helping neighbour and other selfless acts of care have been wonderful and affirm the goodness in the hearts of all humanity.

It is also a unique time in that many of us have the time to learn to deeply engage with God for ourselves. Church gatherings have been banned and suddenly many of us are less busy and active. This is a unique chance to learn to daily sit in stillness and silence and to be able to feel the deep loving conscious presence of God rise within us like water covering a hungry land. Over the last few years, such practice has become for me a daily joy that is more precious than any other activity I have engaged in however good that activity may have been. Only when we learn to still our minds do we finally learn about how we see ourselves, our enemies, our neighbours or God. Such times become more instructive and life changing than any other activity. It is also in such times that we learn to hear the beautiful whisper of God within ourselves assuring us of his love while gently instructing us. This should be normal living and was why the Psalmist could say “Be still and KNOW!” Let me share something personal that happened to me a couple of months ago.

One morning as I was about to sit in my chair for my usual time of silence I sensed that I had to remain standing. As I was obedient to the vague thought, I soon felt that I was standing before God both naked and unashamed. I had the sense that this was because of my daily moments of stillness and silence. I then knew that such a practice has eventually lead to the disrobing of myself from all the things I have covered myself in over the years. It maybe reputation, career, family, church position, ego or pride in an achievement. (Without doubt, there is even more disrobing to do!) I have found that the inner world I live with is far more dangerous than the outer world that religion loves to warn us about. It is this inner world that keeps the consciousness of Loves arms from surrounding me every moment of the day. I also realised that as I slowly reveal my nakedness in the presence of such unrelenting Love, I finally am able to stand unashamed of anything in my past or about me. It suddenly dawned on me that I am in fact fully known as I begin to fully know this Love. Such nakedness also seemed to release a humility so that I can fully love myself as I am meant to.

As I unashamedly stood there, I realised that the result of this stillness and silence I have deliberately pursued has not only been my undoing and revealing but now I sensed something else. It was that my nakedness was being clothed with wonderful robes and garments of great beauty and worth! Thus I began to believe in who I actually am, the real I, the God chosen I, the Beloved I; a place of incredible Presence. This is the place of I AM that Jesus talked of. I realised that in this moment I AM life, grace, truth, wisdom, love and so much more and I will be all of the time that I am living in consciousness of this moment.

As I finally sat down in my chair, I realised how stillness and silence had become a transforming encounter over the years. This was despite the many days when it seemed nothing was happening. Thus my experience of God is transformed, my understanding of myself is transformed and my view of this world is transformed as I learn to live from I AM. You see, we can only experience God by love and loving and never by thought or knowledge of him because God can only be related to. Neither can he be owned or grasped by thought or knowledge but only by encounter. Paul talks in 1 Cor 2:13 about knowing spiritual things in a spiritual way yet most of our recent Christendom has rejected or not even known about this beautiful access point to God of the mystic, poet or saint through meditation and stillness. Maybe that has been generally true until now but it could all change from this time onward!

May you stay well but most of all may you find a new closeness that is God within you, transforming you, becoming you and you becoming Christ on earth.

With much love,

Simon.

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Christmas 2019

Dear Friends,

You have not heard from me for some months following the sense that I should cease writing my blog for a time.  However, I thought that at this year end I should give you a brief update including news of some of the personal things we have done this year. I have so valued those of you who have read my blog month after month and so this update is to acknowledge that.

It was lovely to start the year with rather a splash when I celebrated my 60th Birthday. Yes, I know,  60! I was as surprised as you are! We invited all our family including nephews and nieces to a hotel and that Saturday was the snowiest of the year. All our guests made it through the snow which gave a beautiful backdrop to the grounds of the hotel. It was lovely to see all the family together, chatting and renewing contact and some even meeting new additions for the first time.

It has been a fulfilling year in many respects and while I have not done any serious long distance walks this year we have had some very beneficial breaks to the South West and one to Cumbria. We so enjoy the UK with its variety and the ease in which we can arrive at a lovely relaxing cottage in a short time and totally unwind. I did finish walking the South Downs Way over 3 days in April and my sister Jane joined me who was great company. Consequently I stayed in rather better accommodation than when on my own!

Elizabeth has been very busy with refurbishing two of our let cottages which became available this autumn and this has taken a lot of time, energy and skill although she has had decorators and a carpenter doing the actual refurb! The other main event this year was the planting of Penn Crofts own vineyard which we have done in association with another person. For details of this new initiative do have a look at  http://www.itascawines.com if you are at all interested. This also involved me attending Plumpton College in Sussex to do a week long intensive wine making course. Most of the teaching was over my head but I did manage to scrape by with a 50% pass mark! The erection of a winery starts in this coming New Year.

I continue with my community involvement each week by visiting a local dementia care home on a Tuesday afternoon and also Sandy Hill Estate on a Wednesday morning. It is very rewarding to see individuals, families and communities change through showing love and acceptance and to see their fear and anxiety reduce significantly. My diary also keeps quite full with appointments from all sorts of people who want to meet and share their journey or learn from mine. I particularly enjoy meeting people from a different tradition to mine and learning from them.

Our walk with God has also changed but we are discovering something very special and quite new. God has become much bigger than we once thought and is found in everything around us. For me, becoming conscious to that continual presence has been a move from knowledge to a very profound knowing. Such change always seems to be as a result of letting go of our certainties, embracing surrender and living with humility. It would be true to say that the recent weeks have been the most formative in my whole life as God has spoken time after time. Never have I filled a journal so quickly while also seeing those spiritual lessons affecting my every moment. Perhaps the greatest change is finding that I am living from a place of rest in that Divine Presence that fills all things and that the whole of life and every created thing is sacred. The following quote from a saint who lived hundreds of years ago reflects my recent encounters of God. O Friend, You made me lovingly, put me in a dress of skin and blood. then planted deep inside me a seed from your heart . You turned the whole world into a sanctuary where you are the only One. I have added below a recent piece of writing that came tumbling out of my hand that reflects my journey with God.

And finally, Last month I was allowed to revisit my youth when I was given a Birthday gift of a days training in a fully equipped rally car in the Welsh forests. The young boy came to the surface again and a very enjoyable day was had resulting in taking the fastest time of the whole group. Some young thrusting males looked rather crestfallen at being beaten by a 60 year old!

So, may you and your family know great joy over this Christmas season and may the New Year be one of wonderful new encounter with this Divine Presence who fills all in all.

With much love,

Simon and Elizabeth

When I rest in You:-

Silence becomes transforming,

Darkness becomes light,

Confusion becomes order,

Stillness becomes powerful,

Unseeing becomes seeing,

Knowledge becomes knowing,

Unreality becomes reality,

Thoughts become truth,

Intolerance becomes love,

Duality becomes synchronicity,

Dreams become a gift,

My enemy becomes a friend,

Self becomes humility,

Certainty becomes faith.

All things become sacred,

Without becomes within,

Humanity becomes Divinity.

May I be:-

Filled with your presence,

Ablaze with your glory,

Impacted with your grace,

A practitioner of your love.

Overwhelmed with mercy,

Filled with your wisdom.

May I:-

Expunge all darkness with your light,

Practise your creativity,

Express your gentleness,

Love unconditionally,

Manifest spiritual truth,

Bring my future into the now.

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A Selah

Dear Friends,

A week ago I had  a new blog already to send out but last Sunday I felt a distinct check from that inner voice not to send it. A week later I am clear that I am supposed to stop writing blogs for the time being. Let me assure you, it is not for having nothing to write! In fact, in the last few months I have not plumbed such depths of God or newly seen such hidden truths. It has been amazing, beautiful and rewarding and my current daily journal is filling fast!

However, only this week I sensed God saying that for me the current season is to die and I will be in a time of dormancy ready for a whole new season to spring forth at the right time. I am convinced that ceasing writing is part of that dormancy. I love sitting down at my computer and writing my discoveries of God but in the last two weeks the desire to do that has been strangely missing. It is a peculiar feeling but I know this is what I must do. Equally, I feel sure that a new and significant shift in my union with God is coming.

Thank you to those of you have obviously been reading my regular blogs and responding to me. Let me say that if any of you want to write to me and share or discuss your own fresh discoveries of God then please do write using my  penncroftcottage@gmail.com email account.

May your desire for the Beloved lead you ever deeper. May you all know God beyond any previous encounter. May your love for all of humanity and this world spring out of ever deeper union with the Eternal Spirit who inhabits us all. Be at peace.

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The Wonder of the Acorn.

Recently while out walking I found my first acorn of the season which had been blown off a tree during the night. As I looked at it I knew that there was a message to be learnt from its beauty. The bright green perfectly smooth acorn was sitting in a grey green cup that was roughly textured and the stalk that previously attached it to a tree came out of the cup at an angle. It was amazing, simple and beautiful!

This acorn seemed to be a symbol of the fact that the Great Spirit of the Universe seek to incarnate themselves into all of humanity, nature and life. The Eternal Seed of creativity and love is in the acorn and in everything we see because that is the eternal purpose of the one we call God. God’s heart and intention is to be discovered in all of life. God is constantly incarnated into everything for incarnation is the purpose of God and always has been. Incarnation means that the supernatural is embedded deep within the natural. This is the reason the universe came into being. If God in the form of Christ did not hide themselves in each form of life then there would be no life and if this loving triune Spirit stopped their incarnation into life then life on earth would cease!

This acorn was an example of the creativity of life and the beauty of nature. A tiny little insignificant seed with the capacity to grow into a huge tree over the next 300 years! Just stop and think about that. The seeming perfection of this acorn, this small instrument of life, also has the potential of feeding and maintaining other life and whether it grows into a tree or is eaten by a creature it will be required to die for life to be resurrected in another. It tells me that the earth is as it is because of the goodness of the Christ filling all space and every atom. If the Christ ceased to exist the whole earth would collapse in an instant. All laws like gravity would cease, atoms would fly off in all directions causing objects and people to explode. This presence of the Christ is the ‘rest of God’ that is not about God doing nothing but rather it is describing the ongoing activity of the divine Spirit or constant reality that is infinite and changeless while wholly loving.

Jesus was a man who was filled with the Christ so as to demonstrate this truth. The Christ is the presence of the divine in every living thing. God as Christ fully incarnate in a man is also incarnated in all of nature. Some of you will know that the certainty of Christ filling all things around me has become very real to me of late. Only this morning I felt it with a surprising intensity as I walked and the same intensity was confirming my present similar oneness with Divinity. It was an amazing mystical experience that carried huge authority within me.

So, Jesus was the sublime demonstration of Gods incarnation into all of humanity through his birth, life, death and resurrection. The work of Jesus was not to save us from some corrupted nature of ours but to restore us to our true nature and to bring us back into relationship and union with the deepest sound and most profound presence within all creation. The life of Jesus teaches us that firstly this perfect Spirit of the Universe is wholly love and perfection and secondly, that we only think we are separated from this Holy One. The truth is that no one and nothing in this world is separate from the incarnating presence of God! Caryll Houselander says “Christ lived our life so that we are offered the glory of living his life.” Therefore, as Jesus incarnated the Christ, so can we. We are to incarnate perfect love into this world.

The acorn even when disconnected from its tree that was supplying life to it, still has life within it! Just plant one and see what happens! This is true for all of us. Even if we seem to be disconnected from the Author of Life by our own choices or other people’s decisions, we still carry that divine life within because God chooses to incarnate themselves into all of life. However, it does require some dying of self for that life to be manifested. I am afraid that you just can’t get around that one!

I know from some people who I visit regularly of their surprise at finding that divine life within them appearing unexpectedly and unmerited. Sadly for these persons it is has been near the end of their earthly life before they have discovered this treasure within but they speak to me of the complete assurance of knowing that presence within. Only last week one lady said, “I can’t explain it but I am so sure of it. I know he is always with me.” I believe that once you open yourself to a mystical encounter of the Divine that it will not be long before you find Christ in you, around you and in all people.

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Immanence (Indwelling)

If I have learnt anything over recent months it is to revel in the incredible immanence of Divinity in all things. I believe that this is the natural outcome of a continuing immersion into God and such activity will bring a new consciousness to all who practice it. Finding God in all things around and in everyone is a wonderful place to live from and will enable us to be active in our community with great grace and forgiveness.

I have written before of the sense of God pressing into me from flowers, animals and views. Apparently some have questioned if I have become a Buddhist! Well, I am ok with that because God goes beyond names and tribes and if such things are still important to us then perhaps we need to encounter some more of God for ourselves!

Recently while walking in Cumbria I asked myself why the hills seemed so full of the immanence of God. It was as though God was reaching out to me from the hills themselves. It was not long before I remembered how the Psalmist could say ‘I will lift my eyes to the hills from where my help comes’. I believe that the Psalmist  was also finding God present within the actual hills as he walked through them. Another time he says, ‘I can never escape from your Spirit, I can never get away from your presence‘. This is the exact sense that I have enjoyed for myself more and more recently.  And so every tree and flower that I passed seemed to wave and nod in agreement as Christ within it was acknowledging the presence of Christ within me. I am beginning to see even more profoundly how this whole world is sacred and filled with God. I am sure that this is what the writer of Romans 1:20 had also experienced. He/she did not write that verse because it was good theology which they had been taught by somebody else. No, they wrote it out of their own deep personal encounter of God found in all of nature.

A few mornings ago I sensed the words ‘Behold the Christ’ and for a couple of days as I walked and worked I chose to see Christ in all I saw. Then, a few days later I sensed the words changing to ‘Here is The Lord!’ Again, as I walked and worked I sensed the immanence that ‘The Lord’ was here and here and here! And here and here and here! And here and here! Here in my wife, my marriage, my breakfast, my food (which is why Jesus took bread). Here in the view from my window or the massive variety of grasses and flowers as I walked through the fields. Here in the air that I breathe and in the sunshine and the clouds in their splendour above me. Here, here and here is the eternal flow of divinity pressing into me all the time that I choose to learn to be conscious of God’s presence. Certainly Christ is found in every shape, colour, variety and type.

But even more challenging and exciting for me is the sense of Christ being in all the people around me. Christ is here in my friend, my neighbour, my work colleague and those I formerly may have disapproved of and even here in my ‘enemy’ if I have one!  I recently was on a week long business course and as always, the other delegates were made up of every type of person. Some were fun and interesting and others maybe were not such fun characters. These were people that I would once have boxed in certain categories of approval, disapproval or somewhere in between. However, the challenge of ‘Here is the Lord’ was still with me and so I hopefully learnt to see Christ in them and so to love and accept them all much more readily.

Surely what I have described in finding God in everything is what the story of Adam and Eve tells us about. When walking with God in the Garden of Eden (life), God was found wherever they walked because they were conscious of his presence. This is all that God wants to return us to and we don’t have to wait for some future place after we die as it is meant to be experienced here and now.

For me, continuing the practice of times of silence has unlocked so much of my present consciousness to God. John Chryssavgis writes, ‘When words are abandoned, a new awareness of God arrives. Silence awakens us from the dullness of awareness and the dimness of vision. (In the Heart of the Desert. The spirituality of the Desert Mothers and Fathers). When I sit in the silence of God’s presence then his love begets love in me and his peace begets peace in me and his joy begets joy in me.  Also, his forgiveness begets forgiveness in me and his hope begets hope in me. Did you know that God is full of hope and expectation? I call the above process Cosmic resonance. It is when humans can draw from Gods personality traits simply by sitting in Gods presence. It is much better than Morphic resonance which is when humans draw from other humans and which is where things like bullying, bigotry, discrimination and antisemitism spring from.

So, why not begin to train your spirit to see the immanence of Christ in all of life around you. I promise that you will be constantly surprised and delighted at where you find God! Another amazing result is that you will grow in hope and optimism for this world. We surely need more people to have such faith.

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Oh the Flow!

Some of my favourite words are found in 2 Corinthians 13:13, and they say, “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” They seem to sum up the whole experience of Trinity and our inclusion within them. These words seem to express the core values and indeed the whole reason of the existence that is God. They have always been important and attractive to me and slowly I am beginning to understand why. I guess it will take me years to even begin to understand why they are so profound and true. The truth of them can never be understood or learned, they can only be encountered and experienced.

Recently I was re-inspired with these words when I read a quote from Richard Rohr where he was talking about Trinity. He said, “Even more significant than the qualities of the individual members of the Trinity is the flow between them. At a Trinitarian level, God is a verb more than a noun, God is a flow more than a substance, God is an experience more than a deity sitting on a throne and we live naturally within that flow-if we do not resist it.

 These words from the writer of 2 Corinthians 13 can of only come out of his actual daily experience of living within that flow of Trinity! As he had actually experienced that flow within him I too am learning what that is like. Remember what Richard Rohr suggested; that the flow between Trinity is even more significant than the qualities of the individual members. This is what I believe I am discovering in my recent encounters with God. I keep seeing something like a jetstream of divine life flowing across the UK and all I have to do is become one with it.

This divine flow is liberating, releasing, joy filling, exciting, fulfilling, comforting and including and runs throughout all life around us. This flow is an eternal song that reverberates throughout the Universe. It is an eternal flow of divine love, submission, surrender and agreement between Father, Son and Spirit. It is a flowing song, a divine declaration of who they are and what this world will be. It is a powerful expression of the divine majesty that is found in each plant, flower, leaf and person. It is a divine refrain that is heard in every bird song; a creative melody that this earth originated from. It is the everlasting love song sung between lovers and the glorious song of victory that will overcome the darkness of the world produced from selfishness, ego and self-prominence. It is the on-going invitation for every man women and child to enter in and experience the joy and bliss of that divine relationship reserved for each one. It is the clarion call of the Gospel, the good news for all to come home to the place they belong within this wonderful divine flow. It is also a flow of vulnerability. God’s power comes through powerlessness and humility. God is actually much more all-vulnerable than almighty.

Whenever I am in the NOW presence of God then I am in the earshot and inclusion of that divine song of delight; that eternal song of grace, love and fellowship. This song is a three corded Ground of all Being that holds everything together. Oh the depths and riches and wonder of this eternal love song. This is the place of divine rest, indeed, it is ‘the Sabbath rest of God’, the environment of eternity on earth; this is the atmosphere of the house of God and the air of heaven that we breathe. It is a place of divine joy and laughter, a place of deep intimate union, a place of profound compassion and love. This place is all around us and within us. Why would I want to be conscious to anything else? In fact Jesus made it clear that this flow of divinity, grace and joy happens simply by believing that we are one with the Trinity as he was one with Trinity. His teaching on a vine and branches allowing the same life to flow is wonderful.

This wind of Spirit is a dance of love, a flow of grace, which creates a symphony of joy in this world. Just listen to the blackbirds song each morning and evening. Humanity is supposed to be part of this symphony of joy, this eternal flow of grace, this divine dance. All of us have at times stepped outside of this divine dance because we have convinced ourselves that we are better on our own. We have chosen independence rather than joining in the symphony of joy, the flow of divine life and the atmosphere of peace that streams through this world and universe. Once we have discovered this union with the divine flow of grace, then we have freedom to grow into the as yet undiscovered mysteries of the heavens and of this Trinity. However, we will need to learn to discover for ourselves the silence of eternity which can be found here on earth whenever we choose to sit in quiet and become conscious of divinity within. In that place we become re-clothed in our rightful mind, our strivings cease, everything becomes interpreted by love and it is where we discover ‘I Am’.

 

        Oh the flow that never lets me go,                                                                                                       As I sit in the river of God,                                                                                                                     There is a freshness that washes over me,                                                                                          That expands me and causes me to grow.

         Oh the flow that never lets me go,                                                                                                         As I rest in the breeze of God,                                                                                                                There is a presence that washes over me,                                                                                           That refreshes me and causes me to grow.

        Oh the flow that never lets me go,                                                                                                         As I lie in the oneness of God,                                                                                                               There is a sweetness that washes over me,                                                                                        That changes me and causes me to grow,

         Oh the flow that never lets me go,                                                                                                         As I bask in the grace of God,                                                                                                               There is a hunger for God that washes over me,                                                                              That feeds me and causes me to grow.

        Oh the flow that never lets me go,                                                                                                        As I eat of the fruit of God,                                                                                                                   There is a dimension of God that washes over me,                                                                           That strengthens me and causes me to grow.

          Oh the flow that never lets me go,                                                                                                        Grace, love and eternal fellowship,                                                                                                     From Father, Christ and Spirit now,                                                                                                    That ever abides and causes me to grow.

 

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Love that will not let me go.

 I know that I have said this before but I consider some of the older hymns were written by people who clearly had a deep experience of what they were writing about. They did not just sit down and decide to write a hymn and put some words together. No, they had often been through deep pain and suffering which they had allowed to shape their lives resulting in profound mystical encounters with God. The following hymn was written by George Matheson who at the age of 19 found himself going incurably blind. On explaining this to his fiancé, she stated that she could never be married to a blind man and so left him heart broken. George Matheson had certainly suffered much and he stated that this hymn was the fruit of all his suffering.

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

I was recently impacted by the words of the first line and for several days they would not leave me. The simplicity of the word LOVE belies a profound depth and all-embracing comprehensiveness. It is a word that is so often spoilt by being misused for what is nothing more than lust which is a relationship that is anything but ongoing surrender, self-emptying and self-giving. Something that true Love will always be. This plain little word, so insignificant, is able to change each life and could change the world if we but surrendered to it. While the need for Love can be taught or theologically explained, Love itself can only be felt and experienced. When we are in relationship with the divine One, who empowers these simple four letters, then this word brings peace and calm to whatever angry waves are threatening to overwhelm our boat of life.

Love means that I can trace the rainbow through the darkest rain because Love will never leave me alone in that rain.

Love means that I can discover I have worth and value in who I am and not what I do.

Love means that in my weakness, suddenly, I can find strength.

Love means that even the deepest pain can produce joy.

Love means that surrender is the greatest victory.

Love overflows when I choose servanthood.

Love can see Christ in the unlovely,

Love can rejoice in no repute,

Love takes my hand and leads me on to the promised destination when the path becomes indistinct or lost.

Love quickly reminds me that all is well when anxiety rushes in and confuses me.

Love quietly whispers “You are my beloved” when doubt seems to get the upper hand.

Love draws me into the ocean depths of its divine flow whenever I still my racing thoughts.

Love never ever lets me go even when I deny it, abuse it or forget it. I just have to return to it!

Love is never close to me. Love is always right within me, waiting to become one with me  but only when I stop and choose to become one with Love.

So, if you need to, why don’t you stop right where you are. Close down your phone or computer and sit quietly in the presence of Love. Let its quiet whisper reassure you of its deep abiding presence. This Love will never let you go.

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A walk in the Garden.

I am learning about living in the Father’s house. The parable of the Prodigal Son is all about us coming back to a place of honour, glory, authority and abundance while on earth! I recently heard the voice of God saying “Come you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” I have discovered this means now and it is not after I die! If it is not for now here on earth then our faith means very little. It is about entering into a consciousness that is more real than life itself. This is what I have missed! I used to think that the Father’s house and garden is above and for a later time but it is now, here, on earth if we but choose and learn to live in that awareness. This is not some abstract thought, mental agility and persuading that it is true factually and so have to pretend that it is happening. No, here on earth, I am a walking skin covered tabernacle that feels and engages with divinity. A place where the glory of God and the wonder of heaven touch earth and it affects me powerfully when I am conscious to it. Like that tabernacle of old, I may be flexible, collapsible and just skin but I house the majesty of God, the presence of God, the glory of God, on this earth and it is meant to be felt and experienced. This house of God, the father’s house, comes alive when I am walking this earth and conscious to that dynamic spiritual state. It is all about awareness and consciousness of the reality of  Presence within. It is Heaven on earth.

It means that every wild flower seems to be smiling at me and wondering at the glory it sees passing by. Even the various hedgerow leaves are caught up with the same joy and dance wildly because they see Christ walking by. The trees are waving gloriously and decorously at the majesty passing beneath them. The woodland birds all seem to shout and exclaim to each other at the glory of God walking near them. I feel the wind on my face and I know that it is the breeze of Spirit. Surely this is the full glory of the sons of God that creation is earnestly waiting for and is now happening! This is what man was made for, to inherit the garden of God as one with Trinity themselves and one with all around.

So, this is the garden of God, the Eden of God! I am not talking of the natural world that we live in and enjoy as good and beautiful as it is. No, it is this state of conscious presence that is the actual garden of God where Adam walked and talked with God. This garden is the place of union, consciousness and powerful awareness of Trinity that can become a greater reality than the wonderful natural world. It is the experience that you are walking in sweet union with all of Christ while walking familiar physical paths. This is the garden of God that all are invited back into. And whenever Spirit whispers in my heart, “Come and rest in my garden Simon” then, wherever I am or whatever I am doing, I can enter into that reality.  It is the garden of resting from my thoughts and I become present only to Divinity. It is only when I let go of the false self, the mind and my thinking and enter another state of joyous consciousness. This garden is the place of conscious union with God, the place of unity that Jesus often spoke of and it is the garden of delights that the lover invites his Love into in the book of Song of Songs. This garden is the garden of resurrection that Mary walked in and encountered a risen Christ in a new way. A Christ that was unrecognisable to her previous experience. This is why Jesus first appeared after His resurrection in a garden and was mistaken for the gardener! It was the sign that the garden of encounter is open once again to all humanity although it never had been closed from Gods side.

This invitation from the lover is when I step out of my planning, reasoning and constant judging of the mind and step into a place of encounter of spirit. Only the real, true Simon can walk in this hallowed place of heaven on earth and the false self has to be left behind at the gate. This is a real life experience where Trinity seem to be pressing into me and I into them. This is a garden where joy and peace just wells up from within; a garden where Simon is overcome with love for all people whatever their background or persuasion. This is a garden that confirms the reality of God as well as the character and personality of this divinity and which may be quite different to what some traditions or upbringing has told me about God. And yes, it is a place that confirms my knowing of God by divine encounter and not head knowledge or what I have been told to believe. This is a place that seems much more special that the most special encounter I have previously had with God. It is also a garden that disappears in an instant when my mind clicks back into gear with its thoughts, arguments and pointless constant chatter.

As in the words of the old hymn, I can only come into the garden alone. Alone means without others distracting me; without the clamour of music, television, Twitter and Facebook.  (This alone will never be independent of others). Alone means without the identities I and others load myself with be it community worker, businessman, farmer, successful, liked or whatever I may be labelled. Finally, alone means without the ego, the false self and any sense of superiority. Only when I have learnt to leave all behind can I begin to find the narrow gate and the narrow path to this garden of delight that Spirit is holding open for me. Then I can enter and walk in sweet harmony and oneness with the fullness of Divinity. This is the inheritance reserved for all of us and prepared from the foundation of the world.

 

 

 

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Resurrection!

This word probably ought to be the most significant and revolutionary word in the English language. Its impact will be powerful and transforming when we finally experience what it is saying. Resurrection is far more than just remembering a one-time event in history that is celebrated once a year. It is far more than some creed that states “That on the third day he (Jesus) rose again.” No, resurrection is something that spans all of life and the one-time event that I have referred to, was just a momentary demonstration of what is always happening in this world.

Jesus Christ has always been resurrection! Even before he came to earth, Christ was resurrection and had been from even before the beginning of time. This world is full of resurrection but we hardly ever see it for ourselves until we do! Life breaks out, comes forth and reappears constantly. This can be especially true within each of us. The message of resurrection is surrounding us all the time especially in the spring time. Life, death and then resurrection are the basics of life because it just reflects the Christ of the Universe. This is a Christ soaked world!

Unfortunately, we lose sight of this great wonder when we follow our own ego and pride making ourselves like God. When Jesus Christ demonstrated resurrection 2000 years ago, I believe that event pressed the reset button for all of humanity. This one great eternal moment was to return us to our original settings. Jesus showed you and me how to live in spirit and truth with all Trinity and with all humanity. Resurrection needs to echo throughout all of our lives, in each day and in every moment whoever we are, even if we would not call ourselves a Christian. Jesus while on earth showed us all how to live in that Christ resurrection dynamic. Living in that truth restores us to our true identity as children of the Divine. We need to learn to have a consciousness of resurrection which is exactly how Jesus lived on earth at one with his Father. Resurrection living is the long full kiss of the Divine on our lips! When we live in the ‘risenness’ that is Christ then the following happens:-

  1. Christ is found in all things within and around. Everything becomes sacred.
  2. Eternity and time are joined. (Eternity is not the perpetuation of time on and on but rather the overcoming of time by the now that does not pass away!) That is a quote from David Steindlerast.
  3. All things become ours whether life or death, present or the future.
  4. The ordinary and supernatural are joined.
  5. We understand how Jesus was fully God and fully human all at once and so can we be.
  6. We find no separation and division in God. As we learn to be loved by God, we will love ourselves and find we love all people as we love God and ourselves whatever their colour, creed or persuasion.
  7. Everything is. Criticism, condemnation and judgement are gone.
  8. Heaven and earth now become joined. (Heaven is not a location but refers to the inner realm of consciousness.)
  9. Hope for a better future always rises from within.
  10. A piece of bread broken in wonder becomes the actual fullness of Christ within.

Resurrection, as I have perhaps poorly described, is for me, my whole understanding of God, Jesus and the Sacred Word. Thus we have a theology that begins to be large enough to embrace the true immensity of this grand Divinity and their delighted involvement in humanity.  Actually, it is more true to say that Trinity are delighted to have humanity involved in Divinity. Anything else is a too small a vision of this God and thus leads to division and exclusion which is very much what this God is not like from my own encounters.

Just remember that something or someone always has to die before resurrection can happen. Many of us do not like this part and consequently run from it but you cannot have one without the other.

So, today, tomorrow and each moment from now go and discover how to live resurrection!  Watch how it emanates from everything around us and is the core essence of this Universe. Stop restricting it to a one off magic event but experience its truth and power even within the walls and locked doors that contain your fears. Hear Christ speak peace to you through the consciousness of his actual presence as you walk your road. Each morning will be like that first morning, each blackbird will sound like the first bird and the whole world will be damp with the dew of divine presence.

 

 

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