Dreaming – Good News for March 19

19 03 2010

Matthew 1:16, 18-21

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

The Daily Path: When Joseph went to sleep on the night he was visited by the angel in a dream, I suspect his mind was full of anxiety over the discovery that his new wife was pregnant. Have you ever put your head to the pillow while worried or angry about something? I’m sure we all even. On a more positive note, have you ever framed a question clearly in your mind just before falling asleep? The latter is a technique I have often used to successfully come up with an answer or a creative solution.

I’m not a neurophysiologist, so I can’t tell you why my brain develops answers during sleep mode. In fact, I don’t care to know why for fear it will disable my little secret method. All I care about is the fact that answers often come in my sleep. The same is true for relief of anxiety. Have you ever had the experience of waking up worry free in a very peaceful state, only to have awareness of your troubles creep back into your conscious? “Damn, I was only dreaming.” Obviously some spiritual nurturing is going on before my human doubt returns. Dr. Wayne Dyer and others have suggested that the moments following sleep are when we are closest to our source (God). I would not disagree based on my own experience.

Are sleep and dreams a mechanism through which the Spirit engages with us? I don’t doubt it. In some ways that goes along with another concept I’ve read that suggests grace already exists within us and is activated at certain times. Again, I don’t want to fall into rationalizing, but I find it interesting how sleep and dreams can return me to a more peaceful state in which “true” answers become accessible. Hmm… perhaps the angels of the Lord are neurons! Oops, there I go again.

Eagle Eye – Good News for March 14

14 03 2009

He saw me when I was still a long way off…

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them Jesus addressed this parable.

“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any.

Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.'” So he got up and went back to his father.

While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began.

Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.'”

The Daily Path: I find it interesting that the parable of the Prodigal Son always resonated with me ever since hearing it for the first time as a young boy. Back then I didn’t know that it would become such a central theme in my later life. As I re-read the tale this morning, this passage stands out:

While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.

About five years ago, I was still a very long way away from returning fully to God. But something was stirring inside me. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was searching for God. I can recall an important milestone on this quest. I was channel surfing and stopped on KQED, my local PBS television station. Dr. Wayne Dyer was giving one of his televised lectures on spirituality. This one focused on connecting to “source” (God). For some reason I couldn’t turn away. What started as a quick stop turned into perhaps the most important three-hours of my life. In those moments, God used Dr. Dyer to begin reconnecting with me. 

As I look back it’s now clear to me that this was the beginning of my active spiritual journey. Like the father in Jesus’ parable, God saw me way off in the distance. Knowing that at long last I wanted to return home, HE ran down the road to meet me. There is no question in my mind that all God needed was an opening in my heart, the smallest reason despite all that I had squandered, and He was off to begin escorting me home. 

Room to Chat: Are you heading home, too? Take a moment and reflect on the milestones of your own journey. Sometimes we don’t see them for what they are. You may have found this blog by random chance… or was it? God has an eagle eye and sees us when we can’t even see ourselves.

Finding the Child in a Storm – Good News for December 2

2 12 2008

Luke 10: 21-24

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. 

Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” 

The Daily Path: I made a serious mistake this morning…

I departed from my usual routine of starting each day by reading the Gospel. Instead, I went directly to my e-mail to check the status of a business meeting scheduled for this week. While checking messages I opened a business related note from a colleague. That note sent me into a rage. My friends, I must confess that I’m still angry as I type these words. My blood pressure is boiling. What a horrible way to start the day. (Deep breath. Calm down, Kin.)

A number of years ago, one of my life teachers (Dr. Wayne Dyer) explained how we are often closest to source (God) when we first wake from a night’s sleep. And, like Dr. Dyer, I find both peace and inspiration from God usually flows through me like a river in those waking hours.

When I first started reading the Gospel early in the morning it was an attempt, I’ll even say a desperate attempt, to find a sense of peace that was alluding me each night. As some of you know, I would wake up at 3 a.m. filled with anxiety and anger. Reading and focusing on the Good News of the Gospel helped me to calm down and in many cases allow me to go back to bed for some sleep. Over time, these anxiety filled wake-up calls ceased. Now I wake up refreshed, anxious to contemplate God, read Christ’s teachings, craft my Good News To-Go! blog, and get ready for the day.

Now back to today’s failing… Why did I open that e-mail? Why did I stray from the routine that I know starts me off on the path where God wants me. I may get diverted later today but at least I start out closer to what Jesus calls “the childlike” to whom God will reveal Himself. Obviously today will be a challenge if I allow this poison to continue to flow through me.

Lord, please heal me. Remove this anger. Show me the way to get beyond it. Please help me and all who must deal with stressful situations in our business, and life in general, to feel Your love. Grant us peace, this day… please.

Advent Meditation: Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.