Posted in Lessons, the bible

Unraveling Biblical Wrath

God’s Infamous Wrath

For two-hundred centuries, Christianity has spoken about the wrathful nature of God. God is jealous, fickle and when “His” people sin against “Him” He punishes them with His wrath – doing all manner of terrible things against humanity in retribution for their sin.  We hear of God’s judgment and how those who disobey, who anger or disappoint God, who do not live up to God’s standards will be cast into hell where they will burn for an eternity for their sins.  We read stories of God’s punishment of humanity – barring us from paradise, devastating the world through a flood, destroying Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins, condemning the Hebrews to wandering in the wilderness for 40 years in their search of the elusive “promised land.”  We hear of how God tested humanity by His wrath – asking Abraham to sacrifice his long=awaited son, creating an environment where jealousy would emerge between Cain and Abel and Esau and Jacob, Jacob’s sons and Joseph.  In the Christian interpretation of Hebrew scripture, God’s wrath has become infamous and for 2000 years has been used as a means of threatening Christians into obedience – even though Jesus spoke only of a loving and compassionate God.  What happened?

Lost in Translation

As I was doing some research in preparation for my Order of Melchizedek Level Four class on the Hebrew Alphabet and the Major Arcana of the Tarot, I came upon an obscure reference on the biblical term wrath:

Wrath is the quality associated with (the Hebrew letter) Samech, but this is a blind. The literal meaning of the original Hebrew noun is “quivering” or “vibration.”  A similar blind is found in the use of the Greek noun thumos, also translated “wrath” in the New Testament. (The Tarot – a Key to the Wisdom of the Ages;  Paul Foster Case. Pg 153).

This reference blew me away! If it were true, it completely changes what Christians have been taught about the wrathful nature of God.  Not satisfied by a singular reference, I got to researching and discovered that what Paul Foster Case is suggesting is undoubtedly true.  While there are many Hebrew words that have been translated “wrath“they all have one thing in common – a sense of movement and vibration, somewhat akin to breath.

The Hebrew word chemah provides the perfect example of the deeper meaning of wrath:

Chemah is commonly translated as wrath. When we break this word down into the Hebrew letters which make up this word so that we can more fully grasp its meaning. we get the following:

Ches/Chet: Means an enclosure – that which supports, protects and carries us. On a spiritual level, Ches/Chet implies Divine Grace.

Mem: Means water. On a spiritual level, Mem represents the revealed and the concealed – inviting us to look beyond the surface of things to what lies beneath/within.

Hei:  Hei means window/door – that which allows light and air to enter our home. On a spiritual level, Hei is the breath through which God creates and represents God’s limitless mercy. (The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet by Rabbi Michael Monk)

Putting this all together, we have chemah – the breath of God which supports, protects and carries us – no matter what that breath looks like from our limited human perspective.  In other words, that which feels like punishment is in fact God’s infinite mercy carrying us to and through our growth.

Let me give you an example – the most basic example – the example upon which every fear of God’s eternal punishment has been predicated – the story of “The Fall.” We all know the story – Adam and Eve lived in Paradise. The serpent came and tempted them to eat of the tree from which God forbade them – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  They ate.  God was angry over their disobedience and as punishment, cast them forever out of the Garden of Eden.  The problem is, however, that this is not really how scripture describes it:

Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—  therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life. GN 3: 22- 24

First of all, it only says that the man was driven out.  (things that make you go hmmmmm). Beyond an interesting feminist exploration, a bigger question emerges!  Was God’s action a punishment or an act of mercy?  If the human condition is the consequence of humanity’s decision to “eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil” do we want to live forever?  Do we want to be condemned to remaining in the Garden where we will have to experience the suffering that is inherent in the human condition – FOREVER?  I don’t think so!  In God’s great mercy, God removed humanity from the Garden where we could eat of the Tree of Life so that we WOULD NOT have to live forever.  In barring us from the Tree of Life, God opened the door/window (Hei) to our return by ensuring that the human experience is only temporary and after we have completed our journey here, we can return to our original state of Oneness with God.  The other mercy in humanity’s exile from the Garden is the longing for home that has been planted within every human being (Ches/Chet) that compels us to seek after the satisfaction of that longing that can only be fulfilled in God.  This longing is the foundation and source of our spiritual development and growth and ultimately what makes us human.

Throughout scripture we can apply this perspective to every story that speaks of God’s wrath. Was it wrath and punishment or God’s infinite mercy?  Is it condemnation or an opportunity for growth?  When we look beyond the surface of things (Mem), we can see the loving hand of God in everything that unfolds in our human experience – even those things we would rather avoid (pain, suffering, loss, death, betrayal, etc.).  When we look at life through the lens of love, we see that EVERYTHING is an opportunity to know love (aka God) more.

Wrath from a Human Perspective

Now that we have a better understanding of wrath as it pertains to God, let’s take a look at it from the human perspective as it relates to the very real human experience of anger. (Putting on my spiritual psychology hat)….

 

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Posted in church, Raised Catholic, the bible, Truth

Healing Our Religious Wounds – new online course

Online course

Do at your own pace

23 modules

Only $49.99!

(content heavy and fiscally light)

Click on this image to register.

While religion has provided a great service to humanity, it has also done great harm. If you are one who has felt harmed, rejected, condemned, judged, ridiculed, stifled, silenced, by religion, you are not alone. In fact, the second largest “religious” denomination in the United States is made up of 42.7 million non-practicing Catholics – those who have left the Church because they no longer felt welcome or at home.  Perhaps like me, you are one of those.  Whatever it is that brings you to this class, “Healing Our Religious Wounds,” know that here you are welcome!  Through this course you will find acceptance, unconditional love and support for healing the wounds that you experienced at the hands of religious institutions or from those associated with that religion (even when those may have been your own parents or loved ones).

The structure of this class will be four-fold:

  1. To name and claim the harm that we have experienced through religion and to find unconditional support for claiming these wounds.
  2. To grieve the losses that we have experienced as a result of these wounds: loss of community, loss of familiar rituals, loss of perceived belonging, loss of God*, loss of self.
  3. To provide a space upon which you can heal religious wounds by confronting some of the core “beliefs” that are often the platform upon which this wounding has taken place.
  4. In doing so, providing space in which you can build a belief system of your own, perhaps discovering that in doing so, you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater (which many, sadly have).

The format of this course will be part storytelling, part recorded lecture, part written content, and part personal reflection and meditation.  You are invited to share what you are comfortable sharing throughout the course and you are free to refrain from sharing if this is how you are called.

Topics Covered:

  • Telling our story
  • Grief
  • Guilt
  • Images of God
  • Re-examining “The Trinity”
  • The question of salvation
  • Jesus – Redeemer or Revealer?
  • Scripture
  • Outside perceived authority vs inner truth
  • Prayer – speaking to vs. listening to God
  • Religion vs. Spirituality
  • Naming and claiming your own truth

*A note about “God.” Throughout this course you will see the use of the word “God.”  I will also interchange this with “The Divine.”  Please know that in the use of these terms, I impose no specific belief or understanding of what that means….but that it has nothing to do with the traditional “Old Man in the Sky” god and everything to do with the “God of your understanding.”  If you have a hard time with the word “God,” please feel free to replace it with “Love” or “Peace” or any word that describes your current understanding of our Origin and our Source.

Please also note that I will be using Judeo-Christian scripture throughout this course. I do so because it is the primary text which has been used as a weapon for harm.  In my own healing journey, I have discovered the beauty of scripture when examined through the light of love.  Scripture was never meant to cause harm, but to be a vehicle through which we can find ourselves, and in finding ourselves, finding our own understanding of “God.” My hope in using scripture, along with the proper tools, is that you will find this also to be true.

What you will need:

  • Yourself
  • A computer with internet access
  • A notebook or journal
  • A music source (your computer will suffice)
  • A box of crayons (Crayola 64 count is my favorite)
  • Time

As an additional source of support, I have created a “Secret” Facebook group (meaning only members can post or have access to the page) for course participants. Here you are welcome to share your own journeys and to connect with others healing through this process.  This is purely optional, but please use this resource if you feel so called.

 REGISTER HERE. 

From the Course’s Welcome and Introduction:

Since the beginning of time, human beings have created belief systems, rituals and communal practices to support and give expression to their search for meaning. For many primitive cultures, religion became a means of trying to survive in an otherwise unfriendly world. Beyond mere survival, as sentient beings we are driven by an inner longing to know who we are, to understand the workings of the universe and to somehow participate in the universe’s ongoing act of creation.  Religions were created in an effort to fulfill this longing.

Historically, the development of religious systems has proven helpful in gathering people around a common set of beliefs and cultural practices, providing a system of education and support through the inherent rites of passage in the human journey (birth, coming into adulthood, coupling, aging, death), and supporting humanity in developing necessary codes of conduct and systems for addressing breaches in that conduct. At their best, religious institutions bring humans together, support them in their psycho-spiritual development and equip them for living out the fullness of their human potential while being of service to the betterment of the world.

Many religious institutions are not, however, functioning “at their best.” Instead, many have risen up out of systems of fear, power and control, or as an adversarial response to other systems of power.  As a result, many religious institutions are functioning not as a system of support and empowerment, but instead are seeking control.  In many cases, fear and intimidation are the vehicles of control as those in power seek to rule over those who are not.

As a result of this disparity of power, many thousands of human beings have been injured – told they are unworthy of the love of their God, made to feel less than because of the person God made them to be, or flat out rejected because of their gender, sexual orientation, or life choices. In some cultures, people are even being killed because they disagree with the ruling religious power.  And what about all of those who have been sexually abused by those in religious power and those who are still being abused?

 REGISTER HERE

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Academy, Christ Consciousness, church, divine mother, Jesus, New World, Oneness with God, Raised Catholic, the bible

Revealing the “New” in What Has Formerly Been Called “Church”

It is no longer about building the new world. It is about BEING the new world.

– Lauri Ann Lumby

For those of us who came here to be leaders in bringing forth the new world – in helping others to see the new world that is already here in our midst, we each have our own unique task , our own unique portion of “the new” we are here to help others see hidden within “the old.”

Some are called to be leaders of revealing the new world in the fields of education, others in medicine, others in banking and finance, others in governance, others in what was formerly called “the military,” and others in marketing, commerce, industry, manufacturing, agriculture, etc.

The specific field in which I am called to reveal the “new” is in what has formerly been called “church.”

stmarysinterior

In the old world, “church” became the intermediary between the people and their “god” and the outside perceived authority charged with telling the people what to do. “Church” ruled through fear and manipulated with threats of eternal punishment and damnation.

This was never what God intended. Neither was this what Jesus worked for.  Even Paul would have cringed if he’d seen what would become of his “Body of Christ.”

While this model of church continues to serve the needs of those who choose to remain in the old world – the world ruled by fear; for those choosing to live in a world of and for the purpose of Love, a different experience of what has formerly been called “church” seeks to be made known.

For those who in the old world were raised in one of the many Christian traditions, or who resonate with the person of Jesus, the “new” that is being revealed, and that I am called to help others see, starts with him.

jesus

What did Jesus do?

While we cannot recognize as authoritative or historically accurate, when we look past 2000 years of orthodox interpretation and through centuries of redaction and political maneuvering, and allow the Divine to speak to us directly, many truths can be gleaned:

  • Jesus prayed. And he prayed often, and he taught his disciples how to pray.
  • It was through prayer that Jesus experienced a deeply intimate, loving and even parental relationship with God (which he called “Abwoon”).
  • It was also through prayer that Jesus eventually came to realize his Oneness with God.
  • Through prayer, Jesus came to know God as Love and in this Oneness, came to know himself as Love.
  • It was in this Love that Jesus came to experience “heaven on earth” or as Jesus explained it: “the kingdom of God within.”
  • THIS is the kingdom Jesus proclaimed – LOVE.
  • Jesus lived and taught two commandments: Love God. Love Neighbor. And Jesus considered EVERYONE to be his neighbor, especially those the outside perceived authority called “sinners” or “unclean.”

In the words of Isaiah, Jesus:

Brought glad tidings to the lowly,

Proclaimed liberty to captives,

Gave sight to the blind,

Freed the imprisoned and oppressed,

Healed the brokenhearted,

Comforted those who mourned

And proclaimed a year acceptable to the Lord.

IS 61: 1-2

Jesus invited “those who had ears to hear” to move beyond the fears created by the outside perceived authority that served to separate them from “God” to the love that had been there all along – the love through which they were empowered to remember their Oneness with God (each other and all of creation) and that in this Oneness, they would know peace.

  • THIS is how Jesus healed the sick and set captives free.
  • THIS is what Jesus taught and then empowered his disciples to do.
  • THIS is what we too are called to do.
  • THIS is what I am called to reveal as the “new” model of what we formerly called “church”

As Jesus himself taught that we are all ONE and that there is indeed no separation; in the new world this proves to be true:

Here we are no longer

Jew or Greek

Slave or Free

Male or Female

For we are all ONE.

Gal 3: 28

Here, the truth within all traditions is sought and love becomes the measure of that truth.

As I am called to reveal “the new” in what has formerly been called “church,” the Catholic faith in which I was raised in my starting point.

maryqueenrosary

The Church:

  • That taught me about Jesus.
  • Who called me to do what Jesus did.
  • That taught me the value of ritual and the transformative power of contemplative prayer.
  • Where I learned that scripture is indeed the Word of God when we allow God to speak to us through and beyond the imperfection of human words.
  • Who gave me the angels, saints, mystics and all souls as my companions and guides.
  • Who gave me a God who is both Mother and Father and a God who as Spirit is beyond gender, name or form and who is both outside and within.
  • And the “Church” that taught me that we are here to know ourselves as the Temple of God and that as the Temple of God we have each been uniquely gifted and that it is through these gifts that we find fulfillment in our lives as we serve ourselves and others through the use of these gifts.

This is the starting point, but certainly not the end. For if we are all truly One, then it is our job to seek this Oneness – especially where we have most often fought for the sake of our perceived separation – in that which has formerly been called faith, religion or belief.

This is the “new” that I am called to reveal as we move more and more into the new world of Love – a “new” way of being what we formerly called “church.” And in this, we will learn that the “new” isn’t new after all, for it has always been here, right in our very midst, when we have had the eyes to see and the ears to hear.

heartinhands

If this this is the kind of “new” experience of what has formerly been called “church” that calls to you, please join us for our weekly gathering: “Being the New World”

Mondays 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Tuesdays 9:00 – 11:00 am

Authentic Freedom Academy

1103 School Ave.

Oshkosh, WI

Suggested Donation $10 – $20

If you are not in the Fox Valley and are interested in participating in these gatherings, please begin by subscribing to our weekly Empowerment Newsletter.

If you are interested in recorded sessions of our weekly gathering and in becoming part of our online community, please email Lauri at lauri@authenticfreedom.love.  If there is enough of an interest, these will be made available for a small monthly subscription fee. 

 

Posted in Being Human, Oneness with God, temptation, the bible, women, world changes

Eve Speaks – Reclaiming the Feminine Perspective Part II

As we celebrate the full moon in Virgo and the full revelation of the Divine Feminine and ushering in the rebirth of the Divine Masculine, it is time for the feminine heroes of salvation history to speak.  Today, let me introduce Eve – Mother of us All!

Eve

Eve Speaks

First of all….you know I’m a myth, right!? I am a myth.  There was no literal Adam and Eve.  And….we are all Adam and Eve.  This is the mystery of myth.  My story…our story…is the human story and it might interest some of you to know that the version of our story that you find in the book of Genesis isn’t even original.  Instead, your Jewish ancestors borrowed this story from their captors in Babylon because it helped them make sense of their own situation – plucked out of the home they had come to love and away from the god they had come to know in the temple into virtual slavery and having to find a new god and a new way of relating to their god while exiled in the land of Persia under the rule of the Chaldean king, Nebuchadnezzar II. (Google it if you don’t believe me!)

But just because my story didn’t actually happen, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. In fact, as is the case of all myth, my story communicates deep and profound truths – truths that are found in layers depending on the reader’s current state in life and their own unique perspective on life, love and God. To some, my story represents disobedience and punishment. To others, the subjugation of the Divine Feminine by warring hoards of patriarchal men (see Riane Eisler for more on this!). To others I represent the dawn of creation. And to others I represent the source of original sin and the danger of feminine wiles. None of these interpretations are wrong (if you need to interpret them in this way), but none are complete or absolute truth either.

All that being said, today I want to share with you my favorite version of my (our) story. It goes like this…..

bible-adam-and-eve

Once upon a time, we knew nothing but God. We knew nothing but the infinite, all-encompassing, overwhelming, unconditional love of God. In this state of knowing, we also knew ourselves to be this love for in this knowing we were one with God and knew nothing other than this oneness. Then one day, God wanted us to understand ourselves as seemingly separate from God – still overwhelmingly encompassed in God’s love, but separate. In this separateness, God created two expressions of God’s self – one that was Feminine in its energy and spirit and one that was Masculine. Together, we represented the prototypes of what human beings would one day become. In this state, we lived in complete harmony and peace – knowing ourselves as nothing but love and in this love, still intimately connected with God. This was paradise – what the scripture writers have called “Eden.” For an eternity we basked in this state of Divine Love – seemingly separate in this love but intimately connected with the fullest expression of this Love which is God.

Then one day, God, (who is really just a child at play), decided to try something new. God said, “I have this idea of a human being – a creature that would be made in our image, but will be in physical form.” As the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine, we jumped at the chance to participate in God’s creation, so we volunteered, “Let us be this new creation – let us become human beings.” But then God dropped the bomb – “Thank you for wanting to participate in my play. But I must warn you, if you should accept this task, if you should become human, you will forget. You will forget the love that you now know yourselves to be. More importantly, you will forget me. You will forget your origin as One with me and the peace and harmony that comes with that knowing.” We had to think about this for awhile. What would it be like to forget love? What would it be like to forget God? What would it be like to forget who we really are? As we pondered this opportunity, God remembered, “You know, you won’t really forget all of it. In fact, we can never truly forget our original nature. We can never truly forget love. Because as part of me, we are never really separate, it will just seem that way. And what if I help you out a bit by planting a seed within your human heart of remembrance – something that will help you to remember and guide your way back to me? Would that help?” We thought about it some more and then we agreed, “Yes, we would participate in God’s play and try out this thing of being human.” And so we did. We agreed to become human and came down into the world as male and female – seemingly separate from God, but always one just the same. This is how it began.

Now, there is a whole lot more to the story, as you well know. But that seems like enough for today. Perhaps we will talk again soon.

 

Love,

Eve

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, the bible, women

Miriam Speaks – Reclaiming the Feminine in Salvation History

As we are on the brink of the full revelation of the Divine Feminine and ushering in the rebirth of the Divine Masculine, it is time for the feminine heroes of salvation history to speak.  Today, let me introduce you to Miriam – prophetess, priestess, healer and midwife of the Hebrew people – Co-liberator with Moses in the journey from slavery to the discovery of the REAL Promised Land.   

Anselm Feuerbach, public domain
Anselm Feuerbach, public domain

Miriam Speaks

You know, I am sick to death of my brother Moses getting all the credit!  It’s been five thousand years and I am done being silent.  It is time for me to speak.  It is not just because of Moses that the Hebrews found freedom…..I had a big role to play in the Exodus too, but sadly Moses is the one who has gotten all the recognition (and Aaron with him).

In case you don’t know who I am (because the men who wrote scripture simply glossed over my story…and I’m never preached about in the temple or Sunday morning at mass), I am Miriam.  I am Moses’ older sister and a prophet in my own right.  But of course, most have forgotten this about me (thank Goddess for the Talmud or my story would have been all but forgotten).

I am a prophet, a seer, a healer, a dowser and a midwife.  It was I who saw the star foretelling Moses’ birth.  It was I who interpreted the meaning of the star.  It was I who helped my mother bring my brother forth from the womb.  It was I who knew what to do to save Moses from death when Pharaoh ordered the slaughter of male infants.  I had been to the rushes.  I had heard the Pharaoh’s daughter and her longing for a child.  It was I who had befriended her during my mother’s pregnancy knowing the fate that would befall my brother when even Pharaoh didn’t know himself (the Pharaoh’s seers were not near as gifted as I).  It was I who brought Moses to her allowing her to “find” him on her own so she could fool her father.  When Moses became a prince and a foreman over the Hebrews I was called by God to reintroduce Moses to our mother, informing him of his authentic heritage as a Hebrew.  I was the one who delivered to Moses his (our) true calling as a liberator(s) of our people.  When Moses fled to the desert I was there with him in prayer, supporting him in finding a family and eventually in finding the Mountain of God and his encounter with the one true God.  Then, when Moses returned, I was his counselor, helping him to hear and discern the voice of God and ordaining him into the priesthood – with staff and serpent – symbols of the full integration of the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine, I ordained him.  I can’t help he never fully embraced the Feminine, but that was the intention. I was there by his side when he spoke to Pharaoh and I wept with him when the Angel of Death passed over and slaughtered the first-born sons of those who did not believe.  I was there with him when Pharaoh ordered our liberation and I was there beside him calling for the parting of the Reed Sea.  With Moses’ staff of power and my power over the Feminine element of water, the waters gave way and with my singing and dancing (and that of my fellow priestesses) we held the water at bay.  It was when we ceased our dancing that the waters fell upon the Pharaoh’s soldiers, insuring our escape.

StaffofMoses

I am a prophet, a healer, a midwife, a dowser and a priestess of the Hebrew people. In our forty-year journey through the desert, I was Moses’ constant companion.  Using my intuition and my gift of sight, I was the column of fire and the pillar of cloud that led our people through the desert.  With my feminine connection with water, I located the wells that would provide water to quench our thirst.  I called forth the quail who nourished our hungry bodies and discerned that manna would be good to eat.  When we arrived at the Mountain of God, I sensed the anger and frustration of the crowd and that Moses would be the likely target for their anger and sent him away from us to the heights of the mountain where he could discern for himself God’s guidance at this important crossroads in our journey. I held him in prayer and support while Aaron succumbed to the pressure of the people in creating a god for themselves.  Then, when Moses came down with the law, I reveled in what God had revealed to him and then found myself heartbroken when in his anger over what our people had done in fashioning a golden idol, he delivered a law that was prohibitive instead of the vessel of support and affirmation that God had originally intended.  I whispered the truth of God’s law into the hearts of those who would hear, but to those already in fear, it was Moses’ prohibitive rules that eventually stuck.

I was there when we first beheld the Promised Land and knew that it was not the land itself that God had promised but an inner freedom that secured our liberation regardless of the outward circumstance of our lives.  In our journey through the desert, I had found this freedom time and time again in my own intimate connection with our God who was both male and female and yet beyond either of these.  I found this freedom in my communion with God and in the nurturing and sharing of the ways in which God sought to be known in the world through me – as yielder of water, as pillar of cloud and column of fire, as serpent and seer, as healer and midwife, as priestess and prophet, as daughter, sister and mother.  In our journey through the desert, I found the freedom that God had promised and sought to teach our people the same. Sadly, for the majority of our people – Moses included – this freedom was never truly found and I see that the same is true today as men are waging war after war after war over material control of whatever they currently believe to be the “Promised Land” – Israel, The Ukraine, Egypt, Tibet, oil, gold, diamonds, money, fame, power, and control.  Humankind continues to build false idols and to seek outside of themselves for the “Promised Land” when as I have discovered, it has been within us all along.

copyright 2015  Lauri Ann Lumby

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Faith, God, Spiritual Practices, the bible, Virtual Church

Virtual Church – Spiritual Practices

Below is a copy of the Agape’ Meditation Newsletter which is a supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church worship service.  If you would like to subscribe and receive this newsletter in your email every week, please click on the Constant Contact icon below. 

 

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service

Scripture Reading:

MoseswaterrockIn those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?
Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?” So Moses cried out to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? a little more and they will stone me!” The LORD answered Moses, “Go over there in front of the people,  along with some of the elders of Israel, holding in your hand, as you go, the staff with which you struck the river. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb. Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.” This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel. The place was called Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled there and tested the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD in our midst or not?”

Exodus 17: 3-7

 

Additional Readings:

Ps 95: 1-2, 6-9

Rom 5: 1-2, 5-819, 20, 22

Jn 4: 5-42

Hindsight is 20/20

As Paul said in his letter to the Hebrews: “Faith is the realization of things hoped for and evidence of things unseen.” (Heb 11:1)

Sometimes in order to have belief, or to strengthen a weakened belief, it is helpful to look back over our life experiences for evidence of the Presence and Action of God.  Taking the time to recall all the places in our life where we can see the loving action of God helps to strengthen us in times of struggle and gives us appreciation for all the ways in which God has been present to us throughout our lives.

 

Spiritual Practices:

On a blank sheet of paper, draw a horizontal line.  At one end of the line, put the number zero.  At the other end of the line, write your current age.  Between zero and your current age, mark along the line, significant events of your life.  Choose one of those events and place yourself back into the experience, using your imagination to recollect the details of the event.  Allow yourself to once again experience the emotions and feelings associated with the event.  Allow the story to unfold in your mind until it comes to its natural conclusion. Then reflect on the following questions:

1)       How are you now aware of the Presence and Action of God in the course of that event?  Some examples might be – significant people who accompanied you in the experience, or showed up as examples of love and support.  Other examples might be related to solutions to problems, guidance and support that seemed to come in a miraculous or startling way.

2)      How has that event continued to influence your life?  How has God continued to be present to you as you life unfolded from that event?

Authentic Freedom

In this week’s reading, the Hebrews were confronted with the very real fear that they would die of thirst in the desert.  From the perspective of Authentic Freedom, the fear that arose in them was the fear that there is not enough. This fear caused them to doubt the decision they had made to leave behind the life of slavery they had known in Egypt and follow Moses to the “promised land.”  Their grumbling and the remedy to their grumbling is a reminder for us as well – when we are afraid that there is not enough, to turn toward God.

How are you aware of the fear “there is not enough” as operating in your life?

Where are you tempted to doubt that God will provide for all of your needs?

How are you being invited to turn toward God when you are afraid?

Posted in creativity, Empowerment, End of the World Prophecies, Inspiration, Mystics, the bible, world changes

You Are The Light of the World

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnFneV6o84Q

You are the Light of the World!

You are the Light of the World.

Your light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.

The Light that you are is the light of God, the light of love, the light of peace and this is the light of the whole human race.

You are called to be and live this light and to let your light shine so that others too may know their light.

It is with this Light and through this Light that the world may know the love and peace that is its true nature and through which all shall live in harmony, peace and joy.

It is in living this light that God’s will is made complete, heaven brought to earth and a world living in love.

Let your light shine so that others may see.

Live the Light and Love of God that you are.

Remember this Love.  Be this Love.  Be the Light.

Let the Love and Light that you are reach into all corners of the world, seeking after darkness and bringing it forth into the light.

Let the Love and Light that you are bringing healing and restoration to a fearful world.

You are the light of the world, turning the world from fear into love.

Amen.  Amen.  So Mote it Be!

Love,

Lauri

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iv–XOVV2RY

 

Sehme Aniyahkah, Sehme Oniyahkah

 

Posted in church, Holy Spirit, Inspiration, Raised Catholic, Spiritual Practices, teachers, the bible

Ahead of My Time or Just in Time?

Today’s blog explores Jesus, Church stuff and timing – specifically ushering in the Age of the Holy Spirit.

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Yesterday, I received an enormous tidbit of wisdom for a twenty-something whippersnapper.  And I use these terms tongue-in-cheek because in truth, I have found the twenty-somethings to have WAY MORE wisdom than most of the rest of us.  I asked this young man to give me some feedback on the Sunday evening meditation circle that I host and that he attended once with some of his friends.  They had not come back and I wanted to find out why.  In short, there were three words that scared them away:  Scripture.  Jesus.  Catholic.  Please note that all three of them had been raised Catholic.  We discussed this further, in particular, how I approach these three apparent hot-buttons in the work that I do.  Then came the “out of the mouth of babes” wisdom.  “Lauri,” said the twenty-something young man, “I think you are just ahead of your time.”  Sigh.

Scary words

When I look at  the three words that scared those twenty-somethings away, I feel like shaking my head in frustration.  Three words that in my not-so humble opinion have been given a really bad rap and which have been used to forward the agenda of the fearful few.  I could just walk away from these words – stop talking about Jesus, stop using scripture, stop being all Catholicky…..but I find that I cannot.  Why?  Because there is some strange force within me that compels me to redeem these words and our relationship to them.  Why?  Because in twenty years of praying, meditating, contemplating scripture, Jesus and Catholicism, I have found some really cool things…things that unfortunately most churches are reluctant to share.  Let’s start with the man:

Jesus

In my own prayer, meditation and contemplation of scripture as it relates to Jesus and with Jesus himself as he shows up in my prayer, I have found Jesus to be a really cool dude.  Compassionate.  Kind.  Loving.  Filled with Wisdom.  Gentle.  HUMAN.  To me, Jesus is my guru, teacher, rabbi, friend and beloved companion.  So, I feel frustrated, angry, sad when Jesus is portrayed as anything but all of the above.  The Jesus I know is unconditionally loving and accepting of ALL and asks us to do the same.  This is the Jesus I want people to know and seek to help them recognize by moving past the doctrine that might teach otherwise.

Scripture

Scripture, when approached through contemplative prayer and meditation, is one of the ways that we get to know this Jesus.  Even more than Jesus, scripture also helps us to find the God that is unconditionally loving, gentle and kind.  When we approach scripture from a place of prayer, allowing it to be a vehicle through which God can speak to us intimately, personally and directly, we find a God that is beyond doctrine, tribal customs and societal conditioning.  Instead, we find peace, love, joy, wisdom, insight, guidance, healing and comfort.  Mix in the historical/critical analysis of scripture and doctrine simply falls away and all we have is God – unencumbered by our human agenda of control.  HMMM  Now scripture suddenly isn’t so bad.

Catholicism

Then there’s the whole Catholic thing.  Yeah, the Institution keeps digging itself a bigger whole with the sex scandals, pay-offs, and now the attack on the women religious (and the rest of women for that matter.).  And yes, I have been accused of being dysfunctionally attached to my Catholicism and to my related wounds.  All that being said….I still love many, if not most, of the things that have been part of my Catholic upbringing.  So, no apologies about the fact that the work I do probably reeks of ritual, incense, candles, mystery, mysticism, music, art and even magic.  Perhaps in my next life I’ll choose Wicca or Hinduism, but in this life, I was born into the Catholic tribe, and here I will remain.  And I don’t think that is a bad thing.  In fact, I would love if we could just scoop up all the things that rock about being Catholic and repackage it in something less judgmental and arrogant.  (Ahem, we aren’t the only ones going to heaven!!!!)

In the Company of Prophets

As I roll all these things around in my mind, I am reminded of the work of the twelfth century prophet Joachim Di Fiore.  He identified what he referred to as three spiritual ages:  The Age of the Father, The Age of the Son and the Age of the Holy Spirit.  The Age of the Father was the time from Abraham to Jesus  marked by the development of Judaism.  The time of the Son was the time after Jesus’ birth to the present age – marked by the transmission of the Jesus message and the building up of the Institutional Church.  The Age of the Spirit, in Joachim’s words is:

When mankind was to come in direct contact with God, reaching the total freedom preached by the Christian message. The Kingdom of the Holy Spirit, a new dispensation of universal love, would proceed from the Gospel of Christ, but transcend the letter of it. In this new Age the ecclesiastical organization would be replaced and the Order of the Just would rule the Church. Only in this third Age will it be possible to really understand the words of God in its deepest meanings, and not merely literally.  In this year,  a new Epoch of peace and concord would begin, thus making the hierarchy of the Church unnecessary.

So, maybe I’m not really ahead of my time, but just in time.  HMMMMM

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Spiritual Practices, the bible

Spiritual Practices – Sacred Reading

Today I continue the series on spiritual practices, sharing with the reader a spiritual practice a day.  Today, we will be focusing on the practice of Lectio Divina, otherwise known as Sacred Reading.  Connecting with a spiritual practice that works for you and making a commitment to this practice is an important step in the journey of spiritual growth, healing and enlightenment.


Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.   For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Psalm 139


Lectio Divina – Sacred Reading

Sacred Reading is a spiritual practice that is available to every person, regardless of their specific spiritual beliefs.  In sacred reading, a written text is used as the focal point of reflection and is approached as a vehicle through which we are able to connect with our deepest and most personal truths.  Parker Palmer calls this approach The Third Way. In the Christian Contemplative tradition to which I ascribe, this approach is called Lectio Divina. Today, I will describe this approach from the perspective of Lectio-Divina which uses Judeo-Christian scripture as the focal point.  Please know that you can use ANY written text as the focus of sacred reading, so if scripture doesn’t speak to you, find a poem, a fairytale, a myth or lyrics to a song as your vehicle for sacred reading.

The Purpose

The purpose of Lectio-Divina is to use a sacred text as a vehicle through which Divine truth can be revealed to us.   Through Lectio-Divina, we discover what God wants us to receive at this point in our journey for our highest good through the sacred word (whether we are using scripture, song, poetry, etc.) Regular practice of sacred reading allows us to grow in knowledge of our deepest truths, connect more deeply with our truest nature, find healing, comfort, guidance and inspiration.

The Steps

Lectio-Divina takes place in four parts:

Lectio – Reading

Meditatio – Meditation/Reflection on the sacred text

Oratio – Prayer/Our Response to God

Contemplatio – Resting in Silence in God’s presence

Lectio –

First we choose the text with which we want to work.  (you might start with the scripture passage above) Then, we read the text slowly and prayerfully looking for a word or phrase that may jump off the page at us.  This word or phrase is God’s message for us this day.

Meditatio-

Once we have the word or phrase, we bring that word/phrase into prayerful reflection.  We spend time ruminating on this word or phrase, reflecting on what it might mean for us today and how it may apply to where we are in our journey.  We may find in the word or phrase a piece of inspiration, the answer to a question, Divine guidance, a challenge to ponder, nourishment or even healing or comfort.  We may choose to use the word or phrase as a mantra, repeating it over and over in our minds, allowing it to bring us into a deep state of peaceful calm.  We might take 10-30 minutes in this stage of Lectio-Divina

Oratio-

After meditating on the word or phrase and allowing it to nourish us, we offer our response to God.  For many, this stage is when we pull out our journal and start writing.  Recording our thoughts, reflections, responses to the meditation stage provides us with another perspective and frequently reveals additional truths, insights, etc.  Sometimes we simply want to offer words of praise to God for the nourishment offered.  This can be done in silence, in writing, or aloud.

Contemplatio-

In Contemplation, we simply REST IN GOD.  In this stage, we refrain from doing, we calm the busy mind and allow ourselves to simply be.  This stage can be done in silence after we have offered our oratio, but if time does not allow, we are invited to recognize that the contemplatio stage continues as we move throughout our day.  We have planted the seeds through lectio, meditatio and oratio, now God will bring forth the harvest through contemplatio.  In other words, it is God that does the work in this stage….we get to be the passive recipient of the additional fruits of this time spent in spiritual practice.

My Experience with Lectio-Divina

I had the fantastic opportunity to learn Lectio-Divina through Sr. Marie Schwan, one of my instructors in the Commissioned Lay Ministry Formation Program.  The practice of Lectio-Divina quite simply CHANGED MY LIFE!  Through the practice of Lectio-Divina, I discovered scripture as a rich source of Divine guidance, inspiration and healing.  Through this practice I came to realize a deeply personal and intimate relationship with the Divine and with myself.  I now use this practice in the classes that I teach and share this practice with clients.  I have seen many lives transformed through the use of Lectio-Divina, along with other spiritual practices and I recommend this practice to anyone!

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com