Please find below the Agape’ Meditation Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church. The following is for the fourth Sunday of Easter, May 11, 2014. The theme this week is LISTENING.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Fourth Sunday of Easter
Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter
Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service
Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them. So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
John 10: 1-10
Acts 2: 14, 36-41
Ps 23: 1-6
1 Pt 2: 20b -25
Are We Listening to the Shepherd’s Voice?
God is the Gatekeeper. Jesus is the shepherd. We are the sheep. Jesus entered through the narrow gate and in his search, he found God. Specifically, he discovered God’s love and learned that he was One with God (I Am) in that love. Jesus then went out, as a shepherd among sheep, and tried to show us how we too could enter through the narrow gate so that we might know the love that he had come to know in God and the love that he had come to know within himself – the same love that seeks to be known within us. Jesus calls and we are invited to hear his voice.
Are you listening to the shepherd’s voice and finding your way through the narrow gate?
In order to hear the shepherd’s voice, we first need to set time aside to listen and then we have to be open to hearing and believing the words that are spoken to us in the silence of our hearts. This week, you are invited to begin the practice of silence.
- Set aside twenty minutes where you can simply rest in silence. Turn off your phone. Turn off the TV and computer.
- Find a comfortable chair or cushion on the floor where you can sit with your spine erect.
- Make your sitting time sacred by lighting a candle or some incense. Turn down the lights.
- Then, just sit. Sit in silence and LISTEN to all that is going on around you. Be mindful of the sound of your breathing, the sound of your furnace turning off and on, the sounds outside of the birds, your neighbors doing yard work, the voices of children at play. Just listen.
- After you have heard all that is going on around you, LISTEN for the silence that is beyond all the noise. With your ears and your mind, pierce through the sounds of life to hear the silence within which all of it exists.
- Remain in this silence for the remainder of the time you have set aside.
- If you feel so called, jot down in a journal or notebook what you noticed in the listening and then in the silence. Did you receive any insights?
- Close your period of listening with a silent prayer of gratitude to God for being with you in the silence.
- Now the hard part….practice this every day. J
I came so that you might have life and have it more abundantly.
Abundance is one of the promises God makes to us, as evidenced by the final line in this week’s gospel. As we learn in Authentic Freedom, God’s abundance is not measured by the outside circumstances of our lives and is certainly not measured through Western means of acquisition and accumulation. Instead, God’s abundance is known by an inner state of contentment, love, peace, joy and fulfillment.
God’s abundance is not experienced by looking outside of ourselves for that person or thing that will “make us happy.” Instead, God’s abundance is experienced by going within – by turning toward God in contemplation and prayer where we are empowered to remember our Oneness with God in Love. We then experience the abundance of God when like Jesus, we find ways to be that love in the world so that others too may know the love that they are.
How are you called to embrace the promise of God’s abundance?