Paying it forward is described as the recipient of a good deed turning and doing a good for some else instead of rewarding the donor. It is based on the idea that if everyone shared what they had the world would be a better place. Today, this week, I would like you to practice the “Prayer of Paying It Forward.”
Examine your own lives and identifying when someone gave you something special, helped you out when you were in bad place, or lifted your spirits when you were depressed. Let the memory of what they did fill you again with the joy of a generous gift. Now as you go through your day and through this week you may meet someone who also is in need of a special helping hand, a word of praise, someone to listen to. Offer to them a moment of your time, a word or phrase to cheer, or gift of physical resources without expecting acknowledgement or repayment. If they ask just tell them to “help someone in the future when they need it.”
A Celtic Prayer
‘Maintain the right of the lowly,
rescue the weak and the needy.’
Let me be awake to life
In my soul and in my seeing
Let me be alive to the gift of grace
of each person I meet
Let me be fully alive
Let me be fully aware
Of earth, of sky, of sea,
Of every human family
of all creations glory
Let this day be my prayer to thee
Hebrews 12:18-29 18 You have not come to something* that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them. 20 (For they could not endure the order that was given, ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death.’ 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, ‘I tremble with fear.’) 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly* of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25 See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven! 26 At that time his voice shook the earth; but now he has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.’ 27 This phrase ‘Yet once more’ indicates the removal of what is shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; 29 for indeed our God is a consuming fire. (NRSV)
We come into a new Kingdom, one that cannot be touched, heard, or seen. A Kingdom built on our own blood, tears, and spirit. A Kingdom that cannot be shaken by fears, hate, jealously, ego, and greed, it replaces the old kingdom that failed to grow us in God’s presence and love. I, we, must not reject or fear to enter the New. God consumes the old in the cleansing fire of love and releases me, us all, to walk, no run, from the old and into the new. To freely become the being the Divine Spirit wants me, all of us, to be.
Where is this kingdom you ask? If I can’t touch it or see it how do I know it exists, how do I know I’ve arrived? The new Kingdom is not a place of buildings and nation states. No; this new Kingdom is a way of living, visible only through my, our, actions in the world, our prayers, and our relationship with God. It is a Kingdom of the heart, spirit and soul, held together by love, justice, compassion, mercy, peace and walking humbly with the Divine.
No one is forced to enter and all are welcome in this new Kingdom. People enter one by one, in their own time, and in their own chosen way. No one is forced to stay; all may leave and return whenever they choose. I have been in the Kingdom many times; I have also left it many times. Today I choose to enter and as I look back I see . . . You.
Luke 13: 11-13 11.And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12.When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, ‘Woman, you are set free from your ailment.’ 13.When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. (NRSV)
She entered, bent over
bound by pain
all she could see
was the ground at her feet
“Come to me” He said
“I will set you free”
She stood, straight and tall
a smile on her face
Today‘s prayer is to look up from your smart phone, iPad® or tablet and look around you. Reach your arms to the sky, feeling the warm sun on your face. Offer the following prayer Celtic prayer by John Phillip Newell (Celtic Treasure, Daily scriptures and Prayer, Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2005) or one of your own to celebrate the joy of being able to dance:
The blessings of heaven,
the blessings of earth,
the blessings of sea and of sky.
On those we love this day
and on every human family
the gifts of heaven,
the gifts of earth,
the gifts of sea and sky.
May your day be a blessed one and may you be a prayer to all you meet.
There are four of us and we have decided to begin an online spiritual community. We come from different social backgrounds and different religious traditions, but none of those matters. What does matter is we wish to share our spiritual experiences with others, to offer prayers, participate in studies and to “do good works,” just as women of the late Middle Ages did in their communities. So we have formed a community of Beguines.
Beguines were a community of Christian Lay women in the 13th and 16th centuries. They lived in semi-monastic communities but did not formal religious vows. They joined the communities to devote themselves to a life of prayer and good works without taking vows. They supported themselves with manual labor or teaching children and lived in their own dwellings. Each Beguine was bound to the community by the same goals in life, similar pursuits and a community of prayer, study and worship. These women often had families that they cared for and they lived among those they wanted to help.
The four of us, Michelle, Terri, Denise and Ruth, have decided to begin this experiment to see where it leads us. So you will see postings from each of us from to time and I will be offering a Prayer or Spiritual practice every Tuesday. We would love to have you join us. Wander over to the blog: http://cloakedmonk.com/ and see what we have posted each day. Add your comments and let us know what your needs are.
Below is my first offering for our community:
August 13, 2013
A Moment of Stillness
Stop whatever you are doing for 5 minutes. If you can go outside and find a place to rest in the shade, if you can’t step outside sit next to a window. Sit in a comfortable position with your feet firmly placed on the ground or floor. Now take a deep breath, and slowly let it out. Take another deep breath and slowly let it out. Sit for a few minutes and pay attention to your breathing. When you are ready finish stretch your arms up and reach for the Sky. Breathe deeply again and offer the following prayer as you return to your routine:
Great Spirit I am grateful for this moment
of stillness in my busy day.
May the blessings of this moment
stay with me throughout all of my encounters
as I go about my life this week. Amen
G-d fashioned me from the heart of the SPIRIT,
and all creation with me.
I cannot see the immensity around me,
only the little shelf I stand on do my eyes perceive.
I think my knowledge is so great,
that I no longer need G-d.
Yet all that I am is because of G-d.
All the strength in my arms
is worthless; all the knowledge
of my mind takes me nowhere.
I stand like a child on the side of a mountain
but see only trees, not knowing
much more lies beyond the next bend
I say “I see the mountain,”
I say “I understand,” yet much lays hidden
in caves so deep I cannot imagine.
I think I am so smart,
yet G-d knows how much is still to learn.
My hope for success has no future
without the G- d of creation.
Only the LORD of all
can grace me with life and vision.
Only when I open the ears of my heart
to the SPIRIT within and around me
will I find what my heart seeks.
I hear the voice of the Ancient of Days calling:
“Trust in the LORD, and rest in the SPIRIT.
Only then will your door to life and hope
open wide and your path made smooth.
Our hearts together will beat as one
and they will sing with joy.
The sound of lute and harp
will resound in our ears
and the taste of sweet celestial honey
will delight our mouths.”
All I have to do is trust, to rest, to give to G-d.
Why or why is that so hard?
Let your steadfast love, O LORD,
be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22
Hebrews 12:1-2; 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Not Alone . . .
You are not alone
Surrounding you is
A cloud of witnesses
Cheering you on
Strength and courage, so . . .
Let your burdens go
Drop them from your shoulders
Slide them off your back
Free yourself for . . .
The race Jesus calls
You to run,
Just as Jesus ran
So too you are called to run
Let your feet fly
Pump your arms high
Carry the burdens
Of the weak and hurting
Let Jesus lead your on
As you let yourself be free to . . .