Sunday, November 3, 2013

We're Not the Only Ones

Last night we held a celebration for Samhain/Day of the Dead/All Saint’s Day.  It was a lovely gathering.  New people, new energies. Some who would have joined us but for illness or unforeseen events were missed, but we know that there are some who joined us "in spirit" from afar. We remembered those who have passed, paid tribute to our ancestors, released negativity and things that should pass away, and welcomed new things into our lives. After the rite, we gathered for a potluck meal and conversation.  Part of the conversation continued into the evening, touching upon the reasons we find ourselves standing on a precipice between traditions.  We all have had different experiences that have brought us to this place, where we desire a life of following the teachings of Christ while honoring God/dess through the various spiritualities that feed our souls.  At the end of the evening one of our new friends gave me a hug and thanked me and said, “I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one."  Yes, it was good.

This morning I was blessed by the most recent blog by Teo Bishop, who has been a Twitter and Facebook "friend" of mine for some time now.  Teo is a Druid also known as “Bishop in the Grove.”  (On a side note, Teo also turns out to be musician/songwriter Matt Morris).  Teo has felt a call back to his Episcopalian roots.  He is cycling back to the beginning, but with a difference.  Like me, Teo cannot let go of what he has learned as a Pagan; he will never be able to forget the lessons he’s learned and the experiences he’s had while honoring Goddess.  Teo’s blog is a reminder that we are not the only ones.  We are many, and we need a spiritual home.

While we might attend a traditional worship service on a Sunday morning, we might also join in Tibetan Buddhist chanting on a Wednesday evening and we might also gather with the local Pagans for a Sabbat.  We will feel welcome and we will connect in these environments, but still it is good to have our own place, our own group where we can talk of Jesus, the Buddha, Brigid (both saint and goddess), and Erzuli in one setting.  It is good to sit in silence with others of similar mind, seeking connection and relationship with a deeper Mystery, feeling the flow of the River of God all around us, knowing that our prayers and the prayers of the others mingle together in one great Consciousness, yet understanding that not one of us believes exactly the same as another.

As a newly ordained Inter-Spiritual Priest, I seek ways to bring those who have had the Old Ways speak to them but who have never been able to leave Jesus behind find a spiritual home here in the Phoenix area.  It is a challenge, yes, but also clearly the Path to which I have been called.  It took 30 years in the Wiccan/Pagan life inter-dispersed with visits back to my home Christian denomination of the United Methodist Church and other spiritual studies, 5 years in the ordination process in the UMC and 5 years of seminary to realize that I will always be a transcender of boundaries.  I am a nurturer of spirits; a sustainer of sojourners; a guide to those who have come to the boundary and are unsure of the way.

In this pluralist, multi-faith, multi-cultural, world we live in, it is impossible for many to walk their paths with blinders on.  I’m not sure I ever had blinders of my own, though I’ve tried on a pair or two at the encouragement of those who would have us believe there is only one way to live, one way to believe, one way to practice religion.  Those borrowed blinders fall off quickly.  I don’t regret the loss of blinders.  In fact, I rejoice at the opportunity to learn new ways of Becoming, and seek those moments when I can share what I have learned with others even as I learn from them.  This is part of what I am about.  This is part of what St. Brigid’s is about.  

I begin my morning prayers for my family (in ancient Celtic motherly style, lighting a candle in lieu of a fire on a hearth), "Mary, Mother of my Faith, Brigid, Mother of my Hope, and Mama Barbara and Grandmas Leota and Muriel, Mothers of my Love, pray with me."  Let me ask you to join me and my Mothers in a prayer for St. Brigid’s, for the Universal Anglican Church, and for all who seek to bring understanding, acceptance and love into a world still rife with fear, anger, and hatred.

Let us pray:

Great Mystery, we come as one to reach out our hands, palms open, ready to grasp the hands of those who reach out for you.  We open our hearts and our souls to the flow of your everlasting being, that we might each and every one know that we are one, we are yours, we are you.  We seek strength for the journey over the waves of human life, crashing against the shores where we find those who need us, who need you.  Give us the wisdom to know what is needed; empower us to give what is necessary; encourage us when we are unsure of what we must do next.  Bring peace, purpose, and prosperity to all as we learn to best serve one another in you.  In you, Life Giver, Earth Walker, Spirit Bringer, we pray.  Let It Be.

My Mothers

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