Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’
[15MAR2012] Lent 2012: Day 23—Reflection and Meditation
Christ in Me by Jeff Borden ©
Today I feel like You are near
These days not always so
All my senses are aware
And no thing disturbs my soul
I know each day is filled with grace
By faith this is my truth
Sometimes it seems I hang for life
On days my faith plays aloof
But today all things are in repair
And Christ He is my center
Tomorrow begins another day
With distractions that will abound
My heart rock-solid I will not sway
Because in me my Christ is found
Monastic Notes (Pt.15—July 4th thru July 6th 2011)
(Pecos: Days 15-17—July 4th – 6th 2011)
Entering into the third week of the School for Spiritual Direction we were treated to a series of lectures and workshops with Kenny Mirman who shared with us his spiritual journey and writing from our LifeScripts. This series of talks was inspirational in a very big way for me. I have been writing and journaling about my spiritual journey for over eight years now. Something during Kenny’s talks helped to “uncork” some thoughts that turned into works of prose that shared in some earlier blog posts. The pieces that were inspired from the LifeScripts lectures follow:
I took no lecture notes during Kenny’s sessions as he provided handouts. The work we did in the workshops is reflected in the links and prose as listed above. Following the LifeScripts Lectures we were given a day off to observe in silence and solitude. Before entering into this time of quiet listening, some of us shared in a ritual ceremony with Kenny to mark the end of our lectures and the beginning of living our “God-dreams.” Kenny had asked us to write out the dreams that God had inspired in us as we had journeyed inward and sought Divine direction during those days. During the ceremony we read our dreams and planted them in the earth under an apple tree. Our symbolic planting of our dreams would become the nurturing elements of the apple tree as it grows…so will our dreams… as the tree bears fruit, so will the dreams God has planted in each of us…bear fruit for His glory. Amen. I am hopeful to one day return to the monastery and partake of the fruit of this apple tree as I share with the members of the community the fruit that God has bore in my life from the dreams planted during my time at SSD in Pecos.
The paper I planted and the words to my dream follows:
My authentic self desires to do the things and say the things I see my heavenly Father do and say. I desire to lay aside myself, so the Spirit of the Living God might live wholly and fully within me.
I desire to realize on this side of eternity to see all the false “selfs” that I have created for me to be put to death… I wish the same for the false “selfs” I have tried to live into that others have created for me… This way, only the Christ-formed-in-me self—the one predestined before the creation of the world will live.
I desire to be a vessel of hope and healing, a person who can be a place of refuge and reconciliation to the most destitute and broken of peoples.
My true self desires to be hospitable, charitable, benevolent…and not thinking about my own needs over the needs of others.
My authentic and true self desires to be broken as Christ was broken in order that my brokenness might also bring life to people who have been placed in my circles of influence…and then multiplied through those who were touched and changed, propagating fruit of life through many generations.
My authentic self wants to fully realize what it means to be chosen by Christ and live out the command to bear much fruit—fruit that will last…last for the kingdom of God and to His glory, the glory of God our Holy Father, the Holy Son and Savior Jesus, and our Comforter-Guide Holy Spirit. Amen.
It was an inspiring and meaningful ceremony and I will remember it always.
Personal Reflections and Recollections:
I feel as though I might be on the cusp of a turning point. I came to the monastery hoping to discern “next steps” for my life and the ministry for Laurie and I. I sense that some of those steps are becoming clearer. I will slowly press into these next steps as God allows and directs. It will be important for me to keep my ears and heart open to the Voice of God and the voice of others He will speak through as we navigate the coming weeks and months.
I enjoy having the sessions with my spiritual director, Ezra, he has been extremely helpful in my working through what God might be speaking and directing for the next phase of life for my family. I believe that as we put all of our trust and hope in God and concentrate all our efforts on living wholly for Him, the desires and motivations that “bubble up” from our hearts are the desires that He has planted in us to bring glory to Himself and fulfillment in life to us (Ephesians 2:10). Talking openly and honestly with someone about these unctions and urgings helps to discern the direction of God in our lives. I am grateful to have people in my life who I can share this season with.
I’m sharing another installment of prose written during the Life Scripts writing workshop while at the School of Spiritual Direction. This particular assignment had us ponder and write about our “true self…” and how God sees us. After a very brief few moments to consider this, Kenny instructed us to “take a couple of minutes to write and celebrate our true self.” Here is my celebration…
Realizing and Celebrating My True Self ©
It is about Kairos; God’s “special” and appointed time. It is about the life He has given to me and the destiny of my true self converging with the God who has created me.
I am a lover of all things with a purpose to express that love in tangible ways. I am an instrument of redemption, a life-ring of reconciliation, a living apothecary of restoration—a vessel overflowing with hope, promise, and the lived reality of life-everlasting.
I am a song that sings praises to God with every second of every day…my breath, inhaling and exhaling, harmonies with a heart that beats for the will and purpose of my glorious Creator-Savior Jesus. Even my dreams are smudged with the fingerprints of the great God and Holy Spirit who guides and comforts me.
I am a tablet with words of grace chiseled into my soul—none of life’s erosive elements can fade the promise and realization of God’s love that dwells within me.
I am a temple of the Most High God. The Holy Spirit has claimed my soul, His banner pierced and planted deep into the soil of my heart…it flies unceasingly over all my life as I walk in bold surrender to my conquering King.
May all my praise and all my life be unto the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit who live in oneness and unity forever—thanks be to the Living God, the Defeator of Sin and Death, to the One whom I belong as an eternal child of His unfathomable grace. Amen.
Written at the Pecos Benedictine Monastery
As I mentioned yesterday, I would be sharing short reflections on my spiritual journey as I was inspired during one of the workshops in the School for Spiritual Direction. The following reflection ponders a high level examination over much of my Christian experience as framed in the parable of the Rich Young Ruler.
This One Thing That You Lack ©
Why couldn’t I follow Him?
Why couldn’t I experience the fullness, the joy, and the peace that the words in His book promised? I had tried so many times all to no avail. I had failed my following efforts with each outing and with every endeavor… and still, I could not understand for my life where I had gone so very, very wrong.
It seems as if I have started to follow and then quit following for what must be countless times. Each time I had quit though, I was drawn back again for one more try… like moth to flame for one more terrifying and frustrating “begin-it-again” and “give-it-a-go.” One. More. Time… just one. More. Time.
The last time, frustrated, downcast, and exasperated, I found the Teacher. I asked Him; “Master, what does it really take to follow you?” He looked at me with understanding and compassion leaking from His eyes and said; “This one thing you lack.” As His voice trailed off into the silence a word appeared in the blank He had left in my mind… He had said not a word, but my head and heart were ringing with a ten thousand decibel explosion of the one thing (and word) I lacked—Trust.
I didn’t fully trust Him—I never had. I needed safety from a net of my own making. I needed a storehouse of my own provision. I needed the failsafe of my providing for the protection of my family. Could I trust this God? Could I put the most important pieces of my life wholly and completely into His hands? Suddenly I realized… I would only get the answer to this question when I finally determined to obtain the one thing I lacked: Trusting Him.
Written at the Pecos Benedictine Monastery
One of the topics of study during my time at the School of Spiritual Direction was on “Life Scripts.” These lectures and exercises were specifically designed for us to reflect upon the entirety of our life and recognize where God had always been at work, helping to draw us to Himself. We were encouraged to think, meditate, and write out our thoughts and reflections. I wrote several pieces I intend to share in the coming days one of which is this short story that deals with regret of poor choices and selfish indulgence.
Clarity Past Prime—Peace in Epiphany ©
On the day I was ready to learn, ready to finally listen, I had already reached my prime. Bridges burned and hearts broken in my wake, I wore my regret like tattoos in full sleeve for everyone to see. I wondered, was my arrival at clarity poetic justice or existential irony? Here I stood, broken by the club of clarity…shattered upon the anvil of life’s truths realizing the wounds I bore, inflicted by others, and wounds I had inflicted upon them might never be healed.
Where do I go? What do I do?
In the silence I cried as hurt poured out in rivers with my tears from places deep within my soul. I cried until my sobs turned to silence and in the cacophony of quiet I heard His Voice; “Come to Me.”
My soul walked toward the Voice and He shared with me His water…knowing my soul was parched. He invited me to drink deeply and gave permission to take with me all the water I could carry. At that moment there was a refreshed sense of even more clarity; I realized my nakedness and I felt no shame. Seemingly unaware, I had discarded my garments of guilt and cast off my robe of regret as they stood now in a mound gathered at my feet. Relieved of my shame and free of my past, I started to gather His life-giving water… but was soon shocked with panic as these precious rivulets of healing slowly seeped from between my fingers, falling from my hands, to soak into the ground. A feeling of frustration fell upon me almost as oppressive as the shame that had so recently been lifted. As I looked up from the soaking ground, I caught the eyes of my Comforter. He looked at me with knowing in His eyes… He felt my frustration, understanding my weakness, and conveyed His reassurance to me as I stood before Him empty-handed, naked, and broken.
Looking deep within me, the Healer asked; “Why are you naked?” I answered; “My Lord, the wounds of my sins are many and deep. I could not bear wearing them any longer, so I removed them and cast them aside.” He answered me saying, “My son, I dry the waters of the oceans, I bring rivers to the desert, and it is I who turn ashes to beauty.” All this He said as we both looked upon the garments of my past that I had discarded into the heap on the ground.
I stood, looking around, trying to make sense of the thoughts swirling in my mind. I was free in my nakedness. I felt no shame in His Presence, but standing there I was slowly beginning to understand what He was making known to me with His not-words-words. And then…epiphany.
I realized my garments of shame were vessels of redemption in themselves. I was not able to carry His healing, living, water in my hands, but if I put on the clothes of my dread that had once held me in bondage they could be used to become the very vessels I would use to carry His healing water back to others! What had been used to accuse me before could now be proclamations of freedom!
Quickly, I put on my old garments…the dust of shame and regret still lingering on them; I put them on, every one. I jumped in fully clothed into the pool of water that was His redemption, His reconciliation, His restoration, and His Love. The waters of God consumed me—soaking into the sins and scars of my past. In an instant I was full; dripping to excess…no more was there dust of shame, no more reek of regret. My clothes were cleansed as was I. I stood by the pool of glory and started to walk, every step that I took leaving a puddle of His Passion in my footprints. And, Now I understood anew; There was clarity past prime and peace in my epiphany walking in newness with Him.
Engaged in this season of Lent, I am sharing the journey with some friends. I challenged them this week to put pen to paper and share a poem, song, or psalm as they meditate and reflect upon the season and their Savior.
(Note – Technically it is only day thirteen, but for the sake of this reflection I have included the two Sundays that have passed in my counting of days).
I have tried to “practice what I preach” leading with example the following piece entered into my journal this morning:
Day 15 (A Lenten Reflection) ~~by Jeff Borden
I feel the tag-team nemesis of complacency and apathy plotting against me;
Fasting and early mornings are an inconvenience and burgeoning nuisance.
So easily annoyed in my self-denial this saint I am;
So easily distracted from my nearness to Him, in my focus on me.
Fifteen days…and sadness surrounds
In the darkness of me I examine my weakness; the frail flesh that always disappoints,
Driven by awareness of my own deceptions, the mirror of my soul screams at me:
Self-Righteous! Sinner! Idolater! Guilty!
And my spirit is poor.
Fifteen days…repentance resounds
The purpose of the fast evidences itself as a searing light exposes the macabre me
Echoes of the Apostle call from the recesses of my memory, “Who will deliver me?”
The promise of rest looms in the distance
Hope is the fuel for a weary sojourner
The desert is wild and relentless; loneliness, doubt, uncertainty, and fear surround
“Who will deliver me?”
Fifteen days…weakened and tempted
Hungry for redemption I call out to my Lord; “Draw near to me as I draw near to you!”
He replies, “I am here”
Fifteen days…renewed and remembering
With prayer and fasting my soul is refreshed;
Strengthened for the journey, Savior removes the blindness of my sin
Eternity’s hope, the promise of never-ending union with the Trinity,
And my wandering heart is set back to task
Complacency and apathy defeated this day, Day Fifteen.
(Spiritual – Sleepwalking)
As we journey this life, how many are sleepwalking through it?
How many of us live in a Matrix existence created by the media and the moguls of consumerism?
How many of us live in the nightmarish dream of our own individualism and ambition?
Are our thoughts of things that matter eternally… kept at bay with slight-of-hand distractions by the enemy of our soul?
Every time you attempt to awaken from your slumber of soul… are you rendered again, unconscious by the pied-piper of the American Dream?
We groan in the pangs of our own rebirth; terrified of what lies on the other side
We are strangled with anxiety and fear at the thought of losing control…as if we ever were in control in the first place; crippled with the illusion of our own self-sustaining power
We wrestle with shaking the slumber and cobwebs of confusion from our Intellect, the Master-mind of man, who with steely grip and maniacal tyranny controls the passions of our heart
Will we ever awaken?
Can we break free from the narco-hallucinogenic bondage of the adamic self?
A Rescuer beckons us; with kerygmatic boldness, His Spirit calls:
“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Awaken O Sleeper, Awaken.
“..everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is…” Ephesians 5:13-17
I really liked this little devotional…for a number of reasons.
First, it is aesthetically pleasing. It is hardbound with a padded cover and “feels” very good in my hands. The pages on the inside are printed on a semi-glossy stock quality paper and embossed with a simulated texture that I find visually gratifying. I really like the look and feel of this book.
Secondly, I really enjoy the Psalms for my own devotional reading and particularly enjoyed the selection (50 were chosen) that were provided for this work. The layout of the daily readings is nice and there is section at the end of the book that provides space for reflective journaling or note taking.
Finally, and this is where I think this book really separates itself from other devotionals, the multimedia interaction and enhanced CD’s are wonderful. This can be especially beneficial for people with exceedingly busy lives. Listening to the Psalms (I personally think this is the intended way of learning and growing in God’s word) is a marvelously inspirational exercise. The authors and editors have done an awesome job of putting these works into a multisensory experience.
I’m sure this would be a wonderful addition to any home library, and it would serve as a cherished gift to anyone who might receive it as such.
|The Gift of Psalms [With 3 CDs]
Word of Promise Series
- Product Details -
|Experience beloved scripture passages as read and sung by some of the world’s finest vocal talents! Listen and read along as portions of the Book of Psalms are sung and excerpts from the dramatic audio theater Bible “The Word of Promise(TM) Old Testament” are combined into one magnificent audio event. You’ve never heard anything like this before!|
|ISBN: 9781418534370 ( ISBN 10: 1418534374 )|