Reflections January 28, 2015

Dear Companions and friends,

If you have attended an event I facilitated, you likely have been invited to share one of my favorite closing blessings:

“Let’s stand together in a circle and join hands, left palm up and right palm down.”  The concentration and adjustment of the respective palms following these intentional instructions always makes my heart smile.  Why such specific instructions?  (OK Selah folks…do you recall??)  To me this is one simple way that we can express the intention of companionship, namely standing side-by-side offering support and encouragement to another (“left palm up”) while graciously receiving the support and encouragement of another (“right palm down”).  Because Selah is a dispersed community, I find it powerful to rehearse this posture whenever we can, together as friends – companions – mutually holding each other in hope-filled care and support and promise…like the anonymous friends recorded in Mark 2 who joined hands to prepare and carry their friend to Jesus only to be turned away at the crowded door.  Undeterred, they continued to the roof, tore away its materials and lowered their beloved friend hand-over-hand, holding him there before Jesus (how’s that for embodying intercessory prayer??)  Or how about the hands of our Great Companion that lifted the bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it away…and likewise the cup…so that we might partake of divine Love and life, flowing across the ages from Friend to friend to friend…hmmm…giving and receiving with particularly positioned hands.  As a dispersed community of contemplative companions, we mindfully and care-fully hold you with great respect, love and support, and we gratefully receive your respect, love and support in return.  Remember that.  Savor that.

Left palm up.

Right palm down.

What a remarkable difference for this journey.

So be it.

Grace and love to you in this good day,

John

Reflections January 8, 2015

Dear Companions and friends,

The early days of 2015 found me lying low…quite low as I battled a nasty microscopic virus (i.e., flu).  Here I was flat on my back with diminished capacities to say the least, remembering never to underestimate the power of a virus.

Amazing the profound impact such a miniscule organism can have on a grown person and all the systems, rhythms, relationships and schedules that constitute life.   Hmmm….yet equally amazing to me is how little I attribute that same level of impact to an equivalent amount of grace and goodness.  If something harmful can create dis-ease as thoroughly as it does with its small measure, then why do I doubt grace and goodness (which I believe have far more eternal roots and prospects in Love)?  Might they actually carry at least an equal or an even greater punch?  Why do I think it requires loads and loads more grace and goodness to cause the same effect?  Wouldn’t even micro-doses of grace and goodness have at least the same potential to alter conditions, relationships, rhythms and schedules?  Hmmm…so why then do I question the vigor of grace and goodness…in any dose?  In this season of vigilant hand washing, cough covering, etc. may we be alert and care-filled to spread grace and goodness into any and every situation.  In other contexts, we know full well the language of “going viral.”  May this be said of our intentional responses of grace and goodness…in whatever measure we can muster.

So be it.

Be well.

Grace and love to you in this good day,

John