Continuing in the 12 step series - the way to freedom.
And we are on step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
and step 11 - sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God. praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.
And my emphasis this week has been on the "Improving our Conscious Contact."
Every week when I see what is the theme for the week, I start to live it out in bold relief in my own life. And this week was like that - recognizing how far I am from living consciously, in awareness, prayerfully.
The heart of my sermon was a story that I first heard about watching "Morning Joe" and then read online. It was the cover story on Newsweek - Heaven is Real. A neurosurgeon wrote about his experience when he was in a coma for 7 days in 2008. He has a certain kind of authority as a scientist that gave the narrative authenticity and power.
What strikes me about all of these kinds of after death experiences is that too often we use them to give us comfort about dying and fail to see the gift that is available to us in the present. And the gift is the "conscious contact" we can have with God.
Those moments of clarity, strength, knowledge, and awareness that come throughout our lives.
I think the born again stories that people tell are always interesting - but just a beginning and too often we stop there. And just don't understand that our choices in life can help us to get a glimpse, hear a voice and truly get a sense of the holy EVERY day. I believe this with all of my heart and find hope and a sense of anticipation and expectation as a person who values the spiritual life.
And so - to quote Richard Rohr - "the rational mind is good for things like science, math and turning left or right - but it is at a complete loss with the big 5 - God death, suffering, love and infinity" He also writes that how you pray determines how you live.
I know that prayer is really an stance of openness throughout our lives. It is more than sitting quietly in a room by yourself and together holding hands in a prayer circle. But those things are important. There is value in personal prayer time, reading, journaling. And there is power in prayer together in community. But I also know that prayer is living with our eyes wide open and seeing God at work in our lives, in the lives of others, in the beauty of creation, in everything!
As we continue on this 12 step journey, the 12 steps really do help us to identify the things that stop us from being connected - we can call it addiction, sin, noise, busyness, compulsion. Lots of things. But they are real and they prevent us from living the best life.
And so, on this Monday morning I am blessed to have time to process this, to read a book for book group, to take a walk at Sharon Woods, to have lunch with my husband and to know that - potentially - all of this activities can be prayer. A way of improving my contact with God.
May it be so today.