A Prayer for Openness

welcomesign

I don’t travel alone much, and when I do, I feel the whole process interiorly – from the planning of itinerary; to the packing, the transit and the journey.

I was reminded of one particular stay in Sydney two years ago when I was there for a conference. It was night, and many of the participants had either travelled in groups or were familiar with the locality. To add fun to the story, it was wet and quite cold that winter night, but because I was a Melbournian going to Sydney, I had decided on principle (and in stubbornness) that I wouldn’t need an umbrella with me. (Melbourne winters are not for suckers.) We had to organise our own meal and I was getting hungry and tired from the commute, and I was without the securities of shelter, familiarity and knowledge.

sydneynight.jpg

Sydney in the rain, by night, 19 August 2014. Image credit: G. Anderson.

I mustered courage and ventured out nevertheless, with a borrowed umbrella, and walked around the precinct awhile. Businesses were closing and people were going about their regular routine, leaving work, etc. It was not a tourist district, so everyone looked as though they knew where they were going. I did my best to imitate them, and found a haven of authentic #Japanese fare open, as if just for me. The interior was cosy and intimately lit (dark!), and I was the only customer at the time, yet there was something warm about it (apart from the steaming hot #miso). The service staff spoke little English but we managed with smiles. どうもありがとう 🙇

This was not the #Sydney I had known before, it was something else altogether, and in part, I think it was because I let myself be vulnerable yet reliant on whatever strengths I had in me.

When was the last time you lived with openness of spirit? Are you being called to openness? How can you be a welcome for someone today?

 

 

Prayer for Openness

God of Love,

Your birth knew no welcome on a barnyard floor

Your childhood estranged from the land of your home.

As an adult you lived among outsiders and lepers,

the lost and the forgotten, on the edges of sociability.

Rejected and renounced, to be abandoned by your kin

You were left to die alone, save for a few.

Even in rising, you were found unrecognised

yet remained ever faithful to the truth that is Love.

God of Love,

In knowing this, and in all you’ve given me,

Make me a haven of welcome and warmth,

that I too, may be open, to your coming again.

#spiritual #insight #instafood #restaurant #door #doorway #opendoor #travel#memories #fcjasau #mission

REFLECTION | Be Salt of the Earth (With Courage and Confidence)

ImageIn today’s age, we take for granted, the commodity of salt. Our fast-food diet has more-or-less become saturated with so much salt, sugars and unwanted fats to excess that we now opt for products and diets branded as “sugarless,” “salt-free” and “low-carb.”

But salt has always been a natural mineral, as ancient as the earth itself. It has been used among other things, as a seasoning, a preservative (to keep meats for rotting) as well as an antiseptic. In the time of Jesus, salt was especially valuable. Roman soldiers were paid with salt (from which we have the word, “salary” in Latin, salarium) and we also have the phrase about a person “being worth his/her salt”, attributing to a person’s worth or value.

Imagine then, what it might mean for us today, that Jesus says to us:

You are salt of the earth…You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. | Matthew 5:13-15

You are valuable. You are worthy. You are splendour, radiating God’s light. Stand firm, stand tall, in this confidence, that in God’s eyes, you are so wonderfully loved.

In Urgings of the Heart: A Spirituality of Integration, we read that this confidence in oneself first, is what enables compassion for others, in what is called an “I-Thou” relationship:

An “I-Thou” relationship with another requires that we first have an intimate relationship with ourselves… Intimate relationships depend on an inner connection: to be in touch with another, I must be in touch with myself. On the other hand, it is primarily through relationships that we learn about ourselves. | Au, W. and Cannon, N. Urgings of the Heart (Paulist Press, 1995), p.119.

As challenging as it can be, we need to foster a culture and mindset of compassion, love and acceptance of oneself with and in all our flaws. No one is saying that we are perfect, or that we will always be full of flavour, vitality and richness at every moment. But through the grace and gift of our lives as God’s children, we are encouraged to accept ourselves as worthy salt, and to stand confidently in the goodness of God, as God has made us. Only then are we more able to be light that shines for others (Mt 5:16).

"You are Loved" Message

For reflection:

Do you see yourself as valuable?

Note internally, where there is any resistance or challenge, if any, at the thought of you being of great value. Bring this to God in conversation.