Sticks and Stones

Good Morning!

 

I remember a rhyme we used to say when I was a child:

                                “Sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never harm me. Call me this and call me that and call yourself a little brat”

 

I also remember that I wasn’t too old when I realized the absurdity of it. In fact, the opposite is true. At one point I recreated the rhyme. It goes like this:

                                “ Sticks and stones can break my bones but they can heal quite fast. If we abuse the words we use, the harm they cause can last.”

 

I imagine we all know the words we use can hurt or heal; include or exclude; be freeing or oppressive; bring love or hate. Language is important and how we use it communicates who we are and what we believe. While this is something I have known for a very long time, I continue to be challenged to think deeply about it. Sometimes the words we use, the accepted way of communicating ideas, need to be revisited to discern if they are really telling the story that we want to share. Recently I have been again challenged to as the question “ does what I say and how I say it really paint the picture of faith and spirituality that I believe?” The answer, for me, is “ not really.”

 

My old language is no longer able to speak the longings, desires and convictions of my soul. I find it increasingly difficult, for example, to speak of the Divine – that presence and power that infuses all of life – using names and pronouns. “ Father/ Mother or he/she just doesn’t cut it! In part that is because when we use these words to speak of the divine we  make the divine a person. With that comes the image of someone who is up there, looking down on us, with the ability to change or interfere or make things happen. We are loved or not based on how we appease this person. I do not believe any of this and it does not reflect my experience. This power is all consuming, all encompassing. It is deep love and profound wisdom. It is connection to all living things and so much more. Some that is even unexplainable. A name, for me, confines this experience; puts limits upon it and relegates it to a neat little box and the energy and power of the universe cannot be contained!

 

Another example is the language of the “kingdom”. Or “kingdom of God”. AS a result of the long and abusive history of kingdoms in our world, to speak of that place of divine love and acceptance as kingdom is not a true image. For many of us, these words cause us to see a  place of kings and servants. It is victory, status, power, empire, rule , dominance, superiority, exclusion and so much more. All of these images are in opposition to the vision of the gospel. This is not a picture, I imagine, that we really want to be in. I certainly do not. Diarmuid O’Murchu suggest that perhaps instead of “Kingdom of God” a better way to name this vision of Jesus would be “Compassionate Empowerment”.

 

These are just a couple of examples . There are definitely many others and for each of us they may be different. I invite you, today, to begin this journey of rediscovery. To think  deeply about the words you use to express your faith. Do they really convey what you believe? Do they speak of inclusion or exclusion; are they freeing or oppressive; do they share love or hate?

 

While this can be challenging and even frustrating, for me  it has also been freeing and empowering. It has allowed me to move into a space of connection with the divine that I have never before fully experienced!

May it be so for you!

 

Blessings

Valerie

 

Reminders of the Week.

 

LUNCH TIME CONCERTS BEGIN TODAY!!!!!   Stop by the church around noon to be fed by the Spirit as it is shared in music!

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