Posts Tagged ‘Love’


It is something I have pondered throughout my journey. Those younger, the next and now leaders. What are we constantly teaching them? Do we teach them their inherent worth? This is more than simply words spouted towards them, it is the actions of those around us, and what the see. It is not simply do as I say, rather it is they will do as we do. So how do we act? What is the current meta narrative of our world?

In Calgary, AB 2019 a Nine-year old girl was bullied so badly in her Calgary Board of Education public school she took her own life. 2-0-1-9. The Board’s response, we investigated, nothing to see here. Bullocks. Multiple stories that may not have ended with a taken child’s life, but of the board, principals and teachers turning a blind eye. Nothing to see, don’t rock the boat. It is the anti-thesis of the WE Day movement, World Youth Day and Challenge Days. We LET BULLIES WIN!! And when it is called out, our “managers” (we have a leadership/statesperson deficit) do everything to deflect, and cover up.

But why do our children act this way?

This is a time to quote former Premier Jim Prentice:

“Albertans (and all world citizens-my add) need to take a hard look in the mirror.”

Why? We have created a world where anger and hate (white supremacist, Alt-Right, Fascists, Extremists of all stripes) are courted by political parties to gain and hold power. When in the world of social media you are censored for hate speech, it is an infringement on your rights of freedom of speech. Nope, sorry. Non-starter. Hate is hate. I don’t care if the bully has cloaked it in Conservative or Liberal rhetoric, in Sikh, Islam and Christian Theology, it is hate. It needs to be called out and shut down.

In 2019 Alberta on April 16, 2019 we showed our children bullies win. That the ends justify the means. No, this isn’t just heaping on the investigation of voter fraud (Both ongoing with Elections Alberta and the RCMP) with the UCP (United Conservative Party). The proven times of stolen/vandalized signs, the bullying of local citizens at candidate debates, and the attack/smear ads. It is also pointing out that the Government seeking re-election of the New Democratic Party which should have been campaigning on their record and their ideas, launched pre-writ drop on the low road with their own attack ads (yes it was using candidates’ own words and actions, but still negative); on the attack of Jason Kenney, which was a whistle to their own base as those that had issue with these character items of Kenney had already decided not to support him and the UCP based on that.

Both our Governing Party and the Loyal Opposition went low. The conglomerated media and social media allowed and cheered it on. Within the world of algorithms it is infinitely easy to never have to look critically at your own or another’s point of view for your feeds will only ever bring you what you believe. When the other parties attempted to raise policies of vision, and debate they were shut out and belittled (much like the other two were doing with one another). Parties like the Greens, Alberta Liberals and Alberta Party that should have elected MLA’s– the fear and anger machine of entrenched ideology within this historic voter turnout (64% officially, highest turnout since 1982) delivered us the anger machine Legislature.

That is two parties, their roles reversed. Is this peace, order and good governance as our Constitution Act, 1982 promises? Or is it a province within the stages of grieving trapped in the denial and anger phases unwilling to let go of what was, and discover what is to come and live into it, support one another in rebuilding and renewing. A statesperson or leader with a vision would cast it– unfortunately we got angry yelling middle managers quibbling over a budget line and seeing citizens only as a number, not as the person before them. Two parties, unwilling to admit that a province needs to heal, instead they stoke the anger and denial to hold to or win power. They become the bully.

Our children see that bullies win. Those that don’t lose.

It is exacerbated more in the USA under President Trump, and yes I have been around the USA a bit and have seen the divided community. It is one of the things that I am intrigued by Marianne Williamson running for President. Anyone can win in 2020, but someone entering the race to change the tone of discourse is always a good thing. I did pick up her book from our local library, Politics of Love (2019) and once read will post a reflection.

But back to Canada… we also show that there is no need to respect one another, we can belittle. Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, the Conservative Party of Canada, has shown this in Parliament’s Question Period recently where they refuse to refer to our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as Prime Minister, instead it is Liberal Party Leader. Sorry gents and ladies, whether you like the outcome of 2015 or not, he is the office holder and as such deserves respect for that. If anyone had done this to PM Harper when he was in Question Period the media would be all over it. Instead the base swells with pride and cheers, wears shirts and waves signs calling for our Prime Minister to be hung for treason (which shows an understanding of Canadian Law at least, for treason and cattle rustling are the only two offences that can still carry the death penalty). But hyperbolic anger theatre is the norm. Denigrating the other from personhood to hated. To a guillotine being brought to an anti-populist Premier Ford rally in Ontario.

If this is free speech, I am glad in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms Canada has Freedom of Expression, and it is time the RCMP and local police started enforcing that differential. It is all used to create this atmosphere that you vote against something, not for something. You choose lesser evils, and if you refuse the dichotomous narrative then you are an “idiot”, and will not be able to stop the other.

Any wonder why voter turn outs are so low? Yes, 64% though historic is bloody low. Any wonder why we have an increase in bullying?

Extremism exists across spectrum and theologies. It is disgusting, and needs to be called out. Not covered up, not excused, or at worse accepted. It needs to be called out, and exorcised like a demon in the Exorcist movie-pea soup and all.

But we have glimmers of hope. Thankfully. In a recent Abascus poll on the up coming Federal election, 4000 Canadians were interviewed. Yes, I realize I dislike polls and 4000 is a small sample size, but hey you work with what you got for hope. Of those questioned 40% were in support of the fifth place party in our House of Commons, the Green Party of Canada. Why is this a sign of Hope? It shows that people are thinking beyond the usual dichotomy in the Canadian mind for Federal governance of Liberal-Conservative. It also shows that the usual protest vote of Bloc Quebecois, or conscience vote of New Democrat is not resonating. Could the old parties be being rejected? Could new ones get a kick of the tires and a spin for 4 years in October? Only if conviction is held to vote for what one believes in, not out of fear against stopping something. Nothing has ever been stopped or ended by undermining or selling out one’s own inherent values.

On this too, I have to touch on the Prince Edward Island provincial election. True the projected Green government did not happen. But let’s look at it. In the waning days of the election sadly, a candidate for the Greens and their son lost their lives in a canoeing accident. All the parties ceased campaigning for the remainder of the election. Class. Hope.

On election night, all the leaders were together from what I could see from the media feeds, and hugged after the results (yes older men). It is a minority government, with the Progressive Conservative Party being the government, but the Greens are the official opposition. Hope. Something has changed. Also the PC government not joining the anger train of the mainland populist movements speaking of listening to citizens. Hope.

Listening. Hearing. Acting on behalf of another.

Things that breed hope.

Seeing others, as neighbour, as a person.

And then reflecting, even in opposition life, what matters most in the discourse? What is the ends that is truly supposed to be and do the ends really justify any means possible?

The now and future leaders learn behaviours by how their adults (parents, extended family, neighbours, elders) behave, not by what we say.

What do your actions teach?

Are you creating ripples of hate or HOPE?

Advertisements

Lent. It’s a liturgical church thing, but also a deep rooted spiritual practice that has mainstreamed as well.

Lent begins on Ash WednesdayImage result for ash wednesdaywith a solemn service of mourning (technically with Mardi Gras of Fat (Shrove) Tuesday where we celebrate and clear out the larder). Image result for shrove tuesday

What is it?

Image result for LentFor some, they keep it pretty basic the fast from something (i.e. coffee, sex, social media, candy, etc.) and that may be part of it for the praxis of Lent comes from the Wilderness stories in the Christian Testament (if we want to you can create the allegory to the Exodus that Jesus time in the Wilderness was supposed to echo). It is a practice of making space to fully come into Communion with the Holy Mystery.

40 Days (Sundays do not count) from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday (the betrayal night). Do not rush ahead for Sunday morning, be in the seeking and imbibing of Communion. Let the dust of the wilderness get your feet dirty.

Pause and reflect.

Image result for jesus in the wildernessThe Holy Mystery, our loving Creator God. This time in the wilderness is when Jesus drew nearest to his loving Creator, for he was able to walk and-or turn away from the temptations of the materialism and power. He was ministered to in Community to heal. It was a living example of two things:

  1. The Holy Eucharist (also known as Lord’s Supper, Communion) that which Jesus eucharist-3214782_1920shared on the last night. Bread and juice. Some say the body and blood, I prefer and think in the wilderness it resonates more…bread of life, cup of promise. For who are we in the Holy but blessed and very good, with our vocational life path of choices ahead like a buffet.
  2. The Greatest Commandments:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

-Gospel of Matthew 22: 37-40

Everything of their faith was not about laws, wars, or prophecy it came down to the greatest gift of all:

L-O-V-E

God + Self +Neighbour

Rest in that during the time in the wilderness. Lent. Do you feel it? More than simply giving something up, though that is not a bad thing. The key is if you are surrendering something it is to make more space for God. To know God is to live the Commandments, that is loving of Self and Neighbour which are mutually inclusive (you cannot love one without the other) and that is loving God.

Which brings us back to making space.

There are secular practices such as the place an item a day for 40 days to donate (excellent) can be food for the local food bank, books for the local free library, or items for the local shelter (some get into the groove it becomes a bag a day to many different organizations to share blessings). This is more than spring cleaning, it is about creating space in your physical environment, it also is about helping others (and yes we have been dropping off loads of donations to the Calgary Drop In & Rehab Centre Donations and Recycling Centre to help our new neighbours exiting homelessness get good starts).

Then there is the adopting a new practice. That is either Yoga, Tai Chi, a sport, a Martial Art, a Fine Art, setting up regular time for sacred reading, meditation or prayer. These are good as they help to centre yourself, and grow your spirit. Excellent soul work, and a better you is better able to see the good in your neighbour.

One area though not talked about is electronic. Yes, one can note fasting from social media or Netflix (or cable) or video games…but I am talking about creating space, not just stopping something to dive back in.  When was the last time you really scoured out your e-mail? Old e-mails, e-mails not dealt with, the plethora of e-letters we get subscribed to? Just went through this practice, being mindful of what spoke to me, and brought positivity to my life. The simple act of getting a cleaner e-mail experience allows a daily practice of being more present while checking e-mail as to not be just responding to get to the next one. That is you can spend time seeking to understand, instead of reading or forwarding to respond.

The other is our social media experiences. Last night, I purged 1,400+ twitter accounts I was following…wow what a different experience this morning on Twitter. Actually interacting with folks that had followed me, as I followed them. The few key media or political or religious outlets I value as well. The dissonant noise of distraction cleared away (and during a drag in the mud Alberta Votes 2019, it was a fresh take on a day)…I encourage the same practice with all your social media. I have slowly and with presence started working through pages liked, groups and friends on Facebook as well.

The beauty of social media is how it keeps us all connected. The falsity of social media, is that relationships pre- social media that would naturally run their course and end now can continue on in perpetuity. Much like cyber “stalking” of ex’s and old friends etc. online via their social media accounts.  Part of the Wilderness is not succumbing to that which draws you off the path laid out for you.

All these practices create new wonders. Release old pains and sorrows.

They aid in the wilderness journey that healing can feel like. For it frees one of the past that can be weighing them down. For me it has been a blessing to have a physical-mystical representation of the past almost 3 years of discovery, diagnosis, and now beginning the healing. This is the blessing of Lent.

Each step along the way, being present no matter how bad, good or downright ugly it becomes for there is something better on the other side of the wilderness. To often we want to rush from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday SonRise. We don’t want to be lost in the wilderness, or betrayed, or the old to die…and have to wait in a mystical holding pattern. That is, the story is there to show us the journey of life renewal…

The question is, are you living presently in the journey, or skipping to the end?

Traditions

Posted: March 27, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , ,

It is funny how often in the study for ministry you waste time debating modern versus post-modern, big “t” tradition versus small “t” tradition. At no point in these cerebral acrobatics does one stop and pause to deeply think…the definitions are in flux because human beings are in flux. Constantly learning, growing, changing. Our faith, our traditions, like our skin sheds and changes over time, like our bodies and minds in our life span.

There are some constants sure, but even the constants change.

What do you mean? A constant is a constant.

Yes and no. Welcome to philosophy 101 in Tyosophy, and to quote Hawk from Spenser for Hire, “here we go!”

It’s like getting back to basic traditions of a radio on to aid you sleep.

Or like a family celebration restaurant:

Image result for golden west chinese montgomery

A tradition that has morphed over time. From my parents generation hanging out there as teenagers. To my grandparents having dinners, ordering from there for family gatherings. To my Nan and I going there after church some Sundays for a change up from the Smitty’s.

To now, using it to celebrate my family’s birthdays and special occassions (like my son’s grade 6 graduation).

Now you may pause and say, it is the tradition of food.

Yes, but it is why and how we gather that shifts and changes. It is the generations present that shift and change, the ages and experiences of those present and how they have known and experienced the restaurant over time. As well, the ownership of the restaurant hasn’t changed family wise, but in the generations that work and run.

So to are the traditions we claim to hold dear. If anything remains completely static it will eventually fizzle out and cease like static electricity from shuffling your socked feet on shag carpet and touching someone.  Traditions constantly are shifting and changing.

It is our journey to be apart of the shift and change.

Keep it true to who we are.

Step out in hope.

Oh, and good food always helps 😉


When we pause, and honour the one that keeps me grounded in reality. My soul, partner…lighting rod.

Love is a divine gift.

Hotel Transylvania speaks of only One Zing!

I zinged, oh man it is a great zing each day!

Robin Hood zinged with Maid Marian,

Barry Allen with Iris West,

Green Arrow with Black Canary

Spider-Man and Mary Jane

The Thin Man (Nick) & Nora,

Spenser and Susan Silverman,

Worf & Dax,

O’Brian & Keiko,

Captain Picard & Doctor Crusher

Captain Benjamin (Emissary) Sisko zinged again with Kasidy Yates,

Lois Lane finally saw through the cape, to the love behind the glasses, Clark…

Many words are used… Soul Mate, Partner in Crime, Duo, Husband and Wife, Spouse, Lover, adventure partner…

centennial coffee

But Wally West (Flash III), said it best whenever he was lost in the Speed Force, or about to feel defeat, a beautiful, wise and humour filled life completed his soul, Linda Park-West…and two simple words aided his grounding in this life:

Lightning Rod

Who has blessed me with a home, 2 beautiful adventurer justice seekers…

Awaiting the next adventure

Living the new Adventure,

Thank you my Love,

Happy Birthday,

My Miracle

 

Judge Cycle 5

Posted: January 14, 2019 by Ty in Brunch & Bible
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

As you work your way through the stories in Judges, it can begin to feel like a never ending loop of a bad run of Coronation Street, when the writers ran out of a bit of oomph. I mean, the cycle itself can be rather tedious, and I can hear the reader going, well how does this apply to today for surely we are not that dense or in a theocracy.

Yes and no.

It applies because it begins to tease out a change cycle. Truly, what is the Deuteronic history stories but a story of change and evolution of a collection of tribes. From slavery, to wanderings to establishing norms, to trying to figure out life within family dynamics (as it seems each nation is a cousin’s descendants). In any change cycle fear is a major thing, and that is why I believe there is this cycle issue in Judges (and today) for we do not want to leave what is comfortable for us. We see this in Ambilech’s story (Judges 9-10) where he appeals to the fear in change. Okay, let’s get real, change is a grief cycle, and as such we work through the stages of grief. Whether you are a Kubler-Ross fan, or a Senge, U Theory fan it is a journey:

Image result for kubler ross grief model

Image result for u theory

Throughout the journey of Judges, the message back to the tribes, to the person remains the same. Here are our constants, trust in that. Move forward in what we know is right, and what we know is wrong is to be cast aside whether it is old or new. It becomes a cycle, and yes, we must release the past eventually, but the processes of the past that only serve no purpose (like the old idiom don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater).

I would state that the moments of peace at the end of a Judge Cycle is the nation crystallizing or prototyping yet just not ready to step into performing. They cycle back to try again, it may take several runs, but each time something new is performing, something new is discovered that needs to be let go, as with Jephthah’s cycle of being a judge (Judges 11-12).

What I love is that it shows the challenge of accepting the new, the first line is that he is a son of a prostitute. Now, many in the ancient world or even today will not admit this profession exists due to patriarchy and oppression. But definitely in the ancient times without a man to “own” them, it is the route women were left with. Jephthah’s very birth was casting light on the darkness the tribes refusing to move forward in care and equality was doing to their own brethren.

It lays out the horrors turning away from the Law had wrecked on the tribes. So is this a statement for the need for legalism? No, for what is at the core of the Law, this is what needs to be remembered for even in the Torah it comes down to the Shema, which is boiled down to Love.

Are our actions in society out of love for one another?

Is it rooted in compassion and kindness? Knowing that we all are created with inherent worth, or have we simply commodified ourselves. The challenge of the Judge’s lineage in this story showing that someone had fallen into a societal label game and was cast aside. Do we do that today? With our medical codes? Diagnosis? Territorial-religious-economic stratification? Race? Gender? All become points of those on the in and the out.

What is the truth? Something we have known for thousands of years. We are all in this together, all the same, and it is when we stray from love and create false labels that we are hit with war, famine, and death. When hate overtakes love.

And no, it is not a quick transition or change. For in change as it involves the ickiness of life, and those dastardly emotions. It is about being present, and understanding that things will not be as they have always been amen amen. Rather it is knowing whether in the transition is it healthy or not? Does it honour our shared humanity or not? Are we able to let go, and let in what is being formed?

After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. He had thirty sons, and thirty daughters he gave in marriage outside his clan, and thirty daughters he brought in from outside for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem.

11 After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel, and he judged Israel ten years. 12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

13 After him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years. 15 Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried at Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

-Judges 12:8-15 (English Standard Version)

And a few more cycles of inquisition, fighting back against the letting in, holding on to that which needs to be let go of. For what is the stories of Judges, but the stories of individuals and groups wrestling with the answer to the hardest question in life:

Who am I (We)?


Much of the conversion drive is using points of Romans to prove that it is necessary to convert as noted previously. What is missed though is Paul’s beautiful discourse that echoes in many ways the wisdom teacher of Ecclesiastes. He is writing to the gathering of Rome, a diverse community struggling to understand a way forward in unity. Each has their own understanding of culture, norms, law, prophets and yet here they all are together. What is one to do?

Paul moves into the second chapter (Romans 2) presenting a very young type of God with creation. That is one that is wrathful, but proxies the wrath though and the mercy dependent on how the individual carries their whole being. Do they carry these judgments, hatreds and doubts? If so what is being done to help them move forward healthily, and be complete. Paul points out that it is how we live our life is what we will reap, will we need to be purged completely to enter the afterlife, or sail seamlessly from this to the next?

Works grow out of faith. Many try to create the false dichotomy between Paul and James, but as Paul had pointed out in Corinth he was involved in Jerusalem. He was aware of the teachings and the living of the life. It is the life lived that had transformed Paul that allowed Paul into the leadership circle of the Way. It was not position, but character transfigured that shone through. This is a very Franciscan principle. Many view the Franciscans as anti-learning as it is not the major pursuit as say with the Jesuits. But what Francis of Assisi had stated was simple, once you are living the first lesson then move to the next.

It is as Paul was laying out, faith becomes second nature, there is times when we are first entering and growing into our new life where we may need to pause and practice but eventually it becomes second nature. Like remembering to take your medications or practicing mindfulness (or DBT/CBT) or other forms of Soul Work. It takes practice, but eventually they become a part of who you are (Romans 3). That is that you have awoke the holy love that created you, you are becoming and have become whole, this is where you are living out of now. Not out of fear, or out of desire to be acknowledged, but simply because it is the right heart to be in (Romans 4). Like Abraham and Sarah learned, the means justify the ends, and the ends need to be achieved through a moral way, not through things that tear down, but that build up.

In the darkness we knew hope. Think about that. Anyone that has ever stepped out of themselves and sought aid, whether a spiritual director, a mentor, a life coach, a therapist, a doctor, a friend…in that moment we acknowledge we cannot do it alone (Romans 5). In that moment a courageous safe space is created. We know the cycle we are on is destroying us. It can be literal or we just know we are in the wrong groove and need to shift paths. We may need to stop a destructive behaviour, or end a toxic relationship or employment. Perhaps it is something good dangling before us but our inner quiet voice is a saboteur, or as the ancients would say a demon? That voice that keeps us frozen to keep us in what we believe is safe. But safety also has a price to pay for we are truly not who we are meant to be.

This is the step of faith. The step of opening ourselves up in hope to connect with another’s love to carry us through into our own soul-self actualized. That is right, a true whole person. It is what Jesus spoke of in the Great Commandments, the Love Commandment, connecting self-neighbour-Holy Mystery.

The bedrock of true community.

Living out of faith,

In love.

 

 


Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

-Epistle of 1 Corinthians 11:1 (English Standard Version)

Mentorship is a hard path to walk. It is hard for the mentor and the protégé, for the mentor should not give easy answers, but use powerful questions to aid the protégé in critical thinking and holistic growth. This is where Paul takes the discourse on head coverings (1 Corinthians 11:2-16). He writers of the misogynistic tradition and beliefs surrounding who came from who (man from God, woman from man) and the dishonouring being covered or uncovered brings, but then he moves to the brilliant bridge portion for this is not the life and teachings of Brother Jesus who welcomed all as equals.

Verse 12 puts out that all things are from God, and verse 13 places the judging within ourselves. Too often passages like this have been used to continue religious misogyny and oppression, by pointing out legalism. When in fact it is a philosophical tool of reflection that is reflect back the question, add some power questions and see what emerges from your own reason. As you walk through this part of the discourse, you see that the argument is missing the point for it does not matter about appearance, or rules. It is about the community being together in unity. An earth shattering norm; where each member has their own decision making autonomy.  Yes it is becoming a catch phrase of these reflections, inherent worth just because that is how they are created.

This was the first walk through, for Paul uncovers the head covering discourse as the false flag question sent to him by the gathering. It is the reports of how they celebrate together that he dives into:

 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part,[e] 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for[f]you. Do this in remembrance of me.”[g] 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.[h] 31 But if we judged[i]ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined[j] so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

33 So then, my brothers,[k] when you come together to eat, wait for[l] one another— 34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.

-Epistle of 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 (English Standard Version)

It is not a communion meal, that is a shared meal within the community to ensure all are cared for spiritually and physically. What has it become? A divisive practice where cliques have emerged (think the Junior High Lunch room, where there are just some tables that are no gos). To add to the strife, there are people in the community starving, and no one cares they are letting it happen. This is a meal given to be done in mystical remembrance of Jesus of Nazareth. Communion is the highlight of worship and study together as a community, as the Body.

What it has become is a grudge match. Instead of mysticism Communion has become a tool of exclusion for those that some view as unworthy.  A meal of holiness now used for the people to continue the old ways of meal time; binge drinking and gluttony (remember it was Romans that invented the Vomitorium so they could continue gluttonous feasting). It is about honouring one another, for each is the imageo dei. It is caring for one another, loving of self and neighbour. Not allowing for a backsliding into the old comfortable ways, but living out loud the new path.

Why is it so important to be a healthy community? To not be divided? Paul works into the realm of spiritual gifts, and how each gift works within the community like different aspects of the party. That is right; the community is a living breathing organism because it is made up of living breathing organisms.

Now concerning[a] spiritual gifts,[b] brothers,[c] I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

-1 Corinthians 12:1-11 (English Standard Version)

Some will look upon the lists of spiritual gifts as the be all and end all for gifts. That is bullocks (1 Corinthians 12:12-34). These are but a few examples, for thinking of the multitude of things that are necessary for a society to bloom. Think and reflect on your skills and talents, what passions in you manifest as the best of you. You can tell when you have tapped into the spiritual gifts on your intrinsic being for they energize you to use, even if there may be weariness after use. They are also gifts seen by others, it can be the arts, medicine, science, philosophy, teaching, compassion, social work, child care, elder care, the list can go on and on. What are your gifts?

What are the passions that the Holy Mystery has laid on your being?

And it may shock some to read this, but I firmly believe your gifts can shift throughout your lifespan as new situations and experiences shape your being. New gifts and wonders emerge for we are not a static creation like a story on a flannel board. Our life is a dynamic story that encompasses all the genres at any given moment. The ultimate outcome is a beautiful discourse Paul shares in chapter 13. It has been used at weddings, and celebrations of life (just think of these words summing up your life lived). It is how we live that matters, and use the gifts given us in love, shared in love:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogantor rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

-Epistle of 1 Corinthians 13 (English Standard Version)

Will you live into and out of the greatest gift?