Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

--A Collect for Grace, p. 100, Book of Common Prayer

Have you ever notice that in those moments we have made it through one of the storms or difficulties of life, that nothing quite feels as good as that moment that things "are not like they used to be?" One of the things I always notice in these episodes is that I simply feel "safer." Oh, not like it's always something that our life literally is in physical danger (although I have had a few of those.) Just that the world feels more comfortable, less dark, less ominous. There's far less mis-trustfulness or looking over one's shoulder.

I am working on another post to tag-team this one but what I am discovering is one of the keys in "how we get hurt" emotionally is that no matter how impure the world is, no matter how awful the slings and arrows in a person's life wound them, there is still this tiny glimmer of innocence in everyone. It's funny--the worldly and savvy parts of us are what keep us from mental annihilation--otherwise that innocence would be destroyed--but it is that innocent part of us that gives us hope, and the courage to "try again."

Almost always, when people have been in stress or crisis, and the crisis is over or the stress has abated, it's almost like that innocence in us can come out and play again. It's why I get the line in our Evening Prayer service about "shield the joyous." It's because joy is raw innocence, and to be joyful exposes us. To truly be joyful requires the safe circle of a protective environment.

I used to think this prayer was overly dramatic when I went to morning prayer--"Safety? I'm not unsafe. Jeez." But as time goes on, I realize that the best parts of our relationships with God not only require "safe space" but demand it. It's why spiritual practices are important, because these practices create "safe space" in us, in the middle of a world where we can't even begin to imagine the subtlety of what can prevent our innocence from emerging and hearing and interacting with God.

How can each of us widen the "safe space" in our relationship with God? What spiritual practice can help with that? Good questions!



Indeed, what spiritual practices expand the space with God? Will this be the subject of your tag team post?

ps. the security word for today is "fides"--an actual word.

Cool on the word verification!

Actually, my tag team post will be a slightly different way of looking at the saint-sinner paradox.

But as far as expanding those spiritual practices, I'd invite you to read Jane Redmont's book, "When in doubt, sing: Prayer in Daily Life." I have plugged that one before on this blog, and what I will say is all of us, based on our personalities, have what is "easy" for us to do in expanding our spiritual practices and what is "hard"--and choosing a "hard" one along with an "easy" one has been something that has worked with me. I've found that adding something I KNOW I can to in tandem with something a little "edigier" for me gives me more confidence.

Kirk, nice post and quite appropriate for the season.

The Jewish framework of faith is easier if we understand the word 'righteousness'. It doesn't mean that we are sinless. Tsedech means 'balance'. It is a concept that means that life is meant to be in balance--shalom rather than in some nirvanah-like never-never land. The good twin/bad twin concept means a life that is held in tension or kept at a place where the two sides were not warring with each other. But the good cannot function without the bad. It never ignores the need for the tendancy toward evil.

Historically Christianity tried to ignore evil like the Greeks and it has allowed us to compartmentalize in unhealthy ways in the Church.

You actually ended up commenting on the previous post, (remember, my comment link is at the top of the posts, LOL) but I knew where you meant to be!

You are right, it is the compartmentalization that is unhealthy. Balance is the healthy state of those "twins."



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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