Beloved St. John’s community,
In last week’s Rector’s Reflection and in my Sunday sermon, I invited us to use this lent to focus on joy and gratitude, even though that might seem counterintuitive, tone-deaf or plain wrong given all that is hurt and sick in the world. But in this introspective time that is lent, one reason for this practice is because becoming sensitive to beauty and joy teaches us to feel the full range of human experience. This ultimately will open us not just to joy but to suffering—our own and that of others—in a new and more complete way.
This week, I’d like to take it one step forward, and invite a third focus: generosity.
In John Philip Newell’s book Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul, he discussed how the 9th-century Irish teacher John Scotus Eriugena believed that the Greek word for God, theos, was related to the Greek word for flow, theo. He saw the Light of the divine as “a subterranean river flowing through the body of the earth and of everything that has being.” In many ways this is similar to the ancient notion of perichoresis—that the Trinity is an endless harmonious dance between three equal beings who are so united that they are in effect one-in-motion.
When we couple the practices of gratitude and generosity, that creates in us a flow that opens up space for the power, mystery and movement of God. It aligns us with the sacred rhythms and flow of God’s Spirit for love, compassion and expression. So each day, consider setting the intention at the beginning of the day to notice and seek opportunities for gratitude, generosity and joy. How do you experience the flow of God’s presence in these practices?
Finally, be sure to check out the St. John’s Catalog of Joy put together with contributions from our various Adult Formation Team members, including Leah Guy, Tabitha Kyambadde, Sara Logan, Rex McKee, Shelly Murray, Charles Taliaferro, Mike Walters, and myself. (Of special and poignant note are several pieces written by Shelly Murray).
Gratefully and with joy,