Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ever-present key

Sunday, as I sat in worship in the warm sun filtering through the paned windows, a softened image entered my mind: a cross made of stiffened gauze, undulating. Shortly after, Mike gave the message on his experience of worship, using Billy Joel's great lyrics from "The River of Dreams" to punctuate his words:
" ... But the river is wide                                                                                              And it's too hard to cross"
Cross, I thought, then found my mind's eye envisioning a heart pulsating at the center of an elaborate cross, much like the ones I saw at Sacre Coeur this summer. It was the sacred heart pulsating in the middle of the cross, representing love at the center and through which we must pass.

The cross morphed into the wavy patterns of the river moving vertically and the wavy horizontal line a person crossing would make, then a multitude of wavy horizontal lines representing many people crossing. I wrote river/living water in the margin.

Crossing implies an obstacle or impediment, it occurred to me. That you can't cross without intention and attention because there are elements of danger. We speak of crossing the street, a bridge, the river, the globe, the ocean, a path and the road. There's an energy and movement involved and that whatever you are crossing is some sort of pathway. It is a choice, maybe instinct or drive pushing us forward so we're not stagnant.

But, something happens at the intersection: leaving the old behind and moving into the unknown. That concept has haunted me for months.

My Quaker friend Stuart, whom I only met once at a mystics gathering, periodically checks in. About ten days ago he wrote:
"Just wanted to tell you that I've been using the drawing of your Cross query 'What's at the intersection?' as my phone wallpaper soon after I first saw it. The gift I was given of a message and a vision regarding the "intersection" has been a spiritual breakthrough for me in declaring my worthiness and providing me a deeper level of centering. During this past year the Spirit has called on me to speak of my centering practice of which the intersection is now an integral part. The vision had only appeared to me a short while when I first learned of your drawing and query. Your query, the timing of it and your drawing are incredible proof for me that miracles happen!!! OMG do they!!! For me Help was at the intersection."
I haven't been able to reply to his e-mail until now. We first met directly through prayer on some other plane. He stood up in the first worship of that conference and merely said "Help me." Those words so totally expressed what was deep in my heart and opened me as never before. Enough so that I heard, and slowly obeyed, God ask me to lay down and surrender at the closing worship. It was pivotal and as we were saying our good-byes, I hugged Stuart and said it all been his fault for uttering those two words!

God has helped us open each other over many months. Somewhere in my centering Sunday, Stuart was in the mix, though I wasn't consciously aware. I thought I had ministry forming, but worship broke and I was left holding this:
"I am stopped at the bank, asking the small questions:
– Where do I move?
– How will I have enough? 
– How can I be supported?
When, to cross, I must plunge in with the BIG question:
 –  Lord, where do you want me?"
Monday, I added "to cross a threshold is to make a conscious decision," a doodle and Stuart's name.

Today, sitting in the sauna after meditatively swimming a mile broken only by the beautiful red sky streaming down, I again, thought about the gauze cross and how I must make one to tangibly know what's at the intersection when this hit: it's where two join and become one. God's eternal invitation into love.

I thank Stuart and Mike for letting Spirit's words come through them to speak to me. That's how Quaker worship is meant to work.

• What does the cross represent for me?
• How do I see it as a metaphor?
• How have the words and wisdom coming through others reached me?
• And reshaped my thinking?
• What do I find at the intersection?

it emerged in a form
see-through, light
and slightly malleable

easy to play with

then it became
an energy, full
of force 

next, it shifted
to flowing water,
begging to be

always with the
same mysterious

holding the

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