Blogs

Is it time to cross the threshold?

08-16-2013 | Bob Sabath

The theme of day was discernment. How do we know? How do we know the time? The time to cross a threshold? The time to stay where we are? The time to wait?

What is my song?

08-15-2013 | Bob Sabath

Daily Reflections by Stefan

Today we welcomed a new group of pilgrims to the Pilgrimage of Peace and said farewell to others. So, we begin again.

We shared the story of the woman at the well (Eugene Peterson's paraphrase called the Message) and Jesus from John's gospel. Peterson's paraphrase makes for lively imaginative reading/hearing. We appreciated the robust character of the conversation between them. Out of this edgy talk can come good learning.

We shared the poem called The Fountain by Denise Levertov hearing it once and then engaging in the poem with a kind of call and response form line by line, back and forth aloud. We noticed the connections between the gospel story and the poem.

We looked more closely at the first Beatitude: Blessed are those who possess nothing and no one. Blessed is your thirst. Blessed is your hunger.

Peace Pilgrimage Reflections -- August 15, 2013

08-15-2013 | Mary Ann Welter

Notes from Mary Ann Welter

Poetry has been a focus today. Stefan said: "The power of poetry is like a daily vitamin or maybe a heart medication." He also described poetry as an "endless well." He encouraged the pilgrims to consciously ingest goodness and beauty every day, whether in form of poems, nature, music, whatever nourishes.

We spent time on "The Fountain" by Denise Levertov with our new group of pilgrims.

Questions were offered along with the invitation to let questions arise within each person. In small group time, participants were encouraged to choose from any of the offered questions or start with their own question(s) for sharing with one another.

Give back your heart to itself

08-14-2013 | Bob Sabath

Today we shared several stories from the Gospel of Matthew and some stories from the ancient Irish Celtic lore. Comparing them is a helpful practice. The Gospel passages are: Matthew 9:18f — the story of the woman in need of healing who touched Jesus' robe. "I will be well," she said. Good words for us too. And the story of Jesus taking the hand of a dead girl and raising her to life ("Arise, My Love...") in Matthew 15:21f — the story of Jesus and the Canaanite woman.

The Irish Celtic stories are: the story of the seal woman and the story of the fox woman. In both the Celtic stories the man in the story is faced with a decision. Although he shares Jesus' struggle in the moment, he responds in the end very differently from the Jesus in the Gospel story.

The Beatitude today was: "Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy."

Awaken Your Spirit to Adventure

08-13-2013 | Bob Sabath

Brief Highlights for the Day by Janie Blakely

Today we looked at the fourth beatitude, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for Justice." The Beatitudes now begin to move into an active mode. Out of an acceptance of our shared poverty and grief we become more gentle and non-violent . Now we are ready to enter the world. Now we are able to enter the world with a hunger for justice.

We read together two stories from the Gospel of Matthew 15:29f. Jesus sees the hungry crowds. He says, "My heart goes out to the people." What follows is justice. The people receive what they need.

A question for us is:

It Acts Like Love: Music

08-12-2013 | Bob Sabath

Daily practice: might I suggest that we take some time to walk in nature and get reacquainted with this beauty and depth that surround us. We are part of this beauty and depth. We belong to the earth. And in a way that is new to me I am coming to see that all of nature desires to be in communion with us. Somewhere a poet says that "the truth depends upon a walk around the lake."

Day Four Reflections by Lindsay McLaughlin

Let's review the past few days. The beauty of being together for more than just a few hours or a weekend is what we have here: the opportunity to go deeper. So, we'll have some new material today, but we are interested in knowing what spoke to you most clearly, in the material we worked with over the past several days; what is the heart of the goodness for you?

How to Hear the Voice of Call

08-11-2013 | Bob Sabath

Today we focused on the question: How to hear the voice of Call, the voice of the Beloved? And how do we distinguish this voice from the other voices that Mary Oliver speaks of when she says, "those many voices with their bad advice."

Always the collective wisdom of the community gathered is helpful. Sharing of individual stories followed and personal insights emerged and were cherished.

Three threads were woven together:

  • the Gospel passage John 20:1-18, the story of Mary and Jesus post resurrection
  • the second beatitude in Matthew 5:4 — "Blessed are those who mourn"
  • the poem by Rainer Maria Rilke called The Swan

The song we shared at mid-day was Deep Within a Song is Heard.

The reflection questions for the day

Peace Pilgrimage Reflections -- August 11, 2013

08-11-2013 | Bob Sabath

Reflections from Janie Blakely
Shared Stories: Lights on the Path of Peace

As is usual on this journey of the spirit called "The Pilgrimage of Peace," this afternoon we gathered for lunch on the deck of Still Point cabin. It is a rare August day—clear, yet mild. As we sat atop a mountain above the Shenandoah; numerous butterflies and hummingbirds joined our gathering, supping on the flowers while we savored fresh veggies and pasta salad. We were also nurtured by sharing stories of our lives with one another.

Just as our bodies were replenished with food, our spirits were nourished by wondrous stories about an unexpected Appalachian blizzard in 2003. We marveled as we heard tell about two friends who trampled all day through 36 inches of snow to get to the only shop around for miles in order to pick up milk, rice and especially—dog food.

Mushrooms and Water

08-11-2013 | Lindsay

It has rained a lot this summer, steadily, or in brief showers, or sudden downpours, or misty sprinkles; all day, or only for a minute or two; out of stern, gray skies, or pearly clouds. All this generosity has had an effect. Seed potatoes and strawberries planted in April have flourished. In fact the whole 1300 acres of Rolling Ridge has burst forth in a riot of green growth. Looking out my kitchen window, I could swear that the walnut tree at the corner of the field near Homestead is several feet taller than it was the day before. Bamboo down by Deer Spring Creek has reached out and over the foot bridge. Grass seems to spring up fully grown behind every sweep of the mower; tomatoes and wineberries ripen minute-by-minute in the garden.

When I Listen to You

08-10-2013 | Bob Sabath

Notes from Stefan

Today we had conversation on the meanings of listening.

What happens in me when I listen to another? What inner dialogue goes on within as we attempt to listen? How do we listen? With the whole body? Why do we listen? Are we aware of the power of listening? Both for those who are listened to and for those who listen. And to whom do we listen? Really? Are we aware that this person is a wondrous mystery? And are we aware of the divinity we sit before in this other?

We are learning to listen without judgement and with compassion. May it be so.

When I listen to you,
When I hear your voice,
I hear the voice of God.

When I look in your eyes,
When I see your face,
I see the face of God.

When I open to you,
When I touch your heart,
We touch the heart of God.
We see the face of God.
We hear the voice of the God.

Peace Pilgrimage Reflections -- August 10, 2013

08-10-2013 | Mary Ann Welter

Notes from Morning Meeting by Mary Ann Welter

Stefan shared an experience recently in Portland where a group of youngsters, ages 10-12 or so, memorized and took turns telling stories around a bonfire. One young guy told a really scary story --capable of scaring the gathered adults and Stefan as well! This brought Stefan to open the Pilgrimage with the question: What do you fear? What scares you?

Going around the small circle gathered this morning, responses were varied: being able to be my true self; the future of my children in a world facing many challenges; brown recluse spiders; people ...

The pilgrimage format generates many questions. Focused on weaving together strands of the biblical story of the Woman at the Well (John 4), the Beatitudes, one at a time, and the Denise Levertov poem, the following questions arose for reflection and later sharing:

Don't Say There Is No Water

08-09-2013 | Bob Sabath

This whole Pilgrimage of Peace we will focus on Jesus' words: "If only you knew the things that make for peace."

We will look closely at the Beatitudes and integrate them with stories, and poetry and song. Our poetic questions will revolve around this theme of " the things that make for peace".

Tonight our first night we shared a poem by Denise Levertov called The Fountain: "Don't say, don't say there is no water to solace the dryness at our hearts. I have seen the fountain springing out of the rock wall. And you drinking there, and I too before your eyes..."

We introduced this little poem in the middle of song and silence as a kind of prayer. A prayer of hope and determined belief that the source of our lives -- the fountain -- may be difficult to see at times but it is there. "It is still there, and always there".

Visitations

03-10-2013 | Lindsay

Up here on the mountain, for those of us hailing from Christian roots, we are in Lent, one of those thin times during which we are graciously vulnerable to visitations from the invisible world of the soul and the sacred. These come to us in forms both marvelous and astonishing.

Gurdjieff for Christian Contemplatives: Audio Files for Wisdom School 2012

12-01-2012 | Friend of Silence

Incredible.  Simply incredible.  Click on read more to access the audio files for the Wisdom School. 

Poorer, Poorer. Smaller, Smaller. Slower, Slower.

02-25-2012 | Friend of Silence

"Be anything you want. Be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form. But at all costs avoid one thing: success." - Thomas Merton

As my extended family gathered around the Thanksgiving dinner table before the market crash in 2008, conversation with cousins flowed about friends making big money with technology start-ups: "more, more; faster, faster; bigger, bigger."

A hail of laughter greeted me when I quietly muttered that my ambition was, "poorer, poorer; slower, slower; smaller, smaller."

When Sojourners started in 1970, I was 23 years old. Seven young seminary students pooled $100 each and used an old typesetter that we rented for $25 a night above a noisy bar to print 20,000 copies of the first Post-American.

The Man Watching

02-14-2012 | Friend of Silence

By Rainer Maria Rilke

I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can’t bear without a friend,
I can’t love without a sister.

The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age:
the landscape like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.

What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights with us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.

When we win it’s with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared

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