Meditations of the Heart (Thurman) Section 3 Day 10

Today’s entry in Rev. Thurman’s meditation journal says that we have two areas of need: 1) for something to worship and 2) for family.

I thought these were odd choices. The need for family I could see as valid.  We need, Thurman says, to be part of the human race (a family of people), part of a collective and not a separate unit. “I am aware,” he says, “that all the race, in some very meaningful sense, breathes through me – that I am a part of the very pulsating rhythm of existence.”

He furthers the idea of our connected explaining that we are not separate units, rather, we are deeply involved in the collective experience of human aliveness (115).  Thurman was a 20th century theologian writing in 195 saying we need to communicate openly with the human family.  I am a 21st century seminarian envisioning the millions of people that walk around with their cell phones, able to call, text, go on facebook, instant message and tweet. But, are these communications deep and meaningful as I believe Thurman was indicating, or are they media noise?

Thurman’s opinion that we need something to worship was interesting as I consider the things we do worship. I think he had a different concept of worship than I do. He says there is something “native to the human spirit that insists upon the offering of one’s precious gifts, one’s precious possessions.  Who is the recipient of your piece of good news? To what do you bring the most precious increments of your spirit, your mind, your possessions?” He says, “you want to tell somebody who will accept your tidings as a symbol of nearness and devotion.”

Maybe I’m skeptical but I’m not so sure we each want or trust that. Who is that recipient of your good news?

I was thinking of worship as the act of prizing a thing, returning to it with your full attention, your focus, your energy. Some people prize their work, others a sport or an artistic outlet, or shopping, or maybe give full attention to a newborn child.   But, I think Thurman means to worship something/someone is to share with it what’s up with you; to tell them your daily news, to offer your personal gifts and your possessions.

Some people talk to their mom or dad, or their spouse or partner, a beloved teacher or respected coach to receive their news. Thurman writes, “whatever it is that holds so central a place in your reaction to living, that is your God.”

Meditations of the Heart (Thurman) Day 31

Thurman shares a prayer that he heard lifted in a worship service (p56).

She begins by acknowledging that God already knows our nature and our innermost thoughts.  Since nothing is hidden, she asks God to help us unburden ourselves of very disguise. She prays for strength for all of us to be what we are – humble and grateful children.

If that’s what you are, then how can you pretend to be anything else?  It must be because we can’t quite believe that we are precious and chosen children of the Most High, the ever pervading Love, the source of all that is good and lead to life.

She says, “Because we have talked with Thee here, may we be able to work more patiently for Thy Kingdom, bringing light up the problems that perplex the world, dispelling the night of doubt and fear with Thy sheltering love.  Amen.

Because (and when) we spend time in prayer (which the Dean of our seminary lovingly calls “wasting time with God”) it’s possible to remember who were are and get renewed for living that life.

Just pray christian-poetry-by-deborah-ann-just-pray1

Meditations of the Heart (Thurman) Day 10

With the busyness of our lives we can let the details of them create stressors that seem insurmountable.
Looking something like this:

We have, what Thurman calls, a great and overwhelming need for a little haven of rest for our churning and deeply involved spirit.(30)  He recommends taking a moment to pause, in a suitable environment that enables you to be renewed, physically and spiritually.  We are to let go of what consumes our mind, what strangles our ease of breath, what holds us from freely moving into our God-given purpose.  Thurman suggests there is an “inner insistence toward wholeness” that, when the moment is quiet, announces “Bring in your scattered parts, be present at all the levels of your consciousness. This is the time of togetherness. Only [you] who have come to a point of holy focus, may be blessed with the vision of God”.

I imagine this stillness with a vibrant energy life as seen in the chakra imagery below.  There is a sacred vibrancy working through us and from within us even as we seek calm and centering to manage the busyness that is external to our life. I suggest it’s in this moment, as Thurman writes, that we are able to access the vision of God.

Meditations of the Heart (Thurman) Day 5

I was struck by Thurman’s line that “All events in life take place, somehow, within the divine context.”

Some people attribute everything to God and abandon any responsibility for the occurrence or for the correction of it or the healing from it. Yet, as Thurman goes one to say, we want to “fix responsibility”.  If we can pin down whom to blame, he says, then we can attack and uproot ills.  It assumes there is a “structure of moral integrity that undergirds all of life”.  The things that happen in life are a part of some kind of rationale. (23)

And yet, when we can’t make sense of things that happen (it’s usually bad things we try to figure out the genesis of) we finally relinquish the search for logical explanation.  We can live with this unresolved puzzle, perhaps maintaining an anger or a depression as a result of the event.  Or, as Thurman suggests, we can try to “understand God’s understanding.” That’s a pretty tall order.  Short of that, and perhaps comforting to some, we can “rest in the assurance of God’s Presence with us and in life” going on about us.

I know some folks, rather agnostic, who can not attribute our living to God. I certainly have, on occasional days, trouble with the whole God-package as relayed by the churches and the religion I’ve known.  However, I am also able to remember, and even live anew somedays, in a space I ascribe to God’s Presence. I find it mostly on my yoga mat when my body and my mind align with breath to seek an internal awareness of the Divine.  With that exercise, I yoke myself to the Holy One and try to see the world from that point of view.  And I recall Psalm 139 that says we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

I Feel Your Presence With Me (A reimaging of Psalm 139)

Mystical Creator, you formed me in the ancient days of love and harmony.
I faintly remember, in the lining of my soul, the tranquility that hovered there.

In the days of now, the days of rising and of not remedying yesterday’s sin,
The days of ignoring and denying my loose tongue and hurtful thoughts,
You know exactly where I am, when I sit and when I stand.

You know when I move forward for justice and when I stall with indifference.
You surround me with my better self, just beyond my own vision; but I feel it- that better self.
t is your presence with me that I feel and hear making its way through today’s noise to arouse my soul.

Where can I go from your presence since you formed me and have been with me since ancient days?
If I could run as a leopard, I couldn’t flee from your Spirit.
If I could shift and swing as a monkey I couldn’t out maneuver your grace.
If I slid into a pit of deep despair as dark as any otter’s den, even there you would reach in.

I hear your voice, the echo just beyond my hearing.
I see my better self, just beyond my own embodied image.
ven when I try to run and hide from you, I know you as “home”.

Thank you for calling me your own.
Draw me forward out of the ancient mystery into today’s obedience. 

soul a dancin'

(Retrieved from