How To Connect With The Spirit Of God While Meditating

Connecting with the Spirit of God is like falling in love. You have to create space in your life for it to happen.

You will experience the holy in your own unique way. There is no magic recipe to make it happen. You don’t need to be part of a church, mosque or synagogue. You don’t have to believe in a particular dogma. You just need to be open.

Here are eleven ways to help you create space for the spirit of God in your life:

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1.     Choose a form of meditation that works for you:

I am using the term meditation in its broadest sense. It is any spiritual practice that can help you to quiet the mind.

Prayer is a form of meditation. When you pray you become open to the wisdom of God through listening with all your senses.

With intention, we can turn many life-giving activities into meditation.  What do you enjoy doing? Do you love to work with the soil? Do you like to create things with your hands?

Today there are apps out there to help you meditate. The App I like the best is called “Insight Timer” which is available at The App Store or Google Play.

One of my favorite types of meditation is called Centering Prayer. First, you choose a focus word. Just be silent for a few moments and see what word comes to your mind.

Start with a few minutes gradually increasing the length of your meditations to between thirty and sixty minutes every day.

Just allow your thoughts to pass through your head and when you start to focus on an idea go back to your focus word to bring yourself back to the present.

Over time you will look forward to your daily practice and notice the difference when you miss a meditation.

There are many forms of meditation that include chanting, yoga, mindfulness, circle dances and more.

 

2.     Practice:

Learning to meditate takes practice.  The more you do it, the easier it will be.

There is no telling when you will experience those holy moments with God. But the more you practice, the more likely you are to notice the sacred moments that happen every day.

Learning to meditate is all about quieting your mind.  Learning to meditate is all about becoming freed up to notice the wisdom you have been given through your body, heart, and mind.

You are not only to practice meditating but to improve your observation skills. Spirit is sharing wisdom with you every day. As you strengthen your ability to notice what is going on within you and around you, you will be rewarded with a depth of spiritual wisdom that will change your life.

 

3.     Journal:

Journaling is a great way to observe and name what is going on in your daily life. If you don’t like writing you could do an audio journal recording it on your smartphone.

Take time every day to name what you are learning through the sensations of your body,  your emotions, and your thoughts. Write this down whether that be in prose, poetry and/or drawings.

Give yourself time to fully experience the ups and downs of your day to day life.

Honor whatever you come up with. It is all good!

 

4.     Listen to the feelings of your body:

Your body is full of wisdom. The spirit of God often communicates with you through the sensations of your body.

In the beginning, these sensations may feel intense and overwhelming. But the good news is that the more you can be with these feelings the less power they have over you.

Often when trauma is not treated, the energy will get stuck in your body. So every time you get stressed out this physical memory gets activated. But the more you can be with your feelings and release those old memories you become more open to the present.

As you live more and more in the moment, the spirit of God will be able to better communicate with you through your body. God working through your body will help you know if you are on the right path.

When your body is entirely online, you will inwardly know how you need to live your life. You will know without any effort.

 

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5.     Checkin with your heart every day:

The spirit of God is within your heart. Meditation and journaling help you to get in touch with your heart.  It is a beautiful and vulnerable place.

Are you aware of your emotions? Meditation will help you to name what you are experiencing whether that be sadness or joy.

Meditation will help you see the difference between what you think you feel as compared to what you are experiencing in your heart.

Meditation will unlock in you the truth of the heart. This is God’s desire for you to reflect the love of God back to those you meet every day.

Your own heart connects with the heart of God.  Your heart in alignment with God will show you how to live in the world. It will show you where you need to share God’s divine love in helping to build up a world where all can live with joy, hope, respect and good health.

 

6.     Pay attention to your intuition:

You have your intuition. Intuition is that inner knowing of something you need to do. You might think of a friend or family member and know you need to call them. Then you call them, and you discover it was important.

Your intuition might tell you that you need to leave your job. It knows that your job is hurting you and your family. You leave your job and find a happier life.

Your intuition comes from your body wisdom that is able to notice problems well before our mind becomes aware of it. It will know that there is something or someone better out in the world for you.

God speaks to us through our intuition. The more you are present to the moment the more you are attuned to the many subtle ways that God informs your choices.

With practice and experience, you will become more aware of whom is speaking to you. You will notice the difference between your ego speaking and God.

 

7.     Act out of faith:

This is where faith comes in. Your inner-critic will try hard to stop you. It will come up with all sorts of excuses. The inner-critic likes the devil it knows better than the devil it doesn’t know.

The inner-critic wants you to be safe. This was important when you were a child, but now an adult, you are capable of making your own choices; choices that are congruent with your emotional, physical, and spiritual well being.

With practice, you will be able to quiet your inner-critic.  As it calms, you will get more and more hungry to risk doing God’s work. Tasks that you once thought you were incapable of doing become possible. Actions that frightened you no longer overwhelm you.

There comes the point where you need to make it happen. It doesn’t have to happen all at once. But take a step forward declaring to the universe that you are ready to make changes in your life.

Listening to your inner wisdom, the spirit of God, you will find a joy in your life that you never dreamed of was possible.

 

8.     Live in the Moment:

As move into faithful living meditation will help you to live in the moment. Too much of your life you have probably spent too much time living in the past or future.

With practice, you will be able to focus your attention on the moment with access to all your internal wisdom. This gives you all the tools you need to make any choice in life no matter how small or significant.

As your life gets busy again, you may be tempted to let go of your daily meditation. You will notice a difference if you give up your spiritual practice. Daily meditation is crucial to staying in touch with the spirit of God.

You will find that you will have a lot more energy when you are living in the moment. You don’t get caught in unnecessary worry. You don’t fear for the future.

The decisions you need to make become clear because you inwardly know what is in your highest interest as an individual and as a community.

 

 

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9.     Find a community to encourage, support and hold you accountable:

If you are part of a church, mosque, synagogue or temple, you already have a built-in community.

If you are not part of any religious group, you will need to find a  group of people who can support, encourage and challenge you into being all you can be as you do the same for them.

As humans, we are not meant to be alone. You have been given unique gifts to share in the world. We need each other to bring out the best in each of us.

The spirit of God’s wisdom is often revealed where at least two or three people gather. We can help each other to see truths that, maybe, we can not see ourselves.

Each of us reveals the face, heart, and mind of God to each other. We become mirrors of the divine for ourselves and the world we live in.

 

10.Take care of your Self:

Daily meditation helps you to make room to take care of your physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual needs.

Taking care of all your needs frees the spirit to work with you. When you have a healthy mind, body, and heart, there is little to get in the way of your relationship with the holy.

 

11.Manifest the spirit of God in your daily life:

Your body is your spiritual home! When you take care of your body, it becomes a welcome place for the spirit of God to reside.

When the spirit of God lives within us, God will become manifest in all you do.

 

Practising daily meditation has the potential to help you connect with the spirit of God.

People who meet you will notice it in how you treat other people. People will see it in how you care for others. People will see it in how you care for the earth.

You will experience the holy within you and around you. There will be a joy in your heart that will carry through the many challenges you will face.

With practice, meditation helps us to live intimately with God. When you live intimately with God, everything we do becomes a reflection of God’s love for all of creation.

When you are rooted in God, you naturally help to bring out the best in each other.  Be that best for yourself and all you meet.

 

Roland Legge offers life/executive coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, and organizations to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or book your appointment online    Please click on “Discovery Call.”

 

Originally post at REL Consultants Blog

 

Eight Ideas for How to use the Enneagram for Business Success

No matter what type of business you run you want it to be successful! You want to make a difference in the world. You want to do what you enjoy. You want to make a comfortable living.

There is a great tool available called the Enneagram to help you to bring out the best with owners, management, and staff. The Enneagram for business can help you and your organization to be at its best.

The Enneagram is a tool to help you to learn more about yourself and your colleagues. It helps you to understand yourself. To answer the question, what makes me tick? Why do I see the world the way I do? Why do I get along better with particular people? Why do others annoy me?

The Enneagram shines the light on your habitual patterns which become a problem when you act them out unconsciously.

There are nine different personality types.  At an early age, you are given a personality to survive in the world. You could not survive without an ego. The trouble begins when you become an adult and remain unconscious of your automatic patterns. The Enneagram can help you to discover your personality type, giving the tools you need to move beyond the limitations of your personality.

The Enneagram points to where you get stuck. It is not an excuse to behave a particular way. The good news is that it shows you a way to freedom helping you to get stronger in all nine personality types.

The healthier the people in your business are, the more profitable your business will be. Here are eight ways for how you can use the Enneagram for business success:

 

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1.     Self Awareness:

Self-awareness of each member of the organization is crucial to the well-being of any group. If you are not self-aware, you are more likely to make poor decisions.

The Enneagram can help you to become aware of habitual patterns that no longer serve you. Here are some patterns that each type can identify.

Type One: The Reformer: You always need to get things perfect.

Type Two: The Helper: You have a habit of Ignoring your own physical and emotional needs

Type Three: The Achiever: You are preoccupied with the need for approval

Type Four: The Individualist: You often  get stuck in a favorite emotion

Type Five: The Investigator: You have a tendency to isolate from those around you

Type Six: The Loyalist:  You have the challenge of seeing problems where there are none

Type Seven: The Enthusiast: You get bored quickly and have trouble finishing what you start.

Type Eight: The Challenger: You can come across as overly forceful

Type Nine: The Peacemaker: You need to watch out for your tendency toward passive-aggressive behavior

 

2.     Communication:

The more you learn about your type and the types of those around you the better you are able to communicate. As you get to know yourself better, with compassion, the more you are able to do this with others.

The Enneagram helps you to understand why each of us sees the world differently. Getting to know what another person’s type helps you to become aware how that person sees the world. It helps you to understand the struggles they face when they are feeling under pressure.

The Enneagram helps you to be more present. It helps you to let go of your fears of the past and future. It helps you to open up your three brain centers, the body, emotions, and mind. This helps you to be a better listener.

The Enneagram gives you clues to how you can best communicate with each other. For example, if you want to talk with a type eight personality you will need to be upfront and honest with them. It will be important for that person to know that you are there to help them achieve their goals.

If you want to talk with a type six, it would be helpful to emphasize your loyalty to what they are doing. It is essential for you to take the concern of your colleague for safety in the organization seriously such as physical, relational, and spiritual health.

Working with the Enneagram helps you to own your own issues. It helps to prevent you reading into other people’s behavior. It reduces the chance of serious conflict. It challenges you to focus on yourself rather than blaming another person for your own insecurities.

 

3.     Conflict Resolution:

Anytime you have people in a room with different ideas you have conflict. The challenge is to use conflict constructively. The Enneagram points each type to see where they get stuck. It gives you tools to free yourself from your own stuff that often get in the way of resolving issues.

Think of a time when you were misunderstood. So much conflict arises from poor communication. Part of it is that we need to communicate our ideas in an open and nonjudgmental way. The other is that we need to become better listeners. When we are in our world of our personality, it is difficult to hear what are the issues.

When you are stuck in your personality, it is difficult to resolve any conflict because our bag of tools is limited.  Imagine that you only have one-ninth of the tools available to you when you are stuck in your personality.

As you get healthier in all nine types, your life toolbag expands to deal with the complexities of interpersonal conflict.  You get more able to hear what your colleague is trying to tell you. You have the skills to deal with difference of opinions and find win-win solutions that benefit everyone.

 

4.     Self Care

Have you ever wondered why you have such a difficult time balancing your needs and obligations in life?  The Enneagram can help you to understand why you have particular challenges in finding balance in your life.

For example, if you identify with the type two personality called the helper you can become so focused on helping others that you forget that you have your own needs.  If you recognize with type five personality, you might remember your need to take care of your body with exercise and good food.

Self-care requires you to find harmony within your three intelligence centers. Your body needs you to pay attention to it because it will tell you when you are out of balance. You need to pay attention to your heart because it will guide you to love yourself and those around you. Your quiet mind will help you learn to trust your inner guidance system.

 

5.     Organizational Structure:

A healthy organization requires people to use their gifts. Most jobs in an organization relate closer to a particular Enneagram type or at least one of the tri-types such as body, heart or head.

The specific type of jobs requires people with particular personality types. For example, you probably don’t want a person doing customer service to type eight personality. They might quickly overwhelm the customer. A type nine the peacemaker or a type one who is really good at details might just be the best for the job.

This is not to say that only specific types can work in different jobs. A healthy person who has strengths in all nine types could work in just about any job position.

Each person will find different jobs more appealing because the position requires the skills that come most readily to them.

A healthy business requires a diversity of skills and personalities to help the organization work as a whole. Then the Enneagram provides you with tools to help people get along with each other.  When you have the right people in the positions, the organization is more likely going to work together harmoniously. A harmonious team is a more profitable firm.

 

6.     Management Style:

A healthy manager is one that knows themselves well. The Enneagram helps each manager to be at their best. This tool helps you as a manager to identify your strengths and weaknesses. It provides you with suggestions as to what you need to work on to be a more productive leader.

A manager who knows his or her team well will find the best ways to encourage each of their employees.  A manager with a type three worker will want to draw on their ability to be a great mentor in the organization. A manager with a type four worker will want to connect with their sense of heart and beauty. Type fours are some of the most creative people in the world.

When you are able to live in the moment, all your three intelligence centers will be open. Thus giving you the tools to help bring out the best in each of your employees. When you are stuck in your personality, you will miss much because you will be so preoccupied with yourself.

With the help of the Enneagram, you will learn to find the best ways to work with each of your employees. Each person, depending on their personality and their emotional health will need different skills. You will discover the strengths of each of your employees and be able to encourage them to continue working on issues that are holding them back.

 

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7.     Bottom Line:

All businesses are concerned with the bottom line. A company that has a group of healthy of leaders and workers are going to be ones who make the most money and have the satisfaction of making a difference in the world.

Healthy and satisfied employees will require less sick leave. They will be more efficient. They will do great work. Customer service will get stronger.

Employees will stay with your organization longer because they are happy and satisfied with the work they do. You will lower your need to find new staff as often as you have before. Fewer new staff require less job training.

A healthy staff that does excellent customer services is going to become popular with customers. Return customers always add to the profit line. They become your most significant advertisers because they recommend you to friends and family.

 

8.     Visioning:

The Enneagram helps you to vision with a body that is present, a heart that is open and a mind that is calm.

Visioning requires you and your staff to be present. Anyone that is stuck in personality is going to get in the way of the company’s health.  Team players who are stuck will allow their own personal issues get in the way of their ability to do their work.

The Enneagram helps you to connect with your higher self. When you are open to the wisdom within you, and around you, new ideas emerge that have the potential to take you and your company in new and exciting directions.

The Enneagram for business can help you and your organization to be healthier, happier, meaningful, responsible and productive.  The Enneagram will help you and your management and staff with self-awareness, communications, conflict resolution, self-care, organizational structure, management style, bottom line and visioning.

When you and your staff are bringing their best forth into the organization self-confidence improves, creativity is brought to the forefront, conflict is more easily resolved, mutuality is honored, and work becomes a fun place to be.

When you use the Enneagram in combination with coaching, it becomes a productive long-term program. It helps owners, management, and staff to be self-aware, and also to be in the best position for them, and the company.  It supports all in the business to have excellent skills in communication.

With time and dedication, through working with the Enneagram, you will help you and your company a happy place to work, and it will enhance your profits. It improves your earnings through increased productivity, enhanced creativity, honest and helpful feedback from all staff and excellent customer service.

 

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478, or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com

 

Originally Published by REL Consultants http://www.relconsultants.com

Nine Incredible Valid Reasons Life Transitions are Hard By Roland Legge

Life is full of surprises!  What was your first significant change? It was probably your birth into the world.

Life transitions are hard. The moment, you arrive in the world you experience your first significant change.  It must be a shock to all the senses being forced out into this alien world. The process of birth is just the beginning of your adventure.

Life transitions include:

 

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Birth:

Can you imagine being in the comfort and safety of your mother’s womb? It is nice and warm. With all your needs met, you are secure. Then imagine suddenly without warning being pushed out into a foreign world.

For the first time in your life, separated from your mother you are alone. Can you imagine the sense of abandonment you felt? You have to cry to get your needs met.

If you could remember this part of your life, it might leave you with some unsettling dreams. Coming into the world Is a massive change. Any change takes a period of adjustment whether or not you label the transition as good or bad.

It might be like being kidnapped and thrown out of a plane with a parachute into a jungle where you have no idea where you are. How would you be feeling?

 

Childhood years:

How much of your early years do you remember?  Some of what you remember may come from stories that your parents told you. Now imagine what it was like for you to learn to walk? What was it like to learn to ride a two-wheeler bike? What do you remember?

You are learning to become more independent. These are never easy years. Imagine how many times you fell over before you were able to walk on your own. Learning to walk, is like most new things you learn to do, takes a lot of practice.

Do you remember learning to ride a two-wheeler bike? Did you first start with learners wheels?  How many scrapes did you have before you were able to ride down the street without falling off the bike? Give your child self-lots of appreciation for all the risks they took to take their place in the world. Learning new skills is not easy!

 

Teen Years:

Take a moment to reflect on all physical, social, emotional and hormonal changes that happen during these exciting years. Your body changes so quickly it can be confusing for you to know how to behave.

Sexual desire in you comes to life! You enjoy these new feelings, and yet they baffle you. You pick up from the adults in your life that this is something to feel ashamed.  You are mixed up. How can something that feels so good be so wrong?

You might even feel growing pains in your bones because you are changing so fast. You are not quite sure if you are still a child or an adult.

Peer pressure at school can be challenging. You want to be cool with your mates.

Life transitions are hard. If you are not one of the cool kids, you can feel very isolated. You can feel invisible. Bullies can make your life difficult. Anxiety can overtake your life because you feel like there is something wrong with you.

 

Moving away from home:

Do you remember moving away from home for the first time? It probably is one of the most exciting times in your life? Yet, leaving the safety of home is perhaps one of the most stressful times in your life.

For the first time, you have to take care of your own needs. You need to wash your own clothes. You need to cook your own meals. You have to manage your own schedule. Even if this feels good, change of this magnitude takes a lot of energy.

If you moved to another city, there is the stress of learning to get around a new place. Where do I need to go to get groceries? How are you going to get around?

Then there is the stress of money. When you lived at home, your parents took care of most of your needs. You will have to learn to budget. You might even need to find some part-time work to help you to make ends meet.

 

Marriage:

Marriage is one of the most significant decisions you will make in your life. Once you get past the falling in love stage where everything seems exciting; the success of your marriage will depend on your commitment to growing individually and as a couple.

Your relationship will find strength, depending on how well you are able to know your own needs, show a willingness to compromise, seek to bring out the best in each other and communicate well. Communication is probably one of the most significant challenges you will face.

It takes time to get used to living with someone else. You need time to find your new rhythm as a couple. You will need to find ways that honor the needs of both of you. You will need to experiment until you find a balance that works for you both.

One of the many challenges of marriage is that you get to see each other in the worst and best of times. You get to experience each other’s peculiarities. Maybe the things that you once thought to be amusing is now annoying.

Do you like conflict? I am guessing you don’t. There is guaranteed to be conflict in your relationship. Conflict happens when there are two people with different opinions. You as a couple need to find a way to talk so you can see solutions that will work for you both. Trying to impose your point of view may fix things for the short time, but it will eventually backfire when the person who was imposed on pushes back.

 

Having children:

If you think getting married is complicated, then having children is even more challenging. When a child arrives into your life your world dramatically changes. It is your child/children who are the center of your attention.

There will be a time when you get little sleep. You will no longer be able to do as you please. If you want to have a date you need to find someone to care for your child or children.  Your children will be on your mind for the rest of your life no matter what they do good or bad.

If you haven’t had any conflict about the division of labor in your family having children will likely raise it. Hopefully, you have thought about it before the child arrives. Are you going to equally share the work including child care, cooking, cleaning, shopping, outdoor work and more?

Sharing the labor doesn’t mean you have to divide all tasks in half. But you need to come to an agreement that is fair to both parties.  Watch out that the women don’t take on more than her fair share.

Life transitions are hard. Make sure you take time to care for yourself, besides caring for your children and partner. A healthy you is the best gift you can give to the family.

 

Divorce:

There is no such thing as an easy divorce. Even the most respectful ones take a lot of energy. There is nothing shameful about getting divorced. I hope you would have tried to resolve the issues before you made the final decision.

Sometimes your relationship needs to come to an end for many reasons from the loss of trust, affairs, domestic violence and sometimes people just grow apart.

Divorce impacts the relationships you have with the friends and family you shared with your partner. Depending on how well the relationship ends will determine who you are able to stay in touch with.

Divorce impacts your children. No matter how well you do it, the children’s lives are going to be changed forever. If you are your partner were not getting along,  the divorce will still be better for the children.

All your routines get changed. Tasks you used to share you have to do yourself. There is no one to ask about your day. There is no one to share something important that took place at work or at home. Money can be a problem if you are the one that stayed at home with the kids or you had the lowest paying of the two or more jobs.

During times of divorce, your emotions will be up and down. There will be days when you will find it hard to get out of bed. One moment you will be crying, the next laughing and the subsequent angry. It is like being on an emotional roller coaster.

 

Death of loved ones:

Grieving takes a lot of energy. When someone that is close to us dies, it is never easy. It especially tricky when a person dies young from disease, accident, murder and/or suicide.  Even when a person dies after a beautiful long life, we all must go through grief.

There is no way around grief. The only way is to go through it. It can take up to a year to go through the cycles of loss. Our lives will never be the same, but you will find a way to move ahead in life. Here is the process we go through, not always in this order:

·         Denial

·         Anger

·         Depression

·         Bargaining

·         Acceptance

You may be tired. You may be moody. You may be angry. You may have a hard time accepting what has happened.

Give yourself lots of time to move through this. This is not a time to make big decisions. Find friends, religious leaders, counselors and coaches to help you to explore these intense feelings. Grieving is hard work but so worthwhile.

 

Retirement:

Retirement is all about transition. Do you know what you are going to do when you retire? You might decide to start your own business and work, only, when you want. There may be organizations that you have always wanted to volunteer for and have never had the time.

If you are one of the people who has spent the majority of their working life focussed on their job, retirement could be a very stressful time. You may feel a loss of identity. You might feel depressed. So it is better for you to start volunteering and finding other interests before you retire.

You are likely to have more time with your spouse. This may be great, but you may find your spouse driving you crazy. Does it feel like they are under your feet too often? Each of you will want to discover your own interests so that each of you has time apart.  You will also have different experiences to share with each other.

You might find it challenging to organize your day now that you are retired. There is no longer any requirement for you to be at work at a particular time. You might want to set a regular schedule for yourself each week. Like when you are going to get up?  What are you going to do?

It is at these times of significant changer in our lives we are more likely to face depression and other mental health issues. If you are getting down don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Give yourself time to get used to your new life. Remember life transitions are hard. Make the best of this season by seeing this as an opportunity to re-focus on what is really important to you.

 

Your life is full of transitions. No matter what change you are going through it takes time and energy to make the adjustments.

You may be one of many who do not realize the energy it takes to go through:

·         Birth

·         Childhood

·         Teen years

·         Moving away from Home

·         Marriage

·         Children

·         Divorce

·         Death of Loved Ones

·         Retirement

 

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Life transitions are hard! So during these times of change, you may feel like you are going crazy. I assure you, you are not going crazy.  The only way to get through these times of change is to fully experience the ups and downs that your body, heart, and mind will take you through.

Give yourself space to make your ways through these vulnerable times. Let others know what you are experiencing. Allow yourself more time to sleep. Eat well. Enjoy time with good friends and family. Cry when you need to. Laugh. Seek support when you are feeling alone.

Congratulations, you have made it this far in life. You have been through a lot!

You have become a stronger and more compassionate person through all of your life experiences.  You are the amazing person you are because of all the ups and downs you have faced.  Go and celebrate each moment of life. Be kind to yourself, with gentleness, when you are facing difficult times and truly celebrate the good times.

Roland Legge offers presence based life coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, and organizations to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or book your appointment online at   https://www.relconsultants.com/coach-roland-legge  Please click on “Discovery Call.”

 

Originally Published by REL Consultants  http://www.relconsultants.com

 

A Fascinating Overview of How the Enneagram Personality System Works

Seven years ago I began learning about the Enneagram Personality System. It has changed my life for the better. I am much more compassionate and forgiving of myself. I have a lot more patience and compassion to work with people who experience the world differently from me. I am a healthier and happier person. It has helped me so much I want to share it with others.

This is a story of how the Enneagram the Enneagram personality system works.

Ennea means nine, and gram means figure in Greek. So together it means a nine-pointed figure. What is its history?  Here is a short synopsis:

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The symbol dates back about 2500 years. The actual date of its beginning or where exactly it started is unknown. It is a coming together of the wisdom of many different spiritual traditions. Much of it has come from Christianity, Buddhism, Islam (especially Sufis) and Judaism.

Much of this spiritual wisdom, was forgotten for hundreds of years. In 1875 Gurdjieff re-discovered the symbol in his search for the knowledge of the esoteric religions of the past. He formed a group called Seekers After Truth.  He and his friends traveled through Egypt, Afghanistan, Greece, Persia, and India.

Gurdjieff used the Enneagram as a tool to help his students to find their way in the world through dance and movement.

He explained that the Enneagram has three parts that represent the three central laws that describe divine law which governs all existence.

The circle represents unity, wholeness, and oneness and symbolizes that God is one (Hudson, 1999).

The next symbol is the triangle. In Christianity, this is referring to the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit or in the Enneagram world, the Law of Three. This symbolism found in the Kabbalah, an esoteric teaching of Judaism. The ancient traditions do not see the world as a place of opposites but of non-duality. Hence the world is full of many hues of color rather than black and white (Hudson, 1999).

The third part is the hexad, referring to the Law of Seven. It demonstrates to us that nothing is static. Our world is continuously changing, recycling and evolving or de-evolving. The Periodic Table and the Western musical octave are all based on the Law of Seven (Hudson, 1999).

The modern Enneagram as we know it came to life in California in the 1970’s under Claudio Naranjo.  Naranjo and many others since him have woven psychology into the Enneagram to bring it into the modern age. He used panels of each type as one way to teach the Enneagram.

Today the Enneagram teaches that when you are born into the world, your ego chooses one of the nine fundamental ways to survive in the world. These represent the nine Enneagram types. This is how the Enneagram personality system works.

You could not have survived without the ego type your inner self chose. No one knows why we choose the type we do. It is probably a mixture of genetics mixed with early life experiences.

Our personality can begin to get in the way when we become adults if we do not become aware of the limitations of our nature.  When you are stuck in your personality, you are only using one-ninth of the tools given.

All the things you do without thinking are your personality speaking. When you begin to be aware of your limited pattern (type) talking, you then become open to responding in new and different ways.

I always say to my clients that when you can notice your personality acting out, you then have the option to respond in ways that are more appropriate for the situation in which you find yourself.

The Enneagram is like a map. It shows you when you are healthy, and not so healthy. It points you in the direction you need to go to get healthier. It warns you when you are getting stuck in old habits that no longer serve you.

When you look at most Enneagram images, you will see arrows pointing in the different directions of integration and stress (disintegration).

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The Enneagram is never static. The health of your personality is never static. Each day you go up and down depending on how much stress you are experiencing.

There is movement on the Enneagram as you move to ether your integration point or your stress point.

The integration points you toward the functional aspects of another type when you are dealing with life well. When you are integrating, you are living beyond the trappings of your personality.

There is nothing wrong moving towards the stress type. The stress point is a safety valve. It prevents you from moving down to a lower level of health than you have ever been before.

Just to learn the types can be a fun thing to do. It can be a great party conversation. But it is only of use if you commit to learning through this tool through workshops, reading, reflection, counseling, and coaching.

The only person who can tell you who you are is yourself. For many people, it takes time to discern what type you are. It is easy to misidentify when you are not self-aware.

The Enneagram is no excuse to behave in a particular way. The gift of the Enneagram is that it points out to you the personality box in which you find yourself. A healthy person will develop strengths in all nine types. This is how the Enneagram personality system works.

Learning the Enneagram together with someone that knows you well such as your spouse can be a lot of fun. Your partner can help you to see who you are. When we are so close to ourselves, we can easily deceive ourselves into believing our desired image of our self when in reality people around us experience us differently.

The Enneagram teaching is an excellent tool for any group such as spouses, a whole family, congregation or business to learn how to get along better with each other. You begin to understand your differences because of how you see the world through your different lenses.

I expect at some time in your life you assumed that everyone thought the same as you did—until you got a rude awakening.  We all have different ways of seeing and experiencing the world.

You will discover that most people don’t want to annoy you. They just see the world in different ways and have different priorities.

The nine Enneagram types divide into a triad of gut, heart, and head. These are our three energy centers. Your type suggests which one of these energy centers you either avoid or overuse. It just means this is where you are most comfortable but to be healthy, we need to keep all three of these wisdom centers open.

You can also use another triad of assertive, withdrawn and dutiful.

The assertive types of people move out into the world with force and conviction. They are a force to be taken seriously.

The withdrawn types when under stress like to withdraw into themselves to recharge. They are usually great observers of what is going on around them. They are easy to get along with.

The dutiful types when under stress feel responsible for taking care of everyone around them and making sure everyone stays safe. The dutiful types can often feel overly responsible.

The Enneagram is all about finding ways to live with as much presence as possible. Presence is the ability to stay open to the wisdom of your three energy centers: the gut, heart, and head.

The Enneagram is meant to help you move out of the fog of life. When you are stuck in your personality, it is easy to go to sleep to your true self. You live out your image of yourself without any self-awareness. Your life becomes more and more limited unless you find the courage to discover who you indeed are.

Using the Enneagram takes time and intentionality. It is a tool that will give you new things to learn each day no matter how old you are. It is no quick fix.

If someone claims you need fixing with the Enneagram, run away as quickly as you can. These teachers are dangerous!

I love the Enneagram! I hope it can help you as much as it has and continues to help me. I learned that being a type six explained why I had had lots of anxiety issues through my life. I have a lot more compassion for myself. I have learned how important meditation is for me to quiet my mind.

The Enneagram can change the world!

Learning that I am a type six has helped me to acknowledge my strengths such as my ability to look for problems before they become serious.

It has been a blessing in my relationship with my wife, Jen. She is a type five (the investigator). She thinks everything through before she says anything. She finds it difficult to express herself especially when she doesn’t feel that she has enough information.

I am the opposite. I think out loud. I learn through my conversations with others. We have had to learn much. I have learned to give Jen lots of time to think. She has learned that she needs to tell me what she is thinking, especially when it is a decision that affects both of us. We now laugh together instead of cursing each other.

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I invite you to try out the Enneagram. It is a productive tool that reflects the complexity and holiness of each person.  It shows you where you are right now and where you need to go to get healthier.

This fantastic tool helps you to find your true self or God self. The Enneagram shows you a way to be aware of your sensations that are full of wisdom. The Enneagram shows you a way to remain open to your emotions through your heart. This is how the Enneagram personality works.

You learn that your feelings shine the light on how you are experiencing the world in each moment. Then your mind, when quiet, helps you to connect with your intuition.

Please join me on this journey to new life. May it be full of surprises, wonder, and hope.

 

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478, or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com

 

Originally published at http://www.relconsultants.com/blog

Author: Roland Legge

 

 

Relationships are not always for Ever

Gefangen im Liebeschaos

 

Getting out of an unhealthy Relationship

Are you in a relationship you need to get out of? What is preventing you from leaving? Is it more about what others will think of you if you leave. Is it about the money? Is it about the wellbeing of your children?

Family and Friends

Have you considered that your close friends and family maybe wondering why you are still stuck in this unhappy relationship? They might even be willing to help you in your time of transition. People who love you want the best for you.

Relationships are not supposed to End

Most of us come into relationships expecting them to be life long. Relationships come to an end for many reasons. Sometimes we choose our partner out of desperation to feel normal and not alone. Other times we don’t invest enough time together in our relationship that one day we wake up and don’t know the other person.

Learning along the Journey

There are times when one person in the couple grows in self awareness while the other in the relationship stays stuck. One might be happy with the status quo but the other is not happy and wants change. No one can be forced to change. We can only invite.

Children are Impacted

If you are staying in the relationship to protect your children this is not a good reason. Children are very sensitive and will notice the conflict between you and your partner no matter how hard you try to hide it. Your kids will be much happier if they have two happier parents living apart.

I would never end a Relationship!

You may be like me, who never dreamed they would be the one to end the relationship. But often it is the one who is seeking change is the one who needs to take the initiative to ether seek help or begin the process to end the relationship. Your partner might be angry with you at the time, but in the end, they may even thank you. Destructive relationships are not good for anyone.

Breakup are never Easy

Even in the best of breakups they are never easy. If you can work through issues with a mediator this is much better than fighting in court. Working this out together cooperatively will be a win win for all.

Life is Precious

Our lives are too short to not enjoy what we have been given. What makes you shine? What do you love to do? What brings a smile to your face. Who are the people you really want in your life? So now might be a good time in your life to invest time and money into helping you to find greater joy, harmony and purpose in life.

You are Loved

I was amazed by all the support I got from friends and family when I ended my first marriage. I discovered who my true friends were. I was showered was love. It didn’t take my pain away but it sure made it much easier to move on.

You are not Alone

Remember you are not alone! We are all here on this planet to support and encourage each other. No person can to do it all alone. There is no shame in asking for help from a friend, a family member or a professional. This is more a sign of strength than weakness.

Learn from your Mistakes

I asked myself what I needed to learn from the breakup of my first marriage. Who would want to repeat the same mistakes again? This takes some deep soul searching. It can feel scary to go within but it is the only way to get beyond that which is holding us back from living the best lives we can. Each of us needs to take responsibility for our part in the relationship.

Would you rather smile or Frown?

You are likely angry at your spouse. Probably with good reason. But holding on this is not in your best interest. It takes a lot of energy to stay angry.  Here is something to try. Frown for a moment and notice all the muscles you use and how it feels and compare it with it how it feels to smile. I would rather smile.

Forgiveness is about Liberation

Forgiveness is not about saying to your spouse it is okay how you have hurt me. It is not about forgetting what they did to you.  It is about getting to place where those memories no longer trigger you and/or negatively impact future relationships.

Give yourself the Gift of Self Reflection

The best gift you can give yourself is time to slow down and really notice what is going on inside your body, emotions and thoughts. Avoiding these will only make them come back stronger at a time you least expect.

Pamper Yourself

As you go through your breakup take time to focus on your own needs. Go get a massage, they are a great way to connect to our body and it feels so good after the treatment. Spend time with friends and family you enjoy being with. Try some form of meditation to quiet your mind. This might be doing something you love such as walking, running, gardening, ceramics, painting or whatever delights you.

You are Worth It

Most of all as you move through this time of transition into a happier life do not be afraid to seek help. Whether it be a friend, family member, spiritual leader or professional there are people who want to help you.

You are worth it! Go and make the best of your life!  You have many cheering you on.

 

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com

 

 

What is this Jesus Really About!

Sermon – September 20th 2015

By Roland Legge

Proverbs 31:10-31 
James 3:13 – 4:3, 7-8a
Mark 9:30-37

What does it mean for you to be a Christian?  Right from the beginning the Disciples struggled with what it meant to be a follower of Jesus.  In today’s reading from Mark the Disciples do not want to hear what Jesus had to say.  They are still living in denial.   They want Jesus to be the great leader who will fix their problems.  They want him to fix their problems without them having to make any changes.  What are your expectations of Jesus?

I have a lot of sympathy for the Disciples.  Jesus was asking a lot of them.  But what I love about Jesus is that he invited them to join him.  He used no coercion. He lays everything out so there are no surprises.  If people are to follow him they must be willing to turn their lives around and put their faith into the love of God.  They must put wisdom of God before anything else.  They must be willing to find strength in vulnerability.  They must be willing to mix with those on the edges of society who are living in poverty, violence and all forms of abuse.  Jesus was challenging them to walk their talk.

It is ironic that the first people who really understood what Jesus was about were the people who were threatened by him such as Pilot.  So why was it that the people who were trying to kill him understood who he was while the Disciples who followed him did not?  I think they understood because they could grasp the huge cost the Jesus movement was going to have on, them.   It took Jesus disciples a long time before they fully understood.  They didn’t get it until well after Jesus death and resurrection.

Jesus struggles to get our attention today.  Many of us don’t want to hear what he has to say.  We like the disciples, metaphorically, don’t want to get our hands dirty.  We want someone else to fix our problems.  But yet Jesus never gives up on us.  He keeps calling us to true discipleship.  He does without judgement always hoping that one day we will be ready to be transformed.

Are we ready to be transformed?  Are we ready to be born again?  There is nothing magical about this process.  It is all about finding the Christ self, our higher self within us.  The Christ self is a gift from God and we all have within us.

There are many ways to access the higher power within us.  It is always helpful to quiet our minds so the Spirit can mold us.   Reading scripture in community can help us to discern our call to heal the world.  For me the Enneagram is a great tool to reveal our Christ self because it helps us to release behaviours that are not of service to the world. It helps us to see the difference between our egos, our fake selves, with our truth that comes from wisdom and true presence.  Presence coming from when we are able to release all our insecurities, greed, fear and hopelessness and fill that void with the love of God.

The Good News is that we don’t have to wait for anyone else to join us in our mission to transform the world.   One person can begin to make a huge difference just by changing the way they act.  In Systems theory it shows us that one person can begin to affect change in any organization by acting in ways that they expect their colleagues to act.  One person, destructively acting out, can show us where the organizational system is not healthy by asking these question.  Where is their discord?  Where in the organization are people not having their needs met.  Where in the organization are the members not being heard and respected?  Often once these problems are resolved the person will ether change their behaviour or leave.  Have you ever experienced this?

What will be most surprising are the people who we will meet on our faith journey. Sometimes they will be the people we least expect.  Maybe a person from another faith will want to join us.  Maybe it will be wealthy business person who is wanting to make the world a better place.  Maybe it will be a person who has a criminal record who is eager to help.  God has called us all to transformation, are we ready to receive those who are hungry for experiencing the Kingdom of God?

How are we at we at Foam Lake United Church trying to transform the world.  Individually many of you volunteer in our community.  Know that your dedication really does make a difference. But what are we doing as a congregation?

There are people in our community who are eager to make a difference in the world.  I believe that part of our mission is to invite community members to join us in some community mission that will do something positive for our community and world such as services for children and young families, cleaning up the environment, ending prejudice, building relationships with first nation brothers and sisters. This would strengthen our community, giving us a purpose and encourage those in our community who are looking for a spiritual home where they get to live out their faith.  A place where people get to make a difference.

When we allow our maker to engage us in ministry our lives are changed for ever.  The things that used to bother us are no longer giving us sleepless nights.  We no longer worry who is better or worse than us.  We no longer worry about who is good and who isn’t good.  We no longer worry about who has the right doctrine because we are living out our faith.  We no longer worry about having enough money because we will receive whatever we need to do God’s work because of the Creators abundance that there is enough for all. We no longer need someone else to tell us what to believe because our faith is now etched in our hearts.  You cannot help but know what we believe by what we do and say.

While being a follower of Jesus is not easy.  It also brings us great joy and purpose in life that nothing else can replace.  It is what guides us in what we choose to do.  It gives us amazing community to help us celebrate life and people to help us through the rough times.  It gives us a safe environment to grow beyond our personality.  It brings us together with other people to make the world a better place.  Most importantly it helps us all around the world to come together in peace, love, justice and harmony. To be the new world wide community of love, justice, generosity, and hope that both nurtures people and all of the Created order on this planet and throughout our galaxy.

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God Loves David’s and Goliath’s

Sermon – June 21st 2015

4th Sunday after Pentecost

By Roland Legge

1 Samuel 17: (1a, 4-11, 19-23) 32-49 2 Corinthians 6:1-13

Mark 4:35-41

 

We all remember the story of “David and Goliath”! It is one of those feel good stories of the good guy defeating the bad guy. It is a good story if you are one of the oppressed. It is good if you are one of the lowly. How do you think the rich and powerful experience this story?

For them it would not be good news. They do not want to lose their power. They enjoy the privileges they have. They would use whatever they have available to them as their weapon to keep the status quo. Would you want to fight “Goliath”? I don’t think I would.

We always like to cheer on the underdog. Do you remember how we all got behind the Jamaican Bobsled team at the Calgary Olympics in 1988? We all knew they were not going to win any medals but we cheered them like they were our home team.

Desmond Tutu is one of my favorite underdogs. Desmond Tutu was the Archbishop of South Africa for the Anglican Church and was very involved in bringing Apartheid to an end. He inspires me to live faithfully. He inspires me to live with courage. He is like the mustard seed we talked about last week who has grown into a courageous man of faith. A man of faith who is not afraid to challenge the powers and principalities and to put the needs of the Creation ahead of profit and power. William Willimon says this:

Bishop Desmond Tutu is a man of short stature, but he is a giant when compared to most of us, spiritually speaking. Tutu was walking by a construction site on a temporary sidewalk the width of one person. A white man appeared at the other end, recognized Tutu, and said, “I don’t give way to gorillas.” At which Tutu stepped aside, made a deep sweeping gesture, and said, “Ah yes, but I do.”

Pulpit Resource by William H. Willimon http://www.logosproductions.com/content/june-21-2015-god-losers

For me Jesus is one of the greatest underdogs to have lived. No one expected so much from this Galilean peasant. He was from Galilee, one of the poorest parts of the world. The local joke was that nothing good could come from Galilee. Yet Jesus had a way of helping people to discover how others experienced them. Jesus had a way of bringing the best out in people. Jesus had a way of helping people to discover the holy in themselves. His call to wake us up to the holy essence of life wasn’t always well received. Some people liked what he was doing. Others felt very threatened and joined with others to attack him.

But what was even more surprising that his movement did not end when he died like a criminal. In fact the movement became stronger when he died. It is a miracle that Jesus with a dubious background become a great spiritual and political leaders. Had you ever thought of Jesus as an underdog?

Who are the “Goliaths” of the world today? For me these are the people addicted to power and privilege. These are the people who lose their moral compass. They are the people caught in the military industrial complex who rely on this unjust system to give them a job.

The armies of Canada, the United States and Russia are a few examples of who uses their power to keep the status quo and/or give their own nations even more power and privilege often at a great cost to others.

In our time, the leaders of Corporations have become the “Goliaths” of our times. Many transnational companies such as Walmart have more money and power than most nations. They are in this to make as much money as possible at all costs’. Many people’s lives and even nations have been hurt by this mentality of profit at all costs.

There are many people, often the poor, who are asked to do these jobs of violence. Many poor men and women end up in our armies because they have no other options. Then with the sophisticated weapons of war, more and more men and women are being physically, emotionally and spiritually hurt in practise and in battle which makes it difficult to function in life. Marriages end. Children lose one of their parents or both. The memories and the nightmares are hard to overcome. The individual is left try and survive. Many end up on the streets. Many of them die from addictions, and depression. Suicide is not un-common.

God loves both “David’s” and “Goliaths”!   God calls on Goliaths to have a change of heart. To discover what is really important for them. To learn that love is the only way to transform the world that is lasting. Joy that comes from being co-creators with God is way more satisfying than the endless desire for more power that never gets satisfied.

There are “Goliaths”, people with great power, who do use their power well. One example would be the creator and owner of Microsoft, Bill Gates, who has put a lot of money and effort into social and economic development around the world. God would say well done good and faithful man. You see Bill Gates has a vast network of “David’s” who he chooses to join in their projects for social change.

God cheers on “David’s” who won’t let anyone stop them from doing God’s work. “David’s” are God’s agents for change and transformation. “David’s” are like the Buddhist monks who build a peace pagoda right by the border with an American Nuclear base in Washington State. They do it to unsettle the community and remind Americans of their responsibility to build peace and justice around the world through peaceful means.

God celebrates “David’s,” like the National Chief, Perry Belgrade, who are working in our country to end the racism and imperialism that have oppressed the first people of Canada and the United States.   The Spirit calls upon us to join with these people to build relationships with our First Nations peoples so that we can all affirm that we are to share this Planet earth in ways that honor all peoples of the world.

While most of us would not see ourselves as powerful and influential people. However, many people in the world would see us as part of the rich and powerful nations. Much of what we choose to do in our world affects poor people worldwide. As Canadians we have great power vested in us to transform the world because we are so blessed with riches. We are part of a block of “Goliath” Nations. We must become humble and choose to let go of some of our wealth so we can share this with the world.

In the end whether we are a “David” or “Goliath” God loves us and will do everything the Spirit can do to reflect God’s love through each of us. Working together David’s and Goliaths can transform the world by bringing us ordinary people along so we can all live in harmony with each other and the earth.

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Hope in the Midst of Suffering

Easter Four: April 26th 2015

Reflection on Psalm 23:

By Roland Legge

 

 

How many times have you heard the 23rd Psalm?  I expect many of us have heard this hundreds of times.  But what does it mean?  Fred Craddock says:

Regardless of how one interprets the psalm, the general picture of what is stressed is quite clear.  One who has known trouble or experienced life-threatening situations has also experienced the protection of the Divine.  The psalm exudes confidence that God protects so that whatever life brings to his people, they will not be overwhelmed.

Preaching the New Common Lectionary Year B Lent, Holy Week, Easter by Fred Craddock, John H. Hayes, Carl R. Holladay and Gene M. Tucker P.G. 190

 

But, how does this prayer make you feel?  Does it make you feel safe?  Does it help you to feel God’s presence?  Does it help you to remember that God promises to never abandon us? Does it give you comfort?  Does it help to free you of your pain?

For me it does all of what I mentioned except take the pain away.  I like how Craddock shows how the author of Psalm 23 honestly presents the human predicament:

This psalm presents the human predicament without any illusion about persons beings superhumans and above pain, loneliness, and lostness; yet the symbol of God as protector and even corrector affirms the potential of a tranquil life lived amid adversaries and the harsh realities that are the ingredients of every life.

Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary P.G. 190-191

While it does not take our pain away it gives us more confidence to move ahead even though there will be times of pain and difficulty. It helps us to stay more attuned to the spirit present and available to each of us in our own bodies, minds and souls.  Do you have that connection with the Divine, the Holy, the Sacred that the author of Psalm 23 seems to have?

The language of shepherding may not be a useful image for us today, because most of us don’t know shepherds. To give us a sense of Shepherding in Ancient times in the Middle East, Matthew Penny says this on The Worship Place, a United Church on-line community:

In fact Shepherds were often hired hands who were indentured to a rich landowner almost in perpetuity.

They were not popular.  They were looked down upon as being less than whole. Knowing this about shepherd what metaphors would you use today that we are familiar with?

Today this very day many people have written their own interpretations of the 23rd Psalm.   I share two with you today as one of many tools to deepen our understanding of this awesome Psalm.   The first is written by Julia Esquivel who opens his heart to us and showing us what Psalm 23 meant for him on that day he wrote it.

When the hour comes,

you shall change my desert into a waterfall,

you shall anoint my head with fresh oil

and your strength shall overcome my weakness.

 

You shall guide my feet into your footsteps

and I will walk the narrow path

that leads to your house.

 

You shall tell me when and where

I will walk your path totally bathed in joy.

In the meantime,

I ask you, Lord, you who awaken

in the most intimate place in my soul

the Feast of Life!

That of the Empty Tomb!

That of the Victorious Cross!

 

Let your voice mistaken as the Gardener’s

awaken my hearing every morning

with news that’s always fresh:

“Go and tell my brothers and sisters

that I have overcome death,

that there is a new place for everyone

there where the New Nation is built.

 

There, where neither earth, love, or joy

can be bought or sold,

where wine and milk

are shared without money and without price.”

Julia Esquivel, Threatened with Resurrection, The Brethren Press.

 

Then on the lighter note but yet powerful is Jim Taylor’s version:

Blessed relief

God keeps a cool café. What more could I ask?

She provides a comfortable chair to take the weight off my weary feet;

she puts up an umbrella to shade me from the sun;

she serves me iced tea.

Though I have battled with the crowds at the bargain counters,

though I have suffered the scent of too many sweaty bodies,

I don’t care.

I know what’s waiting for me at the end of the day.

An ice cream cone. It drips over the edges, and I lick it up gratefully.

I close my eyes;

the sound system plays the gentle chuckles of waves lapping on a shore.

I am content.

I would love to sit here forever.

In God’s cool café.

James Taylor, Everyday Psalms, © 1994 Wood Lake Books. Used by permission.

 

Which of these two different versions speak to you most today?  For me they both focus on the presence of God through the Holy Spirit.

I hope that our congregation can become more and more the place where we will feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.  I hope that it will become so abundant that it will spill over into the rest of our lives.  But we all need to keep sharing our love, talents and time.  God can not do it alone.

God needs each of us to do our part.  That might mean we need to call someone up to see how they are if we have not seen them recently at church.  It might mean that we need to invite someone to a church service or some other activity.  Probably one of the most profound ways to share God’s love with another person is to simply spend time with them being fully present to them, whether that be sitting quietly next to them, possibly holding their hand, and listening to what ever they need to say. The story I am going to talk later about on the hospitality shown through the two cups of coffee are perfect examples of what I am talking about here.    I can think of many times when people have given me exactly what I needed at the time.  These were people who were following their calling by listening to their hearts, minds and intuition.

In the end God’s promises us is to journey with us and give us the signs we need to know the direction that God calls us to be going.  But what is even more amazing is that when and if we make a mistake God will use that to bless the world and give us countless more opportunities to turn our lives around.

 

 

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Called to Witness

Sermon – January 4th 2014

2nd Sunday of Christmas

By Roland Legge

Hebrew ScriptureJeremiah 31:7-14

Gospel:  John 1 (1-9) 10-18

 

 

Who was John the Baptist?  Scholars believe that John the Baptist had his own movement for liberation.  John was calling on people to turn their lives around well before Jesus came on to the scene.  Many of us believe that Jesus was originally a follower of John.  But as time moved on Jesus got a name for himself.  The scripture we read today is the result of the early followers of Jesus choosing to keep John the Baptist in the story although in a lesser light.  In the end John’s movement eventually joined the Jesus movement.  But this took many year and in the mean time the two groups struggled for acceptance.

In our Scripture reading today, from the Gospel according to John, the author shows us that John the Baptist’ ministry was to be one of witness to Jesus.  Jesus needed John to point to him as the son of God, the Messiah that many Jews had been waiting a long time for.  Why did Jesus need a witness? Because Jesus was so busy healing and proclaiming the Good News that few people understood who he really was.  John was needed to proclaim to the world that Jesus was no ordinary man!  He was indeed the son of God.

While for some Jesus was not big deal because they saw Jesus as some crazy zealot who was trying to free the Hebrews from the Romans.  They didn’t think that Jesus would amount to much.

But then were those who felt threatened by anyone challenging the status quo whether that was the religious officials or the Roman Empire.  It didn’t take long before a group of people, Romans and Jewish officials sought out Jesus to arrest him and kill him.  They were particularly concerned by the many peasants getting excited that God had something better planned for them.   The smell of rebellion was in the air.

In this atmosphere Jesus was calling on his followers to be witnesses for the Good News that Jesus and his disciples were proclaiming.  To be a witness to Jesus was also to be a disciple, choosing to live out this vision through words and actions.

Witness

We all need to discover how we are being called to witness for Jesus.  It won’t be easy!  Every day thousands of people proclaim their witness for materialism and capitalism on all our media devices.  So we need to find ways to get people’s attention.  We need to walk our talk so people will take us seriously.

How do you witness to the power of Jesus in our world? Sometimes it comes from the most unlikely of people, often a child.  I quote from a book by Thomas Long:

Diane Komp, a pediatric oncologist, tells the story of the time, early in her practice of medicine, when she was treating a little girl named Anna for leukemia. This was back in the days when the recovery rate was woefully low, and though Anna had gone in and out of remission many times, by the age of seven she was facing the end. At Anna’s side at the last were her parents, a hospital chaplain who favored psychology over theology, and Komp herself, who at the time would have described herself as a “pragmatic post-Christian agnostic.” Komp writes, “Before she died [Anna] mustered the final energy to sit up in her hospital bed and say: ‘The angels – they’re so beautiful! Mommy, can you see them? Do you hear their singing? I’ve never heard such beautiful singing!’ Then she lay back on her pillow and died.”      Anna’s parents reacted “as if they had been given the most precious gift in the world.” The hospital chaplain quickly left the room, leaving the agnostic Komp alone with the grieving Christian family. “Together we contemplated a spiritual mystery that transcended our understanding and experience. For weeks to follow, the thought that stuck in my head was ‘Have I found a reliable witness?’” – Thomas G. Long, Testimony, Talking Ourselves into Being Christian

 

I think of two of my elementary school teachers, Mrs. Gardner and Mrs. Reid who taught me at Edith Cavell Elementary School in Vancouver.  They witnessed to the power of God by the way they taught each of their students.  As a child I could feel the love they had for me and their confidence in my abilities.   I also could feel that they had the same love for each of their students. 

 

I think of Russ Hudson, one of the teachers and researchers at the Enneagram Institute.  He is a witness for the type of world that Jesus desires us to experience where every person will be recognized and honored for the gifts and love they bring.  He points to the way where people of all and no religions of the world can get along with each other.  He points to the truth that God has given us everything we need to live fully in our world.   He shows us how we can begin to access the holy within each of us.  It is a matter of uncovering what we already have.

 

I try to witness to the holiness of each person in our world.  I believe that we are all made in the image of God.  We all have that of God in each of us.  It is even there in some of the most terrible people in the world.  I believe that we all have amazing stories to tell about our lives.  Every story I hear are most amazing stories of love, hope, determination and struggle.  So whenever you share your story with me I feel very blessed.  You all act as witnesses to the holy calling that each of us have been given.  Your stories fill me with hope because I have no doubt that God continues to be active in our world working through each of us.

Preaching the Word by William H. Willimon

The more we intentionally choose to witness to the type of world that Jesus desires us to live in, the more faithful our witnessing we will be. The best way to do this is by living as though this is already true. So we love each other for who we are. We speak up for those who can’t. We share everything we have. We care for planet earth because we have been blessed with its providence. We learn to resolve disputes nonviolently. We can have heaven right here on earth. This is the Good News!

Holy Disruption!

Sermon – Advent 2

December 7th 2014 (Year B)

By Roland Legge

Isaiah 40:1-11
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

 

 

It is hard to ignore John the Baptist!  Would you or I have been one of the many people who chose to come to John for his baptism of repentance? I am not sure if I would have left my comfortable sofa to go into the wilderness to be baptized by this loud and smelly man.   How in the world does this wild story this fit into Advent?

I think for many of us this Advent/Christmas season is supposed to be one of comfort, memories and nostalgia.  It is supposed to be a time of happiness.   It is supposed to be a time of generosity.  It is a time of frivolity with parties and concerts to attend.  It is the time of year that we think of the needy and try to make their lives a little better.  But John the Baptist has a difference understanding of Advent.

If we listen to John the Baptist, Advent is all about repentance!  Repenting is hard work.  It forces us to look deeply into ourselves to see how we need to bring our lives back closer to the ways of God.  This is hard work because we will have to face our own fears, shame and hopeless if we are to truly repent.  It will require us to change how we live not just in that moment but to integrate those changes into our lives on a daily basis.  Old habits will need to change.  But there is a huge reward that goes along with that hard work.  That reward is inward joy!

 

 

Much of what we have to do is in the choices that we make.   Much of what we have to do comes out of our conversations.  It is often about taking a stand and living into it.

Many years ago I took a stand when I chose to help clean the homes of people living with HIV/AIDS when there was no hope for recovery.   You see there were many homemakers who wouldn’t do this out of fear of infection and prejudice. This doesn’t mean it was easy, but with the help of God working through others I was able to do this and make a difference in these people’s lives.  I was able to it despite my own fears.

Recently there was a gathering of people who took a stand in a theater in St. Louis Missouri where the terrible violence has been taking place due to the killing of a young black man called Mike Brown by a white police officer.  It involve a piece of music written by JOHANNES BRAHMS called the German Requiem, that when first played in Vienna in 1867 caused a great uproar; there was boos, inappropriate behaviour and disgust. What was so controversial?  It was controversial because it was a piece of religious music being played in a public hall.

Now many years later the same piece along with Detlev Glanert’s arrangement of Brahms’ Four Preludes and Serious Songs was being played at the Powell Hall in St. Louis and got a similar reaction.  It took place after the intermission when

conductor Markus Stenz took the stage, two audience members began to sing. In strong, clear voices, they performed Florence Patton Reece’s famous justice hymn: “Which side are you on, friend? Which side are you on?” Nearly a dozen more scattered throughout Powell Hall joined in. While the audience watched in stunned silence, a banner unfurled from the balcony with a silhouette of a man’s face. It said: Requiem for Mike Brown 1996-2014.

 

Season of Disruption by Rose Marie Berger http://sojo.net/preaching-the-word/season-disruption?parent=41143 

 

 

One theatergoer challenged if the theater was an appropriate place for a protest.  A Catholic Priest spoke up and challenged the man complaining by inviting people to change the chant from of “What side are you On” to How are we going to heal?  Then without further ado the conductor tapped his baton and the orchestra began to play Brahms’ Requiem.

It opened with pulsing bass and unfolding choral line from Matthew 5: “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” 

Season of Disruption by Rose Marie Berger http://sojo.net/preaching-the-word/season-disruption?parent=41143 

 

So Advent is a time of disruption!  John the Baptist and Jesus came to disrupt our lives so the Kindom of God can take root in our hearts.  Catholic theologian James Alison puts it this way:

“The One who is coming will not preside over us, but will teach us to want peace from within, and to learn the habits that make it possible. The One who loves us will come as one we despise, and crucify: The definitive puncturing of our god-fantasies, and yet the Presence of one who is powerfully determined not to let us remain wedded to our self-destruction.”

Season of Disruption by Rose Marie Berger http://sojo.net/preaching-the-word/season-disruption?parent=41143 

 

 

Think for a moment as to how God is breaking into your heart.  How is the life and the teaching of Jesus disrupting our lives?  How is the Spirit within you calling you to make choices that challenge the status quo and open up new possibilities for new life in our communities and world that recognizes that we are all equal before our Maker?  Isn’t this what Christmas is all about!!

 

 

 

 

 

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