We have what we need . . . but we need to get better at knowing what we have . . .
OK — Here’s a pop quiz: What is the last line of the first verse of the song “Amazing Grace”? . . . Don’t peak now! . . .
And the answer, of course . . . “Was blind, but now I see.”
How many times do you think you have sung that line? I know the song gets to the heart and soul of who I am, and probably does for more people than any other spiritual. Bill Moyers did a delightful special about it on PBS years ago (that I just found here on YouTube). And one of the most powerful-for-all-time moments for me as a father was holding up 6-month-old Anna in a sling at the Barnes & Noble bookstore for a spontaneous serenade by the one and only Judy Collins as she looked into Anna’s eyes and sang “Amazing Grace” from two feet away.
But how many times have we paused to ponder, “What does it mean now, for me to be amazed as I discover I really was blind, but now I have eyes that see?”
Welcoming Prayer is about experiencing “Amazing Grace” at a deeper level than that of our first impressions, and suddenly discovering something new from those eyes that see. Usually, our first impressions barely scratch the surface of the more important things that are really going on. That deeper experience of grace (probably the least understood or considered part of the “Wesleyan Quadrilateral” of balancing 1. Scripture, 2. Tradition, 3. Reason, and 4. Experience connects us with the unity of the Spirit and plumbs the depths of meaning. I think it is what Paul meant when he said “Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Let me know if you have any related thoughts or want to learn more about the simple, Spiritual Practice of Welcoming Prayer.
Building Bridges is what we do naturally when we experience deeply the peace that passes understanding, and discover that we really are integrated as one in the Spirit (with ourselves and others) as we experience God’s amazing grace. Our distracting egos that separate us begin to fade away (at least for the moment), and windows of humility open up fresh and amazing vistas we had not been capable of imagining. To truly experience the depths of grace is to dwell in kairos-time. Click here for my reflections from a year ago on “Hearing Soulful-Stories and Sacred Callings” when we prioritize tending to the architecture of kairos-time.
This Monday, June 20, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm in Room 350, we will host at our church a Being and Building Bridges gathering with others from around Fort Worth. The listening process is influenced by the writings of Parker Palmer which have sparked a movement of Building Bridges around the country in recent years. In November of last year I wrote about special “Touchstones” for Building Bridges and creating Circles of Trust. Also, click this link to learn about the related Five Habits of the Heart.
And let me know if you want to come join us and participate in the conversations about the amazing visions we discover when we look and listen together.
Grace and peace,
“The imagination and its ability to discern bigger underlying patterns
is just as important if not more important
than a firm grasp of the details of what we want.
The mighty interior wish
is more important
than mere outward details that seem”
― from “The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship” by David Whyte