This world we live in (ok the world I live in, which may be slightly different to yours) is obsessed with the idea of self, knowledge of self, ego, consciousness, individual rights, status, lack of status, identity, gender identity, sexual identity, racial identity, religious identity and so on. We are told who to be, who not to be, who we can potentially be, how perfect we are as ‘we be’.
You may be all about the self, or all about the letting go of the self.
In a new age and a new time of knowledge and understanding everyone has an opinion and everyone expresses that opinion and those opinions are about as varied as stars in the sky. Who’s right? Who’s not? Who cares?
The number one challenge I have faced since being here at seminary is how do I fit in? Who am I in this village? What is my role in this community? My very kind friend sent me a note this week saying how inspired she is by the certainty in my heart.
I am not certain.
Not of much.
And at present I am unlearning as much as I am learning, so there’s no surety in my heart to speak of. Except this one thing.
I am made in the image of God.
Today we began our new Wednesday prayer group, a time of Centering Prayer and sacred reading. We took 10 minutes to be quiet and 35 minutes to pray into a few verses of a Psalm. This is the first communal silent prayer I have engaged in since leaving Musgrave last year and I had no idea just how much I missed it. I was reminded of the ‘Great I Am’.
I went into the meeting with a full head and buzzing ears. I came out with an aching heart and a clear mind. God said ‘I am’. Breathe … It really is that simple.
We debate at the seminary, we discuss, we pick apart, we laugh, we fight, we cry, we bond. We are many and we are varied, we are small enough to be a village and just too big to be an intimate community and I was starting to feel lost. In the midst of lots of theological language I was starting to doubt, myself and then, by inference, God.
But God is God. I am in God, and by grace that is enough.
Slow down, breathe deeply, be quiet, take stock regularly, because what came up in our prayer group today was not words, but Spirit, emotion, intangibles, tears, joy, laughter and communion, as individuals within a group, with beingness not wordiness.
We connected with the Great I Am and were reminded that We Are too. Just as we are. Enough. Individual and connected.
I am, the GREAT I am…