The Waystead is a Hermitage of the Lindisfarne Community, established with the intent to foster the love of God in the world. My resolve is to follow the Way of the One in Whom we live and move and have our Being.
I trust that by thoughtfully founding, and steadfastly keeping, a dwelling place and setting it apart as a place of prayer, reflection, and contemplation, I will be able to hold onto that resolve.
Search This Blog
As It Is
Ecclesiastes 9: 11-18
16 So, although I say that wisdom is better
than strength, nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised; nobody pays
attention to what he says.
17 A wise man speaking quietly is more worth
than the shouts of a ruler commanding fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
but a person who makes a mistake can destroy much good.
Galatians 5: 1-15
4 You who are trying to be declared righteous
by God through legalism have severed yourselves from the Messiah! You have
fallen away from God’s grace! 5 For it is by the power
of the Spirit, who works in us because we trust and are faithful, that we confidently
expect our hope of attaining righteousness to be fulfilled. 6 When
we are united with the Messiah Yeshua, neither being circumcised nor being
uncircumcised matters; what matters is trusting faithfulness expressing itself
Matthew 16: 1-12
4 A wicked and adulterous generation is asking
for a sign? It will certainly not be given a sign — except the sign of Yonah!”
With that he left them and went off.
I’ve been gone on vacation and retreat for two weeks and
have just returned to my empty hermitage. The Lindisfarne Community has
traditionally held its retreats at Casowasco Retreat Center in the Finger Lakes
region of upstate New York. It’s a beautiful spot, and this was my third time
attending the retreat. Before I go on I have to say that I am very aware that I
am only at the beginning stages of processing all that has happened in the last
few months and all that happened at the retreat, along with many conversations
with my sister which have yet to be absorbed into my understanding.
At any rate, I had many opportunities to listen to ‘wisdom
spoken quietly’, and I made the most of it. One of the most affecting things at
the retreat was the ‘charge’ given to the people being variously accepted as novices,
professed, ordained, and installed as prior and prioress. The speaker quoted
from Thomas Merton’s “The Sign of Jonas” and it hit me hard: “The night, O My Lord, is a time of freedom.
You have seen the morning and the night, and the night was better. In the night
all things began, and in the night the end of all things has come before me.
Baptized in the rivers of night, Gethsemani has recovered her innocence.
Darkness brings a semblance of order before all things disappear. With the
clock slung over my shoulder ... it is my time to be the night watchman in the
house that will one day perish.”
In part, the person giving the charge said this: “_____, I charge you to be as a night
watchman in the house that will one day perish, to be as one who watches in the
brooding, expectant, Samhain dark of night. I charge you to be vigilant, alert
to the in-breaking of God’s light into consciousness and to do your part to
awaken a sleeping humanity to the dawn of hope. In the words of the Apostle
Paul in 1 Corinthians, “It is the God who said: ‘Let light shine out of
darkness’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the
glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
As a watchman, _____,
you are also, as are you all, an alchemist of spirit. May you all
watch your vessel closely for the slow changes, from earth to fire, working
within your own soul and learn how to better help others to that secret place.
I charge you each to grow your contemplative discipline, so
that you are not only yourself closer to the Source, but that you are able to
share your insights with others. Allow the growth of your gifts to enrich
others, and to radiate from you like ripples on the lake we are blessed by this
During this retreat I also ‘took refuge’ and received the
Buddhist precepts, and was given the Dharma name of ‘Sokunin’, which means “As-it-is
Person”. In this ceremony I dedicated myself to living intentionally according to
the Lindisfarne Community’s understanding of the practice of Zen Buddhism embedded
in the Way of Christ.
The phrase “a night watchman in the house that will one day
perish” keeps on echoing deep within me, along with something a sister
contemplative said during the Sunday Eucharist before we all “left and went off.”
She spoke about the Japanese art of mending broken things with gold. I had a vision
of myself sitting on a bare wooden floor surrounded by shards of broken pottery.
The image of fragments melded together with lines of shining gold into a new
whole filled my mind for a moment, and I found myself helplessly in tears.
Someone brought me a Kleenex. Even as I write this, I find tears welling up
When I read the readings for today, I felt a silent but certain
linkage take place within me, down in that ‘secret place’ where the soul’s
alembic simmers and distills its essence from earth to fire. In that place the alchemical
process is known to be this: “trusting
faithfulness expressing itself through love.”
Lectionaries are funny things— weird, abstruse little lists
of biblical passages by number, sort of like tide tables or bus schedules. Today’s
Lectionary passages (for 3-9-2018, the week of the third Sunday in Lent) are:
Psalm 88; Genesis 47:1-26; 1 Corinthians 9:16-27; and Mark 6:47-56 About a month ago I posted a reflection in response to
Abbess Jane’s Lectionary Musings blog on the same passage from Corinthians as the
one listed for today in the Daily Office Readings Lectionary (BCP). That was
supposed to be the reading for the 6th Sunday of Epiphany, according
to +Jane, but I just can’t find it anywhere. I looked up Epiphany 6 in both the
Daily Office Lectionary and the Revised Common Lectionary—not there. It’s not
the reading from the Lindisfarne Community’s A Way of Living Lectionary for
either Year 1 or 2 either. Oh well. I was never the sort of autist who is fascinated by such
things as bus schedules. I am much more inclined to be enthralled by maps. I
wonder if I could make a L…
On Sunday the Psalm was the famous 23rd.
I’ve heard it so many times that I never expected anything new to come
wandering across the border from that hinterland, but there ya go. So, the
liminal phrase is this: “Your rod and your staff they comfort me,” or as
the CJB says, “your rod and staff reassure me.” I got to thinking, “Well, just exactly how does a shepherd
use a staff and a rod?” The staff is used to guide the sheep and to catch them.
Traditional staffs used in the UK have horn crooks with a sharp curled tip,
which I suspect is designed to catch in the fleece. The rod was essentially a
club used to defend against predators, but also as a goad to correct the sheep.
I’ve never really identified with the sheep; I mean they are
really not very smart and don’t have much of a survival instinct. I also have
misgivings about identifying myself as the shepherd of the sheep. So, I asked
myself, “What other role might I fill in the whole sheep-shepherd metaphor?”
and it came to me: Shee…
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) 4 Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, 5 not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered,
and it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not gloat over other people’s sins
but takes its delight in the truth. 7 Love always bears up, always trusts,
always hopes, always endures.
I’ve read this over about five times now, and it keeps on
growing in my mind. The above is only a part of the verse cited, but it’s the
part that kept reaching out and poking me. It’s the part that I felt was
reading me; the part that was peering
into my heart to see what is going on in there. It’s the part that sat down in
front of me with a questioning look on its face, put its chin in its hand, and
looked at me without saying anything. And kept on looking. Eventually I started noticing specific things; I started trying
to see what the verse was looking at in me. I noticed that it started out by
talking about what love is; then what it isn’t; then back …