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.
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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.”
Acts 11:1-18 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) 11 The emissaries and the brothers throughout Y’hudah heard that the Goyim had received the word of God; 2 but when Kefa went up to Yerushalayim, the members of the Circumcision faction criticized him, 3 saying, “You went into the homes of uncircumcised men and even ate with them!” 4 In reply, Kefa began explaining in detail what had actually happened: 5 “I was in the city of Yafo, praying; and in a trance I had a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being lowered by its four corners from heaven, and it came down to me. 6 I looked inside and saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, crawling creatures and wild birds. 7 Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Kefa, slaughter and eat!’ 8 I said, ‘No, sir! Absolutely not! Nothing unclean or treif has ever entered my mouth!’ 9 But the voice spoke again from heaven: ‘Stop treating as unclean what God has made clean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then everything was pulled back up into hea…
3 When Y’hudah, who had betrayed him, saw that Yeshua had been condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the head cohanim and elders, 4 saying, “I sinned in betraying an innocent man to death.” “What is that to us?” they answered. “That’s your problem.” 5 Hurling the pieces of silver into the sanctuary, he left; then he went off and hanged himself. 6 The head cohanim took the silver coins and said, “It is prohibited to put this into the Temple treasury, because it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use it to buy the potter’s field as a cemetery for foreigners.
Blood money. The priests seem to have been unaware of the irony that it was their own actions which tainted the money in the first place. It also seems that it never occurred to them that their own agent would repudiate them by returning the money. Talk about cognitive dissonance!
John 1:19-28 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) 20 he was very straightforward and stated clearly, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 “Then who are you?” they asked him. “Are you Eliyahu?” “No, I am not,” he said. “Are you ‘the prophet,’ the one we’re expecting?” “No,” he replied. 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? — so that we can give an answer to the people who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?” 23 He answered in the words of Yesha‘yahu the prophet, “I am 'The voice of someone crying out: ‘In the desert make the way of Adonai straight!’” (Isaiah 40:3) English Standard Version (ESV) 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight *the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” *Or ‘crying out, ‘In the wilderness make straight’
I was caught by the difference between “A voice crying out in the wilderness,” and “a voice crying out, “in the wilderness make straight”.” I thought, “What difference does it make?” but I kept feeling that somehow it did.