Across the Table

Across the table

sits my son of 18 years

noting ukulele chords to play in 45 minutes for church.

 

Last minute?

yes, or of the minute

the right time

now.

 

He has known for 2 weeks that he is to play today

the offertory

an offering

leading us to the manger this day on the cusp of Christmas.

 

We wait

across tables and miles

sounds and strings

hearts and heartbeats

knowing for sometime now

that it is our time to offer

 

a way toward the Sacred.

Now is the moment

now.

 

So, throw off the guilt

the shoulds the obligation

and cloak yourself in

chords

mochas

Mother’s smiles.

 

Go

play

listen

sing

strum

hum

smile

drink

and find the Holy One

snuggled against the Mother’s warm breast

beating heart

lifegiving milk

ready to change the world.

 

~Amy S Gall Ritchie, use with permission only

A Prayer for Sandy Hook Elementary School

Oh God on High,
What will it take to end the madness?
When will love, peace, hope replace fear, violence, aggression?
We can pray together thy will be done, but what happens when someone does not utter those words and picks up a gun?

Oh God,
We light a candle, a small flame, beneath your cross
a symbol of fear, violence, aggression
connecting two thousand years of one suffering now to this suffering.
A candle of love, peace, hope. Because we want to believe.

Yes, God,
open wide your cosmic arms
embracing 27…yes, 27 souls that were breathing just this morning.
The gunman included. We trust you know what to do.
May your heaven’s realm pour down and sweep up the families who have lost the ones they loved deeply.
May human arms be the source of solace in the hear and now.

Now, God.
Wake us up out of our complacent slumber
to be courageous revolutionaries of your justice
to change the world to what we know it can be
to offer the Sacred Presence to all: child, teacher, enemy.
And may that be enough.

In the name of Jesus, who this day draws near to him those children…all children. Amen.

~written by Amy S Gall Ritchie on the tragic occasion of the deadly shooting at this Connecticut elementary school, which touched the collective connection in us all. All rights reserved, use with permission

Awaitin’ Snow

 

A friend’s comments lets me know it is snowing somewhere. A fierce snow, just as it is suppose to be in early December. Yet, we in middle Indiana, wait.

 

It is easy to believe that there something abnormal happening with the change of weather patterns, lack of experiences For as much as we work against the presumptions of culture, we still believe December in Indiana must be like it is on commercials and holiday cards. We put our lived experience up against what we are told should be the norm, and are disappointed when it isn’t looking quite like we think it should.

 

Shift this to our interior lives. It is easy to fall into a belief that we are on this planet for our own indulgences. We want to believe we have a purpose, or that there is something to learn, and meaning to what our daily lives point to. This is reinforced by the culture of human experience which feeds the book industry for self help, spiritual growth, supernatural encounters, prayers, rituals, beliefs.

 

What do you believe about your life?

 

Who told you this?

 

What do you tell yourself?

 

What is your experience?

 

What if it was all true? Even the conflicting stuff? What if you were both amazingly perfect and on a journey of transformation all at the same time? What if your human life on earth is painfully mundane and missing in “normal” human experience and a wild cosmic trip in spiritual development? All at the same time?

 

I find the landscape of “all at the same time” to be rich and unpredictable and where I want to live most of the time. The contradictions are like two rough edges sanding against each other making something smooth and lustrous….something enigmatic and knowable….something hopeful and arrived at. A back and forth that keeps me waiting at the same time I’m already there and moving on.

 

In remembering I know that snow does not often come to middle Indiana in early December. My experiences of southwest Michigan, Chicagoland, and Northern Indiana are not the template for my current experience. If I force my now through the ‘scape of my before, I will always be disappointed and looking around questioningly. Rather than being curious and looking around with wonder.

 

Move into the wonder, the luster, the marvel of your existence. Call a group of friends together to talk about who/what is setting your norm if you are finding yourself constantly disappointed. Share with someone your dreams of your ultimate life, and then talk about where those dreams come from. Explore yourself, to make sure you are waiting for the right thing.

 

O Voluptuous Spirit of Life,

You hold a care, a hurt, a probability with the tenderness of a Mother.

Cup your warm, flour dusted hands around my hungry life

Whisper your words that shine light in the dark into my waiting ear

Laugh your unexpected newness within my seeking heart.

Your curving body softly enfolding my own pulls me to new truths when the old ones leave me flat and cold. For a moment, in that space of you I am renewed and readied, held and unharmed, awarded and awakened into the real reality that is already around.

 

Oh glorious Day of Living,

let me live full of expectations, emptied of expectations, filled and emptied….

all at the same time.

 

In the name of the one who makes new, Amen.

 

~ prayer by Amy S Gall Ritchie, all rights reserved, free for use with permission

Oh yes please! I’d like to begin Spiritual Direction but I have no idea what it is


Spiritual Direction has roots deep in Christianity. In more recent years, that has been a practice for seminarians who are questing to stay accountable for their own spiritual integrity as they lead others on the spiritual path.

 

It has expanded, thankfully so! You don’t need to be one who is working toward being a minister. You only have to be you.

 

Some statements, questions or situations which bring people to a spiritual director are:

  • I feel separated from God
  • I am sensing some leading but its not clear to me how to proceed with my life
  • I have a major life change to make and would like help sorting through it all
  • I want to be a powerful praying person, but I lack the discipline
  • I think I am moving beyond the church experience of my childhood
  • Does God belong to just one denomination or religious tradition?
  • I believe in angels but no one around me does and I need some support
  • I would like to explore spirituality beyond traditional religion
  • I want to explore the realm of Sacredness beyond traditional methods

 

As you can see, people who hold to a traditional faith but want to go deeper seek out spiritual direction. Persons who long to enter the mystery of the Divine in new ways seek out spiritual direction.

 

What questions do YOU have?

 

How is God/The Divine/Sacred Spirit leading you?

 

What you can expect to experience in spiritual direction with me, is a dedicated time to listen to the movements of God in your life. This is about YOU and the Divine. I serve as an invested listener. What I listen for are patterns in your story telling and self revealing.

 

But more, I am listening to the Sacred during our time together. I don’t know exactly how it all works, but as you speak and I listen,  I am able to tune in to the undertones of your sharing, the real questions that lurk beneath the acceptable questions.

 

Sometimes, I’ll see colors, or hear a word, or be provided with an image or metaphor to share with you. I know, because of my own spiritual practice, that the Holy is moving in these moments for your highest good. It is a deeply connecting happening. You might be urged during this time toward self care, or to face a hard task ahead, or that God loves you as you are and as you are becoming.

 

It is the part of you that is becoming, that I am true to. We are all evolving beings, and the path can be clear and it can be a muddle. In my own life, all it takes is a simple word or observation from a trusted spiritual direction and I immediately see the way clear. It is an incredible experience. And this is where God resides.

 

It is my belief that our very human experience is for a reason. I don’t always know that reason. But I trust God to lead and show and be there. I have witnessed the coming to awareness that some experience. And it is beautiful.

 

I hope to walk with you along the way.

 

To your awakening!

Amy