It’s remarkable how, no matter which spiritual path you pursue, the nuts and bolts of transformation wind up looking pretty much the same: surrender, detachment, compassion, forgiveness. [Whatever your path] you will still go through the same eye of the needle to get to where your true heart lies.
Source: The Wisdom Way of Knowing
Choosing life instead of death demands an act of will that often contradicts our impulses. Our impulses want to take revenge, while our wills want to offer forgiveness. Our impulses push us to an immediate response: When someone hits us in the face, we impulsively want to hit back.
How then can we let our wills dominate our impulses? The key word is wait. Whatever happens, we must put some space between the hostile act directed toward us and our response. We must distance ourselves, take time to think, talk it over with friends, and wait until we are ready to respond in a life-giving way. Impulsive responses allow evil to master us, something we always will regret. But a well thought-through response will help us to “master evil with good” (Romans 12.21).
When we are anxious we are inclined to overprepare. We wonder what to say when we are attacked, how to respond when we are being interrogated, and what defence to put up when we are accused. It is precisely this turmoil that makes us lose our self-confidence and creates in us a debilitating self-consciousness.
Jesus tells us not to prepare at all and to trust that he will give us the words and wisdom we need. What is important is not that we have a little speech ready but that we remain deeply anchored in the love of Jesus, secure about who we are in this world and why we are here. With our hearts connected to the heart of Jesus, we will always know what to say when the time to speak comes.
Learn what love is. It is complete and utter surrender. That’s a big word, surrender. It doesn’t mean letting people walk all over you, take advantage of you. It’s when we surrender control, let go of our egos, that all the love in the world is there waiting for us. Love is not a game, it’s a state of being.
Source: Reflections (edited by Twinka Thiebault)
The key word is trust. Trust everything that happens in life; even those experiences that cause pain will serve to better you in the end. It’s easy to lose the inner vision, the greater truths…. Along with developing a basic trust in the rhyme and reason of life itself, I advise you to trust your intuition. It is a far better guide in the long run than your intellect.
Source: Reflections (edited by Twinka Thiebault)
God created everything in 7 days, so our biblical myth tells us. But it was on the Eighth Day that Jesus was raised from the dead, inaugurating a New Creation.
If we live in the context of the Eighth Day, how do we participate in the hope of new creation which the world groans in eager longing for?
The Eighth Day– Resurrection
Dear Friends in Christ,
Every September we celebrate a New Beginnings Sunday to kick off our program year. This fall we are fortunate to have a new Field Education Student join us in our ministry. Brenda Crespo is preparing to become a Presbyterian pastor and is studying at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. She is under the care of our own Sheila Breeding and the Committee for Preparation for Ministry of Elizabeth Presbytery. Brenda will be involved in all areas of our ministry and lead us in worship, education and mission. Please support her with your friendship and your prayers as she grows in her call to ordained ministry.
I am grateful to this congregation for joining me in the joyful calling of offering a learning/serving experience to students like Brenda.
Now, here’s….. Brenda!
Brenda Crespo is a candidate for the ministry in the Elizabeth Presbytery and a student at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. The Perth Amboy native now lives in Metuchen with her husband of nearly 25 years, Adolfo Rodriguez. They have two children, Tyler (19) and Julianna (16) and three fur babies, Peanut (8), Freddie (4) and Ruby (3). Brenda’s parents, Angel and Carmen Crespo, still reside in Perth Amboy and just celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary. Brenda also has an older brother, Angelo.
She is a 25 year member of the First Presbyterian Church of Perth Amboy, the church her father originally joined when he emigrated from Puerto Rico in 1960. She works for the N.J. Institute for Disabilities in Edison where she helps find funding for all the great programs and services offered to children and adults with disabilities throughout New Jersey.
In 2011, after a long and successful banking career, she finally decided to follow God’s call and gave up her banking career in order to serve others. With the support of her husband and children, she began her journey of faith with the belief that God would take care of everything. And He did. And He is. And He continues to do so.
Forget every idea of right and wrong
Any classroom ever taught you
Because an empty heart, a tormented mind,
Unkindness, jealousy and fear
Are always the testimony
You have been completely fooled!
Turn your back on those
Who would imprison your wondrous spirit
With deceit and lies.
Come, join the honest company
Of the King’s beggars—
Those gamblers, scoundrels and divine clowns
And those astonishing fair courtesans
Who need Divine Love every night.
Come, join the courageous
Who have no choice
But to bet their entire world
Indeed, God is Real.
I will lead you into the Circle
Of the Beloved’s cunning thieves,
Those playful royal rogues—
The ones you can trust for true guidance—
Who can aid you
In this Blessed Calamity of life.
Look at the Perfect One
At the Circle’s Center:
He Spins and Whirls like a Golden Compass,
Beyond all that is Rational,
To show this dear world
Everything in Existence
Does point to God.
Often we remain silent when we need to speak. Without words, it is hard to love well. When we say to our parents, children, lovers, or friends: “I love you very much” or “I care for you” or “I think of you often” or “You are my greatest gift,” we choose to give life.
It is not always easy to express our love directly in words. But whenever we do, we discover we have offered a blessing that will be long remembered. When a son can say to his father, “Dad, I love you,” and when a mother can say to her daughter, “Child, I love you,” a whole new blessed place can be opened up, a space where it is good to dwell. Indeed, words have the power to create life.
I was not taught that meeting a stranger on a bench, smiling, then sharing a short conversation, before going our own separate ways, was being in touch with the spiritual but that is what I have come to know.
– Nikky Finney