Remembering God and Welcoming Ourselves
Dear Kaleid Ladies,
Good morning! Thank you for being with us on our “To Be Made Well” summer journey. We spent three weeks in Mark 5, with the healing stories of the demoniac, the bleeding woman, and Jairus’ daughter. Today, we conclude three weeks of looking at practices and postures for healing. Today we turn to remembering and welcoming.
(Today’s reflection is taken from Liz Johnson’s leadership of Kaleid’s contemplative prayer last week. We hope it encourages you.)
Where do you need healing today? How does that need call you to remember God and to wholeheartedly welcome your own experience?
Throughout scripture, we cannot miss God’s invitation to practice “remembering.” As we and the world are made well, we are embarking not so much in an act of creating something new that doesn’t currently exist, but rather restoring and exposing what is—becoming what Creation and ourselves truly are. We are image bearers of God, walking in a world that once purely reflected the Kingdom of God but that is now marred by brokenness. We are in the midst of the struggle to become again who we and the Creation are.
As infants we arrived and immediately began interacting in a broken world. We were quickly clothed with hurt, disappointment, fear, betrayal, greed, loneliness, condemnation, competition, insecurity. The image of God in us is so entangled with brokenness that sometimes we can hardly recognize God in ourselves or in others in this world.
As we are made well, we are allowing God to come in and unravel this mess, gently removing each layer that has prevented us from experiencing the full healing freedom of God. At times the unraveling comes quickly, but typically it can feel painfully slow.
So slow in fact that we lose our ability to remember. To remember who God is, to remember who we are, to remember how God created this world to be.
This is the core to our soul’s wounding. We have forgotten. But as we remember, and remember again and again, we are ever so incrementally changed, removing the layers that we’ve carried around with us.
What are we to remember and how do we do it?
Scripture seems to be one big reminder, sometimes spoken in a whisper and sometimes loud and firm, “Hey, my beloved…Remember who you are? Do you remember who I am? Do you remember how I created this world to be?”
What have you forgotten? Is there something God is inviting you to remember this morning?
Remember how I formed and shaped you in your mother’s womb?
Remember that I brought you out of slavery and into freedom?
Remember when you were scared and didn’t believe my promises for you?
Remember that I destroyed your enemies?
Remember waiting, though it was hard, for plans to unfold, in my time and way?
Remember how I wept when you wept?
Remember that I delight with joy over you?
As we remember, we may be led to places of comfort and joy and at other times, we may be led to places of discomfort, grief, or conviction. If we want to be made well, not merely relieved of an undesired feeling, we, like those who wanted to be healed in Mark 5 must welcome God’s invitations wholeheartedly. With our faith and our doubt, our fear and desperation, our shame and our courage.
A Practice for Today
Take a few moments with each of our friends of Mark 5 on their journeys toward healing. Consider how they came with a posture of wholehearted welcoming, wading into discomfort that they could know the joy of being made well.
What feelings might the man taunted by demons be welcoming to move toward healing?
Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”
What feelings might Jairus be welcoming to move toward healing?
22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. [His servants came running] “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
What feelings might the bleeding woman be welcoming as she moved toward healing?
25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
Now, take time with a Prayer of Examen, reviewing the last 24 hours. After each prompt, give yourself time to remember and welcome what the Holy Spirit reveals.
Statement #1 – First, I bring my whole self to you, God
I bring my mind, my heart, and my body to you this morning. Give me light to notice you, welcome myself, and remember in mind, heart, and body who you are and who I am in you.
Statement #2 - God, I remember your constant presence with me.
God, thank you that you are with me, in my waking and in my sleeping. Thank you for the ways I see your beauty in my interactions with friends, family, and strangers, in my work, in my chores, in rest, in my play, in my home and in creation.
Statement #3 - God, guide me through my last 24 hours.
Help me to recall what I was feeling. Help me to welcome it all…sadness, excitement, insecurity, joy, eagerness, anger, confusion, delight, contentment, boredom, loneliness, warmth. Everything belongs.
Statement #4 – God, what do you want to say to me?
What feeling sticks out? Interact with God, allowing spontaneous communication to happen between you and God. It may be repentance, curiosity, petition, lament, praise. Allow whatever arises, welcoming it even if you don’t understand it.
Statement #5 – God, I look toward today.
Walk through the day before you. Again, what feelings arise as you consider the meetings, errands, tasks, and interactions before you? Welcome them and talk to God about them.
We love you,
The Kaleid Team
P.S. Our next few emails will be “quieter.” We will be sharing a poem each week that recalls the themes of being made well. We hope that you enjoy them, and we look forward to returning later this summer with announcements about Kaleid’s Fall Circles.