Trinity 14, Renewal of Heart

Our intent for the fourteenth Sunday after Trinity is Renewal of Heart, and if ever we have needed, and received, renewal of heart, it was this past week.

Although the terroristic attacks were unspeakable, people have come together all over the country in ways that have not been done in many of our lifetimes. On Tuesday, just a few hours after the attacks, several hundred of us at the University of Minnesota, where I work, gathered at noon for an interfaith prayer service. This was repeated, here and everywhere, all across the country, all the rest of the week.

Friday night I went door to door on our long block and asked people to join at 9 p.m. in coming outside and lighting a candle. An e-mail chain letter had been circulating this request across the nation. It was heartwarming to look up and down the block in the dark and see the glow of many, many candles, the glow of hope.

The hope that springs in my heart is that people will stop being selfish and self-centered and share their gifts around the world. Our Mother Earth has given us all we need, but we must never take more than we need, never give in to greed, which means that others will not have what they need as a consequence.

There have been prayers this week, in abundance, but there have also been justified words of recrimination from those who have suffered from the greed of others. At first I was surprised to see those angry words, but I quickly realized that they were coming from people who have long been oppressed by the greedy and who do have legitimate, long-standing concerns that did not go away just because everyone was focused on this terrible tragedy. And so I do not dismiss their words.

It was a week of cowardice and a week of heroism; it still is. One of the readings I came across this week, by Jamie Sams in Earth Medicine, was very appropriate. She says this, in an essay for the Ninth Moon entitled “Subjugating Another’s Will.”

Using tone of voice, personal intent, physical attitude, emotional threat, or intimidation to subjugate another’s will is an act of cowardice. The self-serving coward may feel that the battle is won, but, in truth, no one wins!

Any time a human being resorts to trying to win through intimidation, we can be assured that the person is a coward who is using emotional blackmail to exert control over others. Trying to subjugate the will of another person is a tactic used by insecure tyrants. The Divine Trickster has a few lessons for this pathetic individual.

We may be assured that a bigger, meaner bully will come along to give smaller bullies a lesson in their own bad Medicine, but this is not the way of the Trickster. The Trickster insists that the lessons learned are usually from the consequences of one’s own actions. By trying to force another’s will into submission, the abuser gives authority to their own shadow side, eventually becoming the victim. The Trickster gets the last laugh when the controller becomes the one who is controlled.

Last Sunday I had phoned Wally and asked him if he would be willing to switch sermons with me, for next week is our daughter’s wedding and I didn’t see how I’d be able to write one in time for that day. After the events on Tuesday, I wondered if I would be able to write for this week at all. Truthfully, I didn’t know if I had the strength to do it. Yet, here I am-I sat down yesterday and listened to what my heart dictated. I do not know if I am able to give words of comfort, or words of explanation. But on Tuesday evening as the Saint Paul Theosophical Society had a meditation at our home, a few words from Our Lady’s Rosary of the Seven Rays came to me: “Help us to bear the pain of evolution.”

This is evolution on a worldwide scale. None of us, all over the world, is the same person we were last Sunday. Most of us are angered and saddened by the loss of life, loss of innocence, even. Most of us are praying for a peaceful solution, a solution without any more horror attached to it. The prayer gatherings, peace rallies, candlelight vigils show that. We all pray this will not lead to war and more destruction. My inclination is to continue to pray, to continue to talk-to our friends, neighbors, and yes, even strangers we encounter.

When I went around to my neighbors on Friday evening, I found it a hard and scary thing to do-I know most of my immediate neighbors, but we have a double-length block, and I do not know many of the people at the other end. And I confess it was not easy for me to go to houses I had only driven or walked by before, ring their bells, and hand out my little flyer and ask them to come out at 9. Yet, I strengthened my resolve and persevered.

When I returned home, I realized that no one had assailed me; everyone had thanked me. I had even learned more about the Jewish faith. When I approached the Rabbi at the far end of the block on the corner as he was returning home from Temple, I apologized for interrupting his Sabbath and explained what I was doing. He kindly responded to me that the Sabbath had already started, and they had already lit candles.

We are all in this together. We all progress on our evolutionary path when good prevails over evil, and we all lose a little of that progress when evil manifests. Yet we must, we must, continue to do what is right, because that is our duty, our dharma—to do right for its own sake.

Please pray for all who died-this past week and in the past as well. We, as a country, are not innocent of all wrong-doing-no one is. But we can and must resolve to do better, to go on from here. The past is gone; we mourn the dead, we pray for the wounded. But we are here, and it is now. Everything to come hangs on this moment-our future is determined by our actions, feelings, and thoughts at this moment. Let us go forward positively; let us go forward in love.

I would like to close with something I have shared with you before. I keep this short prayer at my desk at work and at home. I recited it repeatedly this past week. May it give you, as it does me, strength and resolve. From The Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood, edited by Mary Strong

I am on duty; Thy hand I feel upon my shoulder. Let Thy peace flow through my heart to all about me. I know Thou livest and though I cannot see the working of the divine plan I know that my being on duty is part of the resurrection and the awakening that is to come.

I therefore dedicate myself, in this hour of seeming despair, to faith, to joy, and to the knowledge that I am alive in Thee. I will resolve not to quail, nor to dwell in idle foreboding. I dedicate every living hour to this resolve, to holding the portals of my heart wide open that I may be a channel for Thy spirit. I dedicate myself to Thy service. I trust in Thee; I am on duty.

And now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three Persons in one God, be ascribed all honor, might, majesty, power, and dominion, now and forevermore. Amen.

Judie A. C. Cilcain,Deaconess

September 16, 2001


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