The Apostles Creed.

We recently buried my mother. She was 91. My father and she had been married for 70 years and 9 months. They remained as devoted and in love with each other as they had been on their wedding day.  Because of various age and health issues with my immediate family, it squarely came down to me to write her service as she had requested of me and with the help of a wonderful vicar and many hours of thought, prayer and consultation…her funeral service beautifully, poetically and thoughtfully reflected her as the human being she was, a beautiful individually created child of God.

I felt impelled to have the full version of the Apostles Creed in the service and yet could not fully explain why, other than it is perhaps the ultimate statement of faith within the Christian tradition. It felt like we said it on her behalf, to send her on her way, bolstered in the faith she had always held in life. It remains unusual to have the creed within a funeral service but it felt absolutely right and many people commented on how beautiful it was.  When the vicar asked whether I would like the short or long version of the Creed, I instinctively wanted the full long version.

The Apostles Creed is an ancient creed, in its present form dating back at least 1000 years although it is much older than that. And I thought I would share it with you all, along with a very good brief explanation of its content.

And here is a brief summary of the prayer:

 

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Adam and Eve Day: Christmas Eve

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve

 

According to the Bible’s Book of Genesis, God created the first man and woman and invited them to live in a heavenly place called the Garden of Eden. This couple, known as Adam and Eve, lived there in bliss until they took the advice of a serpent and disobeyed God’s command not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. As punishment for their disobedience, God expelled them from the Garden, thus compelling them to work for their living, suffer pain, and eventually die. Medieval Christians honored Adam and Eve as the father and mother of all people and commemorated their story on December 24, the day before Christmas.

Eastern Christians, that is, those Christians whose traditions of belief and worship developed in the Middle East, eastern Europe, and north Africa, were the first to honor Adam and Eve as saints. Their cult spread from eastern lands to western Europe during the Middle Ages, becoming quite popular in Europe by the year 1000. Although the Roman Catholic Church never formally adopted the pair as saints, it did not oppose their veneration. Commemorating the lives of Adam and Eve on December 24 promoted comparison of Adam and Eve with Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Medieval theologians were fond of making such comparisons, the point of which was to reveal how Jesus and Mary, through their obedience to God’s will, rescued humanity from the consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Indeed, the Bible itself refers to Jesus as the “second Adam” (Romans 5:14). Whereas humanity inherited biological life from the first Adam, it would imbibe spiritual life from Jesus, the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15: 22, 45, 49). Some theologians took this to mean that Jesus’ coming could restore humankind to a state of grace lost when Adam and Eve were exiled from Eden. In like manner, Mary would undo the effects of Eve’s disobedience. When the angel Gabriel visited Mary and delivered the message that she would bear a divine son, Mary replied, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, also Annunciation.) Medieval commentators relished the fact that in Latin, Eve’s name, Eva, read backwards spelled Ave, meaning“hail.” Ave Maria, or “Hail Mary” were the first words that the angel Gabriel spoke to the Virgin Mary. The spelling of these two shortwords seemed to them to symbolize God’s plan to reverse the consequences of Eve’s deed by bring a savior into the world through theVirgin Mary.

Medieval Christians celebrated Adam and Eve’s feast day with a kind of mystery play referred to as the paradise play. This little folk drama retold the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It ended with thepromise of the coming of a savior who would reconcile humanity with God. The paradise play was often staged around a single prop called a paradise tree. Actors adorned an evergreen tree with apples and sometimes also with communion wafers. Decked out in this way it served to represent the two mystical trees in the Garden of Eden: the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life.Although the church officially banned the performance of mystery plays in the fifteenth century, the people of France and Germany’s Rhine river region kept on decorating paradise trees for Christmas. Some writers believe that the paradise tree evolved into what we now know as the Christmas tree. Indeed, as late as the nineteenth century people in some parts of Germany customarily placed figurines representing Adam, Eve, and the serpent under their Christmas trees. In some sections of Bavaria, people still hang apples upon their evergreens at Christmas time and refer to the decorated trees as paradise trees.

As the Middle Ages receded into history, so too did the western European feast of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve have retained a bit more of their ancient importance among certain Eastern Christians. The Greek Orthodox Church still honors Adam and Eve on the Sunday before Christmas.

All We Need to Know is The Love: Love Has No Boundaries

This post and the one that follows uphold and honour my own perspectives as a mystic of our real hope and mission of Love whilst in physical form here on Earth. We are all created in Loves image, for Loves purpose and in our own daily lives we may strive to open ourselves to this Love that we may serve others by recognising it in others and responding to it. By constantly opening ourselves to this Love in every activity we do, in being mindful of ourselves, we invite Love to enter, and in doing so, get the opportunity which constantly renews to serve each other better. By laying our weapons of judgement and harshness down, we enable compassion and grace to fill our hearts and minds instead. We become more gentle with others and start to enable Loves great transformation of ourselves and of our world experience. Yet Love is also passionate, how passionate our Creator must have been to create such diversity and such beauty. How much fun and happiness is included in this beautiful Creation, each smile, each belly hearted laugh and joy,  each hop, skip and jump is of our Creator. This post also encapsulates what my blog has been putting out into the general world since it began. A monastery without walls.  Its philosophy is also my whole 56 years of experience with God who walks forever beside me, throughout eternity… before I came here, whilst I am here and after I lay down my physical form. I remain with God at all times and in all places and thus what I choose to do with this time of incarnation, my purpose is Love…to my very best ability.

http://tinaturnerblog.com/tag/children-beyond/

 

Nous Sommes tous Membres d’une même Famille Humaine

We are All Members of One Human Family

 

I Am A Soul

I am a Soul

 

The above is particularly meaningful for me; as my experiences over the last 10 months have embedded this truth to a degree where human doubt and the illusion of separation have receded into a faint distant memory as if they had never been. Some of you may have noticed that I have been very quiet for many months. This is not an accident. In May this year after 56 years of robust health [which my consultants described as ‘disgustingly rude health’] with no medications, out of the blue one day, a day like any other…an emergency overtook me and within hours I had been rushed into hospital where I would stay for a week, running the usual gauntlet of tests and some more of a more invasive kind. I was not in the least perturbed, my robust health would see me through, I had no worries. Result after result came back, fine, fine, excellent, really good, excellent…until the final result came 7 days later diagnosed cancer of the lining of the womb.

To say your life flashes in front of you was not exactly my experience, I would describe it more like being run over by an express locomotive in slow motion…because we never think it will happen to us. Especially not the healthy us. Not now, not with so much to live for. Even the consultant had the grace to look shocked. And then the miracles began. If the random emergency had not happened, he assured me…this would never have been picked up. No test would have diagnosed this. It was the earliest possible stage. The cancer was well contained…in a “most beautiful position”…An operation could be all that was needed.

From that point for 24 hours I shook, wobbled, howled and was filled with an animal type fear in a very human way. I had to tell my husband [who at 20 years old had lost his own father to bowel cancer;] and see the horror and pain in his eyes. I had to tell my 5 children who would then tell my grandchildren. I had to tell my elderly parents, 88 and 92…also in robust health who would swap places with me like a shot…if only they could. And I had to really decide things that I had not had to decide upon before. How now did I want to handle this, what did I want to do…how could I travel this journey. There was no escape hatch, no way out, I could not bargain, plead or do anything right now to get out of this. I had to go through the middle of it. This is a very individual journey accompanied by those who love and surround us.

After the first 24 hours a divine strength filled me to overflowing. It was as if the Higher power had infused me utterly and was the strength that I was not. It cushioned and supported me, gave me clear thinking and courage and hope. I did not assume everything would be physically all right, far from it. But I knew that whatever happened, I was alright. I did not need to plead, or bargain or do anything except be and hug that Love. I knew that the Divine Love we name God loved me and was reaching right down and cradling me, supporting me, hugging me…and walking alongside me. I never felt alone, there was a complete tangible presence with me at all times, so near I could almost reach out and touch it, smell it, feel it. The ‘worlds’ were colliding, there was no space in between, no distance…just Love. Any outcome was guaranteed to be Love. It was not for me to reason or understand, it was completely beyond all that.

6 weeks later I had the operation. I was surrounded from the start by loving caring [and spiritually aware] professionals, and embraced and cushioned by the Divine Presence throughout. In the anaesthetic room, which is quite small and filled with equipment, the whole operating staff came through to see me, have a chat, reassure me and generally touch base with me. The atmosphere was relaxed, unhurried, peaceful and felt safe. As they left I could actually feel  my parents, my grandparents, my husband, my sister… I could tell you where they were standing and how they were smiling at me…I could literally feel them as if they were physically there with me…at one point the room seemed somewhat overcrowded to say the least! And then, I was away…in their expert hands.

I woke after 4 and a half hours in theatre…exhilarated [I am told it is the opium high!]…and listened to the rain on the windows and the Sea King helicopter revving up outside our beautiful Highland hospital, its crew dedicated to saving life in whatever conditions the weather throws at them. That was an awesome 8 hours before daylight broke, just resting in and breathing in the most rarefied atmosphere of Divine Presence, giving constant thanks in that breathing in and out for being alive, for coming through the operation, for my children, husband, life…for living in a country where medicine makes this possible whether we have money or not, for our medical ability in this country, our being able to have the drugs and anaesthetics’ and specialist equipment that makes all this possible at all….there is always so much to be grateful for.  The following day I came home to the sheltering love of my husband, and over the next few days and weeks my daughters came and stayed for a few days at a time, each bringing their own unique gifts of character and colourful personality which all combined, produced a loving healing space. A week later the biopsy results came through. Clear…no need for further treatment. No chemo, no radiotherapy. There was a gift in the earliest of diagnosis’s.

For 10 months I have not blogged. I have simply been present and accepting of life in each moment. And there have been casualties  and deaths. Deaths of unhealthy ‘friendships’ that masked hidden agendas of treachery behind their seemingly friendly faces as they sat in our social circles. For that we are most grateful. These things have no place to exist in the home of Divine Love.  Deaths of situations that were no longer desired or healthy. And there have been births… in Divine gifts of the arrival of the new, and the restored. Much more than cancer was cut out. And much more has been given back to us than just life.

For 10 months I have been happily sitting in the silence, breathing and drinking it in. What next? was not a thing I was prepared to hurry myself into answering in any way. What would be would be. If there was nothing to come for me to do, that was fine. If there was something for me to share that too was fine. Love is always the answer to the question. It is who we are.

Love is its own constant answer to its own eternal question…and Love is the Silence and the Never-Ending Conversation.

 

Make A Gift of your Life

Make a gift of your life and lift all…by being kind, considerate, forgiving, and compassionate at all times, in all places, and under all conditions, with everyone as well as yourself. This is the greatest gift anyone can give.
David R. Hawkins
gaia