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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Be Not Afraid

Be Not Afraid People. For Fear makes us prisoners. Love sets us Free.

For all those who have experienced terror attacks first hand, witnessed them via our global media and for those who are fearful…I offer this beautiful reminder of Psalm 23; The Lord is My Shepherd sung by the Wells Cathedral Choir, UK. May it bring you some peace.

The God of Small Things

william_blake_quote

The Infinite Love that we name God, created us and all that is; in its own image and likeness, cradling us, nurturing us and walking beside us in our infinite eternal journey towards fulfillment of its Purpose and Reason…Love. This is our Creator, whose magnificence and beauty is beyond our human imagining and reasoning. This Divine Creator who created from itself universes of billions of stars, of planets teeming with diverse life such as ours, of vast spaces where time and gravity are infinitely poised in harmony and space for Love’s expression of Itself.  Each tiny thing is accounted for, loved into existence and cared for. Every grain of sand, every cell in your body, every possibility and presence is known. Such tenderness, such care, such beauty. Such Love. This is what I have been given to understand, and shown over the years. It is our task to look deeper, look closer at everything that presents itself to us each day, for reflected in this is our Creators desire and Reality for us, even when appears deeply hidden behind the outward human masks of confusion and misunderstanding that we often mistake for life’s experiences. In our first impressions we can often not cross what seems to be a bridge too far, a gulf between what we see which can often appear conflicted and sometimes ugly experiences and what we know to be the true Light and Beauty gifted to us by our Creator which abide within us. This is when we must look harder, deeper, until we find that which our Creator urges us to see. We are worth more than shallowly accepting falsity and masks…we are capable of seeing Infinite Reality. Blake captured this in the poem below.

williamBlake_poem

To illustrate the hidden nature of things and our God of the small things who cares so profoundly and deeply for each and every on of its magnificent creations, no matter how simple and humble, I have chosen to show things under the microscope….First sand…

sand 1

Grains of sand

And flowers

wild flower meadow

Wild flower

And now to me and you…firstly our red blood cells

Your blood

Our brain cells

Brain cells

And our DNA circles

DNA circles

Praise therefore is a natural act of Love, to acknowledge and thank our Creator of the small things which are beyond anything we could see or imagine. And praise can ensue from our hearts, our lips, our  work, and our interactions, showing itself in our relationships with each other, ourselves, a stranger, our communities and nations in the respect and honour we afford each other when we know in our hearts that we are all children and creations of the same One Living God. Then it matters not which way we choose to praise, nor which culture  we entered into this world through. It matters not what colour our skin is, whether we are materially rich or poor. What matters is how we treat each other and all that is created and whether in our actions and thoughts we are truly living the Love that we embody as children of Love itself for Loves purpose. Below is a beautiful praise…the Prayer of the Soul. Our Soul knows no cultural or religious boundaries as its truth, for it knows they do not exist. What exists is the Infinite Love. Perception.

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/

 

A Scottish Blessing For Us All

With troubles and challenges raging round our hearths and homes in our global family at the moment, here is a Scottish Blessing, sent for you today from us here in the snow-covered remote landscapes of the Scottish Highlands to all members of the human family, whatever nationality, creed or colour and wherever you may call home.  Today may you find peace within and without, and be the flame and beacon of love, kindness and compassion to all you meet and interact with today; that as humanity we all desperately need. Breathe deeply, give thanks and be the Love in everything you do today. Find the beauty in life and live it. Blessings. Stephanie.

May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God.
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen.

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.