Community Newsletter – 22 July 2012
Welcome to the Anam Cara Community newsletter for the week beginning 22 July 2012. In this issue you’ll find the weekly gospel reflection, a reflection by John Main, and news of events coming soon.
This newsletter is one of the ways by which we hope to promote community. The Anam Cara Community is intended to be much more than simply a group of likeminded people. We hope it will continue to grow into a community that is a sign of God’s presence in and love for the world.
If you have a piece of writing you’d like to share with the Community, feel free to send it on to Colin (email@example.com). Work of all sorts is encouraged.
For your prayers
Part of the joy of the Anam Cara Community is the gift of being called to pray for others. If you would like the Community to pray for you, or for someone else, please email or phone Colin (firstname.lastname@example.org, 0403 776 402) or Jane (0411 316 346 or email@example.com) who will add them to the prayer list, and ensure they’re included in the next issue of the Newsletter. At present, your prayers are asked for:
- Anne Turner, who is still experiencing pain and difficulties following her surgery. Please also pray that as God leads her into new places, that she might be willing to follow.
- Colin Thornby, who has relapsed mantle cell lymphoma. Colin is currently having chemotherapy at Royal Melbourne Hospital.
- Brian Turner, as he prepares to enter into a new phase of ministry as priest-in-charge of the Parish of Avon.
28 July 2012 – Ministry Development Day for Spiritual Directors
Ms Cheryl Russell, Director of Professional Standards for the Anglican Diocese of Gippsland, will lead a day of ministry development for those ministering as spiritual directors, those who are in formation, and those who are interested in ministry as a spiritual director. Information about the newly introduced authorisation process for spiritual directors will also be available at this day. Those intending to attend are strongly encouraged to RSVP.
- Cost: $5-$15
- St Mary’s Church (Cnr Princes Drive and Latrobe Road, Morwell)
- 9.30am to 4pm
- For further information, and to RSVP contact Colin Thornby (firstname.lastname@example.org, 0403 776 402)
3 August to 5 August 2012 – Men’s Retreat at the Abbey of St Barnabas at A’Beckett Park
The Rev’d John Stewart (Director of the Living Well Centre for Christian Spirituality) will lead a retreat for men.
- Cost $195, fully catered, in refurbished units
- Further information, and to book, contact Brian Turner (0408 216 965, email@example.com)
11 August 2012 – Quiet Day at Mirboo North
Bishop John McIntyre will lead a quiet day at Mirboo North, on the theme of struggling with God.
- 9.30am to 4pm
- St Mary’s Church (114 Grandridge Rd/ Strzelecki Hwy, Mirboo North)
- BYO lunch – morning and afternoon tea, and soup, will be provided
- For further information, and to RSVP contact Sue Hopkins (firstname.lastname@example.org, 03 5182 5542)
- Cost is free-$15 depending on means
13 October 2012 – Windows into Judaism
A day exploring themes in Judaism, and the distinctive traditions coming out of Judaism.
- 10am to 3pm
- Allan and Jan Huggins’ home (1067 Yarragon South Road, Trafalgar South – access from the Princes Freeway via Sunny Creek Road)
- BYO lunch – morning and afternoon tea, and soup, will be provided
- RSVP by contacting Carolyn (03 5191 8343), Jan (03 5634 7616) or Marion (03 5623 3216)
- Cost is free-$15 depending on means
- Further information, and a printable flyer at: http://www.anamcara-gippsland.org/?p=730
The apostles returned to Jesus and told him everything they had done and taught. Many people were coming and going, so there was no time to eat. He said to the apostles, “Come by yourselves to a secluded place and rest for a while.” They departed in a boat by themselves for a deserted place.
Many people saw them leaving and recognized them, so they ran ahead from all the cities and arrived before them. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.
The eagle eyed among you will notice that we miss out a part of the text in this reading – the lectionary appoints it for other times.Remembering back to the flow of the story – Jesus has been rejected by his own people at Nazareth, and has sent the Twelve out to be his apostles. In this passage the apostles have returned, and they’re basically exhausted, by the sounds of it. Jesus prescribes seclusion and rest, but they’re interrupted on their journey by those who had need of Jesus’ ministry. Those who came were lost – like sheep without a shepherd. So Jesus taught, and healed, and in stark contrast to the reading a couple of Sundays ago, Jesus is ‘recognised’ and miracles flow from his ministry.
In his work on the gospels, Alexander Shaia suggests that the key question posed in the Gospel of Mark is ‘how do we move through suffering’ – or ‘how do we cross the stormy sea?’. On the face of it, this reading doesn’t seem to talk much about suffering, or crossing the stormy sea.
It does, however, get right to the heart of the matter. Jesus identifies the need for rest, regeneration, healing, transformation and just plain ‘space’ in the Twelve. They’ve been out, actively ministering and teaching – and, I suspect, ‘being’. Who they are was being transformed both by the presence of Jesus with and in them, and also because of their ministry. Ministering out of Jesus’ love and presence has begun to transform them into Jesus’ love and presence, and into who each of them was meant to be. They’re each on the way of deification, as each of us is on the way.
Jesus says to the Twelve, and to each of us, “come by yourselves to a secluded place, and rest for a while.” When we unpack this we see some important things. The Twelve are still to be in community with one another – but a new sort of community. A togetherness in rest, seclusion and silence, where they will find God and one another in a new and different way. They’re to be in seclusion, away from the ministry they were performing, away from distractions and empty of the things we usually use to entertain us and keep us from encountering God and ourselves. They’re to rest for a while. Rest means that – rest. At the moment I’m in hospital, connected to a couple of IV pumps receiving chemotherapy. Part of my treatment is bed rest, because the chemotherapy is hard on the body. I don’t find hospital very restful, but there is an enforced inactivity, and narrowing down of the world which means that I conserve my strength. That isn’t, however, the rest I think that Jesus means. What he is talking about, more, is the kind of rest that reinvigorates and renews – allowing the one who receives it to go back out to minister again.
John Main (a Benedictine Monk and founder of the World Community for Christian Meditation) wrote “In order to enter into this holy and mysterious communion with the Word of God dwelling within us, we must first have the courage to become more and more silent……..a silence where we have to listen, to concentrate, to attend.” The entry into the Word of God dwelling within us speaks to the kind of life that Paul wrote about in Ephesians, which we read about last week. Christ is in us, and we are in Christ – our encounter with Christ in this way transforms us into the likeness of Christ.
In the call to enter into a deserted place, to be silent and to rest for a while, Jesus encourages the disciples to become more and more silent. Not just an external silence, but a vital and alive internal silence in which the currents of the Spirit’s movement within us can be detected, and which can point us towards change and freedom.
An important thing for us to remember is that the call to go ‘in’ is made so that we can go ‘out’ more joyfully, lovingly, and in a more Christ like way.
- How is Jesus calling you into a ‘secluded place’ to ‘rest for a while’?
- What is the secluded place? What is resting for a while like?
- What do you expect God will give you out of your ‘resting for a while’?
- Are you comfortable just resting for a while in God? Or do you feel the need for distractions and things to fill in the space?
- What is God’s call for you to go out to?
God is the breath of life
God is the breath of life. God is presence and he is present deep within our being, in our hearts. If only we persevere we discover that in the power of his Spirit each one of us is regenerated, renewed, recreated so that we become a new creation. “I have poured out my Spirit,” said the prophet Ezekiel. And the Spirit is the presence of power, the power of love. Meditation teaches us that this is the foundational wisdom on which to build life and true religion. What we discover is that we can only live our lives fully if we are always open to this mysterious presence of the Spirit, and always open to the presence more profoundly. That is the pilgrimage we enter upon every time we sit down to meditate. We open our minds, our hearts, our consciousness more permanently to the ultimate reality that is, that is now, that is here.
What is the basis of the Christian mystery? It is surely that the beyond is in our own midst, that absolute reality is here and now. The Christian faith teaches that by being open to the mystery of this reality we are taken out of ourselves, beyond ourselves, into the absolute mystery which is God. God is how we transcend self. We transcend all limitation by simple openness to the All who is now.
The great awakening to the mystery is the Kingdom of heaven and the Kingdom of heaven is now. It is established by Jesus and proclaimed by his own words, “The Kingdom of God is upon you. Repent and believe in the gospel.” To repent means simply to turn in the direction of God. Repenting is turning not so much away from ourselves (for that keeps us still tied to our own center) but beyond ourselves. This means not rejecting ourselves but finding our marvelous potential as we come into full harmony with God. This awareness of potential is the positive basis of Christianity and so, for a Christian, the central concern is not self, nor is it sin. The central reality is God and love and, as far as we are concerned, growth in God’s love. Growth consists both in our openness to his love for us and in the response we make by returning that love. [. . . .]
From John Main OSB, “Growing Point,” THE HEART OF CREATION, (New York (Continuum, 1998), pp. 105-107.
Coming up at the Abbey of St Barnabas at A’Beckett Park
We encourage Associates and friends to access events at the Abbey of St Barnabas at A’Beckett Park. Events coming soon include:
- Back to A’Beckett Park with Archdeacon Ted and Mrs Annabelle Gibson: 24-26 July 2012. For those who knew A’Beckett Park in the 1950s, 60s or 70s. Enjoy the peace and natural environment of the Abbey, share memories and past experiences, stay in one of the refurbished units, pray in St Barnabas Church, find out what’s planned for the next stage of development of the Abbey. Day visitors are welcome on 25 July 2012 to celebrate the dedication of 1 First Parade as Ena Shumack House.
- Men’s retreat: 3-5 August 2012. Facilitated by John Stewart.
- Fire and Creative Writing: 17-19 August 2012. Led by Philip Muston and Sue Fordham. For those interested in creative writing.
- Wind and Music: 14-16 September 2012. Led by Fay Magee and Don Saines, for those who seek expression through music.
- Earth and Art: 12-14 October 2012. Led by Pene Brook, a must for those who are interested in art and visual expression.
- Water, dance and movement: 9-11 November 2012. Led by Susanna Pain – for those who like to move and dance, reflect and take time to relax.
Support on the journey
The Anam Cara Community’s ministry is to be a support to those who are on the inner journey into God. Each person’s journey is different, and we recognise that there are some for whom the Christian tradition is difficult or not supportive. We’re committed to finding ways to hear the needs of each Associate, and support them as we can.
The Community can offer support in a number of ways:
- Spiritual direction / soul care: Spiritual direction is a process by which one person helps another grow in intimacy with God and in right relationship with all creation. This ministry has a long and revered history in the Christian tradition and has been practised by lay people, religious and ordained ministers. The focus of this ministry is the relationship between God and the person seeking direction. For more information and a referral to a director, contact Colin (0403 776 402 or email@example.com) or Jane (0411 316 346 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Quiet days: usually held monthly across Gippsland, and in Canberra. Details are in this newsletter, or on the website.
- Library: maintained in Sale, but available for borrowing by post. Contact Sue (email@example.com, 03 5182 5542) or visit our webpage.
- Publications: Waterholes is the news-magazine of the community. Contributions are welcome.
- Fellowship: Available at our events, by email, on the phone, and the website.
- Website: Full of news, resources, reviews and other interesting information and supports.
Love and prayers
Colin Thornby and Jane Macqueen