Friday, April 29, 2011

Set the world on fire

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Now you KNOW I loved this sermon. Yes, it was royal pageantry, pomp and circumstance, but just for a moment of this early morning of our 'busy' world filled with tornadoes, war and uncertainty, a dicey economy, and with twisted politics, it sure was nice to be lifted up and encouraged. These words were lovely, timely, and full of hope.
Now, steady on...


The Bishop of London's Sermon
29th April 2011

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

Many are full of fear for the future of the prospects of our world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.

William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another.

A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.

It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. And people can dream of doing such a thing but the hope should be fulfilled it is necessary a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love.

You have both made your decision today – “I will” – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.

We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely a power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.

Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:

“Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,

Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon.”

As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, we need mutual forgiveness, to thrive.

As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.

I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today, will do everything in our power to support and uphold you in your new life. And I pray that God will bless you in the way of life that you have chosen, that way which is expressed in the prayer that you have composed together in preparation for this day:

God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.

In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.

Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Monday, April 25, 2011

Become

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
"How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar."
— TRINA PAULUS

©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Absence. Presence.


T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
I'm listening to an ambient Pandora station called New Age Essentials. The sun has fallen on wonderful Easter Sunday in DC, and the windows are open with a cool breeze coming in. Very meditative. Calm. Perfect opportunity to reflect. I also had a cup of Chamomile tea tonight for dinner.

Yep. That's it. A cup of tea and honey. For dinner.

Ate way too much from a wonderful Easter dinner this afternoon.

Completely stuffed. No room for more.

We gathered together and some words were shared before eating. I love that it IS called "blessing" or "grace." We are blessed. And full of gratitude. Caught up with some great old friends, saw so many new babies, and all of the joy and change of today gave me pause...

An empty tomb was the premise for today's sermon. "Running on Empty" was the title. Late last night I shared a link to a current Walmart Easter ad with our pastor, my friend, who used that as a lead-in to her Easter sermon. We are rushing. Filling up with stuff. To have more. To get there first. And she later touched on something that I needed to hear...

An empty tomb was the premise for today's sermon. When there is absence in our life, even if it hurts, or we ache, or we cry, or we are lost, it can also be precisely the condition needed for us to be filled-up. With the presence of something new. With a new job, an illumination, a new opportunity, with God, with a brilliant idea, or a friend. Or as was the case, so unexpectedly for me exactly two years ago today, with the one who still lights up my life.

We have to make space. We have to let go. We have to be open.

I normally only put my photos on this blog, but a former neighbor* posted the photo [above] this evening.

What a perfect, perfect, perfect, image.

Years ago, I read somewhere that if you are desiring something, or someone, or some change in your life... you have to make space for it, for them.

Prepare a space for their presence to come into your life.

When we clutter our minds, our closets, our schedules, our heart (with old baggage), how can there possibly be room for something new and beautiful to come in. To feel welcomed, comfortable, and invited. And, likewise, we have to let go when something is no longer suited for our life. It is only when that clutter is absent that beauty, strength, new life, new possibility can come in. Like a flower in a garden.

Or take the Byzantine, frozen-in-time, northern Greece monasteries of Mt. Athos that inspired the meditative mindset I'm in. For them (like it or not), it was women. For them to stay focused on their work of getting closer to God, of being open to receive, they needed focus. So for them it was no women.

What do you need to clear out of your life? To let-go of? In order to move forward. To be able to be filled up with something new and wonderful?

I feel that the photo above by Roberto Neumiller, represents how our lives can tend to appear sometimes: over-crowded, slowing us down, clouding our direction, blocking our view, and holding on to way too much baggage.

Yes we are busy.

And that's not a totally bad thing.

But while there's a lot going on in ALL of our lives, think about the ADD-inducing overload of our iPhones and Blackberries, we need to remember to set those things down.

We need to remember we need to shed some of the old baggage in our life. To let go. And be open to welcoming in new beauty. New possibility. New life. Be willing to take the risk, to trust, to make the space in our life for, and be expectant for it to be filled with, beauty.

An empty tomb was the premise for today's sermon.

Empty yourself. Create absence.

So you can be ready for the presence of greatness...
in whatever form your life needs at this moment.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins
*I used to babysit him when he was 3yrs old with a little teddy bear and he now flies jets over Afghansitan and other rugged places in the Middle East.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Slight Variations

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S

©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Last tweet and a bundt cake

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
In a world with knee-jerk comments, and distorted notions of what constitutes success and what it takes to begin to achieve it, tonight's thoughts comes from this evening's news...

AT THE END
They shared a last tweet of a brave and brilliant photo journalist killed in Libya today. Those would be his very last words. What if what you upload, share, or tweet today... are your last words?
Language creates reality. Words have power. Speak always to create joy in your life.
—DEEPAK CHOPRA
AT THE BEGINNING
The factory making bundt cake pans up in Minnesota is still making them and business in booming. They began after the war with just $500. Take away? If you have a good idea. Begin it.
The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.
—W.M. LEWIS
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Which are you?

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
Are you dreaming your life? Or living your dreams?
  1. Scribble down 3 of your goals on a piece of paper.
  2. Place in: super-fun frame, recycled frame, or float frame.
  3. Display where you are most often (office? home?).
  4. Read them.
  5. Follow them...
Inspired by a wonderful lunch today with a dear friend.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Who are you?

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Take away all of your labels...
[who are you?]

—DEEPAK CHOPRA


I've been intrigued by Deepak Chopra since the first book I read of his while living in Chicago. This simple but profound statement was an online post of his that I just saw. I was captivated. Wow.

Think about it. No longer a "southern, sister, art director, daughter, girlfriend, aunt, [political party], [religious 'party'], white, 40-year old, female, brunette, graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago," He actually says, "Take away all of your labels and you are the Infinite Being." No more stereotypes. No more sides. I was captivated. Wow.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins
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