Chain Letter of the Soul.
I had the wonderful experience this past Sunday of attending my first “Friends Meeting,” – a Quaker worship service in Mpls. It was a semi programmed meeting with an opening and closing hymn and a brief meditation by a member of the congregation with the rest of the service spent in silence. I was moved by the place of worship, the spirit of the people and the sharing of those who spoke out of their soul’s deep listening to God and connection with God. (A depth I rarely hear expressed in any contemporary American church service on Sunday mornings that focuses more on polished performances by professionals and paid preachers rather than participation from the real “priests” – the people in the pews – and not just giving lip service to “the priesthood of all believers.”)
The speaker shared this quote by poet Bill Holm, and it captured my imagination:
“For it is life we want. We want the world, the whole beautiful world, alive — and we alive in it. That is the actual God we long for and seek, yet we have already found it, if we open our senses, our whole bodies, thus our souls. That is why I have written, and intend to continue, until someone among you takes up the happy work of keeping the chain letter of the soul moving along into whatever future will come.”
It echoes what I want in my life and what I want to help others experience as well. What is it? LIFE. Life in Christ. Life in the world. Life in all it’s beauty and pain. A sense of being alive and experiencing the joy of being alive.
It’s the invitation of Deuteronomy about “choosing life.” It’s the invitation of Jesus who is resurrection life and invites us to an abundant and full life. And it’s the heart’s desire, I believe, of what everyone hungers for deep down in their souls. It echoes Mary Oliver’s words in “When Death Comes,” of not wanting to have “just visited this world.” It echoes Joseph Campbell who talks of people’s deep hunger to “feel the rapture of being alive.” And it echoes the theme of Dawna Markova’s poem ““Fully Alive”
It’s the theme I keep coming back to over and over and over again. It’s what this website is about for me – all the poems and stories and quotes. It’s what I want to experience myself. And It’s what I want my ministry as a pastor and counselor to be – to simply help people to come more fully alive in life, love and faith.
It’s life I want. It’s life we want. The whole beautiful world – and us alive in it! So I will keep on writing, and musing and sharing and preaching and teaching and counseling as well – for this blog and my ministry is just another chain letter of the soul, til we all find deep life in Christ, become fully alive, and burn with life and love for the kingdom’s sake and our own – right here and right now.
A reminder to myself about just being another simple link in the chain letter of God’s life and love. And maybe a reminder for you as well.