04 November 2008

In Appreciation

The video and article is dedicated to you. You are an angel as you join us in nurturing young people to excel.

God acts within every moment.
And creates the world with each breath.
God speaks from the center of the universe,
In the silence beyond all thought.

Mightier than the crash of a thunderstorm,
Mightier than the roar of the sea,
Is God’s voice silently speaking
In the depths of the listening heart.
By Paul Mitchell, based on Psalm 93

One of the hardest things I know to do is to live out the simple truth of the ninety-third Psalm: to let ourselves hear the mighty roar of God’s love and truth in the silent depths of our lives. The purpose of religion is to help us remember God, and to connect us with this loving heartbeat of the universe. In life we are meant to bring heaven to earth, opening ourselves in such a way that we allow God’love and joy to pour into the very cells and molecules of our being, and into our world.

Heaven is a spiritual reality that is present within us and in our world now. The spiritual is the energy, the essence that animates life. It infuses the physical world; the physical world is like a shell, a container for the nectar of life. This nectar is heaven.

And we have help. While there are many forces at work in the world trying to drag us down, get us discouraged, make us cynical and hopeless, there are also angelic beings, messengers from God, who are with us always. They are here to help us hear God’s voice; to help us bring heaven to earth.

Is it possible that there really are angels? Actually, it is only recently in human history that there has been a widespread doubt about the existence of angels. The Bible has hundreds of stories about angels being messengers of God.

Angels are with us all the time. Most often we are not aware of their presence or their influence. They are usually subtle and very respectful of our freedom and our sense of independence. They can bring thoughts to our mind, but it is up to us what we do with those thoughts. Usually, angels’ work undetected.

Sometimes, though, the messages we get from angels are more startling. When I was in my early twenties I was driving my motorcycle down highway 101 from Santa Rosa to Petaluma one evening. I was in the left lane, going about sixty miles an hour. All of a sudden I got a very uneasy feeling. I slowed down and moved into the right-hand lane. I still felt ill at ease, and I found myself slowing down even more and moving into the breakdown lane. And then my front tire blew. Now, since a motorcycle only has two tires, for one of them to go is bad news. Even traveling as slowly as I was at this point, I still had trouble holding the bike up until I was able to come to a complete stop. Traveling down the highway at sixty miles an hour, I wouldn’t have had a chance.

Someone might say that the tire was starting to go before it blew, and that the motorcycle started to handle differently, giving me a clue that something was wrong. Someone else might say that it was coincidence-that I just happened to feel uncomfortable, slowed way down, and then the tire happened to blow. We tend to see things as fitting within our mode of belief. How I see it is that God was speaking to me, and in my heart I heard the message. As I see it, the message was carried by an angel.

I was quite shaken up, standing in the breakdown lane with my lame motorcycle. And I wasn’t there more than two minutes before an angel appeared to me. He was driving a blue pickup truck, and he pulled over in front of me. Before I knew it, my bike and I were in his truck heading for the nearest repair shop.

Angels take many forms. Some might say the angel driving the truck was really just a kind, thoughtful person doing a good deed. But I say that a kind, thoughtful person doing a good deed is an angel, working on bringing heaven to earth.

All goodness comes from God, and as much as we participate in that goodness, we are angels. To be an angel, bringing heaven to earth, is a true joy.

God is not an absentee landlord who created us and then abandoned us-though it can certainly feel that way at times. With a listening heart, and by seeking to attune ourselves to what is heavenly, we can find ourselves walking in the fields of heaven right here on earth, with the angels at our side.

When we are open to heaven in this way, we feel joy and peace even in the midst of chaos. Our senses are attuned to the exquisiteness of our world: the touch of a hand, the innocence of a child playing, the glory of a ray of sunlight, the music of rain. And we feel love and compassion for all that is. We feel blessed. I hope you can each remember such delicious tastes of heaven. And I wish for you many more.

This article is by Rachel Rivers, a Pastoral Psychotherapist in California.

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