Friendship with God

To me, the Gospel of John, particularly 15:10-17, suggests that we are here on earth to become God’s friends. We are not to here to do something that we don’t want to do but a task we will want to do when we understand and believe in its purpose. Being drawn into Christ’s work of redemption creates within and among us a shared life, a joyful life.

cornfieldFor me, becoming a friend of the Divine was like walking around with an ear to the ground in a cornfield. I was confident enough in what others’ had told me to be out there acting like a crazy person, but I didn’t really expect to hear anything or to be shook up. Now, I’d like to be out there all the time.

There is a Spirit that means well, that intends for our wholeness. It’s like Lloyd Lee Wilson has said, “It’s not the Gospel unless it’s good news for everyone.” What heals you, heals me. What lifts me up, lifts you up. I haven’t found that I can lift anyone else up. What I’ve found is that bringing myself down, becoming more humble, allows God to work in me, which heals me and lifts me up – creating a conduit through which God might reach someone else.

With other Friends, I am following a leading to name the spiritual condition of the world. My current task is to be an example of what that work entails. I have been guided to go to those whom society has excluded, to perceive the movement of the Holy Spirit among them, and then tell everyone about it. I expect the message will be, “The world excludes and divides, God does not. God includes and heals.” I could be wrong. I’ll let you know.

prison fenceIn particular, Providence has me (starting next week) facilitating a Centering Prayer group in a prison. I have visited the facility twice and have enjoyed being there. I believe that the inmates’ desire for quiet precipitated this opportunity. I, who have been sitting in silence alone and with Friends for almost a decade, plan to provide them with the steps for creating a calm mind and still spirit, the elements necessary for reflecting Christ’s life.

I will be sharing my observations of the Holy Spirit’s movement in this work via this blog over the next ten weeks or so. I invite you to follow along and be a witness to this ongoing Story.

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8 thoughts on “Friendship with God

  1. I’d love to hear, too, how you present the tools to the men, Rhonda. We could all learn from you how to talk to the lady next door, let alone a person in the belly of the beast.

  2. What I was really asking, Rhonda, was how you will present Centering Prayer to the prisoners. I’ve read Keating, etc. I am very eager to know how fellas as spiritually hungry and spiritually bereft might be….uhhh….sold…the concepts and the tools. Why might they want to give it a try?

    • I get it. Thanks for clarifying. I’ll find out more later about why the men have signed up for the group, but my sense is that one reason is that they are looking for a place where they can have some silence both outwardly as well as inwardly. A man who facilitates a Centering Prayer group in a Pennsylvania prison told me that there is frequently noise in the prison as late as 3 and 4 a.m. which can get really old. An inmate told me a couple weeks ago that sometimes there are inexplicable loud sounds… like there’s a train coming through the facility. Another inmate told me that he notices that his mind wanders when he prays due to this thoughts and he’d like to find a way to stay focused.

      • Thanks for these comments, Rhonda. How do you go about getting people in prison to really TALK about their spiritual needs– that they need silence desperately, and that they have difficulty focusing while praying? I expect you have ways to invite these real conversations with people who are always checking their backs, so to speak. What seems to work for you, in your experience? And, how do you tell when someone is conning you?

      • The inmates that I spoke with are participating in the Catholic programs in their facility. They have to qualify for these programs through good behavior. These groups have been safe places for these men to share of themselves and to come to appreciate the importance of religion in their lives. They have been able to develop trust with each other and so have an openness to share that not all of the inmates have. It really pretty special. On the outside, men do not have the opportunities for deep sharing like these men do. I have not had the experience of being conned. So far I feel that the men I have been in contact with so value the time away from their daily situation that they take advantage of the opportunities we present rather than try to take advantage of us.

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