A God/dess shaped hole…

We recently were blessed with some new attenders at the faith group I am a regular member of…the telling thing is if they come back for a second time. On one level it is hard not to feel it personally, did we ‘pass muster’ and the bottom line is, did they like us as people? The more rational and adult part of me counteracts with arguments about a sharing of vision, of ethos and spiritual outlook. More likely it’s one of those ‘both/and’ situations.

First time you’re there out of curiosity; returning a second time and the reasons are more complex.

And this is the second blog! Welcome!

And on a more topical note…I feel so proud to be linked to Ireland right now…as the votes for same sex marraige have been counted and the ‘yes’ have won. Exciting and positive news.

What an amazing time we are in with this blazing of equality and truth which will hopefully open eyes to a more liberal position in other predominantly catholic countries. I recently did the rites of passage ‘marriage’ training which will allow me to undertake all weddings ceremonies, same sex and straight within the Cheltenham Unitarian church and feel it to be a huge privilege to be able to do the ‘legal’ necessities to join two people together in sacred union…

…(And we have just heard from the General Register Office, strangely part of HM Passport Office, that Bayshill is now officially registered for ‘the solemnization of marriages both between a man and a woman and of same sex couples’…and I am an Additional Authorised Person…)

What the vote and high turn out does question is the place of faith and many would say, it’s related dogma in our society now…apparently something like 84% of the Irish population describe themselves as Catholic, whereas In the UK accordingto to the last 2011 Census around a quarter of the population, 14.1 million reported they had no religion. Interestingly this was the only voluntary question in the whole survey and 7.2% didn’t answer it…were they the ‘undecided’ or perhaps the SBNR group, the spiritual but not religious?

Some people describe this as a ‘God/dess shaped hole’ in people’s lives…if it is not filled with some sense of spirit, belief or faith at times of loss and change is the journey through the crisis less peace filled than it otherwise might be?

As someone whose work has been with people at times of emotional turmoil; and aware of my own struggles at crisis points too, I know having a sense of a wider reality, a bigger spiritual picture does seem to help make sense of the inexplicable. Some people describe this in terms of the numinous, of not being alone, a trancendant awe….

What are your thoughts? If you describe yourself as a person of spirit, a person of faith, does this help anchor you when life is stormy? Perhaps other things help too.

I finish this second blog page with a beautiful prayer so appropriate in this context, given to me by my wonderful friend and colleague in the FOI, Minette Quick:

“Today we send the blessings of the Mother on all who are in need. May Her Light be intensified, that we may feel and see Her Love releasing all anxiety, all grief and pain. May the veil lift which cloaks the beauty of each being from our sight, revealing each one innocent and pure in Love.”

With blessings to all…Cressida

Getting Started

The new blank page is ever daunting and now is blank no more! Hooray!

So what is alive for me now?

The need to formulate my faith ‘credo’…my own personal faith beliefs that sit and fit well for me now. We will be sharing these in the last group session of the ‘Build your own Theology’ course this Sunday…after an incubation of many months. Unitarians believe that this process of faith development is ongoing, growing and changing throughout life. Allowing this to happen, needs wriggle room, needs doubt and dissonance. Not always easy so having others share this journey is a comfort and support.

In fact I found a good Shakespearian quote from my namesake play, Troilus and C…it goes:

‘Modest doubt is call’d the beacon of the wise.’

So let me cheekly steal this as my first ‘credo’ belief.

My next moves more into the nature of the Divine unity as I know her, him …it. In fact it was the following description by Emerson that best summed it up for me: “…within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object are one. We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are shining parts, is the soul.” His use of the term ‘oversoul’ equates to the divine deep within all of us. And I am reminded that Emerson wrote this well before Eistein formulated his theory of quantam physics.

How is the ‘eternal one’ expressed? Here words inspired by Teresa of Avila come to mind:

The Divine has no body on earth but mine.
The Divine has no hands on earth but mine.
Mine are the eyes through which the Divine
Streams compassion to the world.
Mine are the hands with which the Divine
Is to bless all beings.
May I have the grace to know this mystery,
The courage to give myself to it entirely,
And the strength to enact its truth in the world.
This reminds me that we all have a deep responsibility to enact our divine nature, to serve and connect. And hearing this morning of more earth quakes in Nepal is a call to act on this in whatever way we can.

I am now going to click that scary button labelled ‘publish’…and connect.