November 14, 2020

03

Walnut Creek Trail 06 11/09/2020 — Walnut Creek, Lancaster County, South Carolina
God is not a fact.
God is a metaphor
for the Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being.
God is more than can be known,
or said,
or thought,
or imagined.
To say more than that about God
is heresy,
suggesting that God can be explained,
described,
told of,
said.

Heinrich Zimmer said, "The most important things
cannot be said.
The second most important things
are the metaphors we use
to talk about the most important things,
and they are misunderstood.
The third most important things
are the things we talk about."

We can only experience the most important things,
and then sing songs
or write poems,
or paint pictures,
or dance
or devote our lives to living
in the wonder of the knowledge
that cannot be said.

Ways of opening ourselves to the experience
of the most important things
include meditation/contemplation
of the mystery of our own being
and the wonder of the cosmos.

Placing ourselves in regular,
reverent,
company
with art,
music
and nature.

Conversations with other people
about their experience
of the holy/ineffable/Numen
in their lives.

Considering the abundance
of religious symbols worldwide,
we might select a few to contemplate
each week,
exploring the difference between
what the symbols connote
and what they denote--
what they imply/mean/suggest/indicate
beyond themselves
and what their literal/primary/actual
meaning is.

Exploring the connotations of symbols
is the path to realization
and awakening.

The connotations of God
go far past the catechisms and doctrines,
and open us to new possibilities
of wonder and engagement
beyond the reach of reason and logic.

–0–

02

Sourwood 19 11/10/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
"They cast their nets in Galilee
Just off the hills of brown
Such happy simple fisherfolk
Before the Lord came down.
Contented peaceful fishermen
Before they ever knew
The peace of God That filled their hearts 
Brimful and broke them too.
Young John who trimmed the flapping sail,
Homeless, in Patmos died.
Peter, who hauled the teeming net,
Head-down was crucified.
The peace of God, it is no peace,
But strife closed in the sod,
Yet, children, pray for but one thing–
The marvelous peace of God."
            --William Alexander Percy

"The peace of God" is another term for
"The Secret Cause."
They are interchangeable
and equivalent.

There is no "peace of God"
apart from our alignment with,
and liege loyalty to,
the Secret Cause.

Just as there is no life without death.
Just as every birth is death in the making,
and every death is a threshold to new life,
Just so, our embrace of the Secret Cause
is a union with "the peace of God"
that is "strife closed in the sod,"
and a crucifixion waiting to happen.

"Yet, children, pray for but one thing!"
It is "for this we have come."

Both in terms of "What shall I say,
'Father, save me from this hour'? 
No! For this I have come!"

And: "What I do is me, for this I came!"
(Gerad Manley Hopkins)

We find what we seek
in our identification with the Secret Cause,
though it be like the moth's
identification with the flame.

The Secret Cause of our life 
is death and life and death and life...
The two are one.
It is oneness all the way down.
And up.

All of our dichotomies are false dichotomies.
Good/Bad,
Right/Wrong,
Left/Right,
Up/Down,
Black/White,
Simple/Complex...

Duality comes to an end
in the realization of oneness.
Both/And,
Either/Or--
which is it?
It is both/and
it is either/or.

Death is life,
life is death.

We die at every transition point
throughout our life,
and are born again
on the other side 
of every successful transition.
Only to die again 
at the next transition point.
And our life never runs out of 
transition points!

And the Secret Cause
is the cause of most of them!

In the service of the Secret Cause--
the Secret Cause of our life,
of the life that is our life to live,
of the purposes and meanings
that are life itself for us--
we confront the contradictions,
dichotomies,
and polarities
that bring us forth
by demanding our death
again and again.

The Hero's Journey is one long series
of deaths and resurrections.

"Yet, children, pray for but one thing:
the marvelous peace of God!"

It is Yin/Yang all the way down--
with Yin/Yang understood to be a metaphor
for the integration of opposites,
which remain oppositional
throughout their oneness,
as we bear the pain of that tension
our entire life,
by bringing them together in our life.

–0–

01

The Cascades Panorama 04/19/2011 — EB Jeffres Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Wilkes County, North Carolina
When we live aligned 
with the Secret Cause--
the Secret Cause of us,
of our life,
of the life that is to be our life--
we are at one with our destiny,
and centered in
and grounded upon
the why, what, when and how 
of our existence.

In that place, we are "immortal,
invincible,
God-only wise,"
and "though we die, yet shall we live."
And nothing can knock us off
"the still point,"
"the axis mundi"
"the center of the universe"
and "of the turning world."

We are anchored to the adamantine foundation
of our life--
of all of life--
of the entire cosmos
and whatever might lie beyond it.


We are one with everything,
and live with a confidence
that borders on recklessness,
and have to call upon the guardians
of humility and self-transparency
to rein ourselves in
and live within the situations
and circumstances of our life
as they unfold about us--
as those who have work to do
that is vital to the whole
and to the Cause.

Serving the Secret Cause
in the time and place of our living,
in the here and now of our existence,
opens us to the agony of Jesus
with his, "I have come 
to set the world on fire,
and how I wish it were already kindled!"
But, like him,
we have to submit to the times,
and trust ourselves to the secret workings
of the Secret Cause--
to the unfolding of the Tao
in its own time
and in its own way,
and remaining true to our role
of exhibiting in the moment
our gifts/daemon/virtues/character
in doing what is called for
situation-by-situation,
day-by-day
for as long as life shall last--
at one with the Mystery
at the Heart of Life and Being.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters, three sons-in-law, and five granddaughters, and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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