Saturday, June 22, 2013

Here I Am Lord

Officially, I have been an interfaith minister for one week, today.  I am finding it surreal that, just seven days ago, I walked down the aisle of All Soul's Church in New York City, choking out the chorus of "Here I Am Lord." 

 Processing into Church

This past week, I have meditated on how I got to this point in my journey.  I remembered the discussions, as I child, with Sister Superior.  She had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I told her a priest.  She said girls can't become priests; however, I could become a bride of Jesus by going into the convent.  No Way!  I didn't want to be married to Jesus, I wanted to be one of his buddies. Clearly, I had a lot of problems when I voiced this to Sister.

Later in life, I continued to feel the calling to serve.  I looked at various programs, degrees, opportunities.  I did what I could, when I could but continued to feel that my calling was deeper.  

As the years moved by, I became more articulate with what I believed and why.  I knew, for instance, that we are all connected - all part of the great Cosmos.  I also knew that Love is what brings us together and what joins us, each to the other.

When I finally found The New Seminary of Interfaith Studies, I had almost given up the thought of becoming an ordained minister.  However, as I read their webpages, I realized that everything I had read, studied, discussed and written about had led me to this moment in time.

 Receiving a blessing

So, what has changed since last Saturday's ordination.  Only the title before my name.  Everything else is as it was - I am still a mother/grandmother, writer, teacher, poet, and minister to all who cross my path.

I would like to share the vows I wrote for my ordination.

They are:    
  • To hold Love as the greatest Truth  
  • To see the Divine in all creatures and all of creation
  • To recognize  that all individuals follow their own path to Truth and Light 
  • To respect the various differences and great diversity of my brothers and sisters 
  • To perform my duties as minister without prejudice, harm or judgement.
With the grace of Spirit, I know I will be able to do my best.

 Newly ordained - 
Reverend Linda and Roger



Monday, June 10, 2013

Thoughts from Garden Meditations

One of the preparations from ordination has been to spend time in meditation.  I will admit, I have a difficult time with the traditional, sit-on-the-cushion-empty-your-mind form of this spiritual art.  For me, meditating while doing something, such as walking a labyrinth or gardening, is far more effective.

As I was gardening yesterday, I suddenly realized that many of our flowers/plants have been given common names that are linked to the Sacred.  In my garden alone, I have Jacob's Ladder, Moses in the Cradle, Solomon's Seal, Marigolds, Monk's Hood, Rose of Sharon, Lily of the Valley, and Star of Bethlehem to name a few. 

Marigolds - named after Mary, the mother of Jesus.
But, also a sacred plant to the Hindus, where it is called Genda, possibly named after the Gonda people, who have a myth about the origin of the flower. The Marigold's genus name, Tagetes, comes from the Etruscan god of wisdom, Tages.

The thought came to me that perhaps we named the plants this way because gardening is so meditative.  There is a poem I have mentioned before that states, "One is closer to God in a garden/Than anywhere else on earth," by Frances Gurney. My thinking is that because gardening leads us to a meditative state, our minds quickly go to what is sacred. When observing our plants, therefore, we see reminders of the sacred texts, images, and places we know.  Viola! We give our plants sacred names.

If this is so, I wondered how it played out in other cultures where the Bible is not known.   What I found was interesting.  I will share one other culture.

The Greek and Roman deities' names are common in plants.  For instance - Agave, mother of King Pentheus.  She was a "thorny" woman, much like the plant named after her.  Artemisia is  named after Artemis, also known as the goddess, Diana.  One of my favorite herbs, mint, is named after poor Mintho, who was turned into the lowly plant by the jealous, Persephone.  Then, we have the Muses, Thalia and Nerine, both have flowers named after them.  Thalia is a tall, graceful plant, while Nerine is a genus of bulbous flowers.

There are more, but I think you have the idea.

So, I invite my readers from other lands, other cultures to share the names of their plants.  I love learning about how we connect to the Divine, the Sacred.  Gardening is one way...a way I truly love!


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Poem for Dad

Over the years, I have written poems about and for different people in my life.  I have shared many of them here, knowing that the words I write might also touch another's heart and soul.

With Father's Day fast approaching, I thought I would once again share a poem I have written to honor the men in my life.  
  • For my Dad, who died over five years ago, but he is still such a huge part of my life.  

  • For my brother, who lives not too far from me, was my childhood buddy and co-conspirator.  During our teens through our forties, we didn't see much of each other, but now, we are able to share with each other, regularly.
  • For my sons-in-love, the young men that have fathered my grandchildren and cherish my daughters. They constantly amaze me with their talents, creativity and wisdom.

  • For my sweetheart, who is one of the most sensitive, loving fathers I have ever met.  His ability to guide, rather than push; to advise, rather than dictate and love unconditionally are what make him such a great Dad.

So, a poem for all the Dads I know - Oh, I almost forgot my amazing men-friends, who are shining examples of how to be a great Dad - this is for you, too!

He's Our Dad

Young or old
near or far -
you are the one
that was there
to guide,
to advise,
to love - even when
loving was difficult.
You gave of yourself -
even when 
exhaustion sat heavy
on your chest, 
like we did when we played -
you the pony - or the bear -
or the elephant marching 
through our pretend jungles.
You taught life lessons - 
like, how to paint a wall,
use a hammer,
change a tire,
take responsibility,
make do, do over or do without.
You played music,
danced - to our embarrassment! 
cried - real men cry -
you told us that.
You are our hero -
our role model -
our Dad!

© 2013 Linda M. Rhinehart Neas

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