Please find below the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church meditation supplement for Sunday, July 20, 2014. The theme this week is embracing the weeds in our garden – how to see our perceived weakness, imperfections, humanness as vehicles for healing and growth. Only in being human can we truly be a source of support for others in their own journey toward love.
Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter
Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service
Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
Matthew 13: 24-30
Wis 12: 13, 16-19
Ps 86: 5-6, 9-10, 15-16
Rom 8: 26-27
Weeds and Wheat
We are the seeds of wheat that God has planted on the earth. The weeds are the fears that arise out of us as a natural consequence of choosing the human condition. In choosing the human condition, we chose to temporarily experience ourselves as separate from God and it is this perceived separation that that causes us fear. Fear, then, causes us to act in non-loving ways towards ourselves and others, resulting in the compulsions and “sins” of humanity.
We are often tempted to judge our fears and condemn ourselves for these perceived imperfections. Today’s gospel reminds us the value of allowing the imperfections to remain. Like wildflowers that are planted with seeds of rye, we need the weeds to help us to grow. Spiritually, we are strengthened by coming to know our fears and by turning toward God as a source of support for transcending and moving through our fears. As is true of all things that grow, we need the resistance of the weeds to help us move toward our spiritual maturity where we remember our Oneness with God, within ourselves, with each other and with all of creation.
Where are you tempted to judge or condemn yourself for your humanness?
How can you become the witness of your fears instead of the judge? How does this allow you to move through your fears instead of staying in them through resistance?
Spiritual Practices – Examen
Examen is traditionally the practice of reflecting on all the ways in which we have “sinned” or turned away from God. In this adaptation of an Ignatian (St. Ignatius of Loyola) practice, we explore the ways in which our imperfections and perceived failures have helped us to grow.
- Set aside 15-20 minutes for this practice.
- Sit quietly for a few moments in preparation.
- As you sit quietly, allow your mind to turn toward all the things about yourself you are tempted to judge as imperfect, compulsive or even sinful.
- In the fashion of brainstorming, make a list of the things about yourself you judge as negative or imperfect. Write them on a sheet of paper, allowing the writing to help other ideas come forth.
- Stop writing when nothing else comes forth from your mind.
- Go back and read the list you just wrote.
- Choose one item on the list and reflect on how this perceived imperfection has helped you to grow spiritually:
- How has this imperfection caused you to turn toward God for help/healing?
- How have you grown through your attempts to heal/resolve this imperfection?
- How have your learned humility through this imperfection?
As a recovering perfectionist, I have grown from condemning my perfectionist to seeing it as a vehicle through which God has invited me to heal and grow. I am now more aware of my temptation to judge myself and others too harshly, I am able to embrace the high standards I have set for myself and others while allowing myself to be more relaxed and less critical of my own humanness as well as the humanness of others. Learning to be accepting of my own humanness has allowed me to be a better source of love and support for others.
Authentic Freedom reminds us that each of us are uniquely gifted in the way we are called to reveal God’s love in the world and that often, the most important way in which we are called to be God’s love is through our fears, our compulsions and our perceived imperfections. Being a “wounded healer” allows us to have empathy and compassion for others in the face of the human condition. Accepting the “weeds” in our own garden, help us to grow so that we can be a support for others as they are trying to grow.
What are the weeds in your garden and how are you called to see the gift in what you are otherwise tempted to judge as negative?