Brian Wilcox 'The Heavenly Light'
Painting on my altar, dates at least from from my early childhood. Jesus, with dove of Holy Spirit, in heavenly Light. Title and date unknown. Painter signed bottom right. No other information found on this painting.
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The Sage said, "Always remember, the music you hear when one plays the instrument arises neither from the instrument nor the one playing the instrument. No one and nothing is the song or the source of the song, only that through which the song blesses us with itself. This is a Mystery, one the wise will not ignore."
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Some followers were confused about the role of Grace in the spiritual life. So, the Sage told the following tale.
An elephant broke loose from the herd. It charged across a little, wooden bridge stretched across a ravine. The old structure shivered and groaned, barely able to support the weight. The elephant made it safely to the other side. A flea had lodged itself in the elephant's ear. It exclaimed with relief and satisfaction, "Boy, did we shake that bridge!"
Said the Sage, "We're fleas in the elephant's ear, and the elephant is Grace."
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I Corinthians 15.10 . . .
I am that I am by the Grace of the Light. And this Grace was not given me in futility, for I have worked harder than the other apostles. Still, this working was not my working, but the Light, with Grace, working in me.
One of the more important aspects of the spiritual life is learning to act from Grace, which I have referred to elsewhere as Divine enablement. At times, this means waiting until we feel the inspiration (in-breathing) to act. When one breathes in, oxygen enters the body to enable the release of fuel that feeds the cells which, then, release energy. This is the way of Grace. Without inspiration, there is no expiration; that is, the inward influx of Grace allows the life of gracefulnesss. This is why waiting silently is most important in any kind of worship, private or public. If we are not silent, we are likely to be filled up with our thoughts and feelings - however holy they may appear -, rather than the influx of divine Life. As water finds the empty places to fill, so Grace flows into the emptiness of one in prayerful silence receptive quietly for refreshment and enablement to be given.
George Fox, founder of Quakers . . .
None that is upon the earth shall ever come to God, but as they come to that of God in them - the Light that God has enlightened them with. That is it which must guide every one’s mind up to God . . . The Spirit leads to wait upon God in silence, and to receive from God.
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A devotee, then, asked the Sage, "Is Grace from God or from nature?" "One and the other," replied the Sage. "Yet, if from God, how from nature too?" she asked. "For one in God finds in nature the means of God; even a drop of rain becomes sacramental. Grace, for the graceful, appears everywhere, for everywhere is the means of the One nowhere."
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©️ Brian Wilcox, 2020
*Story of elephant and flea, in Anthony de Mello. Taking Flight. Quote of George Fox, in David Johnson. A Quaker Prayer Life, original source George Fox. Gospel Truth Demonstrated, published 1706.