every spiritual gift
arises from Silence
returns to Silence
is offered to be received in the Silence
regardless of pleasant or unpleasant to the senses
one is to welcome, inviting the gift
to unveil its hidden Beauty
these gifts are not subject to
pleasant or unpleasant
for of Love, in Love, and for Love
are ~ eternally ~
without beginning, without ending
* * *
When a teen, I was not a singer, and I was not trained in singing. I had never sung a solo before, even though I came from a heritage of gifted singers. I felt this need, however, to sing before our church congregation. It welcomed this.
I stood beside the piano, played by my first cousin Amanda, and began singing “Amazing Grace.” The words poured out. And with the words, tears poured out.
The congregation appeared to receive this as a blessing. It seemed to enjoy the offering. And I enjoyed giving this gift. I do not know if it was pleasant, but it was more than pleasant. It was a gift of love, given for I sensed guidance to give it. This was the last time I sang a solo there, and the last time for some 30 years.
To say the people appeared to enjoy the solo is not enough to say, however. Gifts are given in a spiritual communion for more than enjoyment. They are given for edification, they are extensions of Love into the life of the fellowship.
… from whom [Christ] the whole body, joined and knit together by its every ligament, as each part is working as assigned, promotes the body’s growth in edifying [or, building up] itself in love.
This verse applies to all spiritual communities, not just Christian. "Christ" need not be used within the communion for that which "Christ" points to to be present and active as the body of those gathered in oneness. And "Christ" may not be equated with Jesus in the community, even among Christians who differentiate between Jesus and Christ.
* * *
any community is spiritualized
becomes a sacrament of Presence
religious, spiritual, secular
when giving and receiving in Love
* * *
The early Christians used “Body of Christ” to refer to the presence of Christ in the community, as the community. In a Christian fellowship, the giver of a gift and receiver of a gift are Christ giving to Christ, Christ receiving from Christ. Buddhists can say the same of the gathered Sangha, as each and the whole are Buddha, or Buddhas.
* * *
All gifts are graceful, beautiful
Even if not pleasing to the natural senses
And are to be received with gratitude
Even as a person offering the gift
Offers himself or herself through the gift
In receiving the gift we receive the giver
and the Gift-Giver ~ Grace!
* * *
In Silence, at weekly Quaker Worship meeting, he stands. In such unprogrammed Quaker Meetings, anyone can speak briefly from the Silence. There is no preacher or priest assigned to give a message. The only condition is the person speak from inner leading. Quakers need not agree regarding the source of this leading, however. Another guidance in this speaking is to be brief, this is not a time to ramble on or put on display speaking talent, or to get attention for oneself. One gives what he or she gives in this time as representing the entire gathered Friends. In some Meeting times, any number may speak out, in some weekly gatherings no one speaks out on a particular day.
This day, after he stands, he begins to speak. He is not brief, as he speaks of the Light and different ways to interpret this. I listen quietly, eyes remaining closed. His words are positive, edifying, especially his sharing of a recent conversation with a Muslim. He says the Muslim was trying to convert him on-the-spot. This man, however, listened to the Muslim, discovering they were much alike. This Muslim was embracing of all religious faiths, loving the peoples of them, said the Friend.
This Friend began singing a short song about the Light. The song had a lovely message, yet the voice was not pleasant to listen to.
Then, after the singing a word, with feeling, arose within me ~ “gift.” The realization arose that this was a word of Grace given me ~ “gift.” Interestingly, in the Christian Bible, the New Testament, the noun “grace” also is rendered “gift,” and "grace" carries the connotation "beautiful." So, to give a grace is to give a gift. I embraced with gratitude this grace given us gathered, and that this man offered the gift. In embracing the gift, I embraced him.
No, this Friend is not gifted at singing, possibly so in earlier years. Yet, he sang and gave his best as gift, as a grace, as Grace. In Grace, every grace is whole in itself, is most deeply, purely Lovely, for such graces are the offerings of Love.
* * *
An Aspiration Prayer
may all beings feel loved and freely loving
may their suffering be transformed into bliss
and grace given to alleviate the suffering of others
that all may live in the fullness of love, joy, and peace.
Amen ~ We say joyfully It is so!
*Place cursor over photographs for photographer and title.
(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2019. Brian can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .