Learning the Ceremony of Connectedness
Brother Lawrence Damien Cos
Muiscas Ceremony for Connectedness
â€śWhen I consider your heavens
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them]
5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them] with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas,
9 LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Today as I was doing some studying, meditating on a new I am in the process of currently writing on peacemakers I came across a practice which I had not heard before. As monastics and Christians we spend a lot of time in meditation, prayer, alone in our prayer cells communing with God or trying to do that. For what purpose do we do this? What is the purpose of it all? Today I stumbled I stumbled onto a ritual that for lack of a better term I will call the â€śThe Ceremony of Connectednessâ€ť. It originated with the Muiscas an indigenous people who lived in the area of present day Bogota Columbia. In this ceremony they had an important ritual they performed. It was carried out by the wise in the community. The wise person would sit on a small bench in order to connect with the earth. This was done by reflecting on oneâ€™s own, and their communityâ€™s past, present and future. This was apparently done whenever there was a feeling of disconnect between themselves and the rest of creation so everything could be back in order again.
The Psalmist tells us that when he considers all the things God has done he is amazed that God still cares about us as insignificant as we are. However we know that God does care and loves us enough to send Jesus to die for us, redeem us, restoring us back to a higher plain than we were on before. He has also opened the gates of heaven to us so we can spend eternity with him. Thus in actuality we are pretty significant and important to God. However as great as that is there is something else also which I believe the psalmist is trying to show us which is the interconnectedness of everything which brings us back to â€śThe Ceremony of Connectednessâ€ť I mentioned earlier. The ceremony was a wise person sitting on a stool contemplating his and his communityâ€™s past, present and future. This helped them to reconnect with the earth. For us as Christians and especially monastics by looking at our past we should realize we are created by God and receive the breath of life from him. We should also realize that God also made all the animals that exist or have existed on earth as well as all plant life. He also like us gave them the breath of life without which nothing can live. Therefore we are interconnected whether we like it or not. That brings us to the present. When God created humans he gave them dominion over all the earth and everything on it. They were to tend and keep care of the garden which had been made for them and placed them in. Thus we see humans were put here to take care of the earth and everything on it. Things have gotten out of balance because we have not faithfully done that but have instead exploited the earth and others for our own gain and profit. We have sought to exalt ourselves seeking to dominate others making ourselves masters and others slaves, superior and inferiors, dominant male and inferior and submissive females traditionally rather than see us all as interconnected. To try and get what we want we have created wars, killings, destruction of our natural resources and tried to justify it and make it okay. That has brought disconnection between us and God as well as us and the rest of creation. It is time to restore that balance. It is time to once again reconnect with God, each other and all of creation.
I have made a list of four suggestions to help us get the ball rolling towards the dawning of a new day and age. It is not an exhaustive list but intended to be food for thought to hopefully spur us into some kind of action. You may have your own thoughts of things please feel free to add them to the list and share if you are so inclined. Follow me as we look at things we can think about and do.
Four Thoughts for Meditation On
1. â€śthings that we could have done better in the past year.â€ť
We need to start by looking where we have missed it in the past. This is so we can confess and ask forgiveness if needed, change so we donâ€™t make the same mistakes over again. It is also to give us ideas for the future. We may have missed something in the past but can it be put into action now? God is the giver of second chances is he/she offering you another chance to get it right? Is God trying to break us free into something wonderful if we will let go of the past? If so why does he/she want to do this and how? Lets look at my second thought for us to meditate on.
2. privileges that we have and ways to walk in solidarity with those who do not share the same
Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who despitefully use us. Elsewhere we are told that if our enemy is hungry feed him, if he is thirsty give him something to drink because we will be heaping coals of fire on him. This cannot be done holding on to the past as for example 911 and what a few extremists did to us on that day and blaming an entire religion for the actions of a few. Instead we have to come up with ways and ideas that enable us to walk in solidarity with all who may in fact disagree with us or are different from us. It is to recognize the things we have in common and what we have in common far outweighs the things that divide us. It is to realize we are all children of one God, Muslim, Hindu, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, white, black, Oriental it doesnâ€™t matter we all were created by the same God. Therefore we are all one family too. It is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless and fight injustice wherever it may be found. It is to show mercy even as Jesus did to us, It is to extend the same peace, love and acceptance we want for ourselves to everyone else so they can have it also and we can all live in peace, harmony, and acceptance of one another.
3. activities we can do to support peace initiatives around the world
We need to begin to envision a new world of peace in which there is no war but all live together in harmony as children of the one God of whatever name we may choose to call him or her by. What would a world of peace look like? What would it have in it and what would be missing? What would its main attributes be? To help us understand better where I am going with this I would like to share a vision given to me in 2004. I call it â€śThe Vision of the Tapestryâ€ť or as â€śRestoring the Visionâ€ť.
The Vision of the Tapestry
Restoring the Image
Brother Lawrence Damien aka John W. Brown
What is God doing today in the body of Christ and where does he or she want to take us? The following is a vision I believe I received from the Lord as I was praying and reflecting on retreat I had just been to in 2004. The following is that vision..
As I was seeking God I saw a tapestry faded, worn, torn, with many holes in it and which was real ragged around the edges. There was a faint image on it, which could not be clearly seen. Scattered around this tapestry were many threads of different colors lying haphazardly all over the place. As I observed further a hand appeared began picking up and weaving the threads back into the tapestry. As this happened color began to reappear, holes, tears and ragged edge disappeared. Amazingly also the image began to clear up and become plain until I could see that it was the image of Christ on the tapestry.
INTERPRETATION OF THE VISION AS I BELIEVE GOD GAVE IT TO ME
I believe the tapestry represents the body of Christ which over the centuries has been torn and ripped apart leaving gaping holes, ragged edges and a marred picture. Each thread represents a branch of Christendom that has torn away from the original tapestry and gone off to stand-alone and guard its little thread jealously lest someone come and take it from them. God is taking those threads and weaving hem back into the original tapestry restoring its original beauty and clarity.
HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO WHAT GOD IS DOING TODAY?
. As we each read the Bible and other devotions, letting God speak to us about what we are reading we receive a thread. That thread can be insight into what the reading means, what it means to us, how it can be applied or whatever. We also all come from various backgrounds and churches. We each have a thread of understanding we can bring to be woven back into the original tapestry. It is as we take those threads and bring them to be shared with the others that we can see the image of Christ restored. For it is as we listen to each other, see what God has shown to other parts of the body, and allow each of our threads to be woven back into the original tapestry that we can once begin to see the full image of Christ clearly. We help with that as we share, encourage, and pray for each other.
HOW TO IMPLEMENT THIS VISION
As I prayed further as to what steps to take to bring about what I have described as it relates to what God is doing today God began to give me understanding of the parable of the wheat and the tares. (See Matthew 25th chapter) He said that the church has been to busy trying to figure out who is wheat and who are tares so the wheat can pull them up and cast them out. God showed me that when the workers in the parable originally found the tares they wanted to go right in and yank them out. However they were told to leave them alone and let them grow together unless they pull up the wheat by mistake also. He also said at the time of harvest He (the Lord) would tell His angels to go and gather the tares up and cast them into the fire. The Lord said it was His job to pluck out the tares not ours. Our job was simply to issue the call to come, and embrace lovingly all who respond seeking to become more like Christ. Christ said also our job was to be about the Fathers business which is building His Kingdom. All who are doing that are a part of the body of Christ.
Each has its own unique way of manifesting Christ and each has received some truth from God a thread which needs to be brought back so it can be woven back into the original tapestry. When we are no longer afraid of each other and each can offer what He has freely and equally we will then see the image restored. When that happens lookout world as they see the fullness of Christ in His people shining forth brightly without a doubt. We wonâ€™t need words for it will be obvious to all what they are looking at. They may decide for Christ, against Christ but one thing for sure is they wonâ€™t be able to remain indifferent. This is where I believe God is bringing us to and calling us to be a part of.
We can bring our thread back to be woven into the tapestry. As we do this I believe we will begin to see a clearer vision of Christ and what He is doing today and our part in it. I also believe we will be changed more into the image of Christ as we listen, learn, receive and apply what God is saying to the entire body through its various members. There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer but different ways of looking at the same passage. I believe the Word is made up of many layers and as we meet and share we begin to remove those layers, see it more fully, come to see God more clearly, grow in our understanding and appreciation of Him, and are changed as we apply what we learn.
Again I repeat this is what I believe to be a word from the Lord. However the Word says that out of the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established. So it is here presented as a platform from which to begin to see what God is doing and wanting to do and for the prayers of all who read this as we seek to be a part of what God is doing in these last days. . Any questions or comments may be addressed to me at
God Bless You All
John W. Brown
In summation then I believe God is taking to the place foreseen by the prophets of old. It will be a time when all will know the Lord and go to the mountain of the Lord to be taught by him in his ways. A time when everyone will dwell securely in their own place and none shall make them afraid. It will also be a time when the lamb shall lie down with the lion and all of creation be reconnected again and operating in perfect harmony. It will be the healing of the nations spoken of by John the Revelator in the last chapter of the Bible. Any programs which can help ensure and bring that about we should get behind and support which brings us to a fourth point for us to meditate on
4. and how to be agents of transformation of violence and oppression in our own communities
This is where everything we have been discussing brings us to. It is for us to become agents of transformation of the violence and oppression in our communities and agents for the new world we want to see become reality. It is to become the living embodiment of what we say we believe and want. It is to become the living hands and feet to a dying world letting them see Christ in us not through our words but are actions. It is to witness by our actions using words if only absolutely necessary. It is to celebrate and live The Ceremony of Connectedness every day until we finally go home to the Lord especially when we may feel disconnected. Let us pray that in this year new hopes for a better world will begin to arise
â€śMay the winds, the oceans, the herbs, and night and days, the mother earth,
the father heaven, all vegetation, the sun, be all sweet to us.
Let us follow the path of goodness for all times,
like the sun and the moon moving eternally in the sky.
Let us be charitable to one another.
Let us not kill or be violent with one another.
Let us know and appreciate the points of view of others. And let us unite.
United we stand and are strong and no foe can stand against us
Any comments welcomed
Brother Lawrence Damien Cosâ€ť