Faithful. Committed. Peaceful. Courageous.
These are just a few of the words I think about when I think about Elly. And I’ve been thinking about you, Elly, so much since we learned your time alive on this earth is far more limited than any of us were hoping.
You are a beacon of faithfulness, Elly. And your life has been a bloom of the Divine that has inspired so many of us to be just a little more faithful to the planet and our Creator. Your commitment to beloved community in all its joys and potlucks with vegan salads and challenging conversations and justice making is a path to which I aspire. Your peacefulness, both personally and as a Grandmother for Peace in our world, is steadfast. And as I sat with you in the hospital this past week and read these words of affirmation you wrote so many years ago for others struggling with their sexuality, I was reminded again of your courage. You have been courageous in your work for justice. And as you face into death, into returning to the Love from which you came, your lack of fear humbles my heart. As you said the other day, “I’m not afraid of death. But I just have so much more I was hoping to DO!” Of course you do, Elly. You are a faithful, committed, peaceful, courageous DOER.
In so many ways, you embody the spirit of this community, Elly. We are a church filled with faithful, committed, peaceful, courageous DOERs. Our struggle, and I include myself completely in this struggle, is that we sometimes confuse faithfulness with doing. Don’t get me wrong. The doing matters. It is so much of how we change the world. AND it only matters when it is a part of a larger faithfulness to the Realm of the Goddess, as you call the Divine, Elly. And faithfulness requires being not just doers, but more like flowers too. “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.” They neither toil nor spin. And yet scripture tells us they are exquisitely made in the image of the Goddess and all that is faithful.
So right now, we are going to take some time to meditate on the lessons of faithfulness we can learn from the flowers. Elly, you have taken gorgeous photos of flowers for so long. And you have gardened them in the Eden of sorts that is your yard. And you have brought them into our sanctuary religiously to adorn the alter and bring Mother Earth to our awareness. On last Wednesday, our spiritual practice time at the Peace Garden was a Visio Divina practice on flowers. “Visio Divina” means Divine seeing. It’s a meditation practice that goes back to the 6th century. Traditionally, people would meditate on an icon or some sort of traditional religious imagery, letting it be a pathway to divine inspiration. In our case, we are going to let our so called religious imagery be the flowers here in Elly’s garden for those of us here and the ones on our screen or in your garden if you are on zoom. When we did this the other day, I took these pictures on your screen now. Notice the ones at the bottom, the white and purple ones. I kept trying to get a picture of them that didn’t have dead flowers in it. I was searching for different angles, different parts of the plant. And then I realized that I was missing the whole point. There is no blooming flower a part from the dying one. Blooming and dying are inseparable. And then I noticed the range ones up top. Some of them are wound up tight, like braided ropes. These, I think are the newbies, the young ones. And then there are the open ones, relaxed and full, open in seeming surrender to the bees and the sun. I cannot help but project contentment. These flowers are full of the wisdom of faithfulness, if we are paying attention.
- Find your image or flower today.
- Breathe and sit with that image/flower.
- Invite Divine presence to reveal theirself to you through this moment and image/flower.
- Observe and enjoy.
- Release your learnings/experience/time back to the Divine with gratitude.
We’ll take just about 5-7 minutes now. And then I invite you to do this again later. Take a picture of a flower that moves you from Elly’s garden or wherever you may be when you do this. Send it to me. I and I will send Elly a virtual bouquet of our faithful flowers.
As we come back together, let us pause to honor the flowers’ Divine wisdom. And Elly, let us pause to honor your wisdom. Let us honor the way your life has moved and pushed through the concrete, changing the world around you for the better. And let us also offer you the rest and reassurance that we will keep moving the concrete for you long after you are no longer on this side of eternity. You have bloomed well, beloved. It is OK to fall open now, to wilt wonderfully, faithfully, peacefully, courageously into the everlasting home of Love now welcoming you back.