Noticings – February 9, 2022


February 9, 2022

Tonight a friend and I will begin co-facilitating an online ‘retreat’ based on my Presence Project work from my DMin degree. It was that work that produced something that is now familiar to us: Surely God is in this place! Help me notice! Now we get to introduce that affirmation and prayer, and the concepts of God’s constant loving presence, to a whole new group of people. Interestingly, about twice the number of participants than we expected have signed up. Perhaps two years of pandemic upset has stirred more interest in things that speak of spiritual grounding.

I’m not only delighted with the response, but it has been delightful to return to the material that started this journey for me and rework it. I haven’t changed my mind about anything that I wrote, but over the years I have developed different, and hopefully deeper, ways to say it. To my original thoughts about the sacred, and sensing and savouring, I’ve added layers about non-duality, sacramentality, and how all this stuff can (must?) change the way you interact with the world and people. You’ve probably heard all that stuff too because it’s through my preaching that I work it out and figure out how to communicate it.

As I revisited the workshop material I was particularly struck by a video clip that I had used but hadn’t thought about much since. Pity – because it’s really wonderful. It’s a clip from a ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ episode near the end of the series when a character named Wesley (who had grown up on screen during the series) was struggling with launching into adulthood. He encounters an Indigenous North American person (they’d been relocated to a distant planet – it’s Star Trek, just go with it) named Lakanta who challenges Wesley with this question: What is sacred to you? Wesley confesses he’d never thought much about it, and when pressed he thought maybe religious items like jewelry or buildings would be sacred. Lakanta tells him that to him and his people everything is sacred. Everything! And then he hits Wesley between the eyes with this one: “You are sacred, Wesley!” As brilliant as young Wesley is, such a thought had never occurred to him. And he realized that he hadn’t been treating himself as very sacred.

Friends, you are sacred! You! And you deserve to be treated as sacred – by others, and by yourself. You are sacred. Never forget that! Revisiting this project has been a real gift for me. I can’t wait to share this with the group tonight!

(Click here for a video version of Noticings)

PS – Following up from last week, I figured out a way to play the song!

Shalom, Rev. Larry