Meditation 9

Meditation 9:

The Rev’d Canon Dr Marian Free

Biographical Marian Free is a cradle Anglican who has spent the greater part of her life in this Diocese. Marian studied at the University of Queensland where she majored in Psychology and then at Sydney Teacher’s College. She married in 1978 and moved to New Zealand with her husband Michael and worked as a Community Worker. When they returned to Brisbane, Marian began her theological training and spent some privileged time raising three beautiful children before entering St Francis College in 1991. Marian has a PhD in Biblical Studies and was ordained Deacon in 1993 and Priest in 1995.Currently the Rector of St Augustine’s Hamilton, Marian has served in the Parishes of Logan, Sunnybank, Rosewood and Toowong.
Image
© Kerry Holland, ‘Flungeth’.
Acrylic on canvas. Used with permission.
Suggested Music Amazing Grace  129  TIS  (If you are doing this meditation alone, you might like to listen to/watch Four Tenors at the Coliseum) http://www.clarrissegill.com/videoclips/amazing_grace.phpor A Spendthrift Lover (tune Capel)  676 TIS
Bible reading Bible reading Hosea 11:1-9Even though this reading contains threats of judgement and exclusive language, I am always overwhelmed by the idea that God has taught us how to walk and held us to Gods cheek. (11:3,4)11:1       When Israel was a child, I loved him,                        and out of Egypt I called my son. 2          The more I called them,                        the more they went from me;

            they kept sacrificing to the Baals,

                        and offering incense to idols.

  3           Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,

                        I took them up in my arms;

                        but they did not know that I healed them.

4          I led them with cords of human kindness,

                        with bands of love.

            I was to them like those

                        who lift infants to their cheeks.

                        I bent down to them and fed them.

  5           They shall return to the land of Egypt,

                        and Assyria shall be their king,

                        because they have refused to return to me.

6          The sword rages in their cities,

                        it consumes their oracle-priests,

                        and devours because of their schemes.

7          My people are bent on turning away from me.

                        To the Most High they call,

                        but he does not raise them up at all.

  8           How can I give you up, Ephraim?

                        How can I hand you over, O Israel?

            How can I make you like Admah?

                        How can I treat you like Zeboiim?

            My heart recoils within me;

                        my compassion grows warm and tender.

9          I will not execute my fierce anger;

                        I will not again destroy Ephraim;

            for I am God and no mortal,

                        the Holy One in your midst,

                        and I will not come in wrath. 

Exercise for relaxation and focus. Make yourself comfortable.Take some time to think about your day. When you are ready, let it go. You may like to use this prayer:What is done is done, what is not done is not done,let it be.

Sitting quietly, try to relax and empty your mind. If you find yourself distracted by thoughts or by the environment, you might like to focus on your breathing (see the first meditation) or to repeat a word to yourself – peace, joy, or the one used by the Christian Meditation movement “maranatha”.

Do this for a few minutes or until you feel quite at peace.

Personal story I can’t remember when I received my first book of Saints. From memory it was a Ladybird Book, so I must have been quite young. Something within me stirred as I read about the simplicity and generosity of Catherine and the courage of Joan of Arc. I wanted to model my life on theirs. Later, my year four Religious Instruction teacher, Miss Loveland, filled my head with stories of modern day servants of God – Florence Nightingale and Albert Schweitzer among others. I was drawn to them – their daring and their faithfulness. I longed to emulate their lives and for at least the remainder of my primary school life, dreamt of glorious adventures as an intrepid, missionary explorer taking the gospel to places not yet known (by the west at least).I would like to say that those early ambitions lay dormant, but the truth is that they were largely forgotten until I was in my twenties and had begun to explore my vocation as a lay person. At that time, I was living in New Zealand, but had never heard of a woman who was a priest let alone met one. In fact, until 1981, I had never seen a woman in the Sanctuary. A friend of mine was also considering her vocation and a priest in the Parish suggested ordination as an option she should consider. The context was that of a Bible study on women in Paul. I remember saying rather it would take an experience like that of Paul on the road to Damascus for me to consider the priestly vocation. Needless to say, to my great consternation, God complied.Fourteen years passed between recognition of my call and my ordination as a priest. Though the time seemed to pass slowly and though at times the opposition to the ordination of women was difficult to take, I am grateful for those years. They allowed me time to assess my call and to learn more about myself and the church. Through the Movement for the Ordination of Women, I met some wonderful and inspiring people, and developed skills that have served me well in my ministry.As is the case with any vocation I feel sure that I am where I am meant to be and thank God for the privilege and joy that it has been to respond to God’s call.
Silence 5 minutes
Guided reflection Listen to or read the following poem:The sun never saysThe sun never says,The sun never saysTo the earth: you owe me.See what such a love does

It lights the entire world.  (Hafiz)

 

Imagine God looking at you with love, a love that encompasses all that you are – the good and the bad.

Imagine God’s love embracing you entirely and never, ever, asking for anything in return.

Imagine God teaching you to walk, lifting you to God’s cheek. Is there any place that you would rather be?

Imagine what you could do with your life if you truly opened yourself to that love.

Is there something holding you back?

Take some more time to be quiet, allow your insights to “percolate” for a while so that you can absorb them. Consider whether you have uncovered something that needs the wisdom or guidance of another.

 

Thank God for God’s unconditional, unending love.

Music God is love 153 TIS or A Spendthrift Lover (tune Capel) 676 TIS

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