Saturday, 11 April 2015

Genius: Nurturing the Kin-dom of Love

“Each of Us Is An Artist” by Arthur Graham

"Each of us is an artist whose task it is to shape life into some semblance of the pattern we dream about. The molding is not of self alone, but of shared tomorrows and times we shall never see. So let us be about our task. The materials are very precious and perishable."

I’ve been reflecting on my experiences of this year’s Annual Meetings of The General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches in Great Britain and Ireland (a mouthful I know) and how much I enjoyed it. This surprised me to some extent, as over the last couple of years I have not. Now it maybe just a reflection on where I am at, both with regard to my own personal spirituality and that of the denomination in general or maybe a reflection on the few days I experienced in Birmingham, or perhaps a mixture of both. I suspect that there were many reasons for this and that I will never reach a clear and defined answer. Thank God.

There seemed to be a real sense of togetherness this year and new optimism too. There was also a seeming absence of ego, there was no one trying to run the whole show and orchestrate everything in their image. This was a real blessings. I felt this right from the start, at the minister’s conference. Where I enjoyed some wonderful conversations and was greatly impressed by the new ministers who are coming through. Amongst them is great evidence of spiritual and theological depth. Listening and engaging with them I was touched in those sometimes hard to reach places, right in the soul of me. During one of the evening services titled “Celebrating Our Vision” each of the newly qualified ministers spoke of their own theological and spiritual influences, again I was touched by what they all said, but there was one that stood out and has stayed with me ever since. Kate Whyman who has recently been appointed to serve the congregation at Plymouth quoted a plaque that she saw at the Divinity School at Harvard University where Ralph Waldo Emerson had delivered his now famous “Divinity School Address”. The plaque read “Acquaint Thyself at First Hand with Deity”…Those words have been singing in my soul ever since…

“Acquaint Thyself at First Hand with Deity”

There were many things that amused and touched me throughout the week. One of those was a moment when I was moving from one workshop to go to another. Rev Keith Hill saw me in the corridor and came rushing towards me and said you’ve got to come with me as Melda Grantham, the Secretary of the Welsh Department in a talk on communication, has just been singing your praises and described you as a genius. Well I almost died of shock on the spot, but I went with him. It seems that Melda is very impressed with the way I write and express through personal stories, theology and spirituality, and that I do so in a way that anyone can connect too. She said “That Danny Crosby is a genius”. Well as you can imagine I blushed somewhat at this. Like so many people I still, at times, feel uncomfortable when someone compliments me and shines the light on my better qualities.

That said I have been having a bit of fun with it ever since, especially with friends. I even posted an update on Facebook on Easter Sunday, as I was relaxing having spent some time enjoying the beautiful Easter/Passover moon. It read “It was said last week I am a genius…I didn’t know…What do you reckon?” Some rather interesting comments followed, some lovely and some hilarious and still others a real mixture of both. What was interesting was that a couple of my friends posted definitions of “genius”. The first read:

“ 'A genius is a person who displays exceptional superior intellectual ability, creativity, or originality', so yes.” and the second suggested “that this sounds like another etymological adventure was on the cards” and then quoted the following “In ancient Rome, the genius (plural in Latin genii) was the guiding spirit or tutelary deity of person. The noun is related to the Latin verb genui, genitus, "to bring into being, create, produce"”

To which I responded “I think you may have planted some seeds.” Now this immediately sent my thoughts back to “The Mustard Seed” readings that were shared during this year’s "Anniversary Service" at the "Annual Meetings" I had attended. By the way the service was phenomenal and again highlighted so much that is truly wonderful about our free religious faith.

So I had this seed of genius planted deeply into my soul and I began thinking and exploring this idea, especially bringing that which is within us into being; to bring that seed of Deity within us to bare fruit. Now this of course requires us to first of all become acquainted with it and to lovingly nurture it. Suddenly Kate’s quotation from Emerson began to take on new meaning.

“Acquaint Thyself at First Hand with Deity”

I do believe that there is that of the Divine within each and every one of us and that it is our task, our duty to bring that to life in our very being. It’s just that I had not previously thought of it the same way that my friends and acquaintances were now pointing towards, through the various aspects of the “Creative Interchange”, we and others were unknowingly engaging in.

So once again it would appear that everything that we need is already there deep within us. We do not need to seek the Kingdom of God, the Commonwealth of Love, because it is already here within us and amongst us. We are each and every one of us an aspect of what I heard someone describe recently as “The Kin-dom of Heaven”. Our task, I believe, is to bring it to fruit and bring it together.

You see the real truth is that we are all genius’s, yes I know that you probably feel uncomfortable hearing this, but none the less it is true. We are all born with this essence and we need to bring it to life in our very being, we need to reclaim our true nature and then share it with our world, because it doesn’t belong to us alone and doesn’t truly come alive unless we share it with others.

Now throughout human history this genius within us has been understood in different ways. Many, beginning with Plato, I understand, talked of each of us being born with a companion, what some might describe as a spirit that remembers our true nature and therefore "calling" and which can guide us back to our greatest animation. It is this that truly brings us alive, that animates our very being that enthuses us. This inner spirit animates our soul, this is the genius within each and every one of us. It has been called by many names such as muse, inner voice, still small voice, higher self, guardian angel or what the ancient Greeks referred to as Daemon.

Now the problem of course is that so many of us suppress our inner genius, we do not let it shine, we do not believe that we are “The Light of the World” or perhaps the opposite happens we keep it selfishly for ourselves alone.

Now I witnessed a wonderful example of this on Easter Sunday evening just before I noticed that beautiful Easter moon. It was during a conversation I and others were having while standing outside unknowingly experiencing the light of that said moon. A friend who is both a juggler and a magician began juggling some red balls, he was in total bliss enjoying his gift that he has nurtured over the years. As he was doing so he began to talk about how even in his darkest days he had always enjoyed the company of jugglers, how they were the most loving and accepting community of people he had ever known. How they were happy to share all that they had with anyone and that they were totally devoid of ego. He contrasted this with magicians who he said were the exact opposite, how they were secretive, closed and suspicious of anyone, that they were not welcoming and were full of ego. As he spoke I thought to myself, you are a genius, you have just taught a beautifully deep truth about the last few days of my life. It dawned on me that these are examples of religious communities and actually all human communities. They could well be metaphors for the “Kingdom of Mistrust” or the “Kin-dom of Love”, “the Commonwealth of Love”

I then went and caught my first glimpse of that Easter moon, I spent quite sometime alone gazing lovingly at it.

A couple of days later as I began to piece worship material together for the coming Sunday's service it became clearer to me what our task truly is. It is to bring our genius to life and share and allow it to spread so as to create the "Kin-dom of Heaven", the oneness of humanity, right here right now…it can be done…if we want it…

We each of us have the seed of genius within us. How it got there I am not sure; who or what planted it there, again, I cannot be certain. It is there though, of that I am certain. Our task is to first of all become acquainted with it, to nurture and to bring to life in all that we feel, all that we think, all that we say and all that we do; our task is to share our genius with one another and our world; our task is to become the light of the world.

Easter Sunday revealed to me that our real task is to become joyful and joy filled jugglers rather than those suspicious and miserable magicians. By doing so we will begin to create that “Kin-dom of love” within and amongst us.

A genius is someone who acquaints themselves, first hand, with the Divine seed that was planted within them before they were even born; a genius is someone who nurtures and brings to fruit, harvests and finally shares this generous love with all they meet; a genius is someone who gives birth to the kin-dom of love.

I am going to end this little chip of a blogspot with a prayer from Rev Cliff Reed, from his wonderful new book "Carnival of Lamps"...I trust it will sing in your heart and soul...

“By Many Different Paths”

O God,
the ultimate, the One.
we, who come here by many different paths,
greet you and bow before you.

We were not just placed here on this planet.
We grew with it, out of it,
yet always in its web of life.

We were many things before we were human.
We were many humans before we were
“thinking man”, as we like to call ourselves.

We are the children of more ancestors
than we can imagine, carry the genes
of many things we cannot name.

We are part of this earth, this cosmos,
and we pause in wonder at its majesty.

Somewhere, some time,
creatures came out of all this that could
love and be kind, and recognise in you
the source of love and kindness.

Who were the first we don’t know,
and never can, but we would be like them.

May it be so.

No comments:

Post a Comment