I found this gem as I was preparing to write a different post. But it seemed to me to still be relevant 7 months later, especially as St Paul's prepares to Pray Our Democracy -- praying for its return to health. Enjoy
Captain America: Winter Soldier:
Maria Hill, who works for Fury, saves them from the transport van and takes them to a hide-out where they learn that Fury has not died. They create a plan to destroy Project Insight:
Maria Hill and Fury explain the plan. They need to breech the three carriers and replace their targeting blade with our own. All three carriers need to be linked for their plan to work.
Fury: We have to assume that everyone on those carriers is Hydra. If we can breech those carriers then maybe we can salvage…
Cap cuts Fury off: We are not salvaging anything. We are not just taking down those carriers, Nick, we are taking down SHIELD.
Fury: SHIELD had nothing to do with it.
Cap: You gave me this mission Nick. This is how it ends. SHIELD has been compromised. You said so yourself. Hydra grew right under your nose and nobody noticed.
Fury: Why do you think we are meeting in this cave? I noticed.
Cap: How many paid the price before you did.
Fury: I didn’t know about Barnes (Bucky)
Cap: Even if you had, would you have told me? Or would you have compartmentalized that too? SHIELD, Hydra they all go.
Maria Hill: He’s right.
Fury looks around for an ally. No one agrees with Fury.
Fury: Well, it looks like you are giving the orders now Captain.
The Current State of our Country:
I’ve been reading the news, paying attention to what is happening, and watching Stephen Colbert (because honestly that is the only way I can ‘watch’ news, through humor). The current state of our country is not good. It feels like Hydra has overtly (not sneakily) invaded our government and taken over.
Rally after rally, Trump spews hatred. He insights chaos in those who attend. He laughs or ignores hatred filled chants that arise in the midst of his speeches. He stops talking to allow them to chant. This is evil at work.
Where and when will it all stop?
Many of us are putting our hopes in the 2020 election. We must elect someone else President. As if the election of a Democratic President will end this hatred that has arisen, this culture of violence that Trump has ignited. It will not. It would, hopefully, begin to shift the narrative because the President of the United States has a tremendous platform to do that from.
But it is not THE answer. It is one aspect of a shift we are all seeking.
We are not salvaging anything
The NRA must go. They must go in order for us to move forward and create reasonable gun-control bills like other countries around the world.
White supremacy groups must go, along with those organizations and politicians that support them. There is no place in this country for hatred! No place!!
This may not be a popular thing for me to write (being a Pastor and all), but some Christian institutions must go. Those institutions that support homophobia, racism — they must go. They are not Christ-like in any way.
If they followed the Way of Jesus, they would be out protesting for asylum seekers to be welcomed in this country, not working to shut down the borders. If they followed the Way of Jesus, they would be seeking government aid to end the epidemics of homelessness, hunger, mental illness, drug-addiction in this country, not seeking to cut those programs.
As Jesus told this parable he said “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me….‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25: 35-36, 40)
It must all go!
There is no salvaging institutions that are steeped in corruption, greed and evil, that have lost their way. They must go to make way for Good.
Because when a vacuum is created, something new can be planted. To plant Good at the scale we need to, we must dismantle the institutions that feed and protect this insidious hatred that has invaded our culture.
Then and only then can we rebuild the Moral Center of our culture and country — a Moral Center aligned with Love, Compassion, Justice, Peace and Harmony, no matter your spiritual path.
The Sacred calls us to be the Voice, and ones to lead the charge!
Will you join in this important work?
Will you step into leadership as Captain America does?
Join St Paul's UCC as we Pray Our Democracy each Sunday during Lent. We will gather in our chapel from 12:45p to 1:15 p MT to imagine a healthy, healed, whole, balanced democracy, and to hold that image of health, of justice, of compassion and peace, that image of God's Economy in prayer.
I have always struggled with the practice of giving something up for Lent. Having grown up Baptist, we did not really celebrate Lent. We celebrated Holy Week and Easter.
So when I entered adulthood and began to seek ways to deepen my connection to the Sacred, my spirituality, I began to contemplate this practice. I remember the first time I decided to really practice giving something up for Lent. I went BIG! I gave up sugar, including chocolate. It was not a pleasant experience for those who lived in my household. It turns out that sugar was how I comforted myself, how I pushed down all those feelings and things I did not want to deal with. When I gave it up, I had no way to cope! My partner at the time, begged me to "take my mini-Easters on Sundays." We laughed about it over the years, but I had not prepared myself for the spiritual and emotional turmoil that happened when I stopped using my 'drug' (yes sugar is an addictive food) of choice.
But after Lent, I fell right back into it. No change. No transformation. Just a really rough 6 weeks.
As an energy and Light worker, I have learned that nature abhors a vacuum. If you take something out, you need to put something in its place. So if I am doing a healing and I remove a block, I need to put Light in its place so (1) the block does not return and (2) something else unhealthy does not take its place.
I did not do that. I did not reflect upon what I wanted as an outcome for 'giving something up.' If I had, it would have been more like my 2019 year-long experience. I decided that 2019 was the year to take back my body from Lyme disease, bring myself back to myself: lose the Lyme disease weight, stop my sugar addiction eating, exercise more, maybe lift weights. I accomplished the first three and have shifted the last one into this year 2020 -- the year to strengthen my Core, my Center.
As I did the physical work for my body, I also did the emotional and spiritual work of my soul. When I gave up sugar, I asked myself what it's benefit was for my Soul. I sat in conversation with my Soul listening and healing the wounds that sugar covered over. Each time I released a wound, a limiting belief, a block/obstruction of energy and love in my life, I replaced it with prayer, with walking in nature, with Light, with peace.
For me, the invitation of Lent is not "what are you giving up for Lent?" but also "what am I replacing that habit/thing/release with?"
What am I giving up this Lenten season? I am working at releasing my sometimes anxious presence, and falling deeper into a non-anxious presence, a witness-observer, a compassionate companion. To do this, I will dive deep into my own fears, what causes them, what my Soul needs to release them, and do that tender Soul work.
Why? I met the most beautiful being yesterday -- Goldie, whom I feel like really wants to be called Pippa. She is an amazing girl, a cross between a labrador retriever and a beagle. We fell in love. I wasn't sure at first, but as she hung out with me, she warmed up and clearly asked me to be her human. I said yes.
Then I learned that she is reactive to other dogs and sometimes humans. She needs a non-anxious compassionate presence in her life. She needs someone who can calmly give her stability and grounding. She chose me. I don't always feel those qualities in myself. She sees them. She knows they are there.
By bringing Pippa (Goldie) into my family, we will find that door in my heart, open it and heal together; replacing all that fear and anxiety with Love and Peace.
I knew Spirit would bring the right dog companion into my life. I did not realize what that meant. I look forward to being taught by Pippa how to companion her healing and growth.
What are you giving up this Lenten season?
What are you replacing that with? How are you 'filling the void' so that the unwanted behavior/habit/belief does not reclaim its spot in your life?
On Ash Wednesday, we begin the 40 day Lenten journey to Holy Week and Easter. It is a time of deep reflection and prayer, inviting us to enter deep into our hearts, into God's temple within each of us.
As your clergy person prepares the ash, she/he/they mix olive oil with ash; mixing the symbol of healing with the symbol of letting go/death.
As you approach your clergy person and they place ash on your forehead or hand, they speak to you, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
This statement is an invitation to remember that God created us from the earth, from dust. That our bodies hold all the elements of God's creation. That when we pass from this life, we return to the earth, fertilizing it for new growth, new life to come forth.
As the ash is spread across your forehead or hand, you are invited to take this spiritually into your heart.
What needs to be released, let go, die in your life for new life, new beginnings, hope to arrive on Easter?
What is holding you back, obstructing your connection with the Sacred? How can you allow that to pass from your life so you can reconnect with the One who created you?
The oil in the ash reminds you that you are on a healing journey; that as you release limiting beliefs, blocks, negative habits, whatever is holding you back, there is a healing Presence that soothes your soul, that companions you. The olive oil reminds you that that healing presence is Christ Jesus. He knows the path you are invited to walk as you let go. He knows the fears and anxieties that arise as we work to transform our lives to be more in alignment with the Sacred, with our Soul. He knows how to hold you in your grief, how to encourage you in your despair, your to embolden you in your fear. He is ever present!
This ancient beautiful ritual offers us the opportunity to join millions of others and declare that we too are on a path of healing; that we too seek to be better humans, that we too desire God's Economy to be present in our world.
Join me today. What is the Sacred inviting you to let go of this Lenten season? What is keeping you from deepening your relationship with the Holy One? What practice do would help you step more fully into the person you desire to be, the person the Sacred is calling you to be?
You will remember from the previous post that at this moment in the film, Avengers, Captain America has arrived to face and fight Loki. He has landed with his shield, protecting a man who courageously stood before Loki, speaking truth to power. Loki had aimed his scepter at the man moments before. After shooting his scepter and being blocked by Captain America….
Captain America: You know the last time I was in Germany, and saw a man standing above everybody else, we ended up disagreeing.
Loki: “the soldier… the man out of time”
The liminality of Time...
Captain America is, literally, a man out of time — the linear time line. At the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, we watch as Steve Rogers forces Red Skull’s plane down into the ice cold waters. Cap freezes.
Captain America is found decades later by SHIELD and thawed. He is a man out of time. Steve Rogers has no references for this current time, this current culture. He holds values and moral center from WW2 era. He looks 30 or so but is 100 years old.
Have you ever had that experience, where time goes away, where you feel like you are not connected to time — literally “out of time”?
What do I mean?
Stepping into Kairos time...
When I was beginning to create High Desert Essences in Taos, NM, I felt the invitation to create Chive essence. I followed the way I was taught: put a glass bowl of spring water in the Sun with one or two flower dropped in it. Leave it for 3-4 hours on a full Sun day. I did just that.
When I went to pick up the essence something did not feel quite right. I tasted it. It tasted like Chives. So I decided that was not going to work for High Desert Essences. This is the moment where I learned my method of co-creating flower essences — Chives taught me.
I did not want to waste the essence, that would not honor the gift of Chives. Without thinking, I downed the entire bowl of pure potent Mother essence. That was on a Monday.
Next thing I know, I’m getting a text from a one of the women I painted with regularly. Because I was currently in NM, I video called in. The text read, “Are you joining us today?” We painted on Thursdays, so I replied, “Yes, on Thursday.” An answer came back, “Well that is now!”
Somehow I had lost Tuesday and Wednesday. I had no idea where they went. It felt like only 3-4 hours had passed since I took that Mother Essence. How could 3 days have passed?
It took me about a month to ground myself back into the human linear timeline that is seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years. Somehow Chives had aligned me with a very different timeline — Kairos, Sacred, Universe. This timeline is not linear. Rather it felt more like the timeline of the Heptapods from the movie Arrival.
When I was able to reconnect with this linear timeline, I became aware that Chives had restructured my energetic and physical body to be in greater alignment with my Soul’s purpose and Soul-volution.
It was a powerful experience. I am forever transformed by each experience where the Sacred pulls me out of linear human time into Kairos time.
It takes adjustment when you return, like it took adjustment for Steve Rogers. Depending upon what happens when I am out of time, the adjustment back varies. Sometimes I can step back into time and move forward without delay. Sometimes it feels like I have lost 70 years or more, like the world I have come back into is completely different than the one I was in. When that happens, I am aware that I am so very different than I was before.
I would not recommend downing an entire bowl of pure Mother Essence to experience what it is like to step out of time.
Meditation, prayer, silent retreats, dosage level energy essences, and other healing and spiritual experiences open you to those moments, to those experiences.
It is vital that when you intentionally ask to step out of time for healing, transformation, restructuring, soul-volution, you do so with an inner knowing of what you are seeking. Conscious awareness, consciously co-creating the out of time moment will enhance and potentize the transformative work that you are seeking, doing, manifesting.
When you come back, allow yourself the linear time you need to integrate the healing, the evolution, the experience before stepping fully back into society, into the hum of linear life.
Enjoy the experience.
The veil is always thin….
always awaiting your request
to offer you
a Kairos experience.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The First Avengers
Steve Rogers’ Captain America uniform and dancing women have gained him such popularity in the States that the Senator sends them all overseas to entertain the soldiers. The first show has Steve on stage being heckled by the soldiers.
Sitting off to the side as the women are dancing, he pulls out a notebook and is doodling. Peggy Carter shows up:
Peggy: Nice performance
Steve: Yeah…I had to improvise a little bit.
Peggy: I understand that you are America’s new hope.
Steve: Bond sales take a 10% bump in every state I visit.
Peggy: Is that the Senator I hear?
Steve: At least he has me doing this. Colonial would have had me stuck in a lab.
Peggy: And these are your only two options? a lab rat or a dancing monkey? You were meant for more than this, you know?
Steve is thinking about what Peggy said. Peggy: What?
Steve: You know for the longest time I dreamed about coming over seas and being on the front lines, serving my country. I finally got everything I wanted…..am I am wearing tights.
Steve, as a soldier is being brought to the medical facility: They have been through hell.
Peggy: These men more than most.
Then Peggy explains that this unit was sent to fight a Hydra base — 200 went and 15 returned. She explained the the audience contained what was left. This was the 107th, the unit that Steve’s best friend was part of. This sparks a flame in him.
He learns that Bucky, his friend, has not returned. The Colonial’s solution is to win the war, believing that it would be suicide to attempt a rescue.
In that moment, Steve experiences his Awakening. Who is he? Is he meant for more?
He decides in that moment to step up, to fully embody his call, to rescue the 107th….
When we compromise our Call, when we chose to stay small, as I wrote in the previous blog, Spirit offers us an invitation to step up.
We can chose to stay small, to not heed those invitations, to continue on through our life with blinders around our eyes, hearts and souls.
We can answer the Call of our Soul, the Call of Spirit. We can step up!
Saying Yes to our Soul
The next series of scenes in Captain America: The First Avenger, show just that. Steve Rogers steps up and becomes Captain America. It requires that he face his fears, that he challenge his abilities and skills.
Alone, he jumps from a plane, finds his way across enemy line and into the Hydra base. He invades the base and releases the prisoners, continuing his search for Bucky. Once he rescues Bucky, he is confronted for the first time by his arch-nemesis Red Skull (the other enhanced individual from the serum, the one the doctor described as evil amplified).
Cap makes it out alive, with Bucky and the rest of the 107th, returning on foot to basecamp.
The work of Awakening
When we step up, it is not all Light and ease and beauty. There is struggle in fully embodying our Call. We must confront our fears, our Shadow, our apathy. We must test and learn new skills and abilities.
It is work. Life enhancing, life giving, life re-invigorating work. But work, nonetheless.
As we say yes to our Call and begin our journey toward fully embracing our Soul’s purpose, we will encounter support and allies who will companion us, encourage us, support us, and help us clear the obstacles that are in front of us; just as Bucky and the 107th do for Captain America.
We are not alone.
When we come face to face with our deepest fears, our Shadows, Spirit is present reminding us that we are not our Shadow. We are more than the darkness that we keep hidden, stuffed deep down inside ourselves. Spirit will remind us that what we chose to feed is what is amplified.
When we come through this process of embodiment and integration, our community, our family, our friends will be there cheering:
“Let’s hear it for Captain America [You]”
In that moment, in that recognition, our souls, our hearts smile knowing that we have arrived fully. We are who our Soul yearns to be. We are who the Sacred created us to be.
Now the work is to continue to be our Soul, to emanate our Soul’s purpose authentically in the world, without compromise…
Find your inner courage and strength.
Say yes. Say yes to your Soul.
It is worth it.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Called by SHIELD, Captain America is helping to recover the Tesseract, a powerful energy source and one of the Infinity Stones. Loki, Thor’s brother who is in his most evil state at the moment, has stolen it to create a wormhole for an alien army to come through to take over planet Earth. He means to rule the Earth by whatever means necessary.
Loki shows himself in Germany for two purposes: (1) to aquired the final ingredient for the wormhole; and (2) to cause a distraction. Obtaining what is needed, Loki walks out the building, corrals all those attending the event outside and forces them to kneel.
Loki closes his self-important monologue: You were made to be ruled. In the end you will always kneel.
An elder stands and faces him: Not to men like you
Loki: There are no men like me.
Elder: There are always men like you.
Loki aims his scepter at the elder: Look to your elder people. Let him be an example.
As he fires the scepter, Captain America lands in front of the elder using his shield to protect them both.
Captain America: You know the last time I was in Germany, and saw a man standing above everybody else, we ended up disagreeing.
Then a fight ensues between Captain America and Loki, with Ironman joining in at the end to capture Loki.
There are always men like you...
There are always men like Loki, unfortunately. Men and women who wish to gain power and control over others, oppressing people, harming the Earth and our resources. As I have said in previous posts, we currently have one of those men in the White House.
I see a correlation between President Trump’s behavior, his vitriol, hatred, anger — and the rise of violence, hate crimes, mass shootings, and more. When a person of power begins to use violence as a tactic, those around him/her, those who follow him/her, begin to use it as well.
This scene is such as awesome scene. It takes a great deal of courage to stand, as the Elder did. Let’s be real, Loki is not just any person. He uses magic to bring about his desires, to trick people. His eyes, his facial expression show a hint of enjoyment in all the evil that he is perpetrating throughout this movie. And, he is of Asgard, basically a god — mortal (yes), hard to kill.
Faith of Christ
It takes true courage to stand up against those who seek Power through corruption, hatred, violence, greed. It takes a deep inner strength to be willing to put your life on the line and say, “Not to men like you…”
This, for me, is what faith is all about. Faith is not a noun. It is not a good feeling that keeps us connected to the Sacred. Faith is a verb. It is an action. It requires something of us, no matter how small or big that something is.
If we say we are followers of the Way of Christ, then we must stand in the Faith OF Christ and act. Christ would not sit by and watch Love, Compassion, Justice be torn apart.
Jesus would be in the White House flipping the tables, calling out, “You brood of Vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil?…The good person brings good things out of good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned!” (Matthew 12: 34-37)
We must all stand in the face of men like Loki. We must do it as the Elder did by calling out the darkness and bringing forth Light.
Martin Luther King, Jr reminds us: "Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Even as we are experiencing the dismemberment of our values and culture, of our country and democracy; there is hope. Hope comes in the presence of those who stand in the face of Power as did the Elder to Loki, calling out the darkness, witnessing the Light.
Standing strong, confident and proud; letting our Light shine forth from us, as the Elder did, is powerful, transformative and contagious…
Let me take a moment to bring forth a few I have seen and am seeing now:
Chris Evans and Twitter
Since I am writing about Avengers and Captain America, Chris Evans uses his Twitter voice well in calling out corruption, abuse of power, racism, homophobia, sexism and more. He does it, not just by sharing other's tweets, but by adding his voice, his thoughts and opinions to the conversation. (For those who do not know, Chris Evans portrays Captain America.)
Very much in our hearts and minds is the racist tweet by the Bigot-in-Chief, who currently resides in the White House, telling four amazingly powerful authentic Congresswomen to go back to their own country. It was an abusive tweet, meant to bully these Congresswomen into silence. It did the opposite. They rose with Integrity and spoke Truth to Power.
Chris Evans, via Twitter, joined the conversation speaking Truth and Justice in the face of white supremacy, with his tweet: "The only thing worse than actually being hateful and racist, is casually wielding hate and racism to activate your base in an unrelenting, painfully transparent, and crushingly on-brand effort to soothe your only true devotion: feeding your insatiable ego."
or as Jesus would put it, "You Brood of Vipers..."
And earlier in the summer, in June, during Pride month, he spoke Truth to the group of people in Boston who decided they want to have a straight pride parade. This hit the news and social media as we were coming to the Pride Celebrations.
Chris sent a Tweet that had me laughing and called out the hatred and homophobia: “Wow! Cool initiative, fellas!! Just a thought, instead of ‘Straight Pride’ parade, how about this: The ‘desperately trying to bury our own gay thoughts by being homophobic because no one taught us how to access our emotions as children’ parade? Whatta ya think? Too on the nose?? “
My heart (being that I am a preacher) was laughing and shouting, “Preach it, Brother!!!”
When one has a public platform to use, it is a moral imperative to use that platform to extend Compassion and the manifest of Justice in this world, to call out the Brood of Vipers!
I am grateful that Chris Evans choses to use his public platform to call out injustice, racism, sexism, homophobia, hatred and more. When fear, racism, sexism, homophobia are allowed to be, they grow within the hearts of those who harbor them and spread like an infectious virus. When called out, it is brought before the Light of the Sacred and something begins to shift and transform it, undermining its message; creating a message of Justice and Love. A seed of Hope is planted in the hearts of those who need it, who have experienced personally the violence of racism or homophobia in their lives. It kindles a coal, a spark, a fire that reminds the queer community and people of color that they are not alone, that they are loved and Sacred in God’s eyes, full and whole members of the Body of Christ just the way they are.
When Trump began to separate children from parents at the border, a detention center was set up for the children. Baptist Family Services stepped up to help out, not realizing the injustices that were about to happen. As more and more children were being taken to that detention center, public outrage grew. The government did nothing to reunite the children and parents who were separated.
But there was one man who stood witness, Joshua Ruben. Day after day after day he stayed calling out this injustice, standing witness, not moving. Standing strong, confident in the face of men like Loki, men like Trump. He continued his silent protest until the camp was officially closed and all children were moved.
He committed himself to months and months of protest, to putting his life on hold for the sake of those who needed a voice calling forth: “You brood of vipers!”
Because of his stand, because of those who joined him in his peaceful protest, Baptist Family Services chose to close the camp. They recognized the atrocities that the Trump Administration was committing and ended their involvement. Although disappointed and disheartened (angry really) in BFS’s involvement, I recognize they did not realize the full extent of what was about to happen. When the awoke to it, thank you Joshua, they stepped away.
His protest and commitment to justice moves my heart.
Members of the congregation I serve went down to the border and met him. The stories they shared from their experiences there was powerful. The work of this man is astonishing and truly Christ. (Not Christ-like, but Christ himself.)
I have shared the above stories because we can all stand in the face of corrupt power. It is our duty, our calling as followers of Jesus to stand and not be silent.
How are you standing for justice this week?
It can be small or it can be huge.
Whether you use your public platform
Physically Stand protest…
However you feel led, it is an imperative that
“You brood of vipers!”
we Stand, not kneel
“Not to men like you.”
Spirit is counting on us...
Captain America: The First Avenger....
As we continue with our story, Steve Rogers is sent off to basic training. He struggles as the uncoordinated small guy. He does not have the strength of anyone else in his group. The other soldiers bully him. But he pushes on doing his best.
During one run, the sergeant tells them that whoever can get the flag off the flag pole gets a ride back to base. “No one has gotten the flag in 15 years.” None of the strong soldiers can do it. They all do their best to climb the pole, but slide back down.
The sergeant ignores Steve calling for everyone to get back in line.
Steve however walks over to the flagpole, pulls a screw from the bottom of the pole, the pole falls over. He retrieves the flag, hands it to the sergeant and gets in the car to take his ride back to base.
I laughed out loud. Marvel enjoys having fun with their movies, bringing in moments of lightness and humor.
Your Spiritual Intellect
Here’s the thing: Steve Rogers uses his intellect to win the prize. He does not try to use his braun (he doesn’t have any). He uses his personal strength to succeed.
In the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, Dialogue One: Jesus invites us to use our spiritual intellect as we seek to align ourselves with our true Image, our highest selves.
Cynthia Bourgeault suggests that one’s spiritual intellect is our heart. She reminds us that in Near Eastern thought the heart is the organ of spiritual perception. The heart is not the emotional center. It is the moral center, the place from which all spiritual work is done; space of transmutation and transformation; center of insight, wisdom and spiritual intellect; the residence of the Sacred.
Captain America: The First Avenger continues...
When the Dr decides that Steve Rogers is the one whom will take part in the experiment, he explains why to Steve:
The doctor explains that his serum creates superior men. He then explains about the head of Hydra (the bad guys) and how that bad guy took the serum. The serum made him stronger. But there were other affects.
“The serum amplifies everything that is inside, so good become great; bad become worse. This is why you were chosen. Because a strong man who has known power all his life will lose respect for that power, but a weak man who knows very little of strength and knows compassion will not. Whatever happens tomorrow you must promise me one thing, that you will stay who you are, not a perfect soldier but a good man.”
Steve Rogers makes a toast, “To the little guys!”
Using our Spiritual Intellect, our Heart
When we use our spiritual intellect, our hearts, as the lens to perceive the world through, to make decisions, to live our lives, it amplifies the goodness that is within us — compassion, grace, mercy, justice, Love.
When we use our brains, our minds without our hearts, those are the times when we fall short, when we, as humans, create injustice. We are not our best selves unless we live from our hearts.
We can only be aligned with the Image, our truest highest self, if we live from our hearts. When we live from our hearts, from the spiritual center of our being, from the space which the Sacred occupies within us, then all that we do is amplify the Sacred. Good grows. Love expands,. Compassion is experienced and known. Justice reigns down. Economy of God is fully present.
It takes a different kind of strength to live from the heart. You can not live from your heart by shear will, by physical strength, by academic intellect. These are not the qualities that bring you into your heart.
To live from your heart you must find strength in your vulnerability, humility. It is through prayer and meditation that you learn and gain insight. Living from the heart requires a willingness to let go of your will power and trust the Guidance of the Sacred.
Living from the heart is not about perfection. It is about amplifying all that is good within you. Living from the heart allows the Sacred to extend your inner goodness out into the world. It is about an inner strength that relies upon vulnerability. Compassion.
When we live from our hearts, all that compassion is amplified in the world.
What will you amplify in this world?
Are you willing to embark upon the spiritual journey into your heart?
Will you take the time to align to the Sacred’s transformative spiritual intellect?
.Captain America: The First Avenger
Steve Rogers continues his quest to join the army, giving it another try.
This time, someone notices…
As he is preparing for his exam, the office asks him to wait. Then a MP shows up to make sure he does not leave. Then someone walks into the room, looks at Steve’s folder and says, “so you want to go over seas and kill some Nazis?”
Steve is confused. He asks, “Excuse me?”
The person who entered the room introduces himself and explains that he works with the Strategic Scientific Reserve. They have conversation. the Dr is sizing Steve Rogers up, discerning whether or not he would be good for the experiment he is working on.
In the midst of the conversation the Dr says, “You didn’t answer my question. Do you want to kill Nazis?”
Steve is silent for a few seconds and asks, “Is this a test?”
Dr replies: “Yes.”
Steve answers from his heart, “I don’t want to kill anyone. I don’t like bullies. I don’t care where they are from.”
Dr replies, “Well there are already so many big men fighting this war, maybe what we need now is the little guy….I can offer you a chance.”
This is before Steve Rogers becomes Captain America. This is the moment the Dr begins to think Steve is the one. It is his answer, “I don’t want to kill anyone.”
He stays true to this statement after he becomes Captain America. Unless he has to, he does not kill. He values life.
He recognizes that bullies don’t value life. Bullies values themselves, their desires, their power, their wealth over anyone else. Bullies don’t share. They don’t feel compassion and mercy. They work for their benefit, their greed, their corrupted view of their world.
Present Day Bully
We are currently living in a time where a bully is the President of our country. He bullies everyone around him, all who work for him, the leaders of other countries, his opponents. He upholds the values of dictators and white supremacists.
This President says he values life, but he does not. He gives orders to create refugee camps that have no dignity, that tear apart the lives of those seeking helps and safety. Death after death in those refugee camps on our southern border have brought no sympathy from the President, no change in policy.
This President says he values life, but he does not. He celebrates homophobia and sexism. He encourages bad behavior at his rallies. Then he abdicates responsibility when someone at his rally acts on the hatred he is spewing.
He does not value life. He is a bully.
Steve Rogers values life. He is a small guy, always overlooked. His life journey has taught him compassion for all around him. He has an inner strength that has developed as he has worked to overcome the challenges and obstacles in his life.
This scene asks us a question: Who do we uphold as our heroes?
The Dr., without saying it, is suggesting that it is not the big guys that are our heroes. No, it is the little ones, the ones that understand compassion and mercy, that value life.
Who do we uphold as a hero?
Who do I uphold as heroes?
Martin Luther King, Jr, a man who valued life, equality, justice. A Pastor who gave his life in a movement that called us as a country to be better, to be compassionate, to create the Economy of God in our midst.
Saint Mother Theresa: a Sister whose life work was to care for those untouched, those left to die, those ignored by society — to bring dignity, care and respect to a population that has never experienced dignity, respect and care. A Sister who valued all life, who believed that no life was unworthy.
Saint Monsenor Oscar Romero: an Archbishop who spoke truth to power; who put his life on the line to minister to the disappeared and disappearing in El Salvador — who reminded those without political power that they have tremendous spiritual power, that they are the “hands and the feel of Jesus,” bringing hope in the place of despair.
Rev David Lawrence: my youth pastor who lost his life helping an abused woman leave her abuser.
The women of Standing Rock Tribe: these powerful women stood in the face of injustice, prayed for the rights of their people, their Land, their health. Even as the governments ignored their plight, they stood their ground, praying for life: Water is Life.
These are just a few. Each of my heroes value life! They offer respect, dignity, compassion, mercy; seek to create justice; and truly desire to be “the hands and the feet of Jesus” in this world.
Who are your heroes?
How are you being a hero in this world?
Pastor Jocelyn Emerson weaves together her training as a Light and Energy worker, Reiki master, spiritual director, and Pastor with her life experience as a mystic and contemplative to offer a space of trust, safety, and honesty to support you on your life's journey.