Taking in the beauty of autumn
from summer’s variations of greens
to more shades of red, orange, and gold
than contained in one large
box of Crayola crayons.
These gorgeous leaves are as valuable
to the sight as sparkling gems.
I wonder how it would be if
we viewed ourselves as
autumn beauties to be admired?
Tresses fine as silk sparkling in bright
sunlight, white hair streaked with bright pink
smooth skin maturing into amusing
folds of crepe, many craniums
showing off few sprigs of grey.
Gaits slow enough to take in beauty
along the path of life. Smiling,
accepting, loving, letting go
of what was, appreciating
ourselves as beauties of autumn!
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together,
and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
This is the greatest and first commandment.
And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Loving Our Neighbors as Ourselves
You may have noticed that the words of Jesus can be a little tricky. We are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. However, what if we cannot love ourselves because we are hanging onto things we’ve done in the past or what others have done to us? Consider looking in the mirror in appreciation for the character that is etched in your face; thousands of smiles leave permanent laugh lines!
As a result of appreciating our commonalities as human beings who seek connections with others and with God, we begin to more fully love our neighbors. Certainly, spiritual practices can help us empty our minds of preconceived notions so there is room in our hearts for a new thing.
Visio Divina is the ability to see all things and experiences as being sacred. Let’s enter into this prayer.
Begin by settling in, breathing in and out slowly with your hand on your heart.
Let your wandering eyes fall on an image.
Notice the light, colors, textures, and larger scene. Be aware of your responses. Rest here.
Slow down and release all thoughts and enter into real silence deep in your heart.
Breathe deeply into the stillness of God. Know that you are cherished. You are loved.
Be still in God’s embrace. Take a slow, deep breath.
Honor this time of prayer.
Over time, practicing Visio Divina can lead us into loving our neighbor in deeper ways. May we see ourselves, our friends and family, and our neighbors as sacred beings worthy of our love and support. I hear this as a call to prayer as well as giving.
We pray for you and yours,
Rev. Marta Wheeler