Sophia Sighting: Sacramento

seaching sophia communion

By: Autumn Elizabeth

Location: Sacramento, California, USA

Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Luke 22:19

So often in modern times we hear about broken families–the pain, the hurt and the unwelcoming. In fact, it seems a small miracle to witness a family come together and lovingly share in the making of an old family bread recipe. Yet that is what I was invited to be a part of in Sacramento. Bread baked and broken together. Touched by the hands of  all of the grandchildren and their loved ones. Keeping the ghosts lost loved ones close. Inviting everyone to be involved takes Divine Wisdom. Sophia was whispering through the welcome. Jesus rose with the dough. God touched everyone at the table.

My Exploding Jesus

Today’s guest post is our second from Laura Beth Eschbacher, a freelance English teacher and translator living in Kleinbottwar, Germany. Today she shares with us a bit about meditation, Jesus and the multitude of ways we can see the Divine. 

Since my first yoga class in grade school, I’ve fostered a reverence for the idea of meditation. Truly peaceful and wise people always seemed to do it. Meditation meant self-knowledge, health, and fulfillment!

Too bad I never got the hang of it. I tried breathing consciously and reciting motivational catchphrases. I bought a giant yellow tapestry with an image of the Buddha and hung it over my bed, hoping it would remind me to be mindful. But I never set aside time to give mediation an honest try. It’s just an idea on my bucket list. Something I should do… someday…

But it worked one time. During the last few weeks of Lent last year, I joined an interfaith, but catholic-flavored prayer circle to swing myself back into belief after a few months of skipping church. One of the homework assignments was to choose a meditation from the list and try to spend time with Jesus.

I chose a scenario where you were supposed to imagine yourself a statue, a handmade creation of God. You couldn’t speak or move, but had to stand in Jesus’ workshop, and simply exist while he came in, inspected you, and looked at you lovingly. The point was to bare it all in front of Jesus and feel his acceptance.

But I felt violated. During the first few minutes, I kept thinking “why is this bearded guy with a robe walking in circles around me, staring at my body? I feel extremely uncomfortable and I don’t appreciate his inappropriate behavior. And why am I not allowed to speak?”

I felt restricted, being made of stone. A carpenter was eyeing me, and I couldn’t run away like you can when construction workers whistle at you on the street. Even worse, if I had imperfections, it was probably this craftsman’s fault. He and his father designed me, after all.

I felt agitated and frustrated. My mind screamed, “I want out! This isn’t helping me spiritually!”

In that exact moment, imagination-Jesus exploded. His body burst into music and a billion multicolored lights, swirling and forming beautiful patterns with the rhythm. I felt the lights whoosh past me in warm and cool breezes. My heart beat to the music, and I felt absolute freedom, absolute peace.

When the song ended I slowly came back to consciousness, sad to leave the cosmic particles and drumbeat behind. The feelings were still lingering in my heart as I returned to reality, and I thought, “Okay, what the hell just happened?”

When I look back, I think Sophia was reminding me that I don’t have to shove the Soul of the Universe into the Jesus cookie cutter. Perhaps God is the stars, the music and the forever-swirling of the cosmos. Perhaps God is Jesus and Buddha, heartbeats and light. Perhaps God particles are in all of us, little bits of the universe realizing itself and creating meaning. God could be so many things! Why imagine Her in just one way?

And if God can speak to me through a psychedelic acid-trip of a meditation attempt, then She can certainly speak to others in ways that I do not understand.

My Big Sister

By: Jenni Taylor

My big sister and I were always up at 7 am Sunday mornings. She would already have her lipstick on and her earrings in while I was stumbling around with a coffee mug looking for my lost flip flops. I’d somehow join her five minutes to 8 and we would grab a taxi to get to the church. It wasn’t far away, it was just nice to take a taxi in the mornings.

The church would be locked with a giant padlock which we would use to bang on the door. Eventually a tired looking guy named Benji would come open up for us. A couple of the guys from church would wake up from where they had crashed out on the platform and start to sweep and set up chairs. Sis and I would head to a classroom in the back and do our own cleaning up. Sweep a little, wipe off the desks, set up a small circle.

She and I were usually alone for the first five or ten minutes. We would talk about my students, or her kids, or whatever else. One by one the other girls would come in. Sometimes it was only three or four, sometimes ten or twelve. we would all smile shyly at each other and pull out bibles and notebooks. We were all friends of a sort, but it was Sis that really connected us together.

We would pray, and then crack open our bibles. Sis had a way of making the time fly by. She would show us verse after verse, and we would all scribble notes and kind of float back in a gentle peace. She does that to people, makes them feel all peaceful. I would be bouncing around a little from having caffeine too early, or start tapping my pencil against my thigh and get that look in my face when we read a verse that threw me off or drove me crazy. But Sis would always calm me down, always listen.

Two hours, sometimes two and a half, would go by easy. We would hold hands and pray at the end, and then go back in the big room where music was playing and other people were praying and singing. Sis and I would always hang in the back for a few minutes, close our eyes and soak it in, and then sneak out to the bright sunshine. This was our routine. Get a taxi, pick up my laundry from the laundry mat, and then go back home and make french toast.

I loved cooking for sis. She was always so happy about it, even if I burned the toast and lost the bacon and talked so much I forgot I was supposed to be cooking while I waved eggs around in my hands to prove a point. Eventually we would be sitting down, and she would be mixing the cinnamon with the sugar, and I would be talking her ear off. I’d talk and talk and then we would finish eating, and I would do the dishes just so I could keep talking again.

My sis is an adopted sis- or rather, she adopted me. She took me in and gave me a home when I was so very far away from the home I came from. The whole week we would be ships in the night, sometimes barely seeing each other at all, but Sundays? Sundays were ours.

When dishes were finally done and I had ran out of breath, she would give me the brightest smile in the world and tell me thanks for breakfast. Any time, I would say. And then we would both wander off to opposite ends of the house for the mandatory Sunday nap that happens when you live in a place of a heat index of 100.

I would leave the kitchen refreshed, rejuvenated, and free. Sundays were my favorite days, always. I had never had a sis before, and now I got one all to myself for a few precious hours once a week. Her peace would crawl into my heart and hug me tight, and last me just long enough to make it to the next Sunday.

We are far away from each other now, but I still think of her pretty much every time I eat french toast and crack open my bible. Journeys were never meant to be made all alone. Yeah, sometimes we get the help only for a little while, but it’s always enough and always in the nick of time.

I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have a sis like the one I have. But you, you reading this, you’re not alone either. Find someone to pray with you and talk with you. Don’t go it alone. Push yourself to learn just enough to share with someone else. Send in contributions here. We’re all ready to listen, ready to be your sister. And if you’re really lucky, I might stop by and make you breakfast.

Sophia Sighting: Manali, India

SAM_2200

By: Jenni Taylor

Location: Manali, India

I took this picture in Manali while visiting a Buddhist temple. Circumambulate is a bit of a funny word, one we don’t use very often, but refers to making a slow and somewhat meandering circle. People came to the temple and made their slow circle around, including a smaller circle around the prayer wheels. Sophia spoke to me through this funny looking sign.  Faith journeys may be frustrating, circular, confusing and sometimes seemingly without purpose. Sometimes it  feels like I am right back where I started even though I have spent  a long time travelling. But guess what? We are still growing, still moving, still learning and experiencing and going deeper, even when we don’t realize it. Nothing is meaningless or in vain. So, circumambulate, and enjoy the journey.

The Hard Way

Today’s guest post is from Adam Pracht who has learned to love in some hard situations. His previous post on Tiny Love was our first guest post ever. So once again here’s Adam with more on love from the streets of Chicago. He currently works and lives in Chicago.

 Love is hard to explain, and the best way to describe it, in fact the only way to describe this particular love, is to tell stories of my brief encounters with it and see if you can derive its meaning for yourself.

Sitting on the front porch steps in the ghetto on the south side of Chicago, I was sharing a blunt with my close friend, both a tattoo artist and a brother to me. His very well to do, middle aged neighbor walked by with his 3 year old son. Assuming there would be a snide remark or, at the least, a complete lack of acknowledgement, I was surprised when he instead sat down and talked with us for quite some time. I played with his little boy and felt little pieces of love on the steps as we talked about the city, about the weather and the human condition and kids these days.

When conversing with someone you want to get to know better, there inevitably comes a point in the conversation where you transition from small talk and filler questions to something personal, sometimes deeply so, or a topic that you both care a great deal about. The shift is almost audible. To me it’s reminiscent of dropping something heavy and soft off the roof of a building, and your heart feels big as you begin to talk faster.

Sometimes a tricky, busted-up kind of love can be found near reservation, by holding back or abstaining from the actions of love. For instance, not kissing someone even though you’re dying to, or distancing yourself from someone because you should, not because you want to. Sometimes you can only catch this one in retrospect, but if you look really, really hard you can see a tiny love, standing free among your contained impulses.

Even the tiniest things can be love. Maybe it’s something that teaches you how to love just a little better. Rather than bestow love to you, maybe it helps your love come through a little clearer.