Time for a Journey? Heartbeat Scholarship Opportunity!

15663274275_4b25fc01a9_kHeartbeat is in search of people, young and old, who are wanting to make a pilgrimage to deepen their spiritual journey and enhance their efforts towards healing and transformation in the world. If you or someone you know are interested in a scholarship, please consider the opportunities below. Application deadline is 7 April, 2015.

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IMG_8076Ghost Ranch Program Scholarship

July 13-19, 2015 | $850 Award | Abiquiu, New Mexico
 
Additional cost to recipient: travel expenses and $215 balance due at Ghost Ranch upon receipt of award.
Description: In this signature week at Ghost Ranch, John Philip and Ali Newell ask how our great spiritual traditions– Christian and other– can access the well of the imagination again and thus deepen and renew the blessings that we carry in our lives individually and together! More event information.

Program fees include lodging, meals, and curriculum.

Instructions: Fill out the online form by clicking the link below and have a letter of reference sent to Ben Lindwall (ben@heartbeatjourneydotorg) by 7 April, 2015. A Heartbeat Selection Committee will review all applications and notify successful candidates by 17 April, 2015. The funds will then be transferred to Ghost Ranch in their name, pending the payment of the remaining $215 balance.
Many thanks to Ghost Ranch for contributing to the scholarship amount! 
Click here to APPLY
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Iona Program Scholarship 

19-25 September, 2015 | $750 Award | Isle of Iona, Scotland

Additional cost to recipient: travel expenses, lunch each day, and approximately $700 balance due (depending on exact exchange rates) at the St. Columba Hotel upon receipt of the award.
Description: Each day on Iona will begin and end with the rhythm of prayer and meditation together, either at the Abbey or elsewhere on the island. John Philip will teach on themes related to the oneness of the human soul and the healing of creation, asking what sacrifices we are to make in our lives as individuals, as nations, and as a species, if we and the world are to be well. More event information.

Program fees include lodging, breakfast, dinner, and curriculum. Because of limited availability applicants must be willing to share a room (if applying with a friend or family member, please indicate in the appropriate field on the application).

Instructions: fill out the online form by clicking the link below and have a letter of reference sent to Ben Lindwall (ben@heartbeatjourneydotorg) by 7 April, 2015. A Heartbeat Selection Committee will review all applications and notify successful candidates by 17 April, 2015. The funds will then be transferred to the St. Columba Hotel in the recipient’s name, pending the payment of the remaining balance.
Click here to APPLY.
Photo credit Caleb Dodson. 

“Prayer for Presence” and “Chant: As A Deer Longs” John Philip Newell

Drawn to Make the Journey

by Rebecca Button Prichard

We are all of God. Christ came to remind us of God. Just start somewhere. There is a seed in the rotten apple. Salve is akin to salvation.  Compass is akin to Compassion.

pilgrimage2

I first went to Iona in 1987 and have visited again and again.  I first met John Philip and Allie Newell in 1991 when I stayed in the Abbey during a week on Celtic Spirituality.  Our paths have crossed many times since then—on Iona, in Edinburgh, in New Mexico and California.  Over the years, I would say that I have “absorbed” and been absorbed by their wisdom in word and worship, in music and conversation. I have taken it in.

For me, a life long Presbyterian, Celtic Spirituality has served as a lovely complement and corrective to the rational, heady, orderly thinking of Calvinism.  Over the years, these two sides of my faith have become more integrated. I have come to believe that the Celtic goes much deeper than the Calvinist, just as the way of John has been eclipsed by the way of the Imperial Church. But they are not mutually exclusive.

I receive daily prayers from Heartbeat online and treasure this ministry. When the opportunity arose to spend a week on Iona on pilgrimage with John Philip, I felt somehow called or drawn to make the journey. As I said, I have taken in and been taken by books and prayers and teachings on Celtic Spirituality. When I was younger, I simply wanted to learn more and know more. This pilgrimage was not about gaining information or even learning in anything like an academic sense. This pilgrimage was about being in a certain place (Iona) with a certain group of pilgrims, with a teacher and guide who shared himself in a way that any of us, that each of us could take in and digest and ponder.

I loved the rhythm of the days. I enjoyed the conversations around the table and as we walked. I was happy to sit in the back of the room with my colored pencils and pens and doodle as John Philip spoke. I find this way of “note taking” much more helpful at this stage of my life.  What I needed to hear rose to the surface and I was able to create my own visual journal that will help me reflect on those times.

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Another highlight for me was the pilgrimage. I am terribly unfit and my knees hurt, but I had been hoping and praying that I could take part in the pilgrimage around the island. I had memories of doing this before and knew it would be a time of physical and spiritual challenge. John Philip helped each of us, no matter how fit or unfit, to find a way to take part in this time. Others encouraged me and walked with me and loaned me their sticks. When I finally made it to the rise above Columba’s Bay I was full of joy and gratitude. Even before JP suggested that some might want to stay in that place, I knew I would sit and pray and watch as others went down a steep slope to Columba’s Bay and back up again. In a way it was my favorite part of the day.  I listened to Scottish Psalms on my iPod and pondered both the Reformed and the Celtic roots of my faith. I took in my surroundings with prayer and thanksgiving.

I love the way it is all at once transcendent, mystical, accessible and relevant. 

For me the times of worship and prayer were also moving and rich. The body prayer we shared outside and at night was sacred time. The communion in the Michael chapel with singing led by Gillian was stunning.  I am an Associate of the Iona Community and I very much resonate with their worship. I love the way it is all at once transcendent, mystical, accessible and relevant. Worshipers are constantly reminded of the Spirit’s presence here, there and everywhere and of a world hungry for justice. As we sang the Sanctus on Sunday morning, I felt the presence of the communion of saints in a way I rarely have before.  All the saints, my father and Julian, George McLeod and the archangels.

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The week was a blessing to me–a time of growing, of quiet reflection, of challenge, of inner and outer change. I am “mulling” over these truths:  We are all of God.  Christ came to remind us of God. Just start somewhere. There is a seed in the rotten apple. Salve is akin to salvation.  Compass is akin to Compassion.

Here is my final prayer page, based on our silent walking the last day.  It says,

I want to be the heather that still blooms
from the gray gnarly stalks.  I want
to be the last of the yellow flowers
that will soon turn to shiny
maroon berries, oval, pungent.

I want to be those wrinkled
new buds about to open on
a tall brown stalk.

All this in the fall.

In the Autumn
of life.

 

 

May Your Love Be Born Again In Me | John Philip Newell | Prayer

e_CES0556In my mother’s womb
you knew me, O God.
In my father’s birth
and in the birth of his father were my beginnings.

At the inception of time
and even before time began
your love conceived of my being.
As you have known me
so may I come to know you.
As you prepared my birth
so may I make way for fresh birthings of your Spirit. As you sowed all things in love
so may your love for all things be born in me,
so may your love be born again in me.

John Philip Newell, “Sounds of the Eternal: A Celtic Psalter”, 82. Photo by Chuck Summers.

 

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The Core of the Human Soul | John Philip Newell | Isle of Iona | Christ of the Celts

JPNewellbyAnnFowlerby John Philip Newell

What is it we have forgotten about ourselves and one another? In the Celtic tradition, the Garden of Eden is not a place in space and time from which we are separated. It is the deepest dimension of our being from which we live in a type of exile. It is our place of origin or genesis in God. Eden is home, but we live far removed from it. And yet in the Genesis account, the Garden is not destroyed. Rather Adam and Eve become fugitives from the place of their deepest identity. It is a picture of humanity living in exile.

The image of God is the essence of our being. It is the core of the human soul.

At the beginning of the Hebrew scriptures, the Book of Genesis describes humanity as made in the “image” and “likeness” of God (Genesis 1:26). This is a fundamental truth in our biblical inheritance. Everything else that is said about us in the scriptures needs to be read in the light of this starting point. The image of God is at the core of our being. And like the Garden, it has not been destroyed. It may have become covered over or lost sight of, but it is at the beginning of who we are.

A nineteenth-century teacher in the Celtic world, Alexander Scott, used the analogy of royal garments. Apparently in his day, royal garments were woven through with a costly thread, a thread of gold. And if somehow the golden thread were taken out of the garment, the whole garment would unravel. So it is, he said, with the image of God woven into the fabric of our being. If it were taken out of us, we would unravel. We would cease to be. So the image of God is not simply a characteristic of who we are, which may or may not be there, depending on whether or not we have been baptized. The image of God is the essence of our being. It is the core of the human soul. We are sacred not because we have been baptized or because we belong to one faith tradition over another. We are sacred because we have been born.

Christ of the Celts, 2008 (Jossey-Bass: San Francisco) 2-4.

 

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Let Our Soul Breath Hope | John Philip Newell | Prayer

Monument Valley totem pole (h) crFor the freshness of this new day

thanks be to you, O God.

For morning’s gift of clarity

its light like the first day’s dawn

thanks be to you.

In this newborn light

let us see afresh.

In this gateway onto what has never been before

let our soul breathe hope

for the earth

for the creatures

for the human family.

Let our soul breathe hope.

John Philip Newell, Praying With the Earth (Eerdmans: Michigan) 15. Photo by Chuck Summers.

Did the World Save Jesus?

By John Philip Newell

Roofless Church, New Harmony, IN

Roofless Church, New Harmony, IN

In one of my last conversations with Jane Owen before she died in the summer of 2010, she said, “New Harmony saved me.” Some would be excused for thinking that I had misheard her. Was it not Jane Owen who had saved New Harmony? Was it not her conviction that had turned around this forgotten little town, transforming it into a place of new vision for the world? History will record what many people have already said, that Jane Owen saved New Harmony. And they are right. That is part of the truth. But a deeper part of the story is that New Harmony saved her. “New Harmony saved me,” she said, “because it taught me how to love.” She was a rich young woman from Texas, but here she found the objects of her love—the people, the place, the vision of a new harmony. It was here that she learned how to sacrifice. And so it was here that she truly found herself.

Because Jesus found in the world the true object of his love, and in giving himself in love, he found himself forever.

This is the deeper part of the story in all great lives. Many will say that Nelson Mandela saved South Africa. But Nelson Mandela would be the first to say that South Africa saved him. In the people of South Africa he found the object of his love, and in giving himself for them he found his true stature of soul. Many would say that Oscar Romero saved El Salvador. And this is part of the story. But the deeper truth is that his love for the people of El Salvador saved Oscar Romero. And in the Christian household, we hear again and again in word and song that Jesus saved the world. But must we not also say that the hidden part of the story is that the world saved Jesus? Because Jesus found in the world the true object of his love, and in giving himself in love, he found himself forever.

What is it that will save us? Who are the people, the creatures, the lands, the nations that will awaken our compassion, and who in awakening our love will awaken our willingness to make whole again? These are the ones who hold the hidden part of the story in our search for wholeness. These are the ones in whom we will find the key to love.

 A New Harmony (Jossey-Bass: San Francisco) 164-165. 

Harmony of Heaven | John Philip Newell | Celtic Spirituality

_CES1338In the rising of the sun and its setting,

in the whiteness of the moon and its seasons,

in the infinity of space and its shining stars

you are God and we bless you.

May we know the harmony of heaven in the relationships of earth

and may we know the expanse of its mystery within us.

John Philip Newell, Celtic Treasure: Daily Scripture and Prayer2005 (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids) 18. Photo by Chuck Summers.

Peace Prayer | John Philip Newell | Praying with the Earth

Mesa Arch close (h) crPeace for the earth and its creatures
peace for the world and its peoples
peace for our fathers
peace for our mothers
peace for our brothers and sisters.
The peace of heaven’s vastness
the peace of ocean depths
the peace of earth’s stillness

John Philip Newell, Praying With the Earth (Eerdmans: Michigan) 15. Photo by Chuck Summers.

The Cross and the Kiss of Choice

JPNewellbyAnnFowlerby John Philip Newell

Last year I gave some talks at a church in Minneapolis. Before the opening session, I was seated in a side chapel close to the main auditorium preparing myself in silence. The talks were going to touch on themes of sacrifice, of making whole again. And I was going to raise specific questions in relation to wholeness. Do we want to be part of transformation? And what are the costs of change, both individually and collectively? As I sat pondering these themes, I noticed on the front wall of the chapel a traditional Ethiopian cross with its large diamond shape at the top and narrow shaft connecting to a smaller square shape at the bottom. And I realized it was like a big key hanging on the wall in front of me.

In the Christian tradition, our key is the cross, or what Jung calls “the Christian totality symbol.” It opens for us the way of love, the truth of love, and the life of love.

In the Christian tradition, our key is the cross, or what Jung calls “the Christian totality symbol.” It opens for us the way of love, the truth of love, and the life of love. It connects for us what has been considered opposite—heaven and earth, the divine and the human, the one and the many, God and all things. It is the key of love. It is the key to transformation.

2002-21-1lgThis may begin to make it all sound simple. And I suppose it is simple. But it is not easy. The difficulty comes in using the key. The challenge ensues in taking it off the wall of our religious symbolism and making use of it in the relationships of our lives and the wider world. The test is in whether we choose to use it again and again and again, resisting the delusion that we will be well by looking after ourselves in isolation, by tending our own nation, our own species, our own tradition, to the neglect of the whole. It is what Teilhard de Chardin calls “the primacy of humility,” the greatness of bowing in love to what is deepest in one another.

The way of sacrifice cannot be imposed, for it is the way of love.

The way of sacrifice cannot be imposed, for it is the way of love. By its very nature it must be chosen. Hildegard says that we are “to act through the kiss of choice.” This is what ANC students did in loving their nation and paying the price of exile. This is what Jon Sobrino and his fellow Jesuits did in speaking out against the political abuses of El Salvador. They kissed the key to love. This is what our Mark did in the Glasgow terrorist attack in his willingness to sacrifice.

What is it that we will choose, and how can we strengthen one another to make this “kiss of choice”?

A New Harmony (Jossey-Bass: San Francisco) 165-168.