Sunday, August 21, 2016

Who Am I? by Rev. Dr. Barbara Billey, Priest ARCWP, Heart of Compassion International Faith Community (Windsor, Ontario, Canada), Aug 21, 2016

Who am I? While having a sense of who I am can help us find our way in the world as a young adult, this question seems less relevant as we deepen into our spiritual journey. It requires us to put ourselves and others in categories and to imagine differences, leading to all kinds of "isms" - sexism, racism, and ageism, as well as war and other violences. A more primary question might be: How are we receptive to a Loving God who breathes us?

Far removed from self-limiting, ego-identification, our true identity is one with Holy Essence. Jesus, our brother lived this knowing; the Cosmic Christ presences us in this reality. However, our tendency is to define God as God is defining us. How? Often by holding onto our favorite theologies, the doctrine and dogma of our faith tradition, and how we think we know God through our experience.

What does Divine Mystery seek? Twelfth century mystic, Meister Eckhart invites us to deconstruct our definitions of God: "The highest and loftiest thing that one can let go of is to let go of God for the sake of God."

When we limit God to absolute terms (e.g. God the Father), we limit our Divine potential and that of others. Separation from one another can become both soul suppressing and collective violence; surrendering is the antidote.

In her recent book, Come, Drink Deep of Living Waters: Faith Seeking Understanding in the 21st Century, theologian Barbara Fiand (2016) identifies with Holy Presence who "calls us from within even as it encounters us from without. We touch it as our center and from there are moved beyond ourselves. Unsolicited [and often] unexpected it embraces and holds us, and yet it sets us free. It grounds us and releases us simultaneously" (Fiand 60).

This Holy "It", a Living God, intimate but ineffable, is always re-conceiving us for new seeing and being. In truth, we can never fully know the answer to Who am I?

Barbara Billey, M.Ed., M.A., D.Min, Windsor, Ontario, Canada is a registered psychotherapist and art therapist who presences a wide range of youth and adults. As a priest with the Heart of Compassion International Faith Community, she facilitates inclusive liturgies using sacred arts as a bridge to the Sacred. An urban priest and compassion activist, Barbara is mobilizing citizens to seek adoption of the Charter for Compassion by her local municipal government. Through the Wisdom Women Circles of Compassion Initiative, she supports the empowerment of young women from several faith traditions using creative expression. She was ordained a priest with ARCWP on July 25, 2015.

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