Formation Resources: God In You, God In Me

by: 
Bob Scott, Kathryn Carroll, Dr. Kathy Bozzuti-Jones

Flowers in stained glass

Hello, friends,

On the Broad Way Bible Study video conference call this week, one thoughtful participant reflected, “I’m getting used to our online gatherings — we are keeping the faith that we had when we were together in person!” The way she articulated what we had been doing since March struck me. Of course, we’ve all been thinking about how to nourish and build up our community — rather than just “cope” — during these unsettling coronavirus isolation weeks. But for her, what we were doing was a kind of safekeeping, with a direct line to our shared faithful connections from the past, not merely making the best of a virtual reality. I found her words to be comforting and instructive, as we continue to imagine creative ways to honor our mutuality while separated. I wonder if you have any thoughts to share about what has helped you and challenged you, in terms of “keeping the faith” from home? One way or another, please be gentle with yourselves and make some space for compassionate self-care, even as you are reaching out in communion with faithful friends at Trinity and beyond.

Blessings and peace,
Kathy

Kathy Bozzuti-Jones
Associate Director, Faith Formation and Education

 

 

This Sunday
 

To prepare for Sunday, see this week’s readings and download the worship bulletin.

This week, Fr. Matt Welsch is introducing Family Worship: Home Edition, a simple service for families to follow at home.

Each week, we’ll share a song of the week to help you go deeper with each Sunday’s theme. The playlist will be updated weekly, and the song of the week will sit on top. (You can also watch a video of a live performance of this week’s song.)

 

Children and Families Resources
 

What If God’s House Is the Body of Christ?

Kathryn Carroll, Interim Program Manager, Children and Families

I remember some days, before…when I used to feel like I couldn’t wait to get home after busy days of commuting and work. Now, my house has become my whole world. It almost feels like an organism unto itself; a cell, or body. Last Sunday we read Psalm 23 which ends with, “and I shall dwell in the house of Lord forever.” Today in John’s gospel, we heard some more about “dwelling places” in God’s house, and Christ dwelling in other people. What do you imagine God’s house looks like? What if God’s house is the body of Christ? What if God’s house is your body? Look at this picture of the dot person and the words all around. When you imagine _____________ (one of the words), where would that dwell in your body? Draw lines from the words to the places in your body you imagine them to dwell or to be expressed. Feel free to add your own words.

Family Coffee Hour

Children and families are invited to gather at 12:15pm on Sunday for Family Coffee Hour, complete with show and tell and conversation games. This week: “Who is in your mirror?” RSVP to Kathryn Carroll at KCarroll@trinitywallstreet.org by 11am on Sunday. Come as you are from wherever you are. All are welcome!

Sing with Kathy!

Just like the disciples after Easter, we, too, can see God’s face, hear God’s voice, and grow in love. Sing along at home to “Open My Eyes, Lord” by Jesse Manibusan.
 

Family Coffee Hour
During Family Coffee Hour, Kathryn Carroll invites families to join in a worldwide movement of children sharing hope!

 


Youth Resources
 

Trinity Youth Meet-Up

Even though we can’t meet in person, Trinity Youth are still showing up for one another! Wednesdays at 7pm, Fr. Matt Welsch is hosting a weekly drop-in call along with Karla Chee-a-tow, Jenn Chinn, and Damali Lewis. All Trinity Youth are invited to join us — whether you can stay for the whole call or just hop on for a few minutes when you’re able. Please text or email Matt at MWelsch@trinitywallstreet.org  for more information or to get the link so you can join the next call.

J.K. Rowling on Imagination

Watch J.K. Rowling’s commencement address at Harvard.

 


Adult Learning and Discovery
 

Read this commentary on John 14:1–14 by Alex Wimberly that reflects on connectivity during this time of pandemic.

Reflect

It may be time again to ask ourselves questions of how we connect with the world. 

  • What media do we consume, and do their views affect our perspective? 
  • What social and socioeconomic networks are we a part of without acknowledging? 
  • What voices and stories do we simply not hear because we are not tuned in to certain channels or not listening to “irrelevant” discussions? 

Pray

God of the world we create, God of the world you reveal: may our way be not of escape, but of further connection. May our life be not for ourselves but for you and others still. May our truth be not what we shape it to be. Instead may we accept the stranger and more glorious truth of what already is: a greater world available through your divine and selfless love. Amen.

—Alex Wimberly

 


Adult Practice
 

Family Coffee Hour
Kathy Bozzuti-Jones’ home altar.

Becoming What I Am: “I Am In God; God Is In Me.”

Dr. Kathy Bozzuti-Jones, Associate Director, Faith Formation and Education

Many years ago, I was introduced to a simple breath prayer: “I am in God; God is in me.” Or — it may go the other way around, but it always comes to me in this way when I pray; inhaling the first phrase, exhaling the second. Lately, I’ve been thinking that this is the perfect prayer. An essential prayer. A prayer that says as much about God’s indwelling as it does about my identity. A prayer that says as much about who I am today as it does about who I want to become. The awareness of divine connection invoked in this prayer connects me to practitioners in other wisdom traditions, too. And all in eight little words.

When I first began to pray in this way, I taught it at small group prayer meetings, as well as at my weekly gathering of preschool children at St. Bart’s Chapel. My hope was that, because it was easy to remember, the children might recall it one day, later in life, and have a felt experience of “Ahhhhhh, I know this to be true, deep within me.” They wouldn’t know what it meant at ages 3 and 4, but they loved it just the same. And let’s be honest: Do we know what this prayer really means? Let alone what it implies for how to live a good life? Still, I know it, in my heart of hearts, to be true: I am in God; God is in me.

This prayer arose spontaneously in me one night, not long ago, as I watched a one-man play called The Gospel of John at the Sheen Center in the Bowery. It was the entire Gospel, performed verbatim, but for a few added mentions of setting and orienting details. The actor had explained his decision to memorize the Gospel over a period of years, until it was, in a sense, in him. The experience of hearing the entire Gospel, told as if St. John were recounting a life-changing story, was so satisfying. It landed on my heart very differently than the short Sunday readings do, each Johannine passage wrapped in poetry and mystery, resembling a Zen koan. I couldn’t wait to watch the play again — and the second time, I attempted to quickly transcribe it by hand, hoping to hold repeated words, themes, and structures in my body memory.

Since then, John’s Gospel has seemed less opaque to me, and John’s ongoing series of mixed metaphors make a certain kind of sense. The actor had evoked in me an experience of the patience and consistency of Jesus as he revealed his identity, over time. And this enabled me to sense a shift in tone and rhetoric as Jesus neared the end of his time on earth. At least that is how it was portrayed. These are not the words, exactly, but this is my impression of the sheer exasperation of the Messiah: Who am I, you ask?! You are still asking me this? Do you not know me? Have you heard a thing I’ve been saying? I have been with you! I have walked with you. I have taught you. I have shown you. I have prayed with you. How can you not see that I am the One for whom you have been waiting? I am one with the Father. I am in Him and he is in Me. What don’t you understand? I AM the way to the Father. I am the One. I am the Gate. I am the Truth. I am the Life…I am with you, right now, and I am showing you the Father — and you still ask me! If you know me, then you know the one who sent me! 

Okay, okay, I get it, now, I thought. This gave me the insight that the little prayer of mutual indwelling that I have loved is a kind of shorthand for John’s message. In John 14:17–19, Jesus spells out what this will come to mean for his disciples: “This is the Spirit of truth…You know him, because he abides with you and he will be in you.” In other words, I am in God; God is in me.

We have been called to participate in the divine self-consciousness of Jesus. Christ is the healing presence of the Divine in us, here and now. Why is it so difficult to believe that we are divine? We are created in God’s image, we are constantly being divinized, constantly being transformed into divine life, says the Indian Jesuit contemplative S. Painadath in The Power of Silence. When I become more deeply conscious of the breath of God breathing through me, I begin to create the inner space for the divine Spirit to transform my human spirit.

It seems another case of “now-not yet” akin to the Kingdom of God, which we believe is here, though not yet fully realized. The great medieval Dominican mystic Meister Eckhart would encourage spiritual seekers toward fullness in this way: “Realize who you are. Your being and nature is divine. Become what you are. Go on your way.” 

The call of the spiritual life is to realize that the Divine Spirit is transforming my life into Divine Life. The Gospel of John assures us of our identity in God, right now. And it assures us of our telos, our end, our goal. We are in God; God is in us. The spiritual life is about realizing the dignity of our created stature as God-bearers, as much as it is about real-izing (making real) the truth of our calling to grow in God by being the Way, the Truth, and the Life for others.  

Julian of Norwich said that “we are not just made by God; we are made of God.” If this is so, our work is to turn inward, as Jesus did, when he went off to sit in silence with his Father — so that we are so tuned in, so open-hearted, so aligned with God’s will for us, so attuned to God’s dance with us, so grateful for the gift of discovering our true selves within the divine space inside, that we allow our ego fixations to fall away. If God is in me, may I practice setting my ego aside and making more room. If God is in me, may I practice bringing my awareness to God’s abiding Presence, moment by moment. God abides in me as I abide in God. Recognition of this deepest truth changes everything. 

Something to think about: How would I move in the world if I truly believed that I am divine and being divinized, each and every day? How would I engage with others if, connecting to the divine depth of the present moment in prayer, I were moving ever toward the compassionate Source of all my action? And how could I recognize this movement in another person?

Additional Resources