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Thursday, June 12, 2014

I have just discovered that not only is this Friday, Friday the 13th, but there will also be a full moon. This has not happened since 2000 and will not happen again until 2049. The chance of a full moon falling on a Friday and on the 13th is less than 1%, so yes, rare.

How often do we see through eyes that something in front of us might be rare…or unusual? We say, it’s just another day, it’s just another meal, it’s just another trip to the gas station. But we never think about the rarity of these phenomenon, probably because, on the surface, they’re not. We put gas in our cars, go to the grocery story, eat a meal 100s of times in our lifetime. Why would we call them rare?

I have just finished talking about Buddhism with the women of the Thursday morning Bible Study here at Kairos-Milwaukie. Part of the practice of Buddhism is what is called “mindfulness.” Another way to say it is, pay attention. Basically, be in any given moment, and not project upon the moment what you think it should be, but observe the way the moment(s) are unfolding.

Now for some I imagine, meditation has always sounded a little woo woo. But I’m so into woo woo. All that means to me are surprises in the everyday that make me stretch just a little more. Sometimes the stretching feels a bit like a torture device, but I always learn about myself at these times.

I remember listening to a speech in Toastmasters, the public speaking practice club, from someone who is not religious at all, but researched just how rare it is for a human being to be born. The odds of one sperm actually making it to the egg and then fertilizing it is apparently very low. I’ve seen the number. It’s 1 in 400 trillion (the odds of parents meeting, same people having sex, you get the idea). We are a miracle. We are rare.

It’s easy to find unhappiness in the world. But what would happen if we looked at each other as the miracles we are? What would happen to President Obama and Congress???

Jesus was about being rare. After all he performed rare occurrences, miracles. He spoke of the Kingdom of God in a way that was unusual. He was a model of someone who paid attention to what was going on around him.

Buddhists practice paying attention. They notice the impermanence of things. One certainly does not have to be a Buddhist to observe. It can feel a bit scary. I certainly get wrapped up in the drama of life, the worry. But also know what I’m missing when I don’t pay attention. Being mindful is not something anyone needs a degree to do. It just takes noticing that the moment you’re living in will never come again—it is rare, so I invite all of us to take a few more moments in our day to notice the rareness.

Peace be to all of you.

Joanna

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Kairos-Milwaukie UCC Blog

Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary by Rev. Rick Skidmore and Rev. Jim Ogden.

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