To be sin-free is to unblock all obstacles to lines of communication from God.
Our Holy Grail
“Each morning we must hold out the chalice of our being to receive, to carry, and to give back.” Peter Traben Haas
(please excuse this duplicate)
Medieval romances told of knights who went in search of the Holy Grail, the chalice used by Jesus to serve wine at his last supper (and some legends went on to say it also caught the blood from his side at his crucifixion). Some of the more popular stories told that whoever found the Grail would receive from it whatever his heart desired.
The quote above suggests that we are that chalice, that we have within us that which can satisfy our heart’s desire. Our task then is the same as that of the ancient knights. But rather than search externally, we need to search elsewhere.
Christianity points, as is true of all major religions whose basis is love, to something larger, something more wonderful still. The essence within and beyond the creative energy of the universe. The energy that beckons us to let it move through us in amazingly creative ways. The energy that longs to satisfy the deepest yearnings of our soul.
Organized religion falls prey to the same temptations inherent in all communities in the physical world: will to power and greed. The idea that for there to be winners there must be losers. That there must be rules and regulations, doctrine and dogma in order for belief in and worship of a higher power to triumph.
Physical life is an opportunity to allow the energy and creativity in our spiritual center to emerge and function uniquely in the material world through our personality. The energy of the spirit longs to mimic the activity of its source and thus become in union with the Ground of Being.
Fruit Production in Quarantine
Galatians 6:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.
We know without being told that there is a variety of gifts of the Spirit given to all God’s children (I Corinthians 12). And we’re comfortable with that because we wouldn’t want everyone to be a televangelist, for example.
But the fruits of the Spirit are available to all—every fruit mentioned in Gal. 6:22-23 can be produced in and through every one of us—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Notice that God’s directive in Galatians is not “so get producing, get to work bearing fruit.” As the Holy Spirit works its magic in us, the nine fruits are naturally produced.
This time of quarantine certainly prohibits us from being out in the world doing in ways we are accustomed to. We are even brought face to face with questions of identity without all the activities that usually take up our day planner. What an opportunity this is for God to get our attention! Undivided!!
I’m convinced that what God wants most from us is simply our being and our letting Him produce fruit in and through us. Quiet time gives the Holy Spirit a chance to plant within us new seeds of joyfulness, kindness, gentleness, and all the other fruit. Let us allow the Spirit to show us how to be patient and kind to ourselves, peaceful in our inmost being, celebrating the continued goodness of God in our lives. Then let us ask God for ways to offer that fruit to others.
Let us invite the Holy Spirit to invade our being with germinations we can’t imagine. Let us ask God to produce His unique fruit in and through us, that we might be more than ever our true selves. Let us release our former attempts to manage our orchard. God always has a better idea.
May we take a few quiet moments each day to let the Holy Spirit remind us that we are begotten of God and hold within us His essence. Therefore, seeds of all nine fruits are present in us, ready to sprout in new and mysterious ways.
I thank God that He is every moment working to make our fruit trees vehicles for His mercy and grace.
Ann G. O’Dell
reaching toward something
more real than I find myself to be—
reaching toward a light in darkness
toward a confirmation in the midst of doubt
toward fulfillment in a time of emptiness
toward something other.
Prayer moves in emptiness
moves below emptiness
to a place of silent stillness
where there are no words
but a sense of completion
as my “I am” dissolves into the Other.
Ann Glover O’Dell
13 January 2020
It is significant that Christmas is celebrated by us at the winter solstice–the point of shortest daylight and longest night. The nighttime represents our unconscious–the dark, hidden part of us that must birth the new being within us–the Christ into our personality. This birth comes only after a period of gestation within the unconscious womb. The long dark winter represents the long gestation period. The new birth occurs when the darkness is the longest, out of which comes the dawn of a new life. Only after the longest, darkest period in our lives can this new birth occur.
In the mythological story of the soul–the Christian Nativity narrative–the conception takes place in the spring, the time when nature exhibits her greatest fertility. Birth takes place in the season when nature manifests no sign of life. Most vegetation seems dead. Even light–the source of life–wanes to the point where the days are shortest and the nights are longest. It seems that light is being swallowed up in darkness, that life is being consumed by death. But out of this darkness–this womb of winter–comes something new and wonderful–hoped for, longed for, desired above all, yet not dared expected.
Darkness also represents the unawareness of our conscious to the light within us–the abundant life Jesus said he came to give. Jesus is the physical person who represents the spiritual person of God that wants to be experienced within each of us. The darkness of our conscious awareness to spiritual matters is such that it does not understand, expect, or even “have a clue” to the inner light that continues to shine in our soul even though we do not see it, do not experience it. We must finally experience our fill of darkness–become sick and tired–even despairing of looking for some sort of light to warm and illumine us. We must finally come to the “dark night of the soul” and cry out for light in order for God to be able to make us see and experience the light he placed within us before we were born–the light he begot us with–his own holiness.
Winter is the worst time to have a baby–cold weather, lots of germs and disease going around, little sunshine. It is difficult for a newborn to get a good start physically. Winter is the best time for a baby to be born for non-physical reasons: it puts a ray of hope and joy in the midst of our bleak mid-winter–a ray of human light into the short days and long nights of the year’s end. In the winter of our lives, when the days are short, light has faded from our lives. We need new light, a new kind of light.
How does birth of a newborn connect with the winter solstice? Think small. On the shortest day of the year, in the smallest amount of light, is born the smallest unit of human life. Solstice and the birth of Christ come together to point us to a celebration, not only of what has happened, is, and will be in terms of the patterns of earth and sun and a special baby born one winter’s night in a cattle stall, but of something that is designed to occur within our individual lives.
Not only do we celebrate the mid-winter’s lengthening of days and the Christ-Child as the “Light of the World.” We also celebrate the possibility of the coming of a kind of light the kindles a fire within us on the altar of our hearts–a fire that we shall never stop tending because of all that is provides for us: light, warmth, life, joy.
In Genesis we learn that out of the womb of darkness and chaos God birthed Creation. Out of the womb of the ark, new life began after the flood. Out of the womb of the great fish Jonah was given a new opportunity for life.
So out of our inner spiritual womb God wants to bring a unique Creation that only we can experience–His own holiness, placed within us before our birth.
In one sense Mary represents a part of each of us–the Virgin Womb–our Spiritual Womb–unused, undisturbed, unfulfilled–awaiting the planting of the spiritual seed–the seed of conscious insemination–our conscious desire for something new to be born in us.
God was preparing Mary’s heart long before the angel came to ask permission to plant the seed within her. God has been doing the same with us. And the message is the same! ‘Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’ Each of us is God’s favored one, his special, precious Child, to whom and in whom he wants to communicate great joy.
The physical is always a symbol for the spiritual. What we need is a spiritual frame of mind to perceive it. The physical rite of passage from virgin to initiated participant in sexual enjoyment–the fullest possible expression of human physical joy–gives us a clue to the kind of spiritual ecstasy God wants us to experience on a spiritual level.
This spiritual pregnancy is a different kind of pregnancy. Many biological children are conceived accidentally. Not so in our spiritual virgin womb. This conception can only occur intentionally–where our conscious gives permission to have the seed of new life planted. Our conscious will not only must want new life but must give permission for the incubation period to be as long or as short as needed, and for the birth to take place wherever it chooses.
This is not a nine-month pregnancy. The gestation period varies with each individual. And birth does not take place in a hospital labor room. It may take place in your own home, on a trip, or in a distant place. Your spiritual birthplace can be anywhere. Your womb will know the time and the place. You may be, in fact, already on the road to Bethlehem. I hope so.
An ancient Christian theologian penned this couplet:
“Of what value is God’s message to Marie [Mary, mother of Jesus]
if He has not the same message for me?”
God is trying to give us the same sign, send the same message to each of us. He wants a special birthing to take place in each one of us, each of us being his unique, holy, precious, only begotten child.
I was told by a former pastor that the pain in me had a message I needed to hear. He sent me home to have a written dialog which revealed that something new wanted to be born in me, and something had to die for the new being to emerge. The process awaited my permission. It depended entirely on my consent. God does not birth himself into our consciousness without our cooperation.
God wants to birth Himself into our awareness in such a way that we possess our own Immanuel, our own internal God-With-Us, God-Within-Us.
God’s signs are around and within us. If we don’t witness one, God invites us to ask for one, our own personal sign. The message to Mary is God’s message to us. He awaits our permission.
The Magi had been informed in their study that a new king would be born in their lifetime and a special star would appear in the heavens to indicate the birthplace. They waited and watched until they saw the star.
We are kings of our own kingdom, rulers of individual realm. We are not watching for a star because we’re not interested in a new king. We don’t want any competition for our throne.
But sometimes when we’re most introspective, we realize we would like something new and wonderful happening in our lives—we’re not sure what but something that will give us a kind of joy we haven’t experienced in a long time.
We need not look for a star in the heavens. Our sign is within us, beckoning us to the manger deep in our weary spirits, lighting the way for our conscious awareness to see something new, waiting for us to arrive so the new birth can be witnessed and celebrated.
Don’t be afraid to follow your sign to the place where only you can be reborn. All you need to do is give permission for the new king, your own benevolent monarch, to be born in you—to give you peace, to make you a co-creator with God in establishing a new kingdom of justice and love.
Hurry! The world needs the new you!
Ann Glover O’Dell
God wants to rename you. God wants your name to be Emmanuel. In your heart of hearts God wants you to be able to rename yourself. And the only way you can authentically give yourself that name Emmanuel is to experience God within you—to such an extent that you know beyond doubt that God is with you and within you.
The Jesus story is our story—the story of each of us as God’s holy child, born to testify to the love and grace of God. Jesus came to testify to who God is and who we are. Jesus’ life story showed us the love of God and the divinity as well as humanity within every human being.
Isaiah is your prophet! He is predicting all the names that will belong to you once your godchild is born in you.
Wonderful Counselor—you will be able to counsel others on how to connect with their Inner Wisdom—on how to participate in the birth of their own godchild. What a gift that will be that you will have to give others.
Prince of Peace—you will find a kind of peacefulness in your personality that will make you a new person. And the peacefulness that you experience will be evident to others who will want to know how you obtained it. You will have opportunities to help others to become peaceful people.
Emmanuel—God with us. That will be your most important spiritual name. It means God is with you and you are able to be with others in new and loving ways. You will be God’s representative to those with whom you come in contact. You will be able to rejoice with those who are rejoicing without envy over whatever has happened to them to cause them to be joyful. You will be able to grieve with those who are in sorrow without losing your balance. You will be able to be compassionate to those who need comfort, encouragement, and guidance without trying to control them. You finally will be able to be your genuine, original self, full of grace and love, God’s child.
Ann Glover O’Dell
What a beautiful word. Godchild is primarily a term given to an individual, a young child, whose spiritual life we agree to take responsibility for (and sometimes to become legal guardian of in case of parents’ death). The term suggests a reminder that this individual is God’s child whose spiritual as well as physical being is unique and special.
What about our own inner godchild? That’s the part of us that God wants us to find and watch over.
God imprinted us at our beginning with his image—indelibly. Frederick Buechner reminds us that we have “the mark of God’s thumb” on us. The world has covered it with debris of all sorts. But the imprint never dissolves or disappears. Just as all mammal infants experience the imprimatur of bonding, our souls are permanently bonded with God.
Our task is to let God destroy the debris, the detritus of our lives, so that what is in our holy place can come forward—so our godchild can emerge and become the motivating force of our new lives, become the all-pervasive essential characteristic in our personality.
What a perfect time Christmas is to ponder our own holiness.
Ann Glover O’Dell
Wisdom is seeing within/beyond the facts of visible reality. Children are wise because they live within the truth that will be hidden once they become part of the duality of the world.
We adults become wise as we rediscover where we were, who we were, what we knew.
Our task is to bring the duality of our world into unity—head and heart, thinking and feeling, will and imagination. We have an Inner Wisdom ready to assist us in that task. We just need to be open to it.
Ann Glover O’Dell
12 August 2007
The story of Jacob and the angel he wrestled with during the night is an intriguing one. In an ancient Jewish version of the story the angel asks Jacob for a blessing, not the other way around. Perhaps this indicates that they blessed each other.
Jacob is between what we know of ourselves and the other Self we don’t know. Each has a blessing for the other. Each is a blessing for the other. Wrestling each with each, determined not to release until the blessing wrested and fully given, reveals the name of one (I Am) and changes the name of the other.
Perhaps the wrestling matches in our lives hold potential for blessing both ways. Just as the struggle provides a blessing for our personality, our participating in the struggle may provide a blessing that reaches out into the world.
Ann Glover O’Dell
8 August 2007
Try looking at Jesus as a mirror of ourselves, who we were originally, who we essentially are now, the divinity within the humanity. When we see our godhood mirrored in Jesus, we are able to see that same godhood in others, or, if their divinity is so covered as to be unrecognizable, we sense that it is there—somewhere—along with its yearning to be made manifest.
Bob Goff often uses a real mirror, holding it up to individuals and instructing them to accept the fact that God loves them just the way they are. Then he tells them to see themselves just the way they are and make some choices about who they want to be.
Ann Glover O’Dell
8 August 2007
I once heard a convincing sermon on being vs. doing. The emphasis centered on man having been created as a human being first and foremost, not a human doing. We often move through life with the attitude that we must do in order to justify our existence. That was certainly my M.O.
A friend who is a practicing Christian told me once that guilt was his primary motivating force. That without guilt he wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning.
Is the God we worship a god who capitalizes on guilt and coercion to influence his children? I know this to be untrue. God is rather nudging us from deep inside in a different direction.
Since the essence of God is love, compassion, and presence, it is impossible for Him to try to influence from negative motives.
Man as well as all the rest of creation was pronounced good. Man, in fact, was labeled very good. So where did this sick mentality come from that says we are only as good as the good that we do? that we are only good as we produce?
I suggest that mentality comes from what might be called our antichrist—the consciousness that has been separated from our spiritual source. Let us reconnect with our Center, our goodness, our Self.
Ann G. O’Dell
28 July 2015
Is there any doubt in our minds that God wants us to be rid of guilt and shame and whatever obstacles called sin that come between us and an intimate relationship with Him? God cannot have the intimacy he wants with us as long as anger and “shoulds” rule our lives. There is no room for the joy He wants to give us.
John Claypool said his notion of God was a divinity who was so excited being himself that He couldn’t help but want to create creatures to share that excitement. How can God fully enjoy us unless we experience the excitement He feels in his creative endeavor?
Our first step is to want God’s excitement. Then to recognize that something in us needs to be destroyed. Then to engage our Inner Force in conversation to determine that is indeed a force for good and one that can take away what is blocking us from God’s joy. Then to cooperate with that Inner force by giving it permission to do in us what needs to be done.
God wills us to participate in our miracle of transformation.
Ann Glover O’Dell
17 September 2018
God’s ultimate questions to us are of being—not questions of knowing and especially not questions of doing.
His question to Adam and Eve about location (“Where are you?”) has greater bearing, not on the bushes they were hiding in, but rather where they were in relationship to Him.
Where are you spiritually? Where are you in relation to your real Self—which is, after all, God-within-you?
Elijah flees for his life after Jezebel promises to kill him. Then he decides he is no better than his fathers and tells God he is ready to die. God tells Elijah to stand before Him on the mount. And a great wind came and an earthquake and a fire. But God was not in the wind or earthquake or fire. And after the fire came a still small voice. We, too, seek a knowing in a still small voice.
God directs us through the psalmist to “be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). Notice the need to be still in order to know. When we know God, we come to know ourselves and the divinity in our being. We come to know that our being in relationship with God is his greatest desire.
Ann Glover O’Dell
I believe we are garbage collectors. No, we don’t deposit in a dumpster or a landfill. We don’t even use a trash compactor. We hold on to it and let it multiply.
A friend who is a committed Christian says he needs guilt in order to get out of bed in the mornings. He says guilt is his biggest motivator. Another friend tells me she is attached to her sins and can’t imagine letting them go.
One of my sons as a little boy announced he wanted to become a garbage collector because that was something everyone needed. On a spiritual level that is what God is (among other things). A garbage collector. But He doesn’t steal our garbage from us. He waits for us to offer it up. He waits for us to want Him to collect and destroy it.
What would life be without our garbage? We can hardly imagine. A heavy burden lifted? a sense of freedom? A clean slate?
In the enormous space our garbage occupied will come laughter, peacefulness, creativity, and joy. And if we miss our guilt and anger and want it back, God will probably help us conjure it up.
Ann Glover O’Dell
20 September 2018
Someone disagrees with my conviction that under the skin we are all much alike: we have the same fears, the same shame, the same anger, the same existential angst.
Further, I am certain that each of us has an Inner Wisdom, a force for good that wills us wholeness and can give us blessings we cannot give ourselves. This Inner Wisdom is available to all of us in dialogue.
I challenge you readers to prove me right or wrong. First, let me say that the folks I know who have engaged their Inner Wisdom are glad they did. Two I know who had cancer found the cancer no longer remained the hated enemy but actually disappeared. My own debilitating illness was also healed.
The dialogue with your Inner Wisdom is not a courageous act, not a leap of faith, not surrender. Your free will is never compromised. It is an interview—questions and answers. Your rational conscious self is in charge at all times and you can end the conversation whenever you wish.
Begin the written conversation with a question, keeping in mind that your Inner wisdom is concerned with your spiritual and physical well-being, not with tangible things you might want.
The first response from your Inner Wisdom might be, “What do you think?” and that simple question may very well cause your mind to begin thinking in a whole new way about something you thought you had exhausted.
As the dialogue continues, you may find there is something your Inner Wisdom can do for you that you cannot consciously do for yourself. And all it needs is your permission—your unconditional permission to do its work in its own way in its own time. You decide whether to give that needed permission.
If you do, save your written interview as proof positive later on when you want to demonstrate to others that you initiated something that changed your life.
If you give permission for your Inner Wisdom to act on your behalf, eventually I predict a catharsis will occur in your life, washing away whatever has kept you from experienced your real Self. And I hope you will report to me so I will be proved right.
Ann Glover O’Dell
7 July 2018
Many Christians today are not interested in what others describe as a second birth. But Jesus gives a graphic picture to Nicodemus about the spiritual birth that needs to happen before one can enjoy full relationship with God.
Nicodemus kept thinking in terms of something physical and Jesus kept talking about being born of the Spirit. Birth is the essential word because as our anger and guilt and shame are washed away, our new original Self is born in us. We are not the same as we were before.
Both kinds of birthing include labor—and pain. Our spiritual birth includes the tears and anguish of remorse of all that we have committed and omitted in our attempts to make ourselves into what we thought we ought to be. There has to be some rearranging of our personality—which has a similar trauma to the pain of parturition.
But just as a mother will declare, as she dotes on the infant she has born, that all the labor pains are worth the result, so one who has experienced spiritual rebirth will declare those labor pains produced something invaluable.
Your second birth awaits your cooperation.
Ann Glover O’Dell
5 August 2018
Throughout the Psalms the writers entreat God to take away their sin. And through the prophets God tells his people he will take their sin away. So what does that have to do with us today? Is anybody asking God to remove his sin, and does God’s promise still hold?
Many wonder if God desires to be active in the lives of mankind since few examples are seen. I argue that once we remember the secret and act on it, we can be recipients of the sin-dissolving grace of God. Remember the prophets who engaged in conversation with God? Especially the one who looked for God in the storm and whirlwind but found him in the still small voice? And Samuel who heard God calling his name in the night? And look at the example Jesus gave, repeatedly going to a quiet place to commune with his Father.
And Gethsemane. We have only one part of the conversation but we can imagine that God was making himself heard in that exchange. God’s secret, which is described throughout scripture, is the spiritual conversation God wants to have with us in order to initiate the cleansing we need.
Our free will is as important to God as his love for us. He will not override the will he has given us. Instead, he waits for our permission to do what is necessary to wash away all that is blocking us from joyful relationship with him. Our participation in God’s salvific act is what is required.
It is up to us to initiate the dialog that will give us the confidence in God’s power so that we will give the important permission. Take paper and pencil and begin with a question. You are always in control.
Ann Glover O’Dell
6 August 2018
We know what to do with our domestic garbage: set it on the curb at the appointed time and sanitation workers will take it away. What about our internal garbage—the kind that seems to increase no matter our attempts at removal?
Perhaps we think we haven’t yet exhausted all our ideas for removing the debilitating mess of resentment and unresolved grief inside us. Perhaps we think our angry tapes will simply self-destruct if we have enough patience. Perhaps we’re practicing detachment from our guilt and shame and hoping that will work.
The truth is we cannot by our own power rid ourselves of what has come between us and the Kingdom of God. We cannot set out on our spiritual curb a container of what separates us from the peace of God. Our spiritual garbage is none other than what scripture refers to as sin.
The psalmist declares that once God washes us, we become whiter than snow. The psalmist does not declare, however, that we are able to wash ourselves. If we were able to cleanse ourselves of our spiritual garbage, we might decide we had no need of God. God wants us to need him to effect the miracle of cleansing and transformation. And God wants us to participate in that miracle.
Ann Glover O’Dell
6 august 2018
I found her sitting for the last time
in that comfortable chair
on her beloved front porch
where each day for who knows how long
she has sat
observed the neighborhood
waved at friends
and enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells
of the place her home has occupied these fifty years.
“I don’t have a very good attitude,” she said,
as my heart filled with grief
and my mind’s eye saw the view
from her new “place”—tree-less commercial construction everywhere.
How can we not become attached
to place and things and people
since our nature embraces beauty in all?
How can we not meld into our environment
in almost indivisibility?
How can God’s Spirit compensate when
our oneness with creation is torn in two?
Oh, Lord, have compassion!
Ann Glover O’Dell
2 July 2018
Your Inner Wisdom awaits your engagement. Whatever you choose to call it—Guardian Angel, God, Higher Power, Holy Spirit, it is that secret inner part of your personality. The creative part. The part that cannot be controlled by your conscious willful self.
Your Inner Wisdom is a force that can do for you what you cannot do for yourself–make you into your original self. It is always a force for good. It wants health and wholeness for you and can give that to you if you cooperate.
Your cooperation is required in the form of giving your Inner Wisdom permission to do whatever needs to be done in you to make room for the goodness it has to give you.
You can glibly say to yourself, “Sure, I give permission for something good to happen to me.”
But that is not enough. In a written dialog you need to converse with your Inner Wisdom until you realize you want a new life with all of your conscious might. And you need to discover that your Inner Wisdom is a benevolent force. Then the permission becomes authentic.
You are always in control of the conversation. And can stop it at any time. There is no coercion. Your free will is left intact. The conversation is not surrender, a leap of faith, a courageous act. It is a dialog—questions and answers. Begin with any question and listen for a response from deep within you.
You are on your way to experiencing God’s special miracle for you.
Easter traditions abound all over the world, and they vary from culture to culture. Often people who observe them do not know their origins, but something in the individual and collective psyche of the people embraces and celebrates the traditions each year. Usually people don’t think much about them until some visitor asks.
In the West some of our Easter customs are even rather contradictory. Rabbits don’t lay eggs, yet every Easter the Easter Bunny brings them to fill children’s baskets on Easter Eve.
Germans immigrating to US brought the idea of the rabbit as the spring symbol of reproductivity. And they are also believed to be the ones who brought the idea of colored eggs. An ancient Teutonic legend states that the rabbit was originally a bird and was transformed by Oestre (Ostara, Eastre), the goddess of spring, into its present form. In gratitude for his transformation, the rabbit laid beautiful eggs each spring in honor of her festival. Our word Easter comes from her name.
Rabbit and egg give a double symbol of new life–and thus are exactly right for us. Some of us seem to need to be told twice–and in unusual metaphors. Trouble is, we seem to have lost our desire to investigate the metaphor. It sometimes takes internationals coming to this country to inquire as to why we engage in such a strange ritual, and even then some of us are content just to admit we simply don’t know.
Rabbit is an ancient symbol not only for fertility–since it reproduces so quickly–but also for the divine. This idea comes from ancient Persia to Africa and was brought to us by the slaves–in the stories of Br’er Fox, Br’er Bear, and Br’er Rabbit. Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear have great schemes for capturing Br’er Rabbit, and often do, but Br’er Rabbit’s wit always serves to save his life.
The rabbit is one of few animals that has no natural defense system and is easy prey for larger carnivores. But in some cultures it’s the very vulnerability of the rabbit that appeals as a symbol for the divine–the idea that God doesn’t come as king of the beasts but as a defenseless creature. The rabbit is a timid, harmless, peaceable creature, who will not retaliate, no matter the provocation. It has teeth similar to rodents but will never bite, not even in self-defense.
The egg has been used throughout history as a symbol of new life. And today in Eastern Europe Orthodox Christians exchange red eggs at Easter as a symbol of their faith, new life, and joy, red symbolizing the blood of life. In a number of countries the decorating of eggs has evolved into a painstaking and beautiful art form. Pysanky is a time-honored folk tradition, established in the Ukraine, handed-down from one generation to another, whereby intricate and beautiful designs in color and wax are painted on the shells of raw eggs. The wax seals the porous quality of the shell and eventually the egg dries up.
We need dig only a little into the soft soil of symbolism to discover that the Easter Bunny is much like St. Nicholas–a metaphor for the God who has good gifts for us–and the egg–representing new life–is one of the special ones. A passage from Luke has Jesus comparing the kinds of good gifts we give our children to the gifts God has for us. The lesson is that even though we can identify what are gifts good enough for our children, we cannot imagine all the good gifts God has in store for us.
In addition to everything else the Jesus narrative tells is the GOOD NEWS that we are EASTER EGGS–each one of us unique and precious, a gift from God. And each of us has a new creature–God’s holy creature, our original being, inside, wanting, trying to hatch out.
Some of us are a lot like the Orthodox Christians who paint over the shells of their Easter eggs. We are porous, vulnerable creatures, and we’ve tried to make our shells impervious to cracks, nicks, anything that might penetrate and further damage the already wounded self we know ourselves to be.
But there are individuals who have had egg-cracking, hatching out experiences. They identify with Humpty Dumpty but recognize they don’t need to be put back together because something wonderful has emerged.
The Ukrainian Pysanky eggs dry up eventually. If one of those eggs is kept safe from cracks, the yolk and white eventually dry up and the egg has almost no weight. We may get to a point where we feel life drying up within us. But God has a better idea for us than that. The Resurrection narrative tells us the shell must be destroyed so that new life can emerge.
Jesus was trying to patch up the brokenness of the world’s shell–by preaching, teaching, touching, healing, performing miracles. But that was not enough. God’s design was to show the world the human Easter Egg–whose body/shell, cracked and broken, opened the way for new life to emerge.
Whether we believe in the Easter Bunny is not the issue.
Whether we believe in John 3:16 is not the issue (For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believed in him should not die but have eternal life). The issue for us is the Easter Egg and the question it presents:
Do we want new life–in this flesh–in this body–enough to cooperate with the new creature within us that is trying to hatch out? to cooperate in stop trying to glue the cracks in our shell? to stop trying to paint over the vulnerable parts and protect ourselves from further wounds?
The spiritual pain and psychological agony in our lives is telling/begging us to quit gluing and patching and let the birth–the hatching out take place. This new creature within is like a little chick who has developed inside the egg shell. The chick must grow until it has a beak strong enough to penetrate the shell–from the inside out.
See how God likes to do the opposite of what we imagine.
Think about eggs this Easter season. Think about yourself as an egg–-with a beautiful new creature inside ready to hatch out. Think about yourself , already a beautifully decorated egg, having something even more beautiful inside that wants to emerge. Think about the real you pecking against the shell–from the inside. Think about letting your egg shell crack open and the new creature hatch out.
Ann Glover O’Dell
Sometimes babies are born in the most unusual places: a subway station, the back seat of a taxi, the corner of a crowded restaurant. We never know where a baby might choose to make his appearance into the world.
The pregnant mother makes all possible preparations, packs a little suitcase for her trip to the hospital, or lays out all that will be needed when the midwife arrives. A little nursery is made ready, a place for the infant to lie safe and warm. If there are available funds, colorful decorations are hung to attract the infant once his eyes are able to focus.
But all the time no one knows exactly when the baby will decide to be born—or how much in a hurry he will be to get here. Sometimes the mother has no time to travel to the clinic or wait for the midwife. She is not able to make the baby postpone his appearance but rather must cooperate with this child who is eager to become a citizen of this earthly kingdom. Babies generally have their own time-table and will not be thwarted in their determination.
The godchild within us is indeed one of those with a birthing mind of its own. We absolutely cannot predict when God will bring our transformed spirit into our conscious awareness. It is God’s secret, meant to reinforce his design and determination to have his way, to act on his own time schedule. And it matters not whether we have made any preparations at all. In fact, our ability to make any preparations is highly unlikely. This birth is God’s surprise for us, the best Christmas gift ever, whether it comes on December 25 or any of the other 364 days available.
Ann Glover O’Dell
18 December 2017
The prophesy and the Nativity story both give significant clues as to God’s intention and activity. The prophets talk of something new emerging from something old, of a culture where all animals live peaceably together with no danger to humans; of the appearance of one who manifests characteristics of Almighty God himself. The foretelling emphasizes the determination of God to make this happen and the energy He will use to bring this about.
Furthermore, God’s design, energy, and essence are to be known throughout the earth by all. The birth narrative confirms prophesy and impresses on reader/hearer alike that the new being is conceived and nurtured by none other than the indomitable will of God.
Are we ready to see that both prophesy and Nativity story are what we want to claim for our own? Not simply a belief system but rather transformative agents in our individual lives? If we want that it can be ours.
Do we feel old in our spirits and want a new beginning? Are we weary of all the conflict in our lives? Do we yearn for a peace that passes understanding? Are we ready to encounter the prophetic voice deep within us, to dialog with it to learn if it has a special annunciation message for us? If so, become the scribe of your own wise messenger. Ask a question and write the reply. Allow your Inner Wisdom to give you the information you need so that you may, as did Mary, agree to cooperate with the process.
Ann Glover O’Dell
18 December 2017
When God’s voice said, “Be!”
and all the guilt and anger in me vanished
I began to know as I am known—
to understand in deepest heart
that what our mind has told us we must do
can never be divine directives
because our mind attempts to be God,
not listening for his holy will.
When God said, “Be!”
He gave me new relationship
where tasting, feeling, sensing
takes precedence to thinking and deciding.
When God told me to be
I became a born again as Jesus once described
those apprehending life’s abundance.
Ann Glover O’Dell
20 November 2017
John Noonan says religion is for people who are trying to keep from going to hell and spirituality if for people who have been there and who don’t want to go back.
In order for us to be in intimate relationship with God, something that is not of God must die within us. As we witness that death, we experience our own personal hell. There is no way around it if we would truly know God.
Jesus told his God to work out his will. Jesus gave permission to whatever would follow. Jesus cooperated with God’s will.
If a death was necessary for God’s plan to materialize in the life of a man like Jesus, how much more is a death necessary in us.
Ann Glover O’Dell
22 November 2016
The rising sun each morning shows us a new opportunity to find a fresh beginning place in ourselves—a clean slate where we can allow the Holy Spirit to write us a love letter. We may carry fatigue or worry from the previous day, but the Spirit of God, that enormous benevolent energy, wants to give us, above, beyond, under, and through each new day, a fresh glimpse of what it means to be a beloved child of God in whom he takes great delight.
Ann Glover O’Dell
I’ve been trying to find a way to help children (and adults!) access their creative center in order that they might find what will inspire their spirits and give them passion for living. I’ve been thinking of creative folks who have found their passion and who might inspire young people to search for their own.
But I’ve had it all wrong! Creative people as would-be role models might do little more than increase the apathy, rage, and depression already dominating in many youth who may have already despaired of ever finding anything to bring them lasting joy.
The secret is to allow the creative center to express itself in us. And centering is the means by which we request and cooperate with our creative self which seeks to express itself benevolently and uniquely in every human being.
The quiet time of centering can be called calming time or peace-seeking—a time to detach from thoughts and feelings and relax all consciousness while sitting in a comfortable position.
Choosing a special word that expresses one’s intention is important and should be carefully undertaken. Invoking that word when the mind begins to wander down the stream-of-conscious will help to keep one focused. The word can be silently repeated as often as necessary.
Regular daily quiet time is necessary to achieve desired results. Gradually amazing changes will be noticed in one’s personality. Exciting ideas will begin to come forth. Little by little transformation takes place and joyful creativity emerges. A journal would be a good companion so one can begin to chronicle results.
Could it be possible that we, as transmitters of the energy of the universe, can enable that energy to multiply as it travels through us?
I like to think so.
First of all, we need to embrace the idea that this energy is a benevolent one, that it seeks our good and the good of all.
Recalling surprising coincidences can begin to show us how that energy can work to make our lives more enjoyable—and give us the desire for more of its miracles. We may not be able to specifically direct the action of this universal energy, but we can tell it what we want: to be open to its activity within us and its guidance of our choices.
Second, we need to find ways of opening ourselves to its coursing in and through us, ways of inviting it to work its goodness using us as its vehicles.
May there be each day
in all our lives
some moment when we are called,
nay, brought to the doorway
of our soul’s sanctorum,
where the physical, sloughed off
to reveal the spiritual,
fades for a time in the fog of memory
and our heart’s eyes see
as they have never seen before—
a thin space where truth
waits to be revealed
to the curious and the hungry,
and our heart’s ears hear
the message that only love can bear,
the message that we are beloved.
Ann Glover O’Dell
18 September 2017
At the seashore we ingest a sense of eternity—
the primeval rhythms of the sea against the shore,
the sea as the chaos from which all life came,
the depths of the sea as the mystery of whatever cannot be grasped or
the sea as the mystical power of God.
The sea-shore activates our senses and reminds us afresh of our humanity.
We marvel at the sight of the sea, which has looked the same
to countless generations who have witnessed it before us.
We hear the unrelenting pounding of the waves against the shore, booming
We touch the water, the seaweed, the driftwood, and the shells the sea brings
We smell the sea, its breeze unlike any other.
We taste its saltiness, full of flavor, full of life, of living creatures.
As our senses sharpen we become aware of the action of the sea:
a constant movement in the ebb and flow of the waves,
a surface that belies an undertow,
the movement of shells and creatures,
the movement that forces the shells to wear down and break,
the movement that causes friction, shell against shell,
the movement that smooths and polishes,
the movement that makes beautiful
even the fragments.
We, too, are worn down by the sands of time and the waves of adversity.
We have been broken by the action of circumstance.
We have become fragmented by the sea of life.
As we finger shell fragments, let us be reminded that we are precious to our Creator,
who wants to smooth and polish our rough edges, our painful places,
not to erase our scars but to heal us in a way that gives our scars a
and our lives a kind of loveliness that makes others want the healing
Let us submit ourselves to the caress of the sea,
the powerful sea of the Spirit of God,
allowing it to wash away what needs to be washed away,
allowing it to make us fresh and new,
allowing it to smooth and polish and broken fragments of our
lives and make us beautiful again.
Ann Glover O’Dell
Time and again Jesus instructs his disciples and others in his audience to listen. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” Jesus repeats. We have come to understand that for Scripture to have the greatest impact on our lives, we must ask ourselves, ‘what does it mean to me?’ Where is it touching me most deeply? Where am I most affected, and perhaps made uncomfortable, by the Scripture passage?
As we ask these questions, we are better able to see how God might be a part of the situation in the text—and my situation as well. We are invited to have a personal encounter with the verses we choose to read in the Bible, a prelude to the kind of encounter that God wants to have with each of us.
Look again at the parable of the sower and the soils. Many interpretations have been given of the various kinds of soil, and even the sower and the grain that finally emerges from the good soil. But this time you are invited to make your own personal interpretation.
Scripture: Matthew 13:3-8
A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Residents of Haven House, a residential treatment center for addition, were asked to listen carefully as the story was read several times and then share whatever they would of the responses they had and the insights that came to them as they pondered at a deeper level what the story might be saying to them. All of them related the story to their own stories.
One man noticed that the sower lost a lot of seed but gained a great deal in the end.
Another suggested that we need to plant ourselves around a church family so we don’t wither.
Still another suggested that the thorns in the story represent the wrong people we associate with.
One said it seemed to him that to do good, one has to give up something to gain something else.
Another said we must prepare our heart in a way that we have to prepare soil to receive the good seed.
And finally one said we don’t know how our crop will turn out but we want to be good soil so we can produce a good crop.
What varied and insightful responses! And all from individuals who chose to listen to Scripture with new ears, and with a heart ready to receive and embrace.
What about you? I invite you to choose a favorite Bible story and sit with it long enough to let it say new things to you. I believe you will be enriched by what happens to you.
(Note: A number of additional meditations are available on this website under Meditations.)
Ann Glover O’Dell
To see the Jesus narrative as our story does not diminish the life and death of Jesus. On the contrary, to see ourselves as God’s beloved child, with the capability of engaging in a unique relationship with God, just as Jesus was, can’t help but enrich his story. To see in the story not only the human/divine nature of Jesus but also the human/divine nature of all human beings is to complete the picture.
Our interest in all classic stories is enhanced by seeing something of ourselves in one or more of the characters. Both fiction and non-fiction give us opportunities to identify with real or imagined characters, to better understand ourselves, to see new paths opening up for us, to gain new tolerance and sensitivity to others’ situations, and to find comfort in sorrow.
The Bible doubles as Christian mythology where larger-than-life characters capture our imagination. We identify with Abram as he is called to leave familiar surroundings, with Joseph as he is scorned by his siblings, with Jonah as he resents the change of heart that occurs with the Ninevites. Classic literature and mythology always develop characters who embody some of our own traits. Otherwise, we could never identify with the tragic heroes as we do.
The soul we credit with belonging to every human being is nothing less than the essence of our divinity, the piece of God planted in each of us, not to give us bragging rights but to give us the abundant life Jesus spoke of, the ability to be the person God begat us to be.
A story presents so many more possibilities if interpreted on multiple levels. Can we not imagine that God wants us to glean the most possible from the stories told in Scripture? That God wants us to learn from the stories and characters to understand more about who we are and how He loves us? Oh, let us imagine greatly!
Barcelona architect Antoni Gaudi disdained Christianity as a young man. As he developed, however, into a keen observer of nature he began to recognize beauty everywhere. He came to attribute all to God’s creative energy and sought ways to honor and publicize what he had found.
Project after project repeated his narrative of beginning in the darkness and moving upward to the light. He sought to demonstrate the natural world in interior as well as exterior architecture, using forms and lines from nature and an extraordinary play of natural light through stained glass. Magical whimsy became his hallmark as he invited viewers to enjoy the playful fungiform structures and mythological reptile creatures he produced.
May we follow Gaudi’s lead, observe the activity of our Creator’s energy in nature, and see ourselves as His beautiful handiwork as well.
“ Behold the lamb of God that taketh away the sins. . . .” The consciousness of man, whereby God can be fully known in the flesh, is the lamb of God—God’s most precious gift to man (and with it his free will). This is what must be sacrificed—made sacred. For genuine intimate communion with God, man must be made sacred, must be transformed into God’s original design—not pre-consciousness but rather full conscious awareness.
This full conscious communion with God becomes possible as man freely offers his conscious will to God. God gives man his pure lamb of consciousness, hoping man will, after having made a demi-god of it in service to his ego, offer it back to God to be re-purified, made sacred, as only God can.
Our task in this God-man relationship is to “behold” our willful ego that can no longer provide for us what we most want— peace of mind and inner joy. “Behold” in ourselves what needs to die—what needs to become the blood sacrifice—the gift to God—made pure and sacred by his power and returned to us in a sanctified relationship—a communion of our spiritual essence with the essence of God. That communion of essences is indeed the holy meal that God wants to share with each of us.
Ann Glover O’Dell
23 December 2014
(note: The story of one person’s transformation experience may be read on this website under BOOK entitled Humpty Dumpty Hatched.)
We are seasonally out of sorts.
Winter did not come
and spring has usurped summer
o’erleaping gradual emergence
making handsprings of blossom
cancelling whatever June
might have had in mind.
Praise God for liturgically
wedding us to predictable chronology
where Easter follows Lent
regardless of the weather.
And after Resurrection plus five o
praise God again
for giving feast of fire and air
grounding us afresh on Mother Earth.
Our wings are lifted up
Our spirits fanned to flame
Our breath the breath of God
We see ourselves as burning bush
And repeat our own “I Am.”
Ann Glover O’Dell
20 February 2017
I washed the window of my mind
and sitting on the sill, looked out
for views of inspiration from my muse.
Parades gave me nothing as they passed
and wondered I where else to cast my eyes.
Suddenly a fine wind blew the casement open
and circulated dizzingly within
upsetting applecarts of art work
and opinions collected
during years of trips and education
contributing to theologies tried and true.
This fine wind sifted through it all,
blowing the stale and stagnant
into ingenious incinerators
then distributed assorted rainbows
as it exited toward the sea.
Ann Glover O’Dell
13 February 2017
that large leaped word
that bounds o’er time and space
and new makes the all of me.
An instant only needed
the Spirit took to do its work
within my still frail frame.
The memory repeats its pulsing
through the channels it devised
keeping me aware always
of once upon a time
the moment I became made new.
Ann Glover O’Dell
17 March 2009
Tidings of great joy
for you are being born into
a being fresh and new
scarce aware of space prepared
are knitting infant clothes
and humming lullabies
and all the while
of the miracle
you are become
Ann Glover O’Dell
26 June 2009
“Fear Not! I bring you tidings of great joy!”—tidings too good not to be true—tidings all about you—tidings meant just for you.
“For unto you”—into you—within you—is waiting to be born this day right here in the city where you reside, in the home where you dwell, in this life where you live—your new bring—the holy babe that is the essence of God—the God-in-you that is your soul—birthed forth into your consciousness.
For within you this very day is the God child you always were, waiting to be born unto you
“And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the babe!” What assurance! We shall find our babe—no hesitation, no trepidation, no uncertainty. You shall find the babe—you, each of you, individually, shall find the babe—the babe that is you—the real you. There is no question about the outcome if –if you want to find the babe—if you follow the signs to the manger.
You shall find the babe, wrapped in swaddling cloths, wrapped very carefully in very special swaddling cloths—the protective, nurturing bands made especially for newborns, for warmth and security, swaddling cloths that only you can provide, swaddling cloths that only you will know how to provide, swaddling cloths that will be your top priority to provide for this new being which is the real you.
You shall find your babe lying in a manger. Lying in a manger—a rough unfinished bin—an unswept stable—might we say the unredeemed depths of your being? Lying in a manger—not just any manger—your manger, your rough bin, your unswept stable, your unsanctified depths.
And this will be a sign for you—you will find your babe lying in a manger—a place not far from here, in a place only you can find, in a place God is leading you to find, in a place you shall find.
Where is your manger? Your rough bin? Your unswept stable? Your unredeemed depths? Just listen. Listen and look with the ears and eyes of the heart. Listen for the ache that stirs deep inside you, the longing to feel fulfilled, the yearning to be—to be glad just to be alive—to be free from anger, free from guilt—to be—a new being—fresh and whole and cleansed, to be real, to feel loved unconditionally.
Listen for the ache and go to that spot. Listen for the message it has for you. Heed its instructions and you will be led to the manger—your manger—where you shall find all you ever wanted to be—and more.
And then what happened in the story? We’re told that those who went in search of the manger, after told by winged messengers not to fear, were transformed into laughing, dancing, shouting creatures who praised God for the miracle. That miracle is you!
Ann Glover O’Dell
23 October 2011
“The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:7)
Zeal indicates to me great energy, enthusiasm. The “zeal of the Lord of hosts” says to me that God’s great desire is to bring forth something special—someones special—you and me.
In spiritual terms this suggests the bringing forth of the new being in each being, the full being, combining both human and divine natures.
Scripture doesn’t say the Lord wishes this were so or hastens to ask man to effect the desired outcome. No, Scripture says the Lord will do it—will do it through His zeal. An additional promise from God, suggesting an additional covenant initiated by God. A covenant with the articulated response on man’s part: that God be allowed to carry out His desire. The individual freely chooses to cooperate with the process. God asks us to give permission, just as did Mary in the Nativity story, out of our free will, to let Him use our spiritual womb.
The ‘Savior’ is the part of our personality that transforms us by dying. The ‘Savior’ is the best we know ourselves to be—the part that needs to offer itself to God in order that God might accept it, purify it, and return it to us as part of the best He knows us to be.
23 December 2014
On this website under Meditations I have posted nine dealing with Christmas themes. I hope you will want to take a look at some.
We can use Jesus as our model in our relationship with God and ponder his use of “Abba” when referring to his father. God wants to be the same kind of parent to us as he was to Jesus. He invites us to use whatever name to call him that will evoke for us what “Abba” did for Jesus.
Our task is to find that name, invent that name that represents what we need God to be to us. Then use that name in periods of quiet when we are open to experiencing God in greater depth. We are to embrace that name as our secret with God. We are to allow ourselves to grow into the deeper relationship that the name affords
Praise to Thee, O Lord, Creator of the Universe,
Who brings forth from your earth womb all life.
Praise to Thee, O God, Sustainer of the Universe,
who gives life the abundance Thou designed for it.
Praise Him who places godhood
in the center of our being.
Blow Holy Spirit, Wayward Wind,
with all thy special power
come stir again the old desire
in us who yearn to flower.
Rain into us the fullness
of the morning dew
made into streams
that penetrate our roots.
Make green the carpet of our days
that we, lured into verdancy,
might sprout new buds
and bloom as never even
once upon a time we dreamed.
Press down upon us sunshine
of the vision in your mind
of who we were and are and yet to be,
always within the firm embrace
of thy mysterious trinity.
Ann Glover O’Dell
30 May 2002
What do we make of grace?—
that mysterious component
of the one we call The One?
And ‘the call of Grace’ that beckons our response?
Does ‘grace’ define forgiveness
or contain something more?
Does ‘grace’ include compassion?
And share equal bill with love?
Perhaps the call of Grace
an invitation hand-delivered so-to-speak
by Holy Spirit messenger
disguised sometimes as heaven’s hound
full cognizant of needed scent
whose Master has but to loose the bonds
that hinder him from leaping forth
to find the trail and once come near
nip at our heels until we turn relenting.
Ann Glover O’Dell
19 September 2016
HOW CAN WE BE AT PEACE?
How can we be at peace when
spirit’s doors are locked against it?
Locked and bolted ‘gainst
we know not what for the
unknowing makes us fearful still.
Fearful of whatever lies beyond
paltry presumption of control
beyond concentrated consciousness
that knows so little
understanding even less.
Fearfulness that lies in wait
albeit quite against its will
for frequent fear is nonetheless
predictable and anxious huddling
in its womb is still more
to be desired than any sort
of openness to expectation’s
swaddling cloths of vulnerability.
How senseful that our fear
that chronic lodger
continues welcome with its stale
foul breath and stained attire
when we the landlords
with our legalese
could if we dared
advertise our “rooms to let”
and interview new prospects
always with the veto power
tightly clutched within our ring of keys.
Ann Glover O’Dell 19 April 2004
NOT AS THE WORLD GIVES
‘Not as the world gives’
is your peace you said
yet we would be
content just now with
what the world defines
since such unpeacefulness abounds
we cannot entertain the notion
of a state within
when all about us
life’s demise looms large.
Power plays take center stage
and those rehearsing roles
soon star in great performances
surprising e’en themselves
with prowess and precision patterning.
Oh greed where is thy pain
which piercing self to inner well
of generosity so makes our
more to be desired
than much fine gold?
Where is the understanding
of that peace not understood
by mortal minds but mandates
light’s deep penetration of the
soul’s storehouse of truth?
Is there a spirit energy
encased within your peace
to show the world the way?
Ann Glover O’Dell 20 June 2004
Oh, One, who once in time blessed
world with your creation
who promised greater blessing
to begotten and beloved
who blessed with beckoning finger
a journey from the known into adventure
who blessed with ripe womb fruit
the barren and despairing
then tested trust by bid progenicide
who staged new blessing by surprise deception
dishonor and a wrestling match
who blessed by rank denial the boons requested
and blessed again with secret benediction
the ones you named your one and only ones.
Oh, One, come bless again!
o’erturn the graves of hatred
revive still births of spirit
spill out the coffers’ gold.
A Jubilee we seek, we need
where all now cleansed and shining
is ready for the new creation song.
Ann Glover O’Dell 4 June 2002
As one of the primary attributes of God, compassion is also one of God’s greatest gifts to us. The more intimate our relationship to God becomes, the more compassionate we become in our relationships with others.
Compassion suggests a great deal more than sympathy or empathy. Compassion means to passion with, to share the passion of the other—be it fear, pain, sorrow, or despair. The word has its roots in the womb work of reproduction. When we are compassionate, we participate in the creative work that each kind of passion produces.
What an opportunity we have each time we allow our innate wombedness to participate with another’s. Something of God’s goodness is sure to result.