Reading: Part Two — Lifting the Cup
We lift the cup of life, to affirm our life together and celebrate it as a gift from God.
The beautiful, poignant, and compassionate sharing among those gathered here has already demonstrated that we are, as Henri writes, willing to “…lift up our cup in a fearless gesture, proclaiming that we will support each other in our common journey…” In this virtual space we are already creating community. This week Henri challenges us to grow in our understanding of the nature of community and its importance to the spiritual life using three memorable examples.
1. According to Henri, “Community is a fellowship of people who do not hide their joys and sorrows but make them visible to each other in a gesture of hope.” And what does community look like? He uses the example of “one big mosaic portraying the face of Christ…(where) each little stone is indispensable and makes a unique contribution to the glory of God.”
Henri reminds us, “…when we live our life for others we not only claim our individuality but also proclaim our unique place in the mosaic of the human family.” Then he asks a probing question: “Do we have a circle of worthy friends where we feel safe enough to be intimately known and called to an always greater maturity?” Henri concludes, “We need community, a community in which confession and celebration are always present together. We have to be willing to let others know us if we want them to celebrate life with us.”
In this section you might review Henri’s words and the mosaic as they may apply to your life experience. Look at the groups to which you belong, and consider which of them are communities as described here. Reflect on the times when you have lifted the cup of your life with those communities and the blessings that you have received. Looking ahead, are you prepared to trust in the love of God and “…willing to let others know us” so that true community can result? What steps have you taken or can you take to build community in you life?
2. Henri illustrates the power of community by telling the wonderful story of lunch with Trevor. According to Henri, “Trevor’s toast radically changed the mood in the Golden Room…. Trevor did what nobody else could have done. He transformed a group of strangers into a community of love by his simple, unself-conscious blessing.”
You might want to think about the players in this story — Henri, the hospital chaplain, the hospital staff, Trevor, and each of us as the readers. How do the various players view and experience community? What do we learn about them, and ourselves, as the story unfolds? Did you develop any new insights about community?
3. Henri concludes his reflection on “Lifting the Cup” with the example of Bill’s Life Story Book. Henri writes of Bill, “Over the years he has created a life worth living.” Henri describes the celebration of Bill’s life that accompanied the completion of Bill’s book. He asks us to look at our own lives and dare to say, “I am grateful for all that has happened to me and led me to this moment.” Moreover, he challenges us to “take all we have ever lived and bring it to the present moment as a gift for others, a gift to celebrate.”
To begin you reflection you could consider the celebration of Bill’s Life Story Book. Then take a look at your life experience. How have you created a life worth living? Reflect on your life–the joys and the sorrows–and lift it up, ponder it, and find cause for celebration and gratitude.
Once again, the reading this week is deceptively simple and rich in meaning. The three topics just discussed are merely suggested reflections for your consideration. We are interested in your comments on these suggestions or something that touched you. Of course, you are also welcome to follow along silently. We are blessed by your presence.
May the Lord give you peace.