Thursday, September 8, 2011

Prayer, Service: Sometimes all you can do...

I confess. I really do try to be the kind of person who waits faithfully and patiently on the Holy One. Really, I DO try (smiling at the incredulous noises from those who know me). But sometimes all I want to do is get in and fix a problem. Despite my grandmother's wisdom, patience is not one of my virtues.

When I hear about the child brides in Asia, I want to fly over and rescue them. I want to start a campaign to share our food with the starving in Africa--and, incidentally, get a plane to take it over. I want to wander the streets at night and take some hot soup to our homeless friends. I want a magic wand to cure cancer and poverty and abuse. I want all those good people who are trying to help each other not to have their hearts broken or their spirits broken, either.

But I can't. I can do little things that will help a little. And support those who are doing the big things.

Before, during and after the doing, sometimes all I can do is pray. Sometimes that's all anyone can do.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Prayer: Family Circle Prayer Time

Today we started what I hope will be a new daily routine for us: Family Circle Prayer Time. This idea came to me a few days ago when we went to Delia's Montessori Orientation and they spoke about the need for consistent routines for the child of 3-6 years of age. One of the many ways that this style of education incorporates that value is to have "circle time" at the beginning of every day. In this time, they greet one another, talk about what they will do today, check in with everyone and set an intention for the rest of the day.

So, I decided that it would be great to apply this model to our own family routine. We already have a well established prayer time at our meals and when Delia goes to bed, so this felt like a great way to continue that pattern. 

We start by creating the space and setting up a circle that we all sit in on the floor of our prayer room. The we light a candle and start our prayer time using the "Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families" form in the Book of Common Prayer. For the scripture reading we read a story from Delia's Children's Everyday Bible" which has a different one-page story for every day of the year. Then we add our own prayers for the day, our loved ones, and ourselves before we sit for a little silent prayer. We conclude with the Lord's Prayer and a collect also from the BCP. I already love this tradition and found it really helped us to set the right tone for our day.

Give it a  shot with you family! 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Prayer, Service: Touching God's Foot

During my sabbatical this summer, I had the great privilege of working
on some icons related to Transfiguration. In Fr. Peter Pearson’s classes, we
wrote an icon of the Transfigured Christ, one of the entire
Transfiguration scene, and a small one of Our Lady of Kazan.

Who says that you cannot touch God? The slow, methodical and
prayerful painting--more accurately the “writing”--of an icon allows
me to enter into the spirit of the holy person or holy scene being
painted. And it is astonishing to realize that my fingers touch the
foot of Jesus or the cheek of Mother Mary through the medium of paint.

Iconographers are fond of saying that in an icon, the light comes from
within, rather than being cast by an external source. Gazing at a
holy face, I sometimes feel that I am in shadow, and long for the
Uncreated Light to shine out on me.

As I continue to contemplate the profound mystery of the
Transfiguration, after having spent weeks with it, I am reminded yet
again that as Christians, we are also called to Transfiguration.
Tabor’s light may glow from the faces of the saints, but it is God’s
intention that it should shine out of ours as well. Part of
our vocation is a commitment to becoming One with Christ’s Light, and
offering ourselves as a channel for that Light to everyone around us.

In my humanity, I have many times when I am cranky, self-centered,
addicted to various things (work, lounging, fill in your own favorite
vice). But if the people with whom I live and work never see at least
a glimmer of Light in my life, I have to wonder about how well I am
fulfilling Christ’s command to carry the Gospel to the world.

The Feast of the Transfiguration calls us to reach out to God and to
set aside those things that shadow us from transfiguring Light. It
invites us once again to pray for the Divine Assistance in making the
changes we need to make, and not to resist God's work within us. And
it comes with the guarantee that some day we, too, will enter into the
joy of the Holy, following in Christ’s steps.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Prayer: Yoga Meditation

As you know from previous posts, I love to do yoga. I find it to be a great gateway to meditation and so I am always looking for new ways to practice it. I recently picked up Tara Stiles new yoga book and found her YouTube channel and her work inspired today's meditation. The question she posed for our guide today was, "If you are always running trying to get where you are going or escape your past, where are you right now?" So, after doing her routine for meditation, flexibility and relaxation, I held that question up in prayer. It was very fruitful and I left feeling like the "now" I am in is grace-filled and loving. Where are you right now? I would love to hear some answers to this one!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Prayer: Color a Mandala

Today I needed a little centering, so I chose I new mandala pattern to color. It was very relaxing. Mandalas are a wonderful way to help turn off our busy minds and add colors to represent our prayers.  Here is the pattern I used:

The triangles reminded me of the Trinity. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Worship: Christmas in July!

Get ready for Christmas in July! We will be celebrating the joy of the
Incarnation this Sunday at the 9:30 service with all kinds of fun
festivities. Please bring your favorite Holiday cookies or snacks to share
at the coffee hour where we will be singing carols around the tree. Don't
forget to wear your Christmas finest and/or your tackiest Christmas sweater
for a "Christmas Clothing Contest!" The Joy of Christmas knows no season!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Prayer, Worship, Service: St. Benedict's Rule

On July 11, a number of Christian denominations will commemorate the feast day of St. Benedict of Nursia, often called "The Father of Western Monasticism". In his Rule, written in the mid-sixth century, St. Benedict describes a balanced way of life, dedicated to guiding a community to live in Christ. With its recommendations for work, prayer, study of Scripture, rest, and life together, Benedict seeks to create a school for God's service. In some ways, he might be the patron saint of this blog!

St. Benedict's Rule has been a model for many Western Christian monastic orders. But it also provides a wise foundation for any person's life in Christ. Or for a parish.

His sensible, and sensitive, approach to spirituality is more popular than ever. Keeping in mind that there are cultural differences between our world and the world of the 6th century, a reading of this tiny book, composed with a great number of quotes from Scripture, can help us structure our lives to "prefer nothing whatsoever to Christ. And may he bring us altogether into eternal life." (The Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 73)

Read more about The Rule at the Order of St. Benedict's bibliographic page on The Rule.

Sr. Joan Chittister has written an excellent book with a contemporary translation of The Rule, and some commentary. Selections are available online The Rule of St. Benedict: Insight for the Ages.