Friday, May 27, 2011

Prayer- Try Mini-Home Retreat

While the weather is nice, why not try a mini-home retreat outside? Schedule two hours in your day to spend in a mini-retreat. Follow this schedule to put you in a retreat frame of mind:
  •  First 30 minuets Engage in some kind of centering prayer. This could be yoga, the Daily Office, listening to music, journaling, or simply sitting and drinking in the moment.
  • In the next hour, spend some time practicing Lectio Divina.
    • Choose a piece of Scripture for today’s sacred reading—perhaps from Morning Prayer or from a devotional.
    • Ask God to bless your time.
    • Read the Scripture slowly and attentively several times.  It is recommended that you read it aloud at least once
    • Ask God what God would like to say to you today?  It may be a verse, a word, or an idea.
    • What would you like to say to God in response?

  • When you have completed this, spend the next 30 on a nature walk mediating on the way God might be calling you during this time. 
  • After resting a few moments with the Divine Presence, give thanks and go on your way, carrying with you throughout the day the words you have shared.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Worship: God in a Shop

It’s relatively easy to worship God when we are in a beautiful building, surrounded by stained glass, religious art, and moving music. Everything we see, hear and even smell—for those in an incense-friendly liturgical church—is designed to turn our minds and hearts to God.

There is a big world out there beyond the walls of our sanctuaries, and God can seem less obviously present in it. We sometimes think of buying and selling as the antithesis of faith, but if faithful people operate a business ethically, with awareness that “All things come of you, O God,” including the business, merchant work can also be an act of honoring and praising God.

I was recently asked to perform a blessing for a business whose owner is clear that it is a gift from God, that her ability to work is a gift from God, and that the creative talents of the artisans who stock her shop are gifts from God. We prayed for God’s presence in the building, for peace and prosperity for those who work there, and that visitors will also be blessed. So we worship intentionally with our work throughout the week as well as on Sundays and holy days.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Prayer: Endings and Beginnings

A wise person once said to me that endings are as important as beginnings. If we only begin things, we either leave everything unfinished or we exhaust ourselves, trying to do everything at once. The AMEN--let it be so!--at the close of our prayer, sending it forth to God, is as important as is the beginning, when we invoke our Merciful and Holy One.

Endings provide space and stillness, where we can rest and listen, and allow for the germination of new beginnings.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Prayer and Worship: Write an Icon

Some of us are involved in writing an icon this week. Fr. Peter Pearson is teaching us, using an icon of Mary Magdalene, The Apostle to the Apostles. See Fr. Peter's website for more information.

It is amazing to watch the face of a holy person arise from a flat white board. And even more amazing to know that with your brush and paint, your hand is touching the cheek or hair or hand of a saint.

Traditionally, icons are "written" not painted, because they are considered to be a visual form of Scripture. And an icon comes "through the hand of" its writer.

Even at the stage of the line drawing or "cartoon", the icon figure's eyes gaze out at us, while we are looking at them, reminding us of the immediate and compelling presence of the Holy. As an Eastern Church hymn sings, "Come let us worship and fall down..."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Prayer: for a child

We have been praying all day for a lovely little girl, in and out of surgery at least twice today.

Pray for C. and for all the children who are ill. And pray for the medical staff who work with them so tenderly.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Prayer: Grieving for Violence

The news today is full of reports on the killing of Usama bin Laden, some of his supporters and at least one civilian who was being used as a human shield. Whatever your opinions on the issues, this is a time for sober and sorrowful reflection on our human tendency to violence.

Pray that God will comfort and heal the victims of violence. Pray that the Prince of Peace will change our hearts and minds and turn the whole human race away from our violent natures.