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.