Hope this finds you on the other side of some genuine Sabbath time. Now that our homes are the site of so much work and external connection, it can feel hard to separate the two. We’re sharing this brief collection of ideas for contemplative practice and creative engagement in the hopes it might generate a space for reflection and imagination as we welcome the new week:
An Oldie But Goodie: As we all seek to carve out a new rhythm of life in these times that feels healthy and nurturing, it seems like an ideal time to fall back on the good old practice of The Awareness Examen. Please see the link below for an excerpt from our Discernment Guide describing the practice and instructions, or you can read more about it online here. With social distancing recommended until at least the end of April, it might be a good time to take stock each day of what gave life and what drained it, as we all seek to set patterns that will sustain us over the coming weeks and months.
Something we can do together apart: Below are two links for a prayer walk we orchestrated for our All Day Fun Day last year which took participants around the UT campus.
Most participants did the prayer walk at about the same time, but we had two different routes, so everyone walked the routes solo. Anyone is welcome to use our walk, of course, but perhaps it’s something that could be replicated in the neighborhood of the church or congregants could devise a route in their own neighborhood around a common liturgy. Feel free to borrow our prayers or concentration points if that’s helpful. For our purposes, our focal prayer points were: people seeking vocation, wise use of technology, the environment, a right and just world, and the church. For community members without that level of mobility or freedom of movement, perhaps they could partner with someone over the phone and take turns sharing places or memories that represent the focal points of the prayers to them. For every memory or location a partner offers up, the other partner can offer a prayer. I think for all of us, movement out of close or confining quarters is essential right now, even if it’s just by engaging our imagination.
Memorization/Meditation: I’m taking this challenge with my kids, as committing anything to memory has become a) totally foreign to me and b) is such good exercise for our brains at any age and doable across a huge swath of the age spectrum. I’m including a verse and a prayer/blessing so take your pick, or go ahead with your overachieving self and file both of these away on lock:
This week’s verse: “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.” (Psalm 138:8)
This week’s poem: “A Prayer Among Friend”s by John Daniel
And speaking of poetry, I would be remiss if I didn’t share this stunner “Keeping Still” from Pablo Neruda with each of you. I was on a call with some of our young adult leaders earlier tonight and it was shared in closing, and I wanted to share it with you post haste. Here is an excerpt to tuck yourself in, or wake up inspired: