Wholly.

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JAMES.

In this morning's time of Silent Prayer & Meditation, we read a passage from the book of James. I've loved this particular book for a very long time now. It is like the New Testament version of Proverbs. Meaning, it's a collection of Wisdom-sayings, but after having encountered the revelation of Christ, directing us to love, bless, and pray for our enemies because we are recipients of God's intimate and relentless love and blessing.

I also love the book of James because James was Jesus' brother. They grew up together! While Jesus was alive, James (it would seem) was not a big fan. That tension wasn't so much Pharisaical, but familial; brotherly. Having grown up in church, that resonates with me a little. It's a touch of drama that I like pondering. But after his brother's death and resurrection, James abandons those tensions and sees his older brother as someone bigger than just an older brother. What a beautiful story arch.

Christians come to respect James deeply. He is wise and says profound things. His book is a collection of those sayings and it's wonderful to know how they come from someone with intimate knowledge of Jesus' character.

WHOLLY.

James begins his book with:

Consider it wholly joyful, my brothers and sisters, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be people perfectly and fully developed, lacking in nothing.
– James 1.2-4

Lacking in nothing.” That's the American Dream. But it looks so remarkably different from what James is addressing. He's valuing endurance, steadfastness, and patience as freedom, rather than the collection of possessions, status, or comfort. This is the Christian journey.

This "lacking in nothing" is something Paul describes in Philippians 4:

I know what it’s like not to have what I need. I also know what it’s like to have more than I need. I have learned the secret of being content no matter what happens. I am content whether I am well fed or hungry. I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]

This is a glimpse at what Jesus defined the purpose of His life as, “so that you may have life and life in abundance.” It is a life of relationship, intimacy, peace, and love that transcends circumstance. It is ultimate freedom and enjoyment.

In James 1 we get Jesus' brother's wisdom and insight into that Contemplative Christian Spirituality. “Consider it wholly joyful.” God desires that we fully know and comprehend peace, love, and happiness. And God knows that as long as we confuse those dispositions with circumstances, rather than right-relationship with Him, we will remain frustrated. So Jesus teaches us, “seek first God’s residence, and all these things will be added to you.” May all our other desires come second as we seek God’s residence within us before anything else today.

Why Are You Here?

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There are few passages of Scripture that stay with me like the story of Elijah’s journey to the Gentle Whisper. I’m constantly reminded of it whenever I experience my own wanderings, winds, earthquakes, fires, or Gentle Whisper. It has created a guide for my understanding of circumstance and God, as well as my ability to detach the two without declaring either absent.

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “Why are you here?”
– 1 Kings 19.11-13

I believe that passage is applicable to every single person at any moment. You’re either experiencing a search (like Elijah up the mountain), the winds of circumstance, earthquakes of disruption, fires of passion and confidence, or the Gentle Whisper. Most people go their whole lives mistaking God as any one of those things prior to the Gentle Whisper. This mistake sadly deafens us to the quiet, humble nature of God’s voice in our lives. Hearing it takes space. Space in our schedules, minds, hearts, and lives. Those other things just fill space. We need to make room.

As of late, I’m drawn to what the Gentle Whisper asked after the journey, earthquake, wind, and fire, “Why are you here?” 

It’s a strange question from the One who called him to that place. It’s also the same question God asks Adam and Eve after they ate the fruit. And the same question Jesus asks the blind person asking for help. These questions all have “obvious” answers, but that is often something God calls into question.

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Why are you here?

God cares about us knowing the answer to that question.

How I answer it will tell me a lot about my outlook on life. Do I look at the circumstances leading to now? If so, I may be living in the past. Do I look at the possibility of purpose in present circumstances? If that’s true, I could be looking at life as a win or lose game of chess meant to be mastered or controlled, rather than an experience to be fully immersed in. Or do I look at it as a question of my character, motivation, and internal conditioning? To the heart, is where God will always direct our attention.

The “why” in why I am here is a vulnerable one. When I stop blaming my past or idolizing or fearing my future, “why” I’m here takes being okay with having complete honesty with myself. Why am I here? What are the subtle motives, fears, and ambitions moving within my heart as I seek God?

The answers to that question have revealed idolatry, hypocrisy, and anxiety within me. They also tell me what kind of god I’m really praying to: one that works for my insecurities. A false, me-centered god. I’ve projected that psychologically damaged image of god onto Christ for years. And I still work at removing it. As it is purged, something new can take place in that new vacant space: Love, healing, and connection.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
- 1 Corinthians 13.12

It is important that we are known. Why are you drawn to God? Why are you drawn to church? Why are you drawn to the bar? Why are you drawn to solitude? Why are you drawn to chaos? Why are you praying the prayers you're praying? Why are you here?

May we make room to hear our own answers to those questions so that we can set them down to listen to the Gentle Whisper in our own lives.

When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. … And when you pray, do not keep on babbling … for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
– Jesus, Matthew 6:6-8
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Beware.

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thorn-bushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them."

– Matthew 7.15-20

Inside of us we have an array of versions of ourselves: courageous, fearful, anxious, loving, faithful, doubtful, and so on. If we aren't aware of it, one version of ourselves can come to us as a wolf in sheep's clothing. A thought declaring an action or mindset to be beneficial or satisfactory that will in reality only bring us harm, division, and more want. This is where and when we can learn to lean on the intuition of the Holy Spirit dwelling within. Where are there thorn-bushes and thistles in our hearts or minds? What is it (the fruit) that we really want to see? If we beware of them, we can grow in becoming more aware of Christ's presence, wisdom, and love in our lives, which is the very fruit we will see begin to grow.

Image.

Taken while on retreat at Sky Farm Hermitage in Sonoma, CA.

Taken while on retreat at Sky Farm Hermitage in Sonoma, CA.

Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech. They came and said to him,
"Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone's opinion. You do not regard a person's status but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or should we not pay?” Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at.”
They brought one to him and he said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They replied to him, “Caesar’s.” So Jesus said to them, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” They were utterly amazed at him.
– Mark 12:13-17

Whose image and inscription is this?” This response was so amazing to this crowd because they knew whose image and inscription was on the coin and Whose image and inscription is within them, Genesis 1.27, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them,” and Jeremiah 31.33, “Declares the Lord, ‘I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it.’"

When we objectify and over-identify ourselves with “Caesar”, country, status, emotion, or even opinion, thought, or theology, we give ourselves away to something that isn’t fitting of our true identity, made in God’s image with the Word inscribed on our hearts. “Whose image and inscription is this?” That is a question we should be asking of ourselves and our actions every moment of the day. “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

Hidden.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
– Jesus, Matthew 13.44

There are things hidden in the familiar, overgrown, and forgotten places in our lives that, if looked for and found, would overwhelm us with joy. We'd give up everything else because everything else is just an attempt to make for ourselves what is already waiting for us and can only be found. God's presence, the kingdom of heaven, is hidden but waiting to be found. Where can we start digging? How can we start searching beneath the surface? The answers to those questions should be deeply personal and intimate. Let's start there!

The Simple Way. - Wednesday Silent Prayer & Meditation

Wednesday mornings we're inviting people to meet with us at Taborspace in SE Portland at 7am, but we're also welcoming individuals to take part remotely. Tuesday evenings the plans for Wednesday mornings will be posted here. We believe that life is better together, however we can make that happen. Please consider making this a regular part of your weekly practice.

We know that it is tough to find communities centered on Contemplative Christianity and hope this serves as a support for individuals who don't feel like they fit inside or outside of the church, but still haven't given up their seeking and knocking.

 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

 

S A C R E D  R E A D I N G

R E A D - Without bias, assumption, or expectation; fully and simply listen, with your mind and heart; read through the passage at least twice

R E F L E C T - Is there a phrase, word, or impression that stands out to you? Sit with it for a minute (Refrain from overanalyzing; keep it simple)

R E S P O N D - Allow God’s inspiration to emerge as a brief prayer, even just one word (Again, keeping it simple, remaining centered on Christ rather than on your communication to Him)

R E S T - Simply be with God. Spend a few minutes practicing being as present to God as God is to you. Silently. Humbly. Lovingly.

 

The Lord and his disciples were traveling along and came to a village. When they got there, a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down in front of the Lord and was listening to what he said. Martha was worried about all that had to be done. Finally, she went to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it bother you that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!”
The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha! You are worried and upset about so many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is best, and it will not be taken away from her.”
– Jesus, Luke 10.38-42

 

H O M I L Y

Worried about all that had to be done.” Our culture often praises and cultivates multiplicity. The more you’re doing, the more you accomplish, the more successful a person you are. It’s no wonder we’re a generation defined by anxiety. And many get distracted with thinking anxiety is the problem, rather than the mindset nurtured by the world around us. How often do we bring our justified worries and anxieties to Jesus and allow him the opportunity to tell us, “You are worried and upset about so many things, but only one thing is necessary,”? Jesus’ words and life direct us to a way of freedom and simplicity. To simplify our whole being down to on thing: Love. Unending, uncompartmentalized, and fearless Love for God, our neighbors, and ourselves; in all, and through all. There is hardly a single thing in our world encouraging us to live with this fullness; except for the voice of Christ calling out to each and every one of us. May we take the time to be simple today. To declutter our minds and schedules so that room can be made for simply loving God, our neighbors, and ourselves.

 

S I L E N T  P R A Y E R

Make space for your mind to slow and be still. If thoughts grab for your attention, use a passage, prayer, phrase, or word to bring a focus and allow those distractions to pass without passing judgement on them or yourself. This time of “effortlessness,” which can feel like requires a lot of effort, is an act of trust in God that is engaging our whole heart, soul, mind, body, and strength. Simply aim to be as present to God as God is present to you and trust that that is more than enough.

When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. … And when you pray, do not keep on babbling …
– Jesus, Matthew 6:6-8

Pray without ceasing.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:17

 

 

T W E N T Y  M I N U T E S  O F  S I L E N T  P R A Y E R

 

C L O S I N G  P R A Y E R

Oh my God,
I want to love You;
Not that I might gain eternal heaven,
Nor escape eternal hell, but Lord,
To love You just because
You are my God.
Grant me to give to You
And not to count the cost;
To fight for You
And not to mind the wounds;
To labor and expect nothing in return,
Except for the knowledge that I serve my God.
– St Ignatius of Loyola

Joined to Christ - Wednesday Silent Prayer & Meditation

Wednesday mornings we're inviting people to meet with us at Taborspace in SE Portland at 7am, but we're also welcoming individuals to take part remotely. Tuesday evenings the plans for Wednesday mornings will be posted here. We believe that life is better together, however we can make that happen. Please consider making this a regular part of your weekly practice.

We know that it is tough to find communities centered on Contemplative Christianity and hope this serves as a support for individuals who don't feel like they fit inside or outside of the church, but still haven't given up their seeking and knocking.

 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

 

S A C R E D  R E A D I N G

R E A D - Without bias, assumption, or expectation; fully and simply listen, with your mind and heart; read through the passage at least twice

R E F L E C T - Is there a phrase, word, or impression that stands out to you? Sit with it for a minute (Refrain from overanalyzing; keep it simple)

R E S P O N D - Allow God’s inspiration to emerge as a brief prayer, even just one word (Again, keeping it simple, remaining centered on Christ rather than on your communication to Him)

R E S T - Simply be with God. Spend a few minutes practicing being as present to God as God is to you. Silently. Humbly. Lovingly.

 

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts away every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit. But he trims clean every branch that does produce fruit, so that it will produce even more fruit. You are already clean because of what I have said to you.
Stay joined to me, and I will stay joined to you. Just as a branch cannot produce fruit unless it stays joined to the vine, you cannot produce fruit unless you stay joined to me. I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me. If you don’t stay joined to me, you will be thrown away. You will be like dry branches that are gathered up and burned in a fire.
Stay joined to me and let my teachings become part of you. Then you can pray for whatever you want, and your prayer will be answered. When you become fruitful disciples of mine, my Father will be honored.
– Jesus, John 15.1-8

 

H O M I L Y

The message of being joined to Christ cannot be emphasized enough here, but as often is the case with Jesus, we are given very little practical insight into the how: How do we stay joined to Christ? Maybe it is enough for us to just continuously ask that very question of ourselves throughout every day. Perhaps, if Jesus had given us practical steps we would have obsessed and idolized those practices rather than lived in abiding connection with God. A static god would be accessible through impersonalized and static practices, but God is not only alive, God is Life! So the practice of God’s presence and being joined with Christ will only be enjoyed with our own lives, fully engaged with our whole hearts, minds, souls, bodies, and strength. May be continuously ask ourselves throughout today: How can I be joined to Christ now and here?

 

S I L E N T  P R A Y E R

Make space for your mind to slow and be still. If thoughts grab for your attention, use a passage, prayer, phrase, or word to bring a focus and allow those distractions to pass without passing judgement on them or yourself. This time of “effortlessness,” which can feel like requires a lot of effort, is an act of trust in God that is engaging our whole heart, soul, mind, body, and strength. Simply aim to be as present to God as God is present to you and trust that that is more than enough.

When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. … And when you pray, do not keep on babbling …
– Jesus, Matthew 6:6-8

Pray without ceasing.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:17

 

 

T W E N T Y  M I N U T E S  O F  S I L E N T  P R A Y E R

 

C L O S I N G  P R A Y E R

Oh my God,
I want to love You;
Not that I might gain eternal heaven,
Nor escape eternal hell, but Lord,
To love You just because
You are my God.
Grant me to give to You
And not to count the cost;
To fight for You
And not to mind the wounds;
To labor and expect nothing in return,
Except for the knowledge that I serve my God.
– St Ignatius of Loyola

Last day, Condemnation, Eternal Life, and Fear. - Wednesday Silent Prayer & Meditation

Wednesday mornings we're inviting people to meet with us at Taborspace in SE Portland at 7am, but we're also welcoming individuals to take part remotely. Tuesday evenings the plans for Wednesday mornings will be posted here. We believe that life is better together, however we can make that happen. Please consider making this a regular part of your weekly practice.

We know that it is tough to find communities centered on Contemplative Christianity and hope this serves as a support for individuals who don't feel like they fit inside or outside of the church, but still haven't given up their seeking and knocking.

 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

 

S A C R E D  R E A D I N G

R E A D - Without bias, assumption, or expectation; fully and simply listen, with your mind and heart; read through the passage at least twice

R E F L E C T - Is there a phrase, word, or impression that stands out to you? Sit with it for a minute (Refrain from overanalyzing; keep it simple)

R E S P O N D - Allow God’s inspiration to emerge as a brief prayer, even just one word (Again, keeping it simple, remaining centered on Christ rather than on your communication to Him)

R E S T - Simply be with God. Spend a few minutes practicing being as present to God as God is to you. Silently. Humbly. Lovingly.

 

Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believer not only in me, but also in the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me."
– Jesus, John 12.44-50

 

H O M I L Y

Last day, condemnation, and eternal life. These are all terms that have morphed into an entirely different meaning than to how they sounded to those who heard Jesus speaking. Today, these words sound like Greek Mythology and nonsensical. But that does not mean that that is what they are. If we only hear from within our own contexts, circumstances, and level of understanding, we will only ever hear at our own level of consciousness. We will not be capable of hearing Christ. We will be stuck hearing an idolized version of ourselves being projected onto Jesus.

May we remove the filter of fear from the words of Christ and listen fully to the Word of Love only. “Don’t be afraid,” Jesus said. When we remove fear, if we are not faithful, we can often remove the message too. Don’t be afraid to read, listen, hear, and respond. If fear, the opposite of love and God, is removed, what then do you hear? This is a lifelong practice.

 

S I L E N T  P R A Y E R

Make space for your mind to slow and be still. If thoughts grab for your attention, use a passage, prayer, phrase, or word to bring a focus and allow those distractions to pass without passing judgement on them or yourself. This time of “effortlessness,” which can feel like requires a lot of effort, is an act of trust in God that is engaging our whole heart, soul, mind, body, and strength. Simply aim to be as present to God as God is present to you and trust that that is more than enough.

When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. … And when you pray, do not keep on babbling …
– Jesus, Matthew 6:6-8

Pray without ceasing.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:17

 

 

T W E N T Y  M I N U T E S  O F  S I L E N T  P R A Y E R

 

C L O S I N G  P R A Y E R

Oh my God,
I want to love You;
Not that I might gain eternal heaven,
Nor escape eternal hell, but Lord,
To love You just because
You are my God.
Grant me to give to You
And not to count the cost;
To fight for You
And not to mind the wounds;
To labor and expect nothing in return,
Except for the knowledge that I serve my God.
– St Ignatius of Loyola

Be Bread. Be Broken - Wednesday Silent Prayer & Meditation

Wednesday mornings we're inviting people to meet with us at Taborspace in SE Portland at 7am, but we're also welcoming individuals to take part remotely. Tuesday evenings the plans for Wednesday mornings will be posted here. We believe that life is better together, however we can make that happen. Please consider making this a regular part of your weekly practice.

We know that it is tough to find communities centered on Contemplative Christianity and hope this serves as a support for individuals who don't feel like they fit inside or outside of the church, but still haven't given up their seeking and knocking.

 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

 

S A C R E D  R E A D I N G

R E A D - Without bias, assumption, or expectation; fully and simply listen, with your mind and heart; read through the passage at least twice

R E F L E C T - Is there a phrase, word, or impression that stands out to you? Sit with it for a minute (Refrain from overanalyzing; keep it simple)

R E S P O N D - Allow God’s inspiration to emerge as a brief prayer, even just one word (Again, keeping it simple, remaining centered on Christ rather than on your communication to Him)

R E S T - Simply be with God. Spend a few minutes practicing being as present to God as God is to you. Silently. Humbly. Lovingly.

 

The crowd said to Jesus: “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
So they said to Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
– Jesus, John 6.30-35

 

H O M I L Y

We’ve not been called to simply believe in Jesus, but to more fully and progressively be Jesus. Where in our own lives can we be “bread” for someone who is hungry? What does that bread symbolize? Is someone we know feeling the pangs of loneliness or hopelessness or fear? Beginning with prayer, how can we bring life to their hearts? Also, where in our own lives is there hunger? What might be dividing us from Christ’s ability to satiate this? How can we create space in our hearts, lives, and schedules for Life to greet us?

Acknowledging these hungers in and around us is not to minimize those who are physically hungry and starving today. We are called to be the bread of life. Be bread. Be broken. Let’s feed those who are starving and make it a priority because it is Jesus’.

 

S I L E N T  P R A Y E R

Make space for your mind to slow and be still. If thoughts grab for your attention, use a passage, prayer, phrase, or word to bring a focus and allow those distractions to pass without passing judgement on them or yourself. This time of “effortlessness,” which can feel like requires a lot of effort, is an act of trust in God that is engaging our whole heart, soul, mind, body, and strength. Simply aim to be as present to God as God is present to you and trust that that is more than enough.

When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. … And when you pray, do not keep on babbling …
– Jesus, Matthew 6:6-8

 

Pray without ceasing.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:17

 

 

T W E N T Y  M I N U T E S  O F  S I L E N T  P R A Y E R

 

C L O S I N G  P R A Y E R

Oh my God,
I want to love You;
Not that I might gain eternal heaven,
Nor escape eternal hell, but Lord,
To love You just because
You are my God.
Grant me to give to You
And not to count the cost;
To fight for You
And not to mind the wounds;
To labor and expect nothing in return,
Except for the knowledge that I serve my God.
– St Ignatius of Loyola

Love Your Enemy. - Wednesday Silent Prayer & Meditation

Wednesday mornings we're inviting people to meet with us at Taborspace in SE Portland at 7am, but we're also welcoming individuals to take part remotely. Tuesday evenings the plans for Wednesday mornings will be posted here. We believe that life is better together, however we can make that happen. Please consider making this a regular part of your weekly practice.

We know that it is tough to find communities centered on Contemplative Christianity and hope this serves as a support for individuals who don't feel like they fit inside or outside of the church, but still haven't given up their seeking and knocking.

 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

S A C R E D  R E A D I N G

R E A D - Without bias, assumption, or expectation; fully and simply listen, with your mind and heart; read through the passage at least twice
R E F L E C TIs there a phrase, word, or impression that stands out to you? (Refrain from overanalyzing; keep it simple)
R E S P O N DAllow God’s inspiration to emerge as a brief prayer, even just one word (Again, keeping it simple, remaining centered on Christ rather than on your communication to Him)
R E S T - Simply be with God. Spend a few minutes practicing being as present to God as God is to you. Silently. Humbly. Lovingly.

 

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and send rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
– Jesus, Matthew 5.43-48

 

H O M I L Y

How often do we allow our subconscious to turn our acts of kindness into acts of contracts? Where we expect kindness for kindness? It could be in the car, when we wait for another person and they don’t wave. It could be in our homes, when we do chores and don’t receive the reception we had expected. It could be in our faith, when we give what we believe is asked of us and don’t receive the fulfillment we imagined. Jesus points out that we’re missing the point: Love. Love is the point; not reward or punishment, not even balance, but Love. Where these “acts of contracts” feel broken, we can find ourselves out of Love, and out of union with Christ. May we learn to love our friends, neighbors, enemies, and everyone in-between today as we also seek to love God with our whole hearts, souls, minds, bodies, and strengths.

 

S I L E N T  P R A Y E R

Make space for your mind to slow and be still. If thoughts grab for your attention, use a passage, prayer, phrase, or word to bring a focus and allow those distractions to pass without passing judgement on them or yourself. This time of “effortlessness,” which can feel like requires a lot of effort, is an act of trust in God that is engaging our whole heart, soul, mind, body, and strength. Simply aim to be as present to God as God is present to you and trust that that is more than enough.

When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. … And when you pray, do not keep on babbling …
– Jesus, Matthew 6:6-8

Pray without ceasing.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:17

 

T W E N T Y  M I N U T E S
O F  S I L E N T  P R A Y E R

 

C L O S I N G  P R A Y E R

Oh my God,
I want to love You;
Not that I might gain eternal heaven,
Nor escape eternal hell, but Lord,
To love You just because
You are my God.
Grant me to give to You
And not to count the cost;
To fight for You
And not to mind the wounds;
To labor and expect nothing in return,
Except for the knowledge that I serve my God.
– St Ignatius of Loyola

The Sanctuary at Mt Tabor Presbyterian Church and Taborspace, where we meet on Wednesday Mornings.

The Sanctuary at Mt Tabor Presbyterian Church and Taborspace, where we meet on Wednesday Mornings.