Spiritual Practice: Making connections
Paul Tillich defined sin as separation. Indeed, we live lives separated in many ways: separated from parts of ourselves, separated from other people, separated from creation, separated from God. One definition of spirituality is "the art of making connections." This week, let your daily activities remind you to make connections.
For example, when you cross a bridge let it remind you to build a bridge to connect you with another person.
Or, if you see a spider's web, let it remind you that web of life that connects you with everything.
What other things do you encounter that speak a reminder for you to connect with other people?
The prayer of St. Francis is a beautiful piece to use in meditation. Sit quietly and slowly repeat the words, letting them wash over you. When you come to the end, repeat them again.
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
It is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
—Prayer of St. Francis
The nation is observing Native American awareness this month. In our church we had a Native American presentation on the United Methodist Church’s Act of Repentance. I wrote this spiritual practice with this in mind and now share it here with you.
Listening involves attention, being present, and hospitality. It is a highly valued skill among many people, including Native Americans. Listening involves “hearing the message,” which may come by word, but more often by direct insight. During this week practice listening
to yourself--listen especially to the sounds of your heart and your breathing. What do the sounds tell you about the sacredness of life?
to other people--listen not only to the words; listen also to the feeling and the desires of another. What do you learn about the other person and about yourself?
to creation--pay attention to creation. What sound do you most associate with what you see and feel? What is the message of the parts of creation you encountered this week?
Peace and Blessings!
This week’s practice occurs in three parts each day, morning, mid-day and evening.
Greet each morning this week with an action or a word that opens you to receive life as the gift it is. Your word could be as simple as “Thank you for the gift of this new day.”
Pause at noon to think of the work you have done, the connections with other people you have experienced, and one thing that has especially made you feel alive in the morning.
At the close of the day, pray this prayer:
Thank you for every blessing of life.
Now grant me (us) a restful night;
and when the time comes a peaceful death.
Peace and Blessings!
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