Tag Archives: meditation

A Reflection for Good Friday

jesus-carpenter123

Jesus was a carpenter, if a same sex couple asked him to make them a table he would have built it and it would have been as good as any table he had ever built, and then, when it was finished and sitting in their home, he would have sat with them and had dinner on it…..

but before they ate he would have probably washed their feet.

I believe this because of the way Jesus treated those the religious people excluded, because of the way he defended and befriended the ones the religious people called sinners, because of the way he chastised religious people for the way they misconstrued God’s way of thinking and because of the way he was always pointing out that the very people the religious people were railing against were a better example of God’s love than they were – more likely to enter the kingdom of heaven – more likely to have their prayers heard.

On this Good Friday I am remembering a Jesus that would have hung up a sign in front of his business that said “All are welcome here” – because he wouldn’t want anyone to have to walk in wondering how they would be treated.

That is what I’m reflecting on this Good Friday.

Advertisements

Divine Seeing

this post is part of february’s synchroblog – a bunch of bloggers writing on the same topic at the same time.  this month’s topic is creativity & christianity.  check out the links at the bottom of this post; they are a great mix of different voices.

 

The Holy Spirit speaks many languages, among them the languages
of art in all its forms. Frank Griswold

Art often speaks to us subliminally: sub-liminally, ‘below the threshold’ of our conscious awareness. It helps us to see the unseeable and know the unknowable, ushering us into the realm of the transcendent. Lucy Shaw

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
ThomasMerton

————————————————————————————————————-

Visio Divina is Latin for “Divine Seeing” and is a contemplative prayer practice that is intended to create an openness within us in order to experience God – his presence, his love, his healing – so we may become more fully human – who we were created to be – our real selves, our Christ like selves, our created in the image of God selves.

The ancient Christian practice of Lectio Divina consists of the meditative reading of the Bible which leads to prayer and reflection on the meaning of scripture. Visio Divina is rooted in the sixth-century contemplative Benedictine practice of Lectio Divina (Divine Reading) in which one meditates on a passage of scripture allowing the Spirit to speak through the story. Like Lectio Divina, Visio Divina is a contemplative prayer practice but instead of meditating on words one meditates on images.

Choose an image and find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Take a few moments to open your heart and mind to God. When you are ready slowly look at the image. Take your time to let feelings and thoughts come to you as you take in the forms, figures, colors, lines, textures, and shapes of the image. Think about what it looks like, or what it reminds you of. Ask yourself what you find yourself drawn to. What do you like and not like? Pay attention to thoughts and feelings that emerge as you gaze upon and examine the image.

In this initial stage of your prayer simply notice these responses without judgment or evaluation. If you don’t like the image, or the feelings evoked, simply acknowledge that this is your initial response and continue to stay open to the image and the prayer. If you have an immediate idea as to what the image means, again, simply acknowledge that this is your initial response and stay open to the prayer.

As your prayer expands, return to the image with an open heart and mind. New thoughts, meanings, and feelings may arise; initial impressions may expand and deepen. Take time to explore more fully the meanings that come to you, and the feelings associated with the image and its colors and forms. Be aware of any assumptions or expectations that you bring to the image. No matter what your response is to the image — delight, disgust, indifference, confusion — ponder prayerfully the reason for your various responses and what these responses might mean for you.

As your prayer deepens, open yourself to what the image might reveal to you. What does it and the Spirit want to say, evoke, make known, or express to you as you attend to it in quiet meditation? Become aware of the feelings, thoughts, desires, and meanings evoked by the image and how they are directly connected to your life.
Does it evoke for you important meanings or values, remind you of an important event or season, or suggest a new or different way of being? What desires and longings are evoked in your prayer? How do you find yourself wanting to respond to what you are experiencing?

Take the time to respond to God in ways commensurate with your prayer: gratitude, supplication, wonder, lament, confession, dance, song, praise, etc.

In the remaining few minutes of your prayer with this image, bring to mind or jot down in a journal (whatever way is most helpful for you) the insights you want to remember, actions you are invited to take, wisdom you hope to embody, or any feelings or thoughts you wish to express. Bring your prayer to a close by resting in God’s grace and love.

————————————————————————————————————

This post is part of the February synchroblog: Creativity and Christianity.
Check out the other synchroblog contributors:

Lent Is For Life

 

 

Lent is a time of self-denial, spiritual reflection, renewed commitment, self- examination, sacrifice and a time of intentional consideration of the things Jesus taught.  During lent we are invited to assess our desires, examine our motives, and adjust our priorities. Lent is for life – the life that Jesus came to give – life that is full of mercy and love and justice and compassion.  Lent is a spiritual exercise that can assist us in learning to practice the kind of life that Jesus came to model and teach – the kind of life that will allow the coming of the Kingdom of God to earth.

Here are some creative ideas for observing Lent that I found around the net:

The following ideas about giving up something for a greater good came from http://www.austindiocese.org/newsletter_article_view.php?id=1224

Let’s give up looking for a pat on the back. This Lent, let’s do at least one thing each day for someone who will never be able to repay us. When we get good at that, we can try doing something each day for someone who will never even be able to thank us.

Let’s give up trying to one-up others. There’s a Hindu proverb that goes like this: “There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. True nobility comes from being superior to your previous self.” Let’s find something we can improve about us.

Let’s give up taking care of No. 1. Instead of thinking about how everything and anything impacts us, let’s worry first about how others are going to be affected by proposed new laws, by policies, by trends, by economic shifts  and by our own actions and behavior.

————————-

Some thoughts on fasting, feasting and almsgiving during lent came from this site http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/feb/09/a-time-of-special-focus/

Kay Murdy of Hacienda Heights, who has a master’s degree in religious studies and writes and teaches about spirituality and prayer, suggests that people fast from certain behaviors and “feast” on others during Lent.

A prayer she uses in one of her workshops about Lent asks people to fast from judging others, bitterness, pessimism, suspicion, idle gossip and unrelenting pressures; and feast on gratitude, patience, forgiveness, optimism, truth and purposeful silence.

————————————–

The alms-giving part of Lent doesn’t mean merely tossing an extra dollar into the Sunday collection.

Catholic theologian and teacher Gabe Huck, former director of Liturgy Training Publications, said alms giving is “the deeds we can do to restore the world to Christ. It is about the wholeness of things and people. It aims to right the wrong distribution caused by greed or power or whatever else. It ignores neither the world nor what is in front of one’s face.”

————————–

Some things you might not think of to give up during lent came from http://www.mooreschapel.org/pastor/koo-sermons/sermon-give-up-and-take-up.html

“Give up grumbling! Instead, “In everything give thanks.” Constructive criticism is OK, but “moaning, groaning, and complaining” are not Christian disciplines.

Give up 10 to 15 minutes in bed! Instead, use that time in prayer, Bible study, and personal devotion.

Give up looking at other people’s worst points. Instead concentrate on their best points.

Give up speaking unkindly. Instead, let your speech be generous and understanding. It costs so little to say something kind and uplifting. Why not check that sharp tongue at the door?

Give up your hatred of anyone or anything! Instead, learn the discipline of love.

——————————

And finally a daily meditation for lent from http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art17607.asp

Begin by sitting with a straight back on a cushion on the floor, your bed or a chair. If you wish, light a candle, burn some incense. 

Close your eyes or let them half shut and rest. Clasp your hands in your lap or lay them palms up on your legs.

Begin even and regular breathing such as this: Breathe in for 2 counts; breathe out for 2 counts; breathe in for 2 counts; continue this pattern.

Following a few rounds of even breathing, spend at least 5 minutes thinking what the message of Lent means to you. What can you do for self-improvement these weeks before Easter? What ways can you show more kindness and care?

After a few minutes turn your attention back to even, gentle breathing. Listen to the sound of your breaths. Think about the strength and renewal the ‘unseen’ oxygen gives your body; reflect on the ‘unseen’ spirit of caring love underlying your life.

To conclude your meditation, think of at least one person with appreciation and kindness. Take a deep breath, stretch out – relaxed, renewed.

Daily Prayer for Lent
Lord, may I always remember
To be kind and care.
And ever watchful
For opportunities to share.
Reflecting good with all my might
Inspired by Your holy light!