TOO MANY PEOPLE and churches and institutions are asleep to the reality of God’s presence in the world because they live in survival mode. They’ve forgotten their identity in Christ. They’ve forgotten the ultimate reality that the kingdom of God is already at hand and that they are God’s beloved child. To me, this situation is a matter of urgency.
The world has become dangerous and is deeply divided. The world needs people who are awake to that which is of God within them, to God’s love and the power of that love to transform and heal. The world needs churches and institutions that are awake to the same. Thankfully, I also believe, along with many others, that we are in a time of spiritual awakening, and the good news is that people who are awake to their whole hearts are in a position to help others awaken to theirs.
WALKING TOGETHER is a grace-filled metaphor for our life-giving journey with God. Our spirits are loosely joined and yet distinct. We are purposeful yet unhurried as we travel, even temporarily, along a common route. We are pried away from agendas and conscious thought long enough to make spontaneous revelations and to absorb what we did not expect.
God’s call has always been for us to get up and move, to follow. It has always been the walk itself—the arduous invigorating journey together, and not the destination—that joins us to God in indelible and mysterious ways.
O GOD, who walks beside me
and lets me know I am not alone,
help me to walk with both friend and stranger,
giving and receiving support and caring,
until they are sure of your presence and your promises.who talked and ate and laughed with each one he walked beside.
THE LABYRINTH is a wonderful walking prayer practice that encourages awareness of journey with God. As it gained popularity in the Middle Ages, the labyrinth became one way to practice pilgrimage rather than make the journey to Jerusalem. It consists of three phases of movement: (1) going into the labyrinth and letting go of all that keeps us from connecting with God; (2) arriving at the center of the labyrinth, which represents the state of union with God; and (3) then leaving the labyrinth and returning to the world in a new way, accompanied by God. …
- Find a labyrinth.
- Walking into the labyrinth is a time for shedding anything that keeps you from communion with God. You may want to silently repeat a scripture as you journey. Or use the time to notice your thoughts and feelings and consider these questions:
What is it like to be on this journey?
Is there anything I need to let go of?
Is there something blocking me from experiencing God’s love?
Am I in need of forgiveness?
Do I need to forgive?
- The center of the labyrinth is seen as the point of unity with God, the symbolic dwelling place of God When you arrive at the center, simply rest in God. Remain there as long as you like. Converse with God in whatever way seems appropriate to you.
- The walk out of the labyrinth is the process of bring God back out into the world with you. As you retrace your steps, continue your prayer and conversation with the divine. …
- When you finally leave the labyrinth, give thanks to God for your time there.
– Daniel Wolpert
GOD OF ALL LOVE, your love for me and for the whole creation is beyond anything I can imagine. Your thoughts are not my thoughts, and your ways are not my ways. But the immensity of your love does not frighten me; it encourages me. For if I could fully fathom your love and live in it, it would be no bigger than I am. …
I give you myself today as completely as I can, knowing that the experience of your love will create an even greater openness to you in the days to come. Choose for me the best expression of your love as I live today, and I will gladly receive it, as well as seek to find ways to share it with others.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
– Steve Harper
Help us to see that we are much more than our scars. You have made us far too complex to be defined by what is without as opposed to what is within.
Forgive us for the times we have devalued ourselves, as well as for the times we have devalued others, for as the psalmist wrote, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.”*
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
COMPASSION INCLUDES restorative action. Our cultivation of compassion is not complete when feelings of warm regard are experienced toward either ourselves or others. We must act out our compassion in ways that ease suffering and promote the flourishing of others. Such acts include consoling the grief-stricken, tending the wounded, and befriending those who feel forsaken. Yet actions that are genuinely compassionate often require careful discernment. What does compassion look like, for example, when the wound caused by another is still fresh or when an offender refuses to curb his or her violence and remains unrepentant?
Compassionate action must serve and sustain our own healing and restoration. …. Compassion yearns for the flourishing of all life, including our own. Our capacity for genuine compassion flows out of the strength and fullness of our vitality…
Compassionate action also invites the restoration of others. In the case of an offense against us, such restoration demands accountability. Compassion is not sentimental. Violent actions create wounds, and perpetrators must be held responsible….
Whenever you feel disconnected from your compassionate core: Catch your breath. Take your PULSE. Take the other’s PULSE. Then, and only then, decide what to do.
– Frank Rogers Jr.