Yesterday on my travels to see an amazing friend, while sat on the tube, I managed to finish reading Cynthia Bourgeault‘s classic ‘Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening‘
Ive both loved and be challenged buy this book … as well as wish I had read it back in 2004 when she originally wrote it. There are lots of books around on ‘Centring Prayer’, but in this book Cynthia has developed an amazing guidebook on how to actually practice centring prayer, and what to expect and how to deal with things when they crop up.
In her introduction, Cynthia says ‘I hope it (the book) will get you up and running in the practice itself. For me, after talking lots about it over the years and dabbling here and there, the reading of this book has been the catalyst and the help I have needed to change from my normal style of meditation to attempt centring prayer instead.
In particular, I have found the ‘bring meditation in your everyday life’ practice of the Welcoming Prayer to be helpful … in only a few weeks. The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life.
Cynthia explains this as a tool to help us make the transition from surrender as a meditative practice to surrender as a underlying attitude and practice in our daily life. It may not work for everyone but I have found it powerful in my daily living and dealing with situations. I could write out in more detail … but Pastor Katherine has written a good account here … and you could always go and buy the book.
As I say, the method may not work for everyone, we are all diverse and wonderfully made … but I have found that., for me, the practice of letting go through the welcoming prayer has been personally transformative in a very short space of time.
So … centring prayer …. this is a pretty powerful book … why not go check it out!
2017 is here ….
So … what is happening here in the pioneering peninsula of Greenwich …
I am looking ….
I am praying …
I am waiting ….
for people to join me
for people to join us
for people to get together to
to birth something new here
something intentionally spiritual
something deliberately communal
something that will make a difference
something that is new ‘cos there is no blueprint
something that will grow and develop as we grow and develop
something that needs to be moulded by whoever joins the journey
church …. yes
religiously set ways of dong things … no
collaborative, creative, meaningful … yes
having to believe ‘right’ things and behave in ‘certain ways’ … no
believing there is only one way to do things … NO!
Jesus gospel trinity based … yes
affirming and encouraging … yes
contemplative Christian community … very possibly yes
Does that sound interesting to you?
Do you live within reach of North Greenwich …. read on a little more …
What we are seeking?
- People who are established Christians and interested in birthing and participating in a missional fresh expression of church with a contemplative flavour on the Greenwich Peninsula
- People who have, or have had in the past, a desire to focus more on contemplative and prayerful action within a Christian community and be willing to lead aspects of contextual worship, mission and community life on the Greenwich Peninsula.
- People who can commit to a Sunday evening Contemplative Eucharist, gatherings afterwards at a local pub or the vicarage and a Wednesday evening community meal with sharing of our weekly stories, prayer for each other with sharing of bread and wine.
- Where possibly join in the prayer life of Holy Trinity, currently 730am Prayer & Pastry at the Vicarage.
- People willing to develop a meditation group on the Greenwich Peninsula aimed at supporting those who would call themselves spiritual rather than religious people.
I’d love to hear from you …. please get in contact via comments here or via our current website: http://www.holytrinity.online/
I think this is exciting … how often do we get a chance to develop and create and mould something new …. something that we hope will be of use not to us bit to those around yes as well … a blessing for us so that we can be a blessing for others … so … get in touch if remotely or only vaguely interested …
It’s been pretty much a weekend of blessings.
But … it’s interesting to note that when you immediately look over a weekend that often the bad things jump out and flavour your thoughts… the bad things like the dog is now terrified to go on his walks and just freezes and stands still. While it is really sad and horrible to see our once very confident walk loving dog standing still and trembling, we are hoping that with gentle encouragement this will improve.
But … good things happened this weekend …
On Friday afternoon I got to have a great chat about the important stuff with a good friend in the pub.
On Saturday the Gills won 2-0 … easily … against arch rivals Swindon!
Saturday evening we had a great meal with our next door neighbours.
On Sunday my little brother came to lunch with Tanya and Jack
Sunday night I went to the United Service which was great as we looked at how we could work together better to help the people of Gillingham.
I have been able to pull myself away from the negative this weekend and allow the positives to take over. This, I think, is because I use the Examen. Using the Examen as part of my personal rhythm of life allows me to see the day in a better balance. It allows me to think through in which situations or conversations I felt alive and in which situations I feel drained or depressed… (and where God is in both) and to try to balance my days in the future accordingly. For the geekier amongst us there is now an Examen app (thanks Jonny) which I am trying out …. seems ok too!
The Richard Rohr daily mediations also help me in this and have, in my opinion, become even more amazing over the last couple of weeks due to a change in format. On each Saturday an email now pops into my inbox which sums up the week and leads me through a sabbath meditation to earth what we have been contemplating through the week. If you are not signed up for these … well you should be because they are pretty amazing!
Loving this thought from Richard Rohr today:
|From now on, we must look at nothing from the ordinary point of view. . . . If anyone is in Christ, they have become a completely new construct, and the old construct must pass away! — 2 Corinthians 5:16-17
Today the unnecessary suffering on this earth is great for people who could have known better and should have been taught better by their religions. In the West, religion became preoccupied with telling people what to know more than how to know, telling people what to see more than how to see. We ended up seeing Holy Things faintly, trying to understand Great Things with a whittled-down mind, and trying to love God with our own small and divided heart. It has been like trying to view the galaxies with a five-dollar pair of binoculars.
Contemplation, my word for this larger seeing, keeps the whole field open; it remains vulnerable before the moment, the event, or the person—before it divides and tries to conquer or control it. Contemplatives refuse to create false dichotomies, dividing the field for the sake of the quick comfort of their ego. I call contemplation “full-access knowing”—not irrational, but prerational, nonrational, rational, and transrational all at once. Contemplation is an exercise in keeping your heart and mind spaces open long enough for the mind to see other hidden material. It is content with the naked now and waits for futures given by God and grace.
That word, ‘vulnerable’, is there again. A word that seems to be everywhere at the moment. Could it be that it is through our vulnerability that we really learn and really experience the important stuff around us from God. Maybe as we become vulnerable, by letting go of what we think we know, that we actually gain in knowledge and really learn more about ourselves and our creator?
Giving space and taking space to just be and see … then we may be amazed by what we experience and notice.
I enjoyed meeting old friends at the ‘Contemplative spirituality and fresh expressions of church: building contemplative ecclesial communities out of contextual mission‘ day. (Fraser noted the title was too long to tweet – hence my cyber silence yesterday!)
As always a particular highlight was catching up with old friends and listening to their stories of how they struggle with ‘this stuff’ in the places they are called to be. It was also exciting to meet new people and hear new stories. I guess my only complaint for the day would be that it was not long enough to enable as much sharing and catching up as I would have liked – but that is not really a criticism as I thought the day was an excellent day and I returned feeling refreshed, challenged, encouraged and reassured.
There was a lot in the day, but some comments i particular that I recorded as I wish to think about them more:
A need to ‘receive from the space that only God can inhabit‘ – David Cherry
‘We do not think ourselves into a new way of living, but rather we live ourselves into a new way of thinking‘ – Ian Mobsby
‘Maybe we need to have the courage to let come what is waiting to come‘ – Ian Adams
I can’t say too much in reflection or response at the moment as I need to think on these, and part of the reason for putting them here is so that I don’t lose them and maybe hear what you think. Podcasts of the talks will soon be posted on the Moot website so that you can hear them for yourself. If you are interested in this and never knew about the day then you might want to sign up at the fresh expressions of the sacramental traditions website.
Thanks Ian, Ian and others, particularly Lou, who worked amazingly throughout the day so it ran so well.