Posts Tagged ‘Spirituality’

Saving My Life

March 7, 2017

“Come tell us what is saving your life right now?”

Barbara Brown Taylor in her book, An Altar in the World, tells of being asked this question. It is a question I think about. What is saving my life right now?

I have to say between our national life and the cloudy winter, most days I want to stay home with my cats and a good book. But like most folks,  I need to figure out how to get up, go out and do what I need (and love) to do. To do this for the long haul, I need to know and nurture the things that save my life. I’m not talking about making a list of things I am  grateful for, although I am grateful for these things. The things that are saving my life are practices and habits that keep me grounded and hopeful.

Worship, as always, is saving my life. There is something life giving and affirming about being in worship with other people. To speak and sing and pray together in the presence of God is life giving.

Spiritual formation and spiritual direction are also life saving. I am part of a small group of women who meet regularly to talk honestly about our spiritual lives. These wise, caring, and thoughtful people help me think honestly and sincerely about my spiritual life. Spiritual direction allows me focused time to recognize where and when God has been at work in my life.

Daily prayer  and daily silence saves my life. Morning and evening I pray using the Book of Common Worship, Daily Prayer.  This practice keeps my prayers from becoming small and self focused as each morning and evening the thanksgivings and petitions lift up different situations and people. The practice of silence helps me listen for God might be saying to me.

Good work is life giving and life saving.  I work with college students. Spending time with them and seeing their faith, honesty, compassion, and joy remind me that the future (and the present) are in their good kind hands.

Cats and reading, in other words, knowing when to stop working and when to stop engaging the news. Intentionally spending time curled up on my couch with my cat and a  book is good for my mental well being.  My cat Peppy sits on my lap, purrs and looks adoringly at me.  When I adopted her from the shelter I saved her life and now she saves mine. And a good book, I don’t have to explain that do I? Long term engagement, at least for me, requires regular disengagement.

These are the  intentional and regular practices that are saving my life these days. Honestly they have been saving my life for years.

What is saving yours?

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Catching Hearts

April 25, 2015

“Lift up your hearts”

“We lift them up to the Lord”

“Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.”

“It is right to give thanks and praise.”

In many worship traditions these words are spoken every Sunday.These are the words which have begun congregational prayer for nearly two thousand years.These are old words.These are serious words.

However one Sunday sitting in the church’s balcony I imagined the entire congregation tossing hearts into the air. The hearts rose up and then were gone. All those prayers tossed up for God to catch.heartsin air

Some days that is what prayer feels like. I toss my hopes, my fears,my heart up and out. Here God, catch. Some days it is a gentle toss. Some days I am distracted (oh look!) and its a wild pitch. Some days I throw a fast ball to God. Some days, not my best days, I throw a fast ball at God.

I expect God to catch what ever I throw. I assume that’s part of God’s job- to catch what ever I throw to or even at God. God even catches my errant throws. The ones in the dirt. The ones that sail high and wide.

I always expect God to lob back a softball or maybe even a whiffle ball. And so I am frequently surprised by what God throws back my way. Sometimes a gentle toss comes back to me. Sometimes a fastball is returned. Occasionally God throws a curve ball. If I miss the ball. God throws it again. And again. And even again.And again until I catch it. This can take quite a while. Fortunately God is willing to spend an entire Saturday afternoon tossing balls my way. I need quite a bit of practice. Slowly I learn to throw better, more accurately. Even more slowly my ability to catch what God throws to me improves.

I’m quite sure the early church father and mothers didn’t have a game of catch in mind when they said those ancient words. More likely they image they held was of the congregation ascending up into heaven with their hearts open and freely offered to God. Often when we say those ancient words I have that image also. Coming into God’s presence with open hearts is a holy moment.

And so is a game of catch.


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