So, walking the neighbourhood. It’s something many of us do every day: but we can add a layer and turn our walks into an opportunities for reflective prayer. This way of praying is not about praying for the neighbourhood, although you can certainly do that. Instead, it is about ‘reading’ the neighbourhood, and seeking the presence of Christ there. For “the Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14, MSG); and so, just as the Word is present in the Scriptures and speaks through them, so too is the Word present in the neighbourhood and, to those with open hearts, speaks through the neighbourhood also. Continue reading “Walking the neighbourhood”
The labyrinth is an ancient spiritual tool. It is found all over the world, in diverse religious and spiritual contexts. It is not a maze or puzzle. Instead, the labyrinth has one path in and out, and following the path is a way of going deeply into what we might call the heart of life. In my experience, walking a prayer labyrinth is always absorbing, always surprising, and often very moving: things deep within me seem to shift, rearrange and reveal themselves as I walk and pray. Continue reading “Walking the labyrinth”
As we continue our journey through the season of creation, I’d like to introduce you to another method of prayer. Prayer is a way of deep listening. Yet when our minds are busy and distracted, we cannot listen well; and so we need methods to still our minds. One of these is to go for a walk! The repetitive rhythmic movement, and the regular intake and exhalation of breath, can help us find that still centre: the space where we notice the spirit bubbling up and gently prompting us. Continue reading “Climate march and other prayer walks”
In which we introduce the idea of a sacrament, and describe a prayer exercise.
In Christian understanding, God is immanent. This means that, while God cannot be contained by anything, yet God is present in all things. In other words, creation is a sacrament: a sign of God’s presence which has an effect. Continue reading “Consider the sky: Lectio divina in creation”
Many believe that prayer is a transaction between ‘good’ people and God; but is this what Jesus is really on about? (Listen.)
An old friend of ours, Monique Lisbon, once wrote a satirical song with a chorus that goes like this: God can’t keep track of the human race / when everyone’s praying for a parking space. The song is her response to those Christians who quite literally ask God for everything: personal prosperity, a perfect spouse, a big house in a nice suburb, and a parking space right outside the front. Jesus says, “Ask, and you shall receive,” and so they ask, and ask, and ask some more: for the verse has been widely interpreted to mean that God is a fairy godmother just waiting to reward our earnest prayers by granting our heart’s desire. Continue reading “Ask, seek and knock for the presence of the Holy Spirit. And that’s it.”
Oh, do not pray for easy lives.
Pray to be stronger.
Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers.
Pray for powers equal to your tasks.
Then the doing of your work will be no miracle
but you shall be a miracle.
Each day you shall wonder at yourself,
at the richness of life which has come to you
by the grace of God. Continue reading “Do not pray for easy lives”
Do you know the child who spends every service lolling on the floor, or chatting quietly to herself at the dolls house, or snipping paper into a thousand little triangles? The child who rarely speaks, never sings and shakes her head violently when invited to participate? The child whose back is to the congregation and who seems oblivious to everything that goes on around her? Continue reading “Brahminy’s prayer, and tips for welcoming children”
Pronouns can limit or expand how we think about people; they can limit or expand how we think about God. (Listen.)
Once upon a time, long, long ago, Lady Wisdom called out at the public places—the city gates, the crossroads, the mountaintops—and she said: “The Lord began the work of creation with me. In time before dreaming I was in on the action; right from the word ‘go’ as the earth began. Continue reading “Lady Wisdom and the gender diverse community of God”
Years ago, I was in a theology class which touched on ‘love your enemies‘. To my astonishment, a pastor of a large church burst out, rather angrily, “I don’t know why we keep talking about this. We are Christians. We have no enemies.” My jaw dropped. Continue reading “Adore, endure, forgive; and a prayer for enemies”