It was wonderful to come back together in the chapel after a week of gathering in community around one another’s tables. Our opening liturgy brought us through Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones and the raising of Lazarus. We sang “Take us, shape us, break us, may your kingdom come in us and through us.” We shared the peace of Christ with one another and heard a story of meaningful connections at last week’s Practice Tables from Erin Lonard.
Then Curtis helped us explore how we can turn away from fear as a motivation for engaging the world and embrace our calling to move into the world with sacrificial love. As Curtis highlighted, fear is natural. Let’s not feel shame over our fear, but let’s also not stay there. We have a supernatural calling to engage the world, like Jesus, with sacrificial love. Of course, replacing fear with love is a journey of opening ourselves to the transforming presence of the Holy Spirit. We practiced this last night when Erin Feffer led us in the discipline of Lectio Divina and we came in the communion table.
Please take a moment to listen to the podcast if you missed last night.
We have two kingdom practices this week. The first is to begin examining our fear. When are we tempted to act from a motivation of fear? Where has fear taken root in such a way that it drives our decisions, our beliefs, and how we see others? You may consider journaling about it. You may think about it throughout the day and notice when you feel fearful, or you could use a daily Examen to consider when you acted from a place of fear and when you acted from a place of love in the presence of God.
Our second kingdom practice is to continue engaging Lectio Divina. (The movements of Lectio are outlined below.) You may continue to practice this divine reading with 2 Corinthians 5:14-20 (the passage from last night) or you could also practice it with one of the following: Mark 4:35-41 (Jesus calming the storm) or 1 John 4:7-21 (perfect love casts out fear).
Four movements of Lectio Divina:
Read the passage gently and slowly several times. Savor each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the “still, small voice” of a word or phrase that somehow speaks to you.
Reflect on the text and think about how it applies to your own life. This is considered to be a very personal reading of the Scripture and a personal application.
Respond to the passage by opening your heart to God. This is not primarily an intellectual exercise, but it is the beginning of a conversation with God.
Listen to God. Let go of your own thoughts—both mundane and holy—and let God speak to you. Humbly open your mind, heart, and soul to the influence of God.
Finally, next week is genuinely one of my favorite gatherings of the year, our Palm Sunday Service and Potluck of Glory™. All ages are welcome! If you have never experienced a Practice Palm Sunday service, you are in for a treat. Meredith Miller will bring a message that will involve the kids. After sharing in the Eucharist, we will head downstairs for our potluck feast. Please email Curtis with what you plan to bring. I’ve got $100 that says Aaron can’t eat the weight of his sons in green bean casserole. Hope to see you there!