We are so thrilled to share these words written especially to our community by our dear friend, and last Sunday’s guest speaker, Jonathan Martin. (If you missed his teaching be sure to check it out here) What a gift to receive these words in response to our tribe as we practice throughout our week.
It’s a little hard to explain all of the reasons why my experience at The Practice was so magical on Sunday night. Creatively and liturgically, it’s exactly the kind of worship my heart longs for, but rarely knows how to name. There was the anchored rhythm of the liturgy, the fresh artistic expression from within the community, the warmth and reciprocity of the people—and then that intangible Spirit thing that happens when the presence of God is illuminated in our midst. You just get a handful of moments in your life where your soul somehow knows these people are my people—even though you do not know them very well. Sunday night was one of those moments for me.
I felt like I was teaching both right from where I am living and yet still somehow out of my depth. I can assure you there is no one who struggles more violently with being attentive to the moment than I do. But that was part of the beauty of my experience Sunday night—while I was speaking on daily bread, the words of the Lord’s Prayer were feeding my own soul. The words were nourishing me, filling me, shaping my hunger and fulfilling it simultaneously. Even the extraordinary time of “practice” at the end felt less like something I was facilitating, and more like something the Spirit was just doing, where I was allowed to just step into the moment along with you.
As you attempt to embody these words in your own daily practice this week, I am short on advice as to how to carry it out, but long on passion: please just keep showing up. Show up weekly to gather around the Lord’s Table, where you can feast on the bread of life. Show up daily, to the place of your choosing—to kneel by the bed or even for a moment in the shower—to open up your hands, and to say out loud again and again, “give us this day our daily bread.”
Give yourself the freedom to feel nothing or feel everything, to want to pray or not want to pray. Because the fact is, the power of this primal declaration of native dependence is rarely experienced in the praying itself. In this embrace of your humanness, you are opening a window to your soul through which God give will you bread for the journey. It will probably only be after you’ve engaged this practice for awhile, likely when you are under some kind of bodily or emotional duress, that you will be able to tell that something is shifted. It may not be until you are tested that you will know how your soul has been nourished by the bread of heaven.
The only other practice that remains is to attend to the moment you’ve been given. Attend to the meal that you’re eating, the friend you’re with, the project you’re working on, the conversation you are in. In each moment, bring your wonder, your gratitude, your incredulity, even your confusion—just so long as you bring your whole self. Living fully present to the moment is the key to living from your soul, which in the grand scheme of things may prove to be the secret of life itself. It may take much of our lives to learn how to lasso ourselves from our heads into our hearts, to move from the past or future into the present tense. The good news is, you have a moment in which to experiment with this new way of living—namely this one.
And because God’s kingdom stretches into forever, we’ve got all the time in the world yet to practice.
Grace and Peace to you,