Day #25: Being with God

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.
Mark 1:35

 

If being alone cultivates resilience, it’s also a sign of resilience to know when to cut off the meandering, insecure trails of your mind and go and be with God. It is a skill to be alone. And it is a skill to bring yourself into the presence of Divine Love and let yourself be Loved. Invite yourself to Holiness and fill up with the sacred. Let yourself give up solving all the problems of your daily anxieties. Call out to God intentionally when your mind is too unsettled or too overwhelmed to calm itself.

God is Love, the Bible says, over and over. Calling out to God is calling out to Love. In the Bible, Jesus usually takes some time to be alone—followed by a time of being with God. In Mark 1, Jesus wakes up early to place himself before Divine Love, to rest and be present in all that is greater than him in the universe. In between two big days of healing and preaching, Jesus centers on the fact that he is loved beyond human dimensions. When the sun comes up and his friend finds him, Jesus has a calmness and a sense of purpose, and tells Simon, “let’s head in the other direction.” Jesus returns to prayer, to presence with God, again and again so that everything he does is grounded in love and purpose.

 Takeaway: Mary Oliver writes,

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed.

Find a moment to be idle and blessed today. When you have a quiet moment, settle yourself; take a few deep breaths. Invite yourself to Holiness. Feel the Holy all through your body, around and in you. Breathe in love. Breathe out love. Be near to the love that is the source of the universe. Be loved.

 

 

Gathering the Stones is providing 40 days of reflections on resilience during Lent. Check back for new reflections every day (except Sundays).

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A Prayer during Hearings for Supreme Court Nominees Accused of Sexual Assault

The Sunday after Christine Blasey Ford’s Senate testimony and the public re-traumatizing of all survivors of sexual assault in the U.S., my congregation, like many others, was hurting, confused, struggling, trying, wondering, searching for words. We spent some time in prayer, and this is the prayer I offered (as best I remember it):

 

Please join me in a time of silence for victims and survivors of sexual assault.

 

 

 

 

God we give thanks for the silence-breakers.
God we give thanks for the women who are survivors of sexual assault.
God we give thanks for the men who are survivors of sexual assault.
God we give thanks for the trans and gender-nonconforming people who are survivors, in so many ways.

Make our churches instruments of healing and recovery.
Teach us to lament. To listen to the laments of survivors.

We pray that we will have softer ears,
that we will become better listeners to survivors,
that we will learn to center the stories of survivors
and in doing so to create a more just world.

May we enter the public dialogue
practicing support and advocating for survivors.
May we speak healing and, when we make mistakes,
as we inevitably will in our attempts to learn justice, give us
the courage to learn from them and become better allies and better disciples.

And all God’s people said: I believe women.

Congregation: I believe women.

And all God’s people said: I believe survivors.

Congregation: I believe survivors.

Amen.