Listening for God in the Silence

Listening for God in the Silence

  1. Be still and prepare to listen to God. Acknowledge your desire to listen. Release the cares of the day. Breathe deeply and welcome the Spirit into your inner being.
  2. Slowly read through to this account of Elijah, God’s prophet, who was running from Jezebel and longing to hear God speak to him. From 1 Kings 19:11-13 (NRSV) of the Old Testament.

“An Angel said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’

 Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind;

 And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;

 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire;

 And after the fire a sound of sheer silence.

When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Then there came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here?’”

  1. Spend some time in quiet reflection on how God communicates with you. In your own life, what circumstances, relationships or ideas seem like great winds or earthquakes… Which parts of your life make the most noise?… Which parts of your life consume you, as a fire consumes anything in its path?… Spend a few minutes reflecting on the ‘sound of sheer silence.’ What would that be like for you?… What would it be like to hear the ‘gentle whisper of God?’…

(Source: Seeking God Together: An Introduction to Group Spiritual Direction. By Alice Fryling.)

 

 

 

 

Easter Season Meditation

Easter Season Meditation

Risen One, open my mind and heart. Let me see and welcome your Presence.

  • “Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him (Luke 24:31).”
    • What is God’s latest revelation to me? How has this impacted how I live now?
  • “Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast’ (John 21:12.)”
    • What spiritual food am I being offered for the nourishment of my soul? What food do I accept? What food do I reject?
  • “He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him (Matthew 28:7).”
    • How do I need to adapt to better recognize the Holy One in my life?
  • “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He has been raised (Matthew 28:5-6).”
    • Fear filled the hearts of those who had loved Jesus. They found it difficult to believe the Easter message.
    • What is keeping me from hearing the Truth that is being offered to me? What is my resistance revealing?
  • “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe (John 20:29).”
    • How do I cooperate with what Mystery is inviting in me?
  • “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ (John 20:16).”
    • When have I too known intimacy with the Holy One?
    • Who does God say that I am to Him?
  • “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us? (Luke 24:13)”
    • Where in my past have I experienced amazing relief after intense struggle?
  • “Why do you look for the living among the dead? (Luke 24:5)”
    • Where in my past am I looking for life? What am I being invited to release?
  • “So, they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to tell his disciples (Matthew 28:8).”
    • How do I share the powerful presence of God in my midst? How do I witness what I believe?
  • “Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’ (Luke 24:36).”
    • How will I greet myself and my world with peace this Easter season?

(Source: Out of the Ordinary: Prayers, Poems, and Reflections for Every Season. By Joyce Rupp.)

Calming the Storms Within

Calming the Storms Within

“So, they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress.

The storm sank to a murmur, and the waves of the sea were stilled.

They were glad then that all was calm, as He guided them to the harbor they desired.

Let them thank the Lord for His enduring love.” (Psalm 107:28-31)

Biblical Note: This passage describes the power of God even as passages in the New Testament refer to Jesus’ ability to deliver people out of storms, literal and figurative (see Matthew 8:23-17, Mark 4:36-41, John 6:16-21). Since the Hebrews were people of the land, this nautical theme of this Psalm is a novelty.

For your Meditation: This meditation may be especially valuable in a period of stormy times. Harbor can represent a “safe place” to which you can return.

Meditation:  (To be read very slowly with eyes closed.) Take several, slow deep breaths and get in touch with the depths within…Now visualize yourself in a boat…Notice the size and type of boat…Discover who is with you…Become aware how you feel being there…Now you notice the water is very troubled, a storm is surrounding you…Stay in touch with your feelings in this storm…When you are ready, become aware of the calming presence in your midst…You might call out to that presence to calm the storm, or you may simply become aware that the presence is calming the storm…Let yourself experience that movement from storm to calm and reflect on how you feel and what is occurring…Now move into the harbor and stay alert to your feelings and thoughts as your boat nudges into its harbor…Before you disembark, look around on the boat for a symbol or image which represents this deep calm for you, and take that symbol with you as you get off the boat…Become aware of your thankfulness for the loving presence enabling the calm…When you feel ready, open your eyes.

Debriefing:  Write or draw whatever image emerged that might represent calm for you. And about how the storm in your life is affected by this deep sense of calm. Notice any changes in attitude toward the storm in your life. If you were unable to allow the calmness to occur for you, simply acknowledge that this is where you are right now. Feel free to do this meditation again and again. And feel free to write out the stormy feelings too.

 

(Source: Opening to God: Guided Imagery Meditation on Scripture. By Carolyn Stahl.)

 

 

 

A Holy Journey with Pain

A Holy Journey with Pain

“Somewhere along my journey, I became aware that angels of God were accompanying me. I saw the angels and knew that I belonged to God.

Well into my travels, messengers came to tell me, ‘Pain is coming to meet you and he brings death to some, great pain and suffering to you, your family and friends.’

At first, I felt as if God was telling me, ‘Do not be afraid, this will be a holy experience for you, and a gift and a blessing to many others.’ Almost immediately, that began to happen. As I was invited to tell my story, and it proved to be a source of hope for me, and inspiration and hope for others.

But then my health began to deteriorate, and I became afraid and distressed. And I prayed, ‘O God of my ancestors, I want to remind you that you said this would be a holy experience and a gift and a blessing. It no longer feels that way. Deliver me please from the hand of Pain, for I am afraid of what he will do to us.’

And as I continued on the journey, I found myself unwittingly out ahead of my family and friends—leading and loving them. I bowed in front of all kinds of Pain challenges and honored them. Pain in turn honored me, weeping for me because of the pain he was subjecting me to.

I said to Pain, ‘You may well take all that I have—everything that I own. But, God has given me everything I need, and you cannot take that: community, family, friends, intimacy with God and friends, vulnerability, authenticity, powerlessness, brokenness, knowing I am God’s beloved in whom He is well-pleased, finding my own voice, finding my own identity, interior freedom, meaning and purpose, and a rich interior and spiritual life.’

Then Pain said. ‘Let us journey on our way together.’ And I replied, ‘My family, friends and I are weary from our struggles with you. You go on ahead and we will travel at the pace at which we are capable.’

Further along the journey, I encountered the Dark Night, and I found myself all alone. And Pain came and wrestled with me until someone died. And there was great wailing, moaning, and grieving, followed by a great silence…

And still I continued to wrestle with Pain. When Pain saw that he could not prevail against me, he struck me on the hip socket and my hip was put out of joint.

Then Pain said to me, ‘Let me go, for I have taken your beloved and it is time for me to move on.’ But I said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ Pain replied ‘You shall no longer be called by your name, but rather be called ‘wounded healer.’ The wound you have endured at my hand has made you whole.’ And then Pain blessed me.

So, I called this encounter ‘holy,’ as I said, ‘For I have seen God face-to-face in this disease and yet my life has been preserved.’

A new day came after the death of my beloved and the sun rose on me as I moved forward with my life—now limping because of my hip—moving forward as a wounded healer, bringing a message to a world in need of all that I had learned.”

Sources:

Jacob Wrestles with God. Genesis 32:22-32

Who are you God?: Suffering and Intimacy with God, by Janet O. Hagberg. Adapted from Tom’s story pages 185-186.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practicing Hospitality

Practicing Hospitality

Questions for Reflection:

  • What or who do I think of when I hear the word “hospitality?”
  • What Bible stories come to mind when I hear the word “hospitality?”
  • How does Jesus exhibit hospitality?
  • In what ways has God provided hospitality to me?
  • How am I extending hospitality to God, myself and others?

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