Monday, January 17, 2011

Silence in worship

Silence is a difficult discipline--the most difficult for me, anyway. There are various ways to approach "centering down" as Quakers say. I borrow from other traditions as needed.

One is to think of a saying, in "lectio divina" style: an example is the verse, "Be still and know that I am God." ... wait with it for a few moments. "Be still and know that I am." Wait.... "Be still and know." Wait.... "Be still." Wait.... "Be." Wait.... "Be still and know that I am God."

Or use a single word, whatever you feel you need most at the time.

Another is to observe your breathing--just pay attention to it.

Or hold people in the Light (a.k.a. praying for them, in whatever fashion works for you). Sometimes I start with the people in the circle, then expand it. When I get to the whole world, that's as centered as I get! If I get that far, and "come back to myself" that often seems to correspond to others' sense of a "gathered" or "covered" meeting -- when we are communally filled with the Spirit.

There are many books, pamphlets, & blog posts for those who want to read more.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Love as a discipline

These passages seem particularly relevant to me lately, speaking to my heart, especially in view of recent events.

"Love must be a kind of discipline. If we love only with our feelings, we're sunk--we may feel love one day and something quite other the next. ... I realized I must learn to love with my will, not my feelings. ... And so I enjoyed the warm feelings, the stuff of the heart, when it was present between us, as it sometimes was, ... And when it wasn't, there was the will to love, something like...a generator kicking in, a backup. ... Wounded people use a lot of smoke and mirrors, they thrust the bitterness and rage out there like a shield. Then it becomes their banner, and finally, their weapon. But I stopped falling for the bitterness and rage. I didn't stop knowing it was there--and there for a very good reason--but I stopped taking the bullet for it. With God's help, I was able to start seeing through the smoke. ... It's all in increments.... Healing came as little drops of water, and never the mighty ocean when you need it.... There's no way to deal with their suffering, except through love. ... Trust that, believe that, as hard as it is to believe right now. Act as if it were true, it can change things. ... Go in where there's common ground. Do whatever you can to find common ground, and if you do nothing more, forgive...and pray.... Whenever she [substitute the other pronoun if needed] lashes out, whenever she draws away, pray and forgive, forgive and pray."

Karon, Jan. In the Company of Others. NY: Viking, 2010. 239-241.