Adapted from a resource by Rob Fennell, and used with permission
Today is our final day of reading and reflecting on these practices offered to us from Rob Fennell. I hope you have enjoyed them, and have been inspired. Perhaps you have become more aware of a deeper sense of God's spiritual presence with you.
It seems fitting that in our final day, we are reminded to embody God in our very actions and movements that we make.
As you do today's practice, think of all the ways that your relationship with the Divine have been deepened throughout the last two months of messages - and give thanks.
Stand or sit with your arms stretched out from your sides.
Draw them slowly in front of you, keeping your arms straight.
With your arms in front of you, touch the five fingers of your left hand to the five fingers of your right hand.
Stay in that position for a moment to notice the goodness of how you are made: muscles, coordination, supporting bones, joints, skin.
Give thanks for the gifts of creation, and all its wonders and splendors - including you!
Now, separate your arms again and stretch them out to the sides with your palms up.
Draw them together again in front of you, and touch four fingers together.
Give thanks for your family, your friends, your community, and your church.
Take a moment to reflect on the gift of these people in your life.
Pray a blessing on them.
Do the same again - stretch out and bring together three fingers.
Give thanks for the Trinity: God the source of Love, Jesus love incarnate, and the Spirit as love's power.
Take a moment in silent meditation and contemplation on the whirling wonder of love within the Trinity. The three identities of God in eternal harmony and joy.
Into this we are invited, in love.
Do the same again - stretch out, then bring together two fingers.
Give thanks for your partner, spouse, significant other, or a good friend.
Give thanks for the intimacy of conversation, embraces, trust and silence.
Pray a blessing on this person.
Do the same again - stretch out and bring together your index fingers in front of you.
Give thanks to God for yourself: for who you are, and who you are becoming.
Give thanks for the joy of being God's child, adopted and loved within the family of God.
Give thanks for the gifts and abilities that you have.
Ask God's blessing on your life, and recommit to giving your best to this one and wonderful life.
Finally, drop your arms to your sides (or rest them in your lap).
Breathe deeply: five slow and nourishing breaths.
Peace, Rev. Gail
A resource from Rob Fennell, adapted and used with permission
In the fret, worry, and haste of everyday life, it can be hard to stop and reflect on teh foundation beneath us. Perhaps today, during Covid, we have become even more consumed in the day to dayness of ever changing restrictions. But today, let us remember that we are not alone - let us think of our foundation.
Pick up something substantial that will fit in your lap - a heavy book, a rock, a laptop computer - anything.
Hold it for a few seconds, then let it settle onto your lap.
Feel its weight.
Rest your hands on top of it and feel its solidity.
Recall that in the heart of the Source of the universe, you are worthy of care and attention.
You are substantial to God, more than breath of wind, more than passing thought.
God is loving you, holding on to you.
Underneath you is a holy Presence that is trustworthy and love and sure.
Rest secure in that thought for a few minutes.
Then, give thanks to God for God's Divine care of you.
Today we pause from our 31 Short Spiritual Practices, to reflect on election day!
I do not presume to suggest to you what you should vote for; I am sure you have heard the phrase that "religion and politics should not mix". But, I can't help remembering how political Jesus was - he literally stood up against the political force of his day, and was arrested and tried as a political prisoner.
And so, on this election day, I share with a poem from "Prayers for a Privileged People" by Walter Brueggemann.
The Noise of Politics
We watch as the jets fly in
with the power people and the
the money people,
the suits, the budgets, the billions.
We wonder about the monetary policy
because we among the haves,
and about the generosity
because we care about the have-nots.
By slower modes we notice
Lazarus and the poor arriving from Africa,
and the beggars of Central Europe, and
the throng of environmentalists
with their vision of butterflies and oil
of flowers and tanks
of growing things and
We wonder about the peace and war,
about ecology and development,
about hope and entitlement.
We listen beyond jeering protesters and soaring jets and
faintly we hear the mumbling of the crucified one,
feeding the hungry
and giving drink to the thirsty,
about clothing the naked,
and noticing the prisoners,
more about the least and about the holiness among them.
We are moved by the mumbles of the gospel,
even while we are tenured in our privilege.
We are half ready to join the choir of hope,
half afraid things might change,
and in a third half of our faith
we turn to You,
and your outpouring love
that works justice and
binds us each and all to one another.
So we pray amid the jeering protesters and soaring jets,
we pray amid the political noise.
Come by here and make new,
even at some risk to our entitlements.
Peace, and thoughtful voting,
Today is the first day of Fall. When I (Rev. Gail) first came to Canada from England, I was always so impressed by the colours of Fall in Canada. There is a tree in my neighbours garden that I watch each day as it slowly changes colour. Sometimes it is easy to walk past without noticing, but today, take a moment to allow the beauty of colour to sink in.
Somewhere in your line of vision, in a visual image or in your immediate surroundings, spot a colour that appeals to you. It might just be looking out of your window.
Consider the colour for a moment.
Notice the distinctness of its shading and hue.
Notice how it sits beside the other colours that you can see.
For a few minutes, silently reflect on the way that the colour speaks to you.
In your spiritual imagination, take that colour into your heart and let it bring you warmth and comfort.
Close your eyes and enjoy the gift of this moment.
Peace, Rev. Gail
Today, let su reflect on how the people who have blessed and impacted us are as close as memory. We hold them in our hands, just as they have held us.
Find a quiet place.
Open the palm of one hand and spread your fingers.
Breathe gently and take a moment to be calm and reflective.
One by one, hold each finger (and one thumb) with your other hand, and as you do, name five persons who have blessed you on your spiritual journey.
What gifts have they brought into your life?
How have those relationships shaped you?
Give thanks aloud for each one of them.
Now repeat this exercise and think about 5 people that you have blessed.
How have you helped shape the lives of others?
Give thanks for the opportunity to be a blessing for others.
This weekend I (Rev. Gail) bought some daffodil bulbs, and became excited about doing the Fall work in my garden. Sometimes this can seem like a chore as leaves need to be raked, shrubs need pruning, furniture put away for the season. But, working outside in the soil with our hands can also be a great stress reliever. What if we took this time as an opportunity for spiritual reflection?
While doing some yardwork or gardening, or in a park or filed, take a moment to stop and breathe in the damp goodness of the soil.
Take a long deep breath and smell the Fall air - remember the scripture "there is a season for everything...", and give thanks for the season of Fall and all that it brings.
If you are close enough to the ground or open soil, take some into your bare hand and feel its mix of moisture and humus.
Take a moment to marvel at the cycle of plants that provide nutrients into the soil, so they can grow again next year.
Reflect on the times of dormancy and growth in your spiritual life.
As you continue to pause, thank the Creator for the breath of life that fills your lungs.
Ask God to bless and guide your days, right here where you have been planted.
Each Wednesday we send out an inspirational message.