Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Listen With the Ear of Your Heart



I have been reading through a book by Stephen W. Smith, Embracing Soul Care: Making Space for What Matters Most.  If something stands out, I have created a meme with textgram and shared it on my Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Here are some of those:




Today's chapter is "Listening for God" and a quote by Benedict of Nursia caught my attention: "Listen and attend with the ear of your heart." (113)

What does it mean to listen with the ear of one's heart?

As I reflect on that, Psalm 46:10 comes to mind: "Be still and know that I am God."  I often pray and reflect on this verse in this hourglass prayer format:

Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
Be still.
Be.
Be.
Be still.
Be still and know.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know that I am God.

I can hear best when I am still.  Not always 100 percent physically still, as it can also be a quiet walk on the river walk or in the woods that stills the noise around me to allow me to listen with the ears of my heart.

Taking/making time for self care/ soul care allows me to listen with the ears of my heart.

As I am more healed and whole, I can better hear and respond.

Listening to God.

Listening to others.

Listening to self.

Listening is a critically important skill.

The chapter mentions the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4a in which we are called to listen: "Hear, O Israel...". Check out Deuteronomy 6:4-9 for the passage in context. Verse 5 is a key verse on living for me.

The chapter mentions other verses on listening.

The one that speaks most to me today is the one from 1 Samuel 3:9-- "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."

This is the response I hope to have. I hope to be in tune enough to respond, to continue listening, and to be able to go forward on the journey.

Learning to listen is a spiritual discipline and one that will continue to unfold the rest of my life.

I am still learning.

Most mornings I spend time listening. This morning it was a little too cold to be outside to listen to the wind blow, so I watched from inside, with Cliff.




I am reminded that not everyone has that luxury. As I watch and listen each day, my response to listening is "here I am".  Then we see what adventurous encounters occur next.

Peace on your journey,

Debra




Saturday, October 26, 2019

Bamboo Encounter-- October 26th


Today was our first cooler weather Bamboo Encounter and our first wet Bamboo Encounter.  Even though it was wet and sprinkling, we were still able to meet inside the bamboo.  It never rained so hard that we needed to move into the pavilion at the top of the bamboo.  However, that was a viable option.

There was something peaceful about being in the bamboo in the rain.  The freshness of the air, its crispness and its smell were delightful.

Though we were small in number gathered to worship Creator God today, the Holy Spirit was present among us.

I had planned in advance to hand out the readings to willing participants, so we all shared in today's readings.  Since we were a small group, we served each other communion. 

Sometimes I question what God is doing in and through my life, nudging me to go out on a limb and do wild adventurous things.  Yet, each and every time that I follow through, I am encouraged and see fruit.

Today was the 6th Bamboo Encounter for the year, meaning that we are 1/2 way in to a full year of services.  Wow.  The resources that I read encourage me, as do the monthly video calls with Wild Church Network (though I was too busy to join in this past month.)

I wonder what the cooler month of November will be like in the bamboo!?!?

Until then, below you will find the readings and prayers from today, as well as the pictures I took.  Maybe you can picture yourself in the bamboo, do the readings on your own, and experience a little bit of what it is like to worship outdoors in the bamboo.

Peace on your journey,

Debra


Service:


Opening Prayer:

Into your strength, this day,
let me come again—
my heart undivided, my hope undimmed.
Set free my soul, unbind my love,
that I may serve you
serving earth.

(Earth Gospel, page 90)

Readings:

Deuteronomy 32:1-2
“Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.  Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.”

Isaiah 12:3-4 (NRSV)
“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.  And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.”

Reading:  Mother Teresa of Calcutta

 “We need to find God and God cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature—trees and flowers and grass—grow in silence.  See the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence.  The more we receive in silent prayers, the more we can give in our active life.”

Communion:

John 6:33,35 and 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 Common English Bible (CEB)

33 The bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.


16 Isn’t the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Isn’t the loaf of bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Since there is one loaf of bread, we who are many are one body, because we all share the one loaf of bread.

Blessing:

May the God who dances in creation,
who embraces us with human love,
who shakes our lives like thunder,
bless us and drive us out with power,

to fill the world with her justice, Amen. —Nancy Morley
 (Earth Gospel, 50)









Thursday, October 3, 2019

A new labyrinth in Chattanooga

Last week I learned about this newly constructed labyrinth at the Lookout Mountain Conservancy property up on Old Wauhatchie Pike.


On Saturday, after Bamboo Encounter, Riley and I decided to try to find it.  We did.  And so much more.

A pollinator garden.



Lots of boulders for bouldering.





Trails.



A FANTASTIC view of the river and downtown.





Students from Howard High School working on the grounds, along with Robyn Carlton of the Conservancy.

An area for a fire (though it hasn't cooled off enough for that yet).


An area they use for outdoor music.

We saw a few people up there getting ready to boulder, with their crash pads.

If you're not familiar with Lookout Mountain Conservancy, click on the link the first time they are mentioned at the top of this blog.  Want to volunteer?  They have a FALL WORK DAY coming up on November 2nd.   If you can't make that, there are other opportunities to volunteer.

If you're not familiar with labyrinths, check out The Labyrinth Society, an international organization whose mission is to support all those who create, maintain and use labyrinths, and to serve the global community by providing education, networking, and opportunities to experience transformation.

It was great to find the labyrinth, all the other great finds, and to see Robyn.  I enjoyed the opportunity to walk and pray the labyrinth.  I look forward to returning there, as it isn't far from the office.

Peace in your journey,

Debra

MORE PICTURES:





Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Bamboo Encounter--September 28th

I look forward to heading into the bamboo for the outdoor worship service on the 4th Saturday each month.  It has become part of my rhythm and my practice, thus part of my rule of life.  Bamboo Encounter is part of the Wild Church Network, a group of churches who encounter God in the wilderness.


I never know exactly who is going to show up or what the weather will be like or how things will go.  That is part of the adventure for me.  In allowing the Holy Spirit to move and flow, I am always refreshed and refilled after these encounters.

This past Saturday, an unexpected gift awaited us in the bamboo.  There was water in small hole in the rock that I use as the altar for Holy Communion.  Because the water was there (from a small rainstorm), we were able to remember our baptism/remember that we are baptized during our time together.  That was a neat addition to the service for me and I hope others.


For the first time this past Saturday, I noticed a small alcove to the left when I entered.  It was a neat tiny "room".  During the silence time, I went inside that space.


As always, when we open the time up for sharing, folks share things that spoke to them during the silence or through the Scriptures or readings.  This time of sharing is very meaningful to me.


After the service I took the white "event" signs back to Susan and got to meet King, the owl.  I was able to get a picture of them both.  I have enjoyed getting to know Susan on my visits to Reflection Riding.

If you are local, come check out Bamboo Encounter on a 4th Saturday at 11:30 a.m.  Check out the Facebook page for more information, for weekly quotes/Scripture, and past service blog posts.  There are also pictures and posts from folks who attend.

May you enjoy some time outside in creation!

Debra


The service:


Opening Prayer: (A Celtic Prayer from Christine Valters Painter’s book water, wind, earth & fire: the Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements, p. 15)

“Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
which fans your face on a sultry day,
the air which you breathe deeply, rhythmically,
which imparts to you energy, consciousness, life.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you!”

Readings:

Matthew 13:16
“But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.” (NIV)

Job 12:10
“In his hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of every human being.”

“No Sign but Everything That Is” ~ Wendell Berry, “Sabbaths, 1999” IX
The Incarnate Word is with us,
is still speaking—is present
always, yet leaves no sign
but everything that is.

Communion:

1 Corinthians 11: 23-26 The Message (MSG)

"Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord’s Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you. The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. Having given thanks, he broke it and said,
This is my body, broken for you.
Do this to remember me.
After supper, he did the same thing with the cup:
This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you.
Each time you drink this cup, remember me.

What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt."


Song: (Eat This Bread)

Eat this bread, drink this cup,
come to him and never be hungry.
Eat this bread, drink this cup,
trust in him and you will not thirst.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Blessing:  (from Earth Gospel: A Guide to Prayer for God’s Creation by Sam Hamilton-Poore, p. 33)

May you see the glory of God in sun and sky;
may you hear the Creator’s song in bird and breeze;
and may the grace of Christ’s Spirit course through you,
body and soul.





Saturday, September 28, 2019

Breath Prayers

This past week has been about breath prayers. I preached on praying this past Sunday ("Pray"), but what stuck with me all week was the breath prayer.

Every morning during my quiet time a breath prayer would rise up.

Breath prayers are short prayers that coincide with one's breathing pattern.  It becomes a way to pray unceasingly during the day.

A colleague, Ken Hagler, is putting out a book of 52 breath prayers. I can't wait for it. His teachings have always been spot on for me. You can get the ebook here.

Here are the breath prayers from this week, along with photos I have taken recently or in the past.







Breathe in. Breathe out.

Create your own breath prayers, according to your needs and desires.

Peace and adventure on the journey,

Debra