Reflections to start the week
Monday, March 17, 2014
What I’m working on
This Lent (and hopefully beyond), my spiritual practice is to focus on three things. Emphasis is on practice because I need to get better at each one of these. The longer I’m on this spiritual journey, the more distance I realize I need to cover, the more work there is to be done, the more learning lies out there, the more room there is to grow.
These three tools help me focus my ADD soul, my monkey mind. I share them selfishly, because if I put them in writing and send them out to a bunch of people, I automatically get some accountability about trying to live them out. And maybe there will be some resonance with the challenges and opportunities of your spiritual journey this Monday morning.
Here they are, slightly alliteratively presented:
1. Say thanks:
Approach the day noting with gratitude the gifts that surround me. I can all too quickly focus on the reasons why things aren’t the way I may have imagined or hoped, stuck in a loop of regret or resentment (literally “feeling again). So I’ll try each morning to name at least five things for which I am grateful. The intentionality shifts the thinking, and just maybe changes the course of the day. As biblical warrant, hear what the Spirit is saying through scripture:
Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me. (Psalm 50:23a)
2. Savor the day:
Realize that today, March 17, 2014, is the only March 17, 2014 I’ll ever have. How will I use it? How will I make the most of it? The answer does not necessarily connote activity or accomplishment, though it might. It does call for mindfulness of the gift of time, the present that is the present. It might be that the best use of the day would be to sit in silence the whole time I’m awake. That probably ain’t gonna happen (After all, it is St. Patrick’s Day!) but the point is, it’s as much about being as doing. As biblical warrant, hear what the Spirit is saying through scripture:
This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)
3. Serve somebody somehow:
Ask each morning for the Holy Spirit to lead in a path of service, eyes open to opportunities to think less about how others can be useful to me, and more about how I can be useful, helpful, healing to somebody else. It may be somebody I know. It may be somebody I’m meeting for the first time. It may be some Mother Teresa/Pope Francis noble act of charity, touching the untouchable. It may be a simple act of courtesy, allowing someone to cut in line in traffic, thanking the person at the supermarket checkout, complimenting the barista, being kinder to someone in my family. As biblical warrant, hear what the Spirit is saying through scripture:
Happy are those who consider the poor; the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble. (Psalm 41:1)
That’s what I’m working on this Lent, my practice, a work in progress, a life-long pilot project. How about you?
– Jay Sidebotham
| In honor of the Feast of St. Patrick, and as a resource for the challenges of our spiritual practice, a portion of a poem attributed to St. Patrick:
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Rev. Jay Sidebotham
RenewalWorks is a ministry of Forward Movement.
I have a deacon friend who begins dismissal prayers at committee meetings thus: “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” This effusive gratitude is something to observe in action both vertically and horizontally, and never fails to energize and inspire.