Contemplative Prayer Class, Everyday God, Everyday Life, Icons of Faith, Prayer, Soul Care, St. Luke's UMC OKC, Writing
It’s good to have another installment of Everyday God delivered. As the old coffee commercial use to boast, it was good to the last drop.
I received. I created. Then I gave it all away. The scariest part is the beginning, when I wait for ideas to come. Then there’s the hard but satisfying labor of pulling and shaping what comes into an opening meditation (crumbs from my daily bread that set the table for the rest of the evening) and our main course, a contemplative prayer practice. It’s interesting to note that what I once feared — the delivery role of facilitator — is no longer scary.
But even (especially?) in a church setting, there is always some fly in the ointment. The lovely women who attended Thursday evening’s practice session were wary of this ‘contemplative’ label, fearful that it may have kept others from attending; yet, every one of them enjoyed the contemplative prayer experience. After a little discussion, they asked if we could remove the ‘contemplative’ word from all future promotions.
“Sure.” Sometimes saying ‘yes’ is easy. So next month, I’ll just call it a women’s prayer circle. Is this truth-in-advertising? Who knows? But the right answer seems to eliminate all scary words; “perfect love casts out fear.”
I received a scary but inviting word myself at the conclusion of Thursday night’s prayer practice. Linda, the Adult Education Coordinator at St. Luke’s, invited me to be a guest speaker at a Sunday morning Advent class. The topic — “Icons of Faith“.
Icon? Now there’ an scary unusual word for my mixed-Protestant ears. But I like the topic. Why? Maybe it’s all those Greek Orthodox and Catholic ancestors on my father’s side coming home to roost. Or perhaps it was hearing the thought that laid behind the “Icons of Faith” label: Each of the lessons (mine would fall second in the series) will allow attendants to receive four personal accounts; stories that tell how a speaker’s faith journey has been influenced by one modern ‘icon’ of faith — a saint, a monk, a priest, a mystic, a whatever.
Each speaker can choose to talk about whomever they wish, with the hope it will open other’s eyes on how the Advent story continues to play out in our own lifetime, in the lives of others whose cup of time we share. The first speaker will focus on Mother Teresa. I’m still pondering, but already I’ve a pretty good idea of who I will talk about.
My initial reaction was to play it safe. I left Thursday night, without offering Linda much hope of an acceptance. But I woke up Friday morning with ‘yes’. And before I could change my mind, I dashed off an acceptance note to Linda.
The scariest word of all is ‘yes’. Especially when it doesn’t become ‘no’ after that eye-opening morning cup of coffee. And who but God knows what lays in front of that ‘yes…
This Catholic is glad you said “yes.”
I will be the day after. Or right after the talk. Or maybe in the midst of the presentation. Or if I’m blessed, in all the days that lead up to the 2nd Sunday in Advent.
I’ve toyed all day with the question of who I might chose to speak about. The next thing I knew, I had two names, and was thinking… ah… maybe a series during Advent…. with four…. We’ll see. But I’ll hold my names until I have my four, and you’ve chosen your one. Then we can compare.
I did bring you a little giftie. I’ve stumbled on to a new blog, written by a couple in the Phillipines – Manila, I believe. I truly don’t know how I found them, but you might enjoy taking a look. The post on Bach’s Bible is wonderful.
I already have my subject. Did I pick him or vice versa?
Frederick Buechner. I’ve already pulled eight of my most favorite books of his to peruse and sink into. What a great writer he is. But perhaps you already know, since Annie Dillards gushes over him. And he about her.
Wow. An Advent series. Well, if inspirtion hits, I’m ready to read.
Oh, my. Buechner’s wonderful.
My pair? Dorothy Day and Dorthea Lange. Where they came from I’m not sure, but it will be interesting to see who pops up to join them!
Dorothy Day I know of. But not Dorthea Lange. But maybe I will, if you decide to pursue your own four Advent writings?
I forgot to tell you thanks for the blog link — I did drop in for a visit last night and thoroughly enjoyed the Bach Bible piece. The memory of last night now sends me to that other Bach gift you left as a comment one day long ago — a youtube of a concerto on that fabulous Houston pipe organ.
We’re givng serious consideration to making a brief Surfside pilgrimage next month. If so, I hope to follow up on that pipe organ. And having this Bach Bible story tucked into the back of my mind will make a visit there infinitely more precious.
I am grateful for all the ways you enrich my life.