Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sacred Rhythms

I am back home again in Columbus after a retreat in Hocking Hills and a trip to the southwest.  Home again and it feels like starting over in some ways.

I continue to check out the daily lectionary and have finally finished reading Sacred Rhythms: Arranging our lives for Spiritual transformation by Ruth Haley Barton.   In the last chapter she writes:
"From the vantage point of being outside my normal rhythms for a time, I saw my life more clearly than I sometimes do.  I became deeply aware of the fact that I love my life when I am living it within the rhythms that God has guided me into; there is a goodness in it and manageability to it that my whole self longs for and leans into.  Yes, there is busyness and work, but there are also times of rest and delight that my soul can count on."

And so I start today with what has become the rhythm of my life in retirement: a newspaper, sudoko, CBS news for 30 minutes and then time in the prayer room.  It is in the prayer room that I am able to meditate, read, write and remember the purpose of my life: I am here to be with God, guided by God and used by God.  And from that beginning the rest of the day unfolds.

What I know is the we all have to find our own "rule of life" and rhythm of spiritual practices that will center us so that we can really live a happy and fulfilling life.  And different seasons in our lives give us different challenges and opportunities for spiritual growth.  When I was a Mom at home with three little girls, I still did writing, reading and praying - but it was around naptime often.  And the truth is that there is so much to learn about being a "child of God" when you are around children.

Now that I live with older people - especially Chuck - I learn patience, compassion and the grace of aging.  It is different and it is still good if I have eyes to see.

One of the scriptures for today is the beloved 23rd Psalm - which I have read so much and used in Pastors class and even memorized.  Every line in this Psalm is a jewel - but the one that I love the most today is the beginning - "The Lord is My Shepherd. I shall not want"   or "The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need."

And maybe I should remember - When the Lord is my shepherd I shall not want - meaning: when I let God BE my shepherd and follow where I am being led I will have what I need.  This journey can be scary at times, but I keep learning that following Him leads me to green pastures.

Here it is as interpreted by Eugene Peterson in The Message

- God, my shepherd!
    I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
    you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
    you let me catch my breath
    and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through
    Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
    when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
    makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner
    right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
    my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me
    every day of my life.

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