***Happy Halloween! May your day be filled with good memories of all the people who have come in and out of this season of your life!***
Field Guide Home Study: Week 5
Creative Living in a Consumer World
Mercy, life can be busy, can’t it? There are so many good things to be a part of… so many places that we can put feet to our faith and be love in this world. Thanks be to God for the chance to learn to make room for others, to step back away from the power and control in a situation and share it instead. May we not tire in the work of love, or making space for others to be their best selves!
Still yet, busyness can really get to be a hum-dinger! The perpetual to-do list can often times be relentless. Sometimes the busyness of our lives can also hold part of our identity. If the busyness dicates some of our worth, then staying busy is necessary for us to feel important.
In our fast-paced, minute-to-win-it culture, the idea of longing for something can be a bit foreign. Everything has got to happen now. Pronto! We don’t long for things nearly as much because, well… we can have them right now. We speed up acquiring possessions. We speed up worship services. We speed up conversations. And by doing so, we can forget what it means to yearn… to long… to ache. Something that is surely coming but is not here yet.
It is odd to have to actually plan to slow down, to set a date on the calendar in which you block out time to stop and turn off the gizmos and gadgets. To be quiet. To just be. But without this time, we, as creatures of busyness, become unsettled. Where is the space to reflect, pray, and sit to listen to where God is leading our spirits? Where is a contemplative time which is required for us to arrive at thoughts that will be necessary for our future?
Taking a sabbath/ resting requires us to slow down, to stop: stop consuming, stop talking, stop worrying, stop making idols, stop running around… a time to stop. This, in all senses of the phrase, is an act of resistance.
Sabbath is resistance from a culture that attaches worth to productivity.
Scripture Readings: Genesis 1:14-15 (CEB Bible)
14 God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will mark events, sacred seasons, days, and years. 15 They will be lights in the dome of the sky to shine on the earth.” And that’s what happened.
The heavens and the earth and all who live in them were completed. 2 On the sixth day God completed all the work that God had done, and on the seventh day God rested from all the work that God had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all the work of creation.
Jesus left and made his way to the Mount of Olives, as was his custom, and the disciples followed him.
Questions to Consider:
+As you read this, what tasks are on your mind to get done? How can you slow your mind and let it settle into a brief respite?
+Which persons in your life can you rest with?
+Will the world keep turning if you do not complete your to-do list?
+What are you trying to prove or who are you trying to prove yourself to?
+Center this thought in prayer, and post it on the fridge, phone or mirror:*
O God, it is hard for me to let go most times,
the squeeze I exert harms me and harms others.
So, God, loosen my grip on the grudges I am holding,
that I may risk the vulnerability of forgiveness.
God, loosen my grip on holding things which just aren’t mine to hold any longer,
that I may take up what is mine to hold.
God, loosen my grip on the fears that paralyze me,
that I may find liberation.
God, loosen my grip from the shame I hold deep down,
that I may know that I am not a mistake, but beloved.
God, loosen my grip from crippling anxiety,
that I may breathe deeply of Your comfort.
God open my eyes to this wild and wondrous world.
*Adapted from “Loosen My Grip” within “Guerrillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle” by Ted Loder
+Consider planning a day this week where you engage in morning lauds (praise) and evening vespers (prayer). As the days shorten and the darkness takes up more space, create time in your day to rest from the to-do list, to reflect and remember you are and what your calling is. Are you doing that which makes you come alive and working to create space for others to do the same?
+ Make space for solitude this week. Community is wonderful, beautiful, and needed for our spirits. But balance it this week with intentionally being alone with no other task than just to sit, be still, and see what comes along.
Prayer for the Week:*
O God, who is greater than the most powerful forces in this world,
enable us to be still and know that You are God.
O God who answers out of the whirlwind of everyday life,
breathe in us Your Holy Spirit to strengthen, comfort, and guide us in the midst of the storm.
O still, small voice, speak to us this hour
that we might become makers of Your peace
in our homes, in our communities, in our world.
We pray all this in the name of the One who calmed the raging sea. Amen.
*Adapted from a post on My Redeemer Lives website