It has become a routine yet still shocking news report: another shooting in a quiet neighbourhood or at a shopping centre, nightclub, school or place of worship. Then come the familiar offers of “thoughts and prayers” for the victims and their loved ones. Sadly, there have been too many opportunities to pray these prayers recently.
Nearly 20 years ago, my husband accepted a job offer in Winnipeg that resulted in our family’s move from Ontario, a place we had called home for 22 years.
Over the course of our lives, we likely offer many prayers in a variety of ways. Some are formal, memorized prayers said for specific occasions. A family table grace recited before meals. The comforting words of Psalm 23. The Lord’s Prayer spoken as one body during worship.
From the moment we learned I was pregnant, the baby we longed for was continually on my mind. What would it look like? What kind of personality would it have? How would this baby change our life? I was truly “expecting.” Expectant waiting with our baby in mind transformed not just me and my husband, but our whole extended family.
People who are involved in service are typically practical, caring people; in other words, people of action. Of course the motivation for doing service is to follow Jesus and his teaching, to reach out to the weak, to the orphans and widows, and so on, according to Jeremiah 22:3 and James 1:27.
Time is a significantly gracious yet controlling dynamic. It’s a dimension from which we cannot escape, but our experience of it varies depending on our context. We move from day to day, month to month, year to year, growing older and hopefully wiser, sometimes caught off guard by the realization that time doesn’t wait for our approval.
Sarah Moesker, front row right, and her fellow companions share the daily rhythm of the sisters’ life. (Photo courtesy of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine)
Sarah Moesker spent the first half of the Companions on the Way program working in the convent’s kitchen. (Photo courtesy of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine)
One of the biggest highlights for Sarah Moesker, front row second from left, was living a prayerful, contemplative life with others. (Photo courtesy of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine)
When Sarah Moesker began asking herself how she could deepen her faith, living in an Anglican convent for almost a year was the answer.
God, our Mother and our Father,
Jesus Christ, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit, our Comforter.
We offer our gratitude, for you are with us.
You are familiar without struggles and joys, and still you draw near to us.
You are Holy.
We offer you gratitude for your sustaining love,
For the relationships made and being made,
For our daily bread,
For the material we need to continue everyday,
For how you renew our spirit when we struggle
One of the best gifts my father has ever given me is an online subscription to The New York Times. He has always been an ardent fan of good news sources. The man has a ridiculously insatiable desire to learn. It was inevitable that such an appreciation would be passed on to his children as well. However, while my father devours every article on current events and sports, I tend to skip over the bleak headlines and head straight to the more superfluous articles and slide shows in the House and Garden and Style sections. Hardly academic, but enjoyable nonetheless.
I just read through my "morning pages," looking for nuggets to blog about and ripping out pages to shred.
"Morning pages" come from a class I took last year. It focused on "Disciplines for the Peacebuilder" and maintaining balance, and emotional and spiritual health when involved in the intense work of peacebuilding. The instructions were to write three pages every morning of whatever came to mind. It should be handwritten freewriting - not putting the pen down until the three pages have been filled.
To start off the school year, I decided to make the first week a personal prayer week. Although I usually prefer this kind of commitment together with others, like Will's efforts with reading through the Bible, the crazy-ness of getting back to Harrisonburg, starting a new semester teaching, and trying to finish off data collection with my research project make meeting with others regularly a challenge, and creating space for my own time of re-centering a must.