Worship Materials: Lent

From the Festive Worship collection

 

THEME              The Connecting Solitude

THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION

  1. The spiritual desert is not a foe to be conquered but an emptiness   to be affirmed: for when we are full, we perceive nothing, but when we are empty we can receive everything.
  2. To enter the wilderness is to discover one’s true home. To enter the solitude is to discover one’s links with all things.
  3. Make a cave in your heart and sequester yourself there, let the womb of the divine silence mother you, let the encompassing of the nothingness confirm you, let the energy of the stillness fire you.
  4. To live in the dryness with courage and awareness is to open one’s spirit to ever new possibilities of creative greening.
  5. To see God in the light is the beginning of faith.
    To know God in the darkness is the beginning of wisdom.
  6. The love of letting go,
    the dance of stillness,
    and the singing in the silence,
    are held together by the connecting solitude.
  7. Lent is a time for sorting paraphernalia, the odds and ends of our spiritual life and to become more focused so that our energies will not be dissipated by religious consumerism, the pursuit of gurus or the accumulation of spiritual antiques.
  8. Our obsession with consumption means that we have become the future eaters, swallowing up the future of generations
    yet unborn.
  9. It is only those who have listened to the silence who can appreciate the music.
  10. In the ageless cavern I meet the present moment.
  11. It is in our aloneness that we become aware of our connectedness.
  12. To find the dance of the universe in your heart is to be at home everywhere.
  13. The pursuit of external gold is never an appropriate substitute
    for the mining of one’s inner treasure.
  14. It is better to be poor and have a large mind and heart
    than to be rich and have a small mind and heart.
  15. Discipline is a two edged sword – it can be the servant of beauty and tenderness but it can also be the instrument of oppression and denial of the life force. So always question what lies behind discipline.
  16. People who are not aware of their own body and their own mind cannot achieve a state of full awareness of their spirit, for awareness is indivisible.
  17. Spirit is the connection of the body and the mind to the life of the universe.
  18. No one can do your inner work for you, but others can help you
    clarify the task, provide the stimulus for action and the
    environment in which it can safely happen.
  19. When you cannot see the way ahead, do not forget it is an
    opportunity to gain resources for the next stage of the journey
  20. We cannot rely solely on the resources of the past. We have to continually dig our own wells.
  21. In the desert what may seem lifeless to one, is the source of sustenance to another.
  22. To see poverty in our riches and riches in our poverty is a transforming awareness.
  23. Awareness not ownership leads to enjoyment.
  24. God is not primarily in the wind of words,
    nor in the earthquake of ecstasy,
    nor even in the purifying fire of pain and suffering,
    but in what we hear in the silence,
    the place of secret knowing. (1 Kings 19/11-12)
  25. The action of letting go preludes the life of praise.
  26. When the mind is full, there is emptiness of spirit.
    When the heart is full, there is no completeness
    When the spirit is empty, there is fullness of divinity.
  27. If we are not kind to our own body, it makes it very difficult for us to be kind to other people’s bodies.
  28. When you discover the golden fire within, the whole world becomes gilded. You are no longer obsessed with the desire to own or consume but are simply content to be aware.
  29. Excess corrupts our body, our aesthetic sensibility, our spirit. How much better to follow the balance of nature, the ecology of Spirit.
  30. The way is a journey not a place.
  31. Lent is at time to let go of excess baggage and to focus on the journey.

 

PRAYER

O Jesus Christ, who was not afraid to enter the inner wilderness of confusion and conflict, may our awareness of your journey give us the

courage to dwell within our complexity rather than attempting to deny its existence.

 

HYMNS

Not in grasping or in holding. (BL)

In the darkness of my spirit. (BL)

 

Help us, O Christ, to choose the path of peace.

www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundlesslife

The Way of God.

www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundlesslife

O Help us most loving and life-giving God.

www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundlesslife

Choose life.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

Darkness is my mother.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

What does our God require of us?

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

God of forgiveness.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

The spring will come again.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

 

Enter the stillness. (STS1)

Singing the Sacred, Vol 1, 2011 World Library Publications

 

REFRAIN

In the letting go. (BL)

 

POEMS / REFLECTIONS

 

WINTER WASHING

I have an obligation

which I do not

always fulfill ‑

an obligation to myself

to make time

to savor life;

to let the red wine

of form and color,

darkness and light,

sound and silence,

all that I touch

and all that touches me,

excite the taste buds

of my soul.

If through busyness,

puritanism or selfishness

I do not allow myself

to meet CHRIST

in every stone, body and bone

of God’s world,

my life becomes

like winter washing –

WRUNG OUT,

LIMP

AND VERY COLD.

(see Corinthians 1:16b-17)

 

DISCOVERY

When I stop

struggling to be

I discover

I AM.

 

BUT NOT BEFORE

Kill the puritan in you

but not before you have discovered love –

Work for justice and peace

but not before you have embraced beauty –

Give yourself to others

but not before you have affirmed your own self worth ‑

Share your power

but not before you have claimed it as your own.

 

PILGRIMAGE

Pilgrimage to the place of the ancestors – our Bethlehem.

Pilgrimage to the place of our birth – our Bethlehem.

Pilgrimage to the place of suffering and opposition – our Golgotha.

Pilgrimage to the place of celebration and awareness – our garden of

Resurrection.

 

DISCERNMENT

Discernment is knowing when to speak and when to remain silent,

when to move and when to be still,

when to consume and when to abstain,

when to include and when to leave out,

when to hold and when to let go.

 

NEW LIFE

Like

winter’s bleakness

the grey-dayed

leaf-falling

seasons of mind

hold time

to reassess

and regroup

nascent resources

for the living

of undreamt

dreams.

 

FOCUS FOR ACTION

1.  There are two alternative ways of attempting to simplify our life-style and to achieve our desired goals. We can on the one hand focus on what is best for the deepest level of our psyche, our I AM and allow the other things to melt into the background or on the other hand we can go to war with our less desirable habits and move into a judgmental mode.

The first method brings delight, the second method puts out the light and casts us into a depressive attitude to life.

Which of these two is my predominant method and how can I deal with my puritan without becoming immoral or hedonistic?

2.  What aspects of my life should I let go of in order that my spirituality might gain more focus and have less clutter?

 

Text and image © William Livingstone Wallace but available for free use.

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