Cultivating the Art of Presence

 

 
The world we live in has become characterized by a compulsive connectivity, but many of the ways that we connect with people, with our physical environment, even the way that we prepare and consume food have become disconnected from our physical bodies. While it’s not all bad, it can be helpful to make a conscious choice on occasion to engage our physical body in the process of connection, especially in areas where our habits are becoming destructive or dysfunctional. Here are three ways that you can choose to cultivate the art of presence:

rain

It’s one of those Auckland days; a heavy wet heat rests on the city’s shoulders, the sky a bright silver grey.

A soft mist of rain falls steadily to ground, its almost imperceptible echo a welcome reprieve from the loud chorus of cicadas; its persistence a reminder of the unpredictable and untameable nature of the earth, the hopeful promise of things being made new.

In this moment of stillness my heart is pulled both near and far as I remember those who today live in the shadow of present or recent violence, disaster or tragedy.

I invite you to join with me in remembering:

We remember Ukraine
[silent reflection]

We remember Venezuela
[silent reflection]

We remember the Philippines
[silent reflection]

We remember Syria
[silent reflection]

We remember Christchurch
[silent reflection]

We remember…[insert your own thought here]…
[silent reflection]

words for 2014

At [pause] last week we spent some time in a collective prayer of examen for Taonga.  We took time to reflect over the events of the past year; to look for God’s fingerprints in our experiences; to celebrate God’s action in us and through us; to grieve over dreams that didn’t come to pass; and to discern God’s vision for our future.

As part of our time together we identified some words which summed up the picture of community we felt God was breathing into us during our time together.

Take a deep breath, inhale each one.  Let it inhabit your senses.

warmth
refuge
belonging
sanctuary

 

A prayer for peace

St Aidans Prayer for the Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Lord this bare island,
make it a place of peace.
Here be the peace
of those who do your will.
Here be the peace
of brother serving man.
Here be the peace
of holy monks obeying.
Here be the peace
of praise by dark and day.
Be this Island Thy Holy Island.
I, Lord, Thy servant Aidan,
make this prayer.
Be it Thy care.

Amen

Advent 2: Peace

The season of Advent has been celebrated by Christians for centuries as a time of excitement and anticipation for the birth of Christ.  It is also a time when we celebrate and look toward the coming of the Kingdom of God. One of the traditions we use to do this is the lighting of Advent candles. The four candles of Advent (Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace) represent different values which characterise what the world could look like if Jesus reign was present in every area of life.  Each week a new candle is lit to represent the way in which that value is now present through Christ’s life on earth, to recognize our part in enacting that value in the way in which we live, and to anticipate its coming and completion when the Kingdom of God is finally realized on earth.

Today, as we continue our Advent journey, we light the candle of Peace.

As we light it we celebrate the peace that entered into the world in the form of a fragile, crying human child; a peace born of disquiet to bring wholeness, healing and reconciliation to all.

As we light the candle of peace we recognize Jesus’ call to us as disciples to be mediators of that peace in our world as we choose to live ‘as in the day’.

As we light the candle of peace we anticipate the time when the kingdom of God will be experienced in all its fullness and peace will truly reign on earth.

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