LOGO angelican
January 2012
Vol 4 Issue 5
Labyrinth


Practicing Month to Month
A Newsletter of the Spiritual Enrichment Committee
Welcome to our Spiritual Practices E-Newsletter  

Dear friends,

 

 As we begin 2012 we continue our series of newsletters on the practice of prayer.  This year, many of us may indeed choose to make a 'resolution' to be more intentional about our prayers lives.  How each of us does that will be different but please do read this wonderfully frank reflection on prayer by Juleta Severson-Baker.

 

Blessings for 2012,

 

The Rev. Anna Greenwood-Lee


Juleta Severson-Baker on Embodied Prayer

 

My friends, as a young teenager, maybe 13 years old, I was concerned about how to pray. I didn't like the idea of prayers being a list of requests to God; a kind of Christmas wish list to the creator of the universe. I had a hunch that prayer could be more than "Dear God, keep me safe, keep my family safe and please help my friend who is sad because her boyfriend is a jerk." These ordinary petitions didn't feel powerful enough, or important enough or eloquent enough to me.

 

Also, by 13 I'd fallen deeply in love with what I thought of as the majesty of God in Nature. I liked to walk at dusk West from my Oakridge bungalow home to the edge of the T'suu Tina nation land and watch the sun set. The glory of prairie grasses blowing in wind beneath the Alberta sky and bordered by those sharp, grey mountains, this glory was as tangible to me as honey. And just as sweet and nourishing. I began to realize that being there, seeking out that space and that relationship with Nature - that was a kind of prayer just as valid as my nighttime "Now I lay me down to sleep" or my Sunday morning "Dear God, keep me safe, keep my family safe and please help my friend who is sad..." In Nature I was tapping in to a kind of prayer that felt alive, a kind of communication with God's power and majesty. And I always walked home feeling calm, feeling happy, feeling big and small at the same time, feeling like a part of it all.

 

As the years went on I delved into many forms of prayer. I've prayed through song; offering my deepest longings to God and hearing His promises to me while singing "Be Not Afraid" at the service where we buried my mother's ashes. I've prayed as ritual; gradually deepening my understanding of right living while praying over and over the Lord's prayer; and feeling that familiar surge of power and joy while praying "Glory to God, whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine". I've prayed in raw urgency and with pure faith while crying out loud "Jesus protect my children and myself NOW!" as we slid down a treacherous bit of highway on Vancouver Island in a spring blizzard. I've prayed while entering deep, wordless meditation; while walking a labyrinth, or lying on my back in a dark quiet room, seeking only to empty myself of my worldly preoccupations. I've prayed with my eyes wide open in the way of the Sioux people while in a sweat lodge on the Alexis Cree first nation NE of Edmonton. I've experienced prayer as a relationship with the creative spirit while writing poetry or doing improvised movement in a drama studio. And I've prayed many prayers of petition, some of them impelled by my petty ego, some of them reaching a little beyond; "God please keep me safe, please help me move through this day, please help me love deeply those who I love, please help me move through this world that can seem so dark, and thank you for all the many blessings in my life".

 

This yearI am eager to learn from Jesus' final prayer on the cross; "into thy hands I commend my spirit". I want my spirit to rest in God's hands. I want my whole life to be prayer. As I bumble along through my days; greedy, hungry, tired and afraid, I want to remember the infusion of grace and power I felt when praying at the western edge of the city some 25 years ago - I want to re-orient myself to God's world. Yes, I want my whole life to be a prayer.

This month at St. Laurence

 

  


Sunday, January 1st - 10 am

Eucharist and Baptism

 

Thursday, January 5th- 9:30 am

Contemplative Prayer with Geri Urch

 

Sunday, January 8th - 10 am

The Festival of Epiphany

 

Tuesday, January 10th - 7:15 pm

Parish Council Meeting

 

Sunday, January 15th - 10 am

Sunday service followed by Conversations

 

Thursday, January 19 - 9:30 am

Contemplative Praeyr with Geri Urch

 

Sunday, January 22nd - 10 am

Sunday Servcie followed by Conversations

 

Sunday, January 29th - 10 am

Don McLeod to preach and preside