Advent, Common Prayer, and Remembering

I have been reminded recently that there was a time when I felt more Christian. It wasn’t because I was immersed in a sub-culture. Working on staff at a church actually made me feel more alienated from what it means to be a Christian. And it’s certainly never been the case because I was a moral superstar. What I remember about that time was that the influences in my world were somehow centering. They all told me the same story about what it means to follow Jesus in a world that in so many ways opposes Him. Some of those influences have faded back into my life, making small steps onto the periphery of my mind and whispering truths I had lost the faith to believe.

I remember the ache I felt to live life with people. To share meals, space, and faith with a group of like-minded sojourners. I had a mental image of what that should look like. Turns out the image was a little off. But suddenly I am sharing the sacred and the mundane with folks I found trudging the same path as me.

I recall the drive I had to write, to study Scripture, and to teach it to people so that they might understand how crazy and beautiful and mysterious the world of God and man intertwined really is. And I am suddenly putting pen to paper and voice to thought more and more often, combining my musings with others in a tapestry of struggle to walk stronger and straighter on the path.

And I recall the peace and stillness I felt praying in the quiet of a chilly monastery sanctuary. I received a book of prayers in the mail last week intended to be used in community. I hope that it’s going to become the skeleton of prayer and contemplation for the body of believers with whom I gather. And I hope that it becomes part of my mental structures of prayer and meditation.

These memories are bringing a warm chill to my spirit as I find a longing stir up deep inside of me. I want to be a person wholly engaged in these parts of my life. I want to know that I am pouring myself into these opportunities so that the memories I am creating now are stronger than those drifting into my mind tonight.

 Common Prayer

http://thesimpleway.org/store/product/common-prayer-a-liturgy-for-ordinary-radicals/

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2 Comments

  1. July 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    (It’s an old post, but whatever, right?)

    So, one of the best things that’s happened to me in recent months is being exposed to Common Prayer. It reminded me of all the things that I loved about the practice of liturgy. This was particularly important, because it happened at a time when I could have associated liturgical practice with a bunch of other unpleasantness and thrown it all away.

    Instead, I find myself waking up entirely too early on Sunday mornings to gather for prayer. Why? Just…because. Because Christians pray together, right? Because we’re the children of the Father. Because we’re all saints, and that’s what saints do.

    I’ve also taken to praying through Midday Prayer at lunch. This has been incredibly centering for me, as I deal with the tidal waves of life. Today, in particular, as I found myself struggling with negative feelings that threatened to overwhelm me, I slipped away and prayed. I sought the face of God, and He found me and comforted me.

    All this is some of the fruit of *your* labors, as you work at appealing to the people of the church, trying to persuade them to love prayer among the people of God.

    It’s worth it. And I thought you should know.

    • MandyK said,

      July 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      Thanks, Ben, that really does mean a lot. This book has been a bit of a lifesaver for me as well. I am looking forward to expanding our use of it at Imago. It’s really good to hear that it’s a source of strength and encouragement for you as well.


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