Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Five: Spiritual Practices

Mary Beth says: "My Sunday school class has hit the "pause" button on our study of First Corinthians and is spending Lent on Richard J. Foster's classic Celebration of Discipline. I have had this wonderful and very readable book on my shelf, along with the study guide for it, for years, but have never discussed it with a group. Because there are only five Sundays in Lent, we are fairly galloping through the book, getting a quick introduction to the various disciplines. The church is also sponsoring a Lenten Centering Prayer group, allowing some of us to sample this discipline in community. I like to think of the spiritual disciplines as vessels that prepare us to ride the wave of God's amazing love and presence in a new way. For today's Friday Five, please share with us five spiritual practices or disciplines from your experience. They can be ones that you have tried and kept up with, tried and NOT kept up with, ones that you flirt with at various times, or even practices that you have tried and found are definitely NOT your cup of tea. Let us know what's worked for you...and not."

There was a Lent a few years ago that I still look back on with a kind of fond nostalgia as "my favorite Lent."  There were many things that came together to make it a particularly fruitful spiritual time in my life, but a big part of that experience was that this particular Lent included the practice of several spiritual disciplines, both alone and in a supportive community that had committed to practicing them together during that time.  Some of the practices that I experienced during that time, as well as have done at other times have included:

Meditation

Centering Prayer
Fasting
Silence
Spiritual Reading or Lectio Divina

At various points in time all of these are in and out of my spiritual menu, along with other practices.  I find them all helpful, I find they all sustain me when I sustain them.  But they are spiritual disciplines and I am not always as disciplined as I could be in following them.  I allow life and schedules and other such things to intrude and they fall away or get interfered with or otherwise eroded day by day and the next thing I know no longer can claim this practice and must begin again.

My life has never again been quite in that same perfect alignment as it was in "that Lent" in which all those things simply worked. I'd like to think it could be again, but perhaps that is a very tall order.  Perhaps it would make more sense to think about how one or perhaps two of these could fit the life I have now, could be practiced to help me get in shape for any and all wave riding that God might have in store.  I'd hate to think that I might miss out on a grand adventure just because I wasn't up to the challenge!

3 comments:

She Rev said...

I SOOOOO get the feeling that this Lent is not "that Lent." I'm sort of in a place that "this year(s)" is not "that year." I want to know how I can change that.

Terri said...

The Spirit moves as she will - and not every season is epiphanic, but still some movement of the Spirit is surely happening...

Purple said...

One of my mentors from the direction program taught me this: sometimes after major life changes (both joyous and hard/tragic/life altering)the spiritual practices which were meaningful...no longer are.

Maybe the Spirit has a totally new practice in store for you!