Lenten Practice: Holy Attention
Daily Act: Find reasons to be in awe. What amazes you throughout your day?
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.


by Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

“We must learn to acknowledge that the creation is full of mystery; we will never entirely understand it. We must abandon arrogance and stand in awe.” Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace

A million miracles wait to greet us in every moment of the day.
The gift holy attention can bring is wider perspective.

I take a sip of my coffee and ponder its origins: Fair Trade Bolivian.

Where did these exact beans come from? I imagine the elements of the South American landscape that nurtured them to fullest life. I close my eyes and begin to see the soil that formed them, the sun that warmed them, the hands that picked them for a fair wage.

And whose hands, specifically? What woman or man, with a pulsing alive heart, with dreams and sorrows, with a family and community and story, reached out to harvest what I now enjoy? What was the thought in their mind at the exact moment they reached for these beans? What is their home like and what of their life? What events surrounded their day as they held in their work-worn hands the beans I ground fresh this morning which now join in awakening me to the holy of this day?

I revel at our connectedness.
I sip with new reverence.
I pray blessing upon the worker’s well-being who brought me this coffee this day, and the particular piece of earth that has been designated for this harvest.
O God- may my actions, small and large, honor the sacredness of the whole of creation.

Holy attention may also be the beginning of justice.

It is something so simple that can so easily be cast aside, rushed through on the way to more “important” things.

But take a moment to imagine this: I live in Ohio. There is still snow on the ground and I am drinking coffee from Bolivia.

A miracle!
Ancient enough ancestors would not believe it.

The day has barely begun and already I am in awe at an ordinary act, at how our lives are holy connected beyond what we can know. Already I can see how my choices create or diminish potential for God’s dream of peace to be made real.

I have not yet stepped outside to see the mystery of God in the face of my neighbors, or the possibility of spring waiting to break forth from barren branches, or to witness how the sun turns to gold everything within it’s reach.

If you look, really look, at whatever is before you and allow a sacred curiosity to emerge from your soul, you will find unceasing reasons to be in awe.

The Practice of Holy Attention: “Engaging in the practice of holy attention allows us to suspend our inner conversations and agendas and give reverent and receptive focus to a specific person or portion of God’s creation. Respecting another as an unrepeatable miracle whose life journey is unique and sacred brings awareness to and affirmation of God’s presence in all creation. We do this in the spirit of Christ who saw into the deep hearts of people and recognized their true identities as God’s beloved. During Lent, as we continue to empty ourselves (fasting) and evaluate our lives (examen), we begin to make space for awareness of where God is showing up in the world around us.” (2015 Guide for Lent, Community of Christ)

Come Feast With Christ

Lenten Practice: Fasting
Daily Act: Spend time in prayer with these questions for reflection: 1. How does intentional emptying make more space for God in your life? 2. How does this disruption in your normal routine draw your attention to God and others in a new way?
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.


As we reach the end of our first full week of Lent, here is a poem to prepare our hearts for World Hunger Day (tomorrow). In each emptying and receiving, may you find joy.


By David Brock

They wouldn’t really get
the guilt part
of World Hunger Day,
our thin-armed Third World sisters
who reach weary fingers
to receive a piece of bread,
coconut, or cracker;
our old-before-their-time brothers
who sip the grape juice
or caramelized sugar water
as they feast with Christ
this Communion Sunday.
They just wouldn’t get
the guilt part.

If you came.
If I was there,
they’d find some yam
or tarot root and cassava greens,
free range chickens or one thin goat,
boiled rice and Coca Cola at room temperature.
They’d rustle up abundance
from a crusty loaf and a dried fish.
They’d work a miracle for the visitor.
You, the guest,
and even their thin-lipped kids
would eat well
on World Hunger Day.

If you or I were the face of Jesus
in their hut today,
someone would thank God
for God’s grace and generous gifts.
We’d sing. We’d laugh.
We’d eat to overflowing
and there’d be enough
and to spare.
We’d laugh more, sing more
than any of us has for too long
and those rich moments
would be the greater miracle.
Joy and abundance
on World Hunger Day.
A full-on feast with Jesus
in the symbols of sacrament
and the hospitality of our hungry
Sisters and brothers in Christ.

I keep forgetting the hospitality of the poor.
I simply keep forgetting the hungry:
More than 800 million of them this World Hunger day.
The thousands who’ll die today
The cold calculations that number the
names of the 7 who die each minute,
in whose drawn faces
the light of the eyes
slowly fades and blinks out.

Wars kill, AIDS kills, cancer kills
But nothing kills like hunger.
They wouldn’t get the guilt part
of World Hunger Day.
They’d just share their abundance
They’d be as generous as they could.
They’d give the gift of hospitality
And they and we would experience joy.

[BFW— (advocacy)
Outreach International
Oblation—World Hunger
The Feinstein Foundation Challenge to Students
Joyce Carter, Ken Schnell]

Lenten Spiritual Retreat with Presiding Evangelist David Brock.  March 13-15, 2015 Click here to register!
Lenten Spiritual Retreat with Presiding Evangelist David Brock.
March 13-15, 2015
Click here to register!