For Courage

Lenten Practice: Fasting
Daily Act: Create space within by opening your heart to another. Whom will you let in today? How do you experience God when you make genuine space for others in your life?
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“OPEN ME TO RECEIVE MORE OF YOU.”

For Courage
By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

Blessings of courage to you
In each opening
Of your deepest self
To someone else

In daring to see
The holy
Radiant
In another life

In each response
To what you see

Blessings of courage to you
When you encounter
Strangers in this desert
And feel the urge of hospitality
Deep in your bones
Welcoming and receiving
With a surprisingly open heart
Despite the pounding fear
Of the unknown
Only to discover
You’ve been entertaining
Angels
Unaware

Blessing upon each encounter
That you may risk naming them
Holy

Even with your boss
Even with your spouse
Even with your co-worker
Even with your child
Even with the bus driver
The grocery clerk
The person delivering your mail
Even with the ones
You struggle to love

And the many faces that pass
So often unnoticed
On your way to somewhere
Now beacons of the divine love
You’ve come here to seek

So many people
In this desert place
Seeking some form
Of a glass of water
A loaf of bread
A kind-hearted smile

And God says-
I will you meet you here
In each one
In us all

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2, NRSV

Blessed Letting Go

First Sunday of Lent
Practice: FASTING

Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“OPEN ME TO RECEIVE MORE OF YOU.”

Fasting Blessing
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

Blessed is the space made
From letting go
Blessed is each yearning
For what you’ve given
That reminds you of
Why you have given it

Blessed is what the space can mean
As it grows inside you
Sturdy for holding
What you never imagined
You could hold

Blessed is all that enters
The inward space
As it is being cleared
The way the Spirit
Stretches outward
Within you
And breathes deep
A joyful sigh of liberation

Blessed is the emptying
The heart-focused release
The desire to love
More than the desire to have

Blessed is the space made
That expands as you see
How the One you seek
Comes to your threshold
In a thousand faces and forms
Waiting to be received

Blessed is the emptiness
Blessed is the openness
Blessed is the letting go

What Is In Your Heart?

by Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

“Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments.” –Deuteronomy 8:2

This is the time for taking the time to enter into your own depths, to know what is in your heart.

Parker Palmer describes the soul as a wild animal, which is a helpful metaphor in a wilderness season. “Let us remember that if we go crashing through the woods, screaming and yelling for the soul to come out, it will evade us night and day… But if you are willing to go into the woods, and sit quietly at the base of a tree, that wild animal will, after a few hours, reveal itself to you. And out of the corner of your eye, you will glimpse something of the wild preciousness [you are] looking for.”

I realize that while Lent is a wilderness time; most of us are still consumed with the tasks and demands of daily life. Who has hours to sit at the base of a tree waiting for the soul to emerge, whether in your living room or in the actual woods?

It is up to you to determine what you are willing to give. Ultimately, we make the time for what we want to make time for. There may be no more important act right now (for ourselves and the world) than finding a tree to sit under or a warm room to sit in to just pay attention to what is yearning to be noticed within. This is where the reserves are strengthened for living the justice we seek. It is where the most tangled questions knotted up in our minds find gradual release and even response.

But there is also this: being in the season of Lent means the wilderness is not only with us in our set-aside moments of prayer. We are in the wilderness at work, in meetings, driving to the store, and having dinner with our families. The radical way of humility and trust enfolds us as a constant possibility throughout the day. At any moment, we can use whatever is before us as an opportunity to glimpse something of the “wild preciousness” of the soul and then to live from that place.

Perhaps, living in this way, we might see something of the “wild preciousness” of all the other souls we encounter too.

This day take the time to discern what is in your heart. Spend time simply being present, waiting for the wildness of your own soul to emerge and reveal itself to you. Throughout the day return often to this inward wilderness space. Allow it to bring you perspective and patience and humility and grace.

God is searching your depths, in love, seeking out what is in your heart and inviting you to join. The wild preciousness within is longing to be discovered- to be lived.