Lenten Practice: Centering Prayer
Daily Act: Focusing on the source of all life awakens us to our connectedness with all life. Reach out to someone today who needs a sense of belonging. Invite someone to your home for a meal, or to your church.
Weekly Prayer Phrase:
I DWELL IN YOU AS THE SOURCE OF ALL LIFE.
by Katie Harmon-McLaughlin
“You who are first and the last, the living and the dead and the risen again; you who gather into your exuberant unity every mode of existence; it is you to whom my being cries out with a desire as vast as the universe; ‘In truth you are my Lord and my God.’” -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
The whole spiritual life is a pull toward unity: unity with our true selves, others, God, and creation. Through spiritual practices like centering prayer, we dwell in that space that awakens the oneness impulse within us. We begin to see our connection with all other life as more than theory. It is the way we live God’s vision for our world. The peaceable kingdom we are called to co-create resides in each oneness impulse lived.
This is why invitation is such a holy act. In western church culture, invitation carries a lot of baggage from religious proselytizing that has felt diminishing and dehumanizing at times. We wonder: what is the motive here? What is the agenda?
It is a shame that this is the case. In a society that can be so lonely and isolating, invitation is a powerful way to live God’s oneness vision together. It is sacred because it is about belonging. Rather than dehumanizing because of a hidden agenda, authentic invitation always honors the full worth of others in a truly mutual way. Despite how resistant we have become to anything that feels too much like proselytizing, we all deeply crave real invitation to what is most meaningful about this life we share.
This is at the core of the purpose of Lent. It is a season for stripping false distances and getting closer to the heart of things, which leads closer to your heart… and his… and hers… and every other heart that beats wild desire for deeper connection so often subdued because of the risk of being real. What if I’m not accepted for who I truly am? is the fear that drives so many false-self actions. Life in God’s Spirit reveals another way- where all belong in love to God and one another. This is the invitation we yearn to receive.
Let this spirit of invitation emerge naturally within you. As you dwell in God as the source of all life notice who you feel drawn toward. How is the pull toward unity coming to life in you? Who do you yearn to belong with? When you pay attention to these inner movements, you may be surprised. You may feel drawn to someone you don’t know or hardly know or wish you didn’t know. You may feel drawn to someone you think you know really well but realize how you have become casual or clumsy in a relationship in need of renewal.
Pay attention to this inward union pull.
Allow it come to life through you anywhere, everywhere.
Dare to release a sacred invitation and see where it may lead.
It is about deepest life in God’s Spirit coming to expression in the world. It is about wholeness. It is about restoring worth. It is about paying attention to how we are called to belong to one another. It is about the world as it could be.