In our church context, whoever preaches on a Sunday has the opportunity to write up a devotional for further study and reflection. Here is my sermon and the accomonying devotional. Enjoy!
ENCOUNTER: Read Psalm 26:2-3
In the 1600's there was a monk named Brother Lawerence. He wrote a little devotional called, Practicing the Presence of God. It is a simple book, based on a simple idea, that the day to day moments of our lives are not simply day to day interactions, but moment by moment encounters with the living God.
This simple idea and change in mindset is a game changer in all of life, but even more so for those of us who struggle with fear and anxiety. The best way to calm our fears is to recognize we are not alone. Having someone with you in scary situations or times our trouble is a balm to our souls. And the stronger, more powerful, and more loving towards us the more our fears subside. So, when we can get our head around the idea that God, the all powerful, all knowing, creator of the Universe and lover of your soul is walking with you, resides inside of you, and longs to bring you comfort and peace, fear doesn't stand a chance!
Practicing the presence of God is a simple discipline that builds on the discipline of mindfulness. It is becoming more and more popular in therapy circles to tap into this ancient practice where you get out of your head and get in touch with your body. Our bodies give us all sorts of data and help us understand the world around us and give us clues to what is going on in our inner life as well. It is simply a discipline of slowing down, paying attention to the details in and outside of your body. This tiny step does wonders in grounding us and calming our anger, fear, and anxiety.
But, as followers of Christ, we are invited to be mindful not of just our body, but of the spiritual reality that God is with us, within us, at work, and using us. When we stop, breathe, pay attention to our bodies, and then inform our thinking and worldview with the realities of the working of the Holy Spirit, we actually have a person to carry our burdens, to comfort us, and to protect us. And even more so, so walk with us through whatever is ailing our souls.
We live in a culture and a moment where we live only in our heads. We are disconnected with our bodies, and even more so, disconnected with the working of God in us and through us. Our busy lives, our phones, and constant distraction keep us disconnected.
Why not give this practice a try. Put your phone down, close your eyes, get connected to your body and then be mindful of the work of the Holy Spirit in you and through you.
BE REFECTIVE: Why not give this practice a try. Put your phone down, close your eyes, get connected to your body and then be mindful of the work of the Holy Spirit in you and through you.
BE A BLESSING: How can you be the body of Christ for someone today? How can you stand in for the Holy Spirit and help calm the fears and anxiety of someone else by simply being with them?
BE TOGETHER: It is a difficult challenge to slow down, put your phone down and be quiet long enough to get in touch with your body, and even harder to quiet your mind to actually hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. I find that it is helpful to invite someone else into this practice. Who might that person be for you?