Though we are in lockdown, the Drive community has certainly not been quiet. Here is a short synopsis of events to look forward to in the new church year.
As from Harvest Sunday I and the Local Preachers will be involved in preaching on the 7 Acts of the Bible – Creation, Crisis, Calling, Conversation, Christ, Church and Conclusion (Continuation). This reflects 7 different personalities which add to the fact that we are part of the story. We will do this as a joint venture which will make our services and preaching more collaborative.
At the start of lockdown, I thought of ideas to make the foyer of the church reflect the efforts to counteract the pandemic. You will have seen the prayer tree and please feel free to add to the sections on the tree. There is now a mannequin in the foyer reflecting the hard work and commitment as well as the tragedy surrounding this awful virus.
This week under the very skilled guidance of Annette Batley we have been investigating streaming of our services. Many churches are now offering this facility and I do believe so should we at The Drive. Yes, we are open for Sunday morning services but not everyone is able to attend so recorded services will be very welcome. It was so encouraging to see the growing attendance this past Sunday.
It is my hope (in the very near future) to offer a Zoom presentation on an Ignatian style meditation. The movement is called Take Time and offers spiritually inspired meditations. No religious knowledge or background is needed and each session is inspired by the stories of Jesus.
This time last year Charlene and I were trying to settle into the Manse. Surrounded by many boxes and experiencing all the usual stress of a move it was an August fraught with obstacles. However, we are pleased to say our goal is in sight and hopefully the last big job which is the painting of the hall, landing and stairs will be completed in September. Sadly Covid-19 put an end to all the social activities we had planned at the Manse but hopefully once we have all been vaccinated and everything is relatively back to normal the Manse will once again be thrown open to welcome everyone.
LOCKDOWN MEDITATION: LOUNGE AND DINER
If you remember I began the lockdown meditation with the DOOR and HALL about two weeks ago.
I am now moving to the LOUNGE and DINER. I call this the Mary and Martha room (LUKE 10:39-42)
On one side there is a lounge. On the other side there is a diner. The room reflects the struggle between attempting meditation (the settee) and the business of everyday life (the diner)
Let’s stop for a moment at the settee where the meditation zone exists. The prime ingredient of meditation is silence. However silence is underrated and in a sense is attached to guilt about not getting on with daily tasks (in fact the issue of Martha). However, imagine you are sitting on a settee on the edge of the universe with a front seat and you are about to view CREATION. There is no introduction music or advertisements. There is complete silence!! You are faced with the emptiness of space. Well scientists concur that space is not empty!!
However, for us the main “product” is silence. Now think that it is out of this silence that God’s creative energy emerges. Silence has an enduring hallmark because it was never created. In moments Jesus reminds us of this hallmark when he is beginning momentous tasks. Desert…mountains, Gethsemane and three days silence after His death. I hope that I have sold silence as a hallmark and indeed an essential ingredient of meditation.
Mary the contemplative easily engages with Jesus in this meditation. However, Martha the activist struggles with it.… Jesus surprises and confuses us 21st century activists by responding to Martha’s struggle by saying.
Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42. (NIV)
However, Jesus is an activist. So, what’s happening here? Jesus is saying that we need to prioritize being before doing. A sage said that we need to be HUMAN BEINGS before HUMAN DOINGS!
So, what does that mean for us today? Well first there are so many distractions and so much noise around us. Sometimes we lose focus. Sometimes our minds are our worst enemies. They are crowded with passing accurate and inaccurate thoughts which provoke various moods. Even worse our thoughts can be governed by negative prejudice and dark distortions.
BEING means we are in the present moment with opportunities to reflect before we act. For me the attempt at mindfulness reminds me of how un-present I am and how my personality can be defaced by negative thoughts!! The practice of mindfulness has been a healing process for me!
So, stop sit and relax with an epic view of silence as in the beginning of creation. Observe any sensations within your body. (good awareness exercise! ) Give thanks for your uniquely created being.
Now allow your attention to go to those dark unhappy thoughts. The practice of meditation and mindfulness are pragmatic about these thoughts. Imagine them like a great bonfire. Walk around the fire observing it. The shape of the bonfire changes perspective as you walk around. Ask yourself if there are any particles of the flame that you can release. Try not to walk into the flames but to constantly observe them from a distance.
Then sit for a moment in silence before you end the meditation. Then celebrate your happy thoughts and experiences. They are interwoven with the spirit of God’s creativity. Celebrate them and use them for the good of your spirit and those around you.
I do hope you find some value in attempting this meditation. Lockdown has certainly provided me with opportunities to spend extra time making meditation more user friendly.
Be blessed, be safe and take care