Spiritual Growth Opportunities for Lent
Take time during this season of Lent to explore and deepen your connections to the Sacred. Open yourself up to ancient rituals that invite us to turn away from things that distract us and to move closer to God. from the Spirit. Learn new spiritual practices that focus us on spiritual awakening. Our two Lenten groups are very informal, warm and welcoming to all. Come as you are, and come wherever you are on your spiritual journey. Whether you have never opened a Bible before, or you have made it your lifelong study, you are welcome here! If you need childcare, please call the church office at 508-693-2842 to request it.
Lectio Divina, or divine reading, is a practice intended to cultivate our listening to God. The practice involves a meditative reading of small portions of scripture three or four times. The traditional focus for each time the passage is read are as follows:
1. reading in an attitude of reflection
2. meditation that settles us from mind to heart
3. Grace connects the reflections of your heart to your daily life
4. the invitation into conversation with God
The Lenten Contemplative Service begins with the learning of a short meditative chant. This is sung in unison to create a rhythmic and repeating song that lifts the heart toward God. The leader then reads a passage of scripture three or four times with a different focus each time (Lectio Divina). A time of meditation follows (about 15 minutes). After the meditation, those who wish may share their thoughts. To close, the group sings the chant once again.
More about Contemplative Practices:
Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that uses a word or phrase to call the attention of the pray-er back to the awareness of God’s presence. Popularized by Trappist monk Thomas Merton, this form of prayer is akin to mantra meditation which is a spiritual practice of the East. Words for centering may include “Jesus,” or “Love,” or another word of meaning for the pray-er.
Breath Prayer uses the natural rhythm of the breath to bring the pray-er’s attention back toward seeking the awareness of the presence of God. Sometimes words or syllables are used to maintain focus. Shalom, for example, might be “Sha” on the inhale and “-lom” on the exhale. Or “Be still and know…” on the inhale and “…that I am God” on the exhale. Feel encouraged to use a phrase or word that helps you focus your attention on seeking God.
Chanting in the Christian tradition takes words from scripture or from the heart of the pray-er to create a rhythmic and repeating song that lifts the heart toward God. One chanting Monk reflected on it this way. “The chant is beautiful, and our souls need beauty in order to grow and thrive. The chant is the Church's love song to her Lord; it expresses the love-longing of the monk’s heart,” said Father Cassian Folsom. The chants we are using this season are all from John Philip Newell. For more information about his ministries visit www.heartbeatjourney.org.