Monday, September 28, 2020

I Am Wholly Yours - A Meditation

I offered this meditation during a recent "Prayers of the People" Zoom event hosted by national staff of the United Church of Christ. Parts of this were adapted from my book Prayer in Motion. You can view the recording of the entire event on Youtube.

In his short book, The Practice of the Presence of God, the monk Brother Lawrence provided encouragement for people to find God in the little things of each day. For him, this included his chores at his monastery, such as washing the dishes or sweeping the floor. He saw these moments as having just as much potential for finding God’s presence as when he received the sacrament of communion.
 
Practicing such an awareness takes time and patience. And in these days we may have more time, and yet less patience. Brother Lawrence gives tips for practicing the presence of God, among them the suggestion to begin any activity with a simple prayer. He suggests the words, “My God, I am wholly thine.”
 
Of course, we are certainly free to use more contemporary language than in his example, but with a similar purpose of pursuing a connection with God at the heart’s level.
 
As you have brought your to-do list, your anxiety, your impatience, your worries about loved ones, your attentiveness to current events, your doom-scrolling, to this time of prayer, so may an awareness of the presence of God become a natural and essential part of what you may return to after with the aid of the prayer “I am wholly yours.”
 
As a way of beginning to bring these disparate pieces together, I invite you to assume a relaxed position and just notice yourself. Notice where, despite encouragement to relax, you are holding tension: your jaw, your neck, your shoulders, your chest, your stomach, your arms, your legs. Offer this tension to God with the small prayer, “I am wholly yours.”
 
Next, pay attention to what is most heavily weighing on you, what you will need to do the rest of today. This may be chores, checking in on others, more Zoom meetings, helping children with studies, wrestling with the issues of the times, or the remainder of your own work day. Picture the presence of God going there ahead of you, and in fact, already there from the beginning. Offer this vision to God with the small prayer, “I am wholly yours.”
 
May this prayer, “I am wholly yours” with you. May it be the beginning of practicing the presence of God in all things. May it bring greater comfort and awareness and peace in the midst of so much struggle and uncertainty.
 
Prayer
 
Faithful and ever-present God, in all that we do and in all who we are, we are wholly yours. In our striving to remember this life-giving and renewing truth, we offer all our lists and responsibilities and worries, big and small, critical and mundane, sacred and ordinary. We pause to remember that you are the One in Whom we live and move and have our entire being, and pray that your Spirit’s presence will carry us forth into the rest of our day, and into the many days ahead of us. O God, we repeat again, we are wholly yours. Amen.

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