Monday, June 17, 2013

Is it well with your soul?

I start every day (and end every day) with God. After reading Morning Prayer and doing some reflecting and writing in my journal--the latter being a daily habit since 1972--I engage in 15 minutes of contemplative prayer. Think of this prayer as listening prayer. The Prayer Book Catechism reminds us that prayer is speaking--and listening to God.

Each day, after setting my alarm clock, I get comfortable in my chair, close my eyes, and pay close attention to my breathing. "In.....and....out." The breaths flow in and out--not hurriedly, but gently. Rhythmically. "In...and...out." Again and again.

As I breathe, I listen for God's word to me. His gift to me for the day. And the word today is "trust." My mind is crowded with many other words, many random thoughts. Mine is a busy mind, not a quiet one. An anxious mind, not a calm one. I think of the work week ahead. Appointments in and out of the church office. Hospital visits. A vestry meeting Tuesday night. Men's Fellowship the next morning at 6.30. The Thursday evening Eucharist. A funeral or two and reception on Friday, usually my day off. These are the known activities of the week, the scheduled ones, and then there are the many others that will arise in the course of each day.

Understand: I am not bemoaning my schedule; plenty of clergy and lay people do all the above and probably more in just one day. No, I'm not complaining. I'm doing what God called me to do and what I willingly took on in ordination and when I said yes to Christ's Church's call to serve you as rector. I have learned in the course of 27 years of ordained ministry that God blesses me through my service to him and, I hope, blesses the people whom I serve in God's name.

In my listening prayer today, I continually return to my word from God, trust. I respond to each thought with that word. Trust means surrendering my power and my plans to God. My preoccupations. It means giving up everything to God--holding nothing back, but letting go of everything. The worries and fears. The pressures. The self-doubts. Trust it all to God, not to me. And I do. And there is peace this morning. Peace edges its way into my crowded mind and hasty soul. I know, in that peace, that God is in charge. And, in the words of that old hymn, "It is well with my soul."

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