Authentic Experiences

Starting this week, we are going to continue to try to do some spiritual direction from afar. If we find it isn’t helpful, let me know and we can go a variety of other directions. 

I am using a book I was referred to by one of my pastor friends (believe it or not, I have one or two), “Disciplines for the Inner Life.” I’ve come to discover, the longer I live, we spend way too much time on the outer (which is wasting away) and not enough time on the inner (it is around for eternity). 

The format is pretty straight forward. Remember, structure when it comes to spirituality is not about rigidity, it is about helping us move forward, one step at a time, most especially when we don’t feel like it! I use the Book of Common Prayer especially when I don’t feel like praying! It primes my prayer pump, if you will!

This week’s theme is: Authentic Experiences 

Opening Prayer: (prayer every day for this week) Eternal God, you have been the hope and joy of many generations, and who in all ages has given people the power to seek you and in seeking you to find you. Grant me, I pray, a clearer vision of your truth, a greater faith in your power, and a more confident assurance of your love. Amen. (John Baillie in a Diary of Private Prayer)

Scripture Readings (pick one to read each day – these are the Scriptures which will be used on Sunday morning to come. Read slowly. Remember…the goal is not to get through the Scripture but to get the Scripture through us).

Exodus 34:19-35

Psalm 99

2 Corinthians 3:12-412

Luke 9:28-36

Read one or both of the quotes each day…slowly…what is God saying to you about your own journey through these quotes?

From Clinging–The Experience of Prayer by Emilie Griffin

“He is the one who can tell us the reason for our existence, our place in the scheme of things, our real identity.  It is an identity we can’t discover for ourselves, that others can’t discover in us–the mystery of who we really are. How we have chased around the world for answers to that riddle, looked in the eyes of others for some hint, some clue, hunted in the multiple worlds of pleasure and experience and self-fulfillment for some glimpse, some revelation, some wisdom, some authority to tell us our right name and our true destination.

But there was, and is, only One who can tell us this: the Lord himself. And he wants to tell us, he has made us to know our reason for being and to be led by it.  But it is a secret he will entrust to us only when we ask, and then in his own way and his own time. He will whisper it to us not in the mad rush and fever of our striving and our fierce determination to be someone, but rather when we are content to rest in him, to put ourselves into his keeping, into his hands. Most delightfully of all, it is a secret he will tell us slowly and sweetly, when we are willing to spend time with him: time with him who is beyond all time.”

A reading for meditation –

The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware 

 “One of the most ancient names for Christianity is simply ‘the Way’. ‘About that time’, it is said in the Acts of the Apostles, ‘there rose no little stir concerning the Way’ (19:23); Felix, the Roman governor of Caesarea, had a rather accurate knowledge of the Way’ (24:22). It is a name that emphasizes the practical character of the Christian faith. Christianity is more than a theory about the universe, more than teachings written down on paper, it is a path along which we journey – in the deepest and richest sense, the ‘way of life’.

“There is only one means of discovering the true nature of Christianity. We must step out upon this path, commit ourselves to this way of life, and then we shall begin to ‘see for ourselves’. So long as we remain outside, we cannot properly understand. Certainly we need to be given directions before we start; we need to be told what signposts to look out for; and we need to have companions. Indeed, without guidance from others it is scarcely possible to begin the journey. But directions given by others can never convey to us what the way is actually like; they cannot be a substitute for direct, personal experience. Each is called to verify for himself what he has been taught, each is required to re-live the Tradition that has been received. ‘The Creed’, said Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, ‘does not belong to you unless you have lived it.’ No one can be a Christian at second hand. God has children, but he has no grandchildren.” ….

Prayer – let your praying this week be for a true sense of being heard. Do not particularly pray for feeling or for specific answers. Rather pray for the quiet confidence that you are in conversation with God. 

Hymn for the Week – “I Know Whom I Have Believed” – read the lyric carefully. What is the message of the hymn for you? 

I Know Whom I Have Believed

The United Methodist Hymnal Number 714
Text: Daniel W. Whittle 
Music: James McGranahan 

1. I know not why God’s wondrous grace 
to me he hath made known, 
nor why, unworthy, Christ in love 
redeemed me for his own. 
But I know whom I have believed, 
and am persuaded that he is able 
to keep that which I’ve committed 
unto him against that day. 

2. I know not how this saving faith 
to me he did impart, 
nor how believing in his word 
wrought peace within my heart. 

3. I know not how the Spirit moves, 
convincing us of sin, 
revealing Jesus through the word, 
creating faith in him. 

4. I know not when my Lord may come, 
at night or noonday fair, 
nor if I walk the vale with him, 
or meet him in the air. 

Benediction – Heavenly Father, let me see your glory, if it must be from the shelter of the cleft rock and from beneath the protection of your covering hand, whatever the cost to me in loss of friends or good or length of days let me know you as you are, that I may adore you as I should. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy)

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