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Theme: Connection Itself – Into and Through Living Prayer

Prayer brings us to our feet.

It is now, time for prayer.

Prayer enters into, and moves through, earth and heaven. Shall we?

Preach the word of God wherever you go, even use words, if necessary.
(---Francis of Assisi)

The story is told about a man who walked for days to visit a holy man. He arrived at a time the holy man was giving a talk in a large auditorium. The pilgrim stayed outside away from the place and out of hearing of the holy man. When approached by a woman who asked whether he would like to go inside to hear the holy man, the pilgrim said he’d not come to hear the holy man’s words, but to watch him tie his shoelaces.

Lent comes in the Christian calendar. It begins with ashes and culminates with an empty tomb. It opens with appearance and earth and culminates with disappearance and heaven. Lent has to do with how we tie and untie our shoelaces.

Shoelaces tell us something about connection. (‘Nexus’ – a Latin word meaning tying together, ‘Co’= with.)

Lent, 40 days of intentional presence, 40 days of taking up and letting go, is now our practice. We take up that which is meaningful and necessary in our lives and expand it and ourselves to the borders of our connection. We let go that which is meaningless and unnecessary in our lives until they drift off and away -- and what remains is a still and solitary reality. That reality is appreciative. That reality is grateful. That reality is peace beyond the comprehension of this world.

If we tie our shoelaces with mindful intent to allow shoes to take us where life is a practice of compassion and love – then, we preach humility and truth with our steps.

If we untie our shoelaces with mindful intent to bare our feet, sit still and move silently in the presence of sacred reality – then, we preach acceptance and surrender with stillness in motion.

We are invited into and through what is appearing on earth. We are also invited into and through what is disappearing within heaven. The practice of Lent moves into and through!

This is what prayer is. Prayer is this moment speaking, listening, and looking.

In empathy we do not seek to change another person but to know and accept them by reproducing their feelings and thoughts in ourselves. This is the bond that allows for communities to be formed. We can further extend this ability to empathize beyond the human realm to other living creatures. The extent to which we can empathize with other things is the extent to which we can feel the world as a home for ourselves. The world can become home only when we make it home -- not by transforming it into objects for our consumption, but by reproducing it in ourselves. (pp.204-5, Human Excellence And An Ecological Conception Of The Psyche, by John H. Riker, c.1991)

Empathy is reproduction. Not in the sexual notion of reproducing offspring. Nor is reproduction the repetitive manufacturing of material goods (or cloned sentient beings).

Empathy is reproduction in the ecological sense of coming home and dwelling home by birthing a dwelling place in oneself. This is how we re-create places of joy and worship – we encourage anyone seeking to find home to hold their intent and practice humility with truth, acceptance with surrender. This is how we see our way through. This is how rest within takes place.

As Christians, we have a set formula for ending all of our prayers – “We ask this through Christ our Lord.” This formula is more than a formality, a ritual signal to God that the prayer is over. When we pray “though Christ” we are praying through the Body of Christ, which then includes Jesus, the Eucharist, and the body of believers (ourselves) here on earth. We are praying through all of these. Thus, not only God in heaven is being petitioned and asked to act. We are also charging ourselves, as part of the Body of Christ, with some responsibility for answering the prayer. To pray as a Christian demands concrete involvement in trying to bring about what is pleaded for in the prayer. (p.83, The Holy Longing, The Search for Christian Spirituality, by Ronald Rolheiser)

40 days of intentional stillness (whether at rest or in motion), intentional prayer (whether listening or speaking), and intentional service (with one’s self or with others’).

The Hermitage attempts to settle into itself and move through itself with stillness, prayer, and service. Meetingbrook intends to look into and through these 40 days. We meet each and all who visit one another in God’s dwelling place.

It is now time to tie together earth and heaven. Each of us, in prayer, enters into the connection, and move through the inseparable sacred reality of earth/heaven.

May all dwell in peace during these days! May we overcome war, which divides, and surrender into the connection with prayer and lives of prayer!

, Sando , Cesco , Mu-ge
 and all who grace Meetingbrook,



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64 Barnstown Rd.,
Camden, Maine USA 04843
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