Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More Sabbath Suggestions for Practice

I have been reading Wayne Muller's book Sabbath again, and he ends each chapter with suggested Sabbath practices. So here are some more ideas:

Silence: take time for silence. It is in the silence that God is found. For the constantly busy, silence can seem intimidating, even frightening. It may be that by allowing silence, all sorts of emotions and thoughts we want to avoid come to the surface. To begin to allow them to come is to allow spiritual depth to take root. It is to experienc life more deeply.

Silent Meditation: One form is to simply follow the breath. "Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Let yourself become aware of the physical sensation of the breath, feeling the shape, texture, and duration of the inhale and the exhale. Do not change your breathing, do not strain or push in any way. Simply watch the breath breathe itself. Feel the rhythm of the breath, feel its timing, the end of the exhale, the readiness to inhale. When the mind wanders, as it will, do not worry. Simply return to the awareness of your breath. Start with five minutes." Then think about what you have noticed about the rhythm of rest in your breathing and in your body.

Sabbath walk: this is a good way to spend silent time. Eugene Peterson and his wife take a Sabbath walk every Monday morning. They walk leisurely with out speaking, and break their silence with prayer over a picnic lunch. Then they share their reflections and observations.
A Sabbath walk does not have a destination. It is more of a stroll, an ambling. If you see something that looks interesting, stop and look at it. Move on when you feel ready. After 30 minutes, stop and reflect upon what has happened to your body, mind, and sense of time.

Sabbath box: Create a box to hold all of the things you won't need: palm pilot, wallet, computer disc to represent the computer, etc. You could write down worries, concerns, tasks still to be done, and put the scraps of paper in the box as a way of symbolically giving them over to God's care.

Prayer: these are Sabbath moments throughout the week. Choose a time, or a cue, for prayer. Does a bell ring at a particular time(s) in your daily routine? Use it as a cue for prayer. It can be a simple moment to connect with the divine rhythm.
(If you are interested in a book that offers written prayers five times per day, check out Phyllis Tickle's book trilogy The Divine Hours. I use these off and on and when I am on, I am blessed by them. Click here for a link to The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime. Click here for a link to The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime. Click here for Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime)

Lectio Devina: This is Spiritual Reading of Scripture. Choose a short passage of Scripture (or other inspirational/spiritual literature)and then quietly reflect on it. "Do not analyze or try to figure out its meaning. Allow it to quietly work on you, as leaven in bread, or water over a stone. The key is to read slowly, chew over the words, and allow them to quietly nourish and heal you."

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