Lent.03—We Have Grieved Your Holy Spirit
Readings: Psalm 30, 32 ◊ Ezekiel 39:21-29 ◊ Phil. 4:10-20 ◊ John 17:20-26
Today I continue with the second confession from the Litany of Penitence (see my explanation here). I resolve that I am taking personal responsibility and collective responsibility for my sin and the sin of humanity with the following confessional:
We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on us, Lord.
Continuing the Litany of Penitence today and my heart is rent in two once again. The confession pronounces us (me) deaf to the call of our Lord to serve as he served. And how did he serve? Completely and utterly selflessly did he serve. Three specific passages of Scripture come to my mind when I think about his service and his call to us, his followers.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. (John 5:12-14)
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18)
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)
Let these passages be the filter and standard by which I examine my heart. Here, they represent the highest call to service in the model of Christ. These Scriptures seem very clear on this. This is selflessness in the highest and most perfect order. This is my call and this is the only real standard; by it I am judged either as pass or fail. I ask myself, “Which is it?” Am I serving as Christ has served me? I think there are some days when I am honest and I am open to serve as Christ served and there are others where I will put my own interests first. While I am sure there is grace sufficient to cover this failure to serve as Christ served, I am still called to live out my life in the same spirit as Christ. This is my standard and to fall short drives me to repentance and seeking forgiveness. I am also compelled to ask God to empower me to live more like him rather than make excuses for my failure.
We (I) also acknowledge that I have not been true always to the mind of Christ. This is so very difficult. It calls into question the new heart. It calls into question regenerate perfection. It calls into question whether I can be trusted with the secrets of God or if I am banished for having the mind of man and becoming a stumbling block of the ilk of Satan (Matthew 16:13-28 NLT). The apostle teaches that we, with regenerate hearts, also are capable of having the very same mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:12-16 NLT).
“It has always been much easier to worship Jesus than to follow Him, but we must remember, Jesus never said “Worship me,” he did say “follow me.” -Richard Rohr, OFM
It is easy to take the path of despair and wallow in self-pity, choosing the path of least resistance and boldly proclaiming that “I cannot be like Jesus” and projecting a deeply spiritual air that exalts Him and despises me. That’s the coward’s way out. The truth is that Jesus called me (all of us who will follow) to be like him, to serve like him, to think like him, and to be in totally unified and unbroken fellowship with the Triune Godhead (John 17:20-23). If I choose less than this path, I am in rebellion and disobedience to his command. This is why the confession proclaims “We have grieved your Holy Spirit.”
I thank God for the grace He showers upon us. I thank God for the empowerment of His Holy Spirit, which enables us to say “yes” to his commands. It is true when we decide to humble ourselves to utter self-denial, dying to self, we can then move beyond “hero worship” and truly begin to “follow God.”
Almighty God, you have chosen to speak to us through prophets and wise leaders and most clearly through your son, Jesus Christ. Grant unto us now the ability to hear, understand, and obey him whom you have sent.
Bless with your presence my life and ministry all this day long and when night comes grant your servant rest and peace. Amen.
Lent.02—We Have Not Loved You
Readings: Psalm 35 ◊ Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 ◊ Phil. 4:1-9 ◊ John 17:9-19
“Put all your rebellion behind you and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? I don’t want you to die says the Sovereign LORD. Turn back and live.” -Ezekiel 18:31-32 NLT
Today I continue with the first confession from the Litany of Penitence (see my explanation from yesterday‘s blog post). I resolve that I am taking personal responsibility and collective responsibility for my sin and the sin of humanity with the following confessional:
We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.
Have mercy on us, Lord.
Continuing the Litany of Penitence today and the first confession delivers a real gut punch. Here we go face-to-face with our failure (my failure) to honor God with his first and greatest commandment to humanity. The expectation of God for humankind is that he (man) will love God with all his heart, all his mind, and all his strength. This is one we try not to think too deeply about…the command to love God the most (let’s not even talk about the loving our neighbor thing or that deal about forgiveness).
How easy it is for man to live comfortably with divided hearts; easy, but we still feel some twinges of guilt in our failure. It is not uncommon for us to excuse ourselves, slipping the responsibility of maintaining integrity to the most important of all the things God has instructed and expects from us, his most loved of all creations. He wants us to love Him most.
We turn to one another asking, “What does it mean to love God with all your heart, and mind, and strength?” We continue, “Can anyone truly love like that?” “Surely God does not expect us to do this impossible thing…”
Truthfully, Yes; Yes, He does.
Have mercy on us, Lord.
The first step to loving God as he intends for us to love him is this: Stop believing it is impossible to love God with all our heart, mind and strength. The second step is to begin each day with God as the number one focus in our mind and heart, no matter what our day brings us or what our vocation may be. God first. Always. Third, we reject any thought that would put itself into our minds that might result in division of heart. Remember always the words of John; “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts” (1 John 5:21 NLT) and “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ“ (2 Cor. 10:5 NIV).
Have mercy on us, Lord.
Gracious Host, Loving Bridegroom, eternal wedding banquet God, show us when we need to fast and when we need to begin the eternal feast. Keep the party open, and help us not to close it down. Show us that the only fast we need is from ourselves, our smallness, and from our shriveled hearts. Amen.
Book Review: Choose the Life
Author: Bill Hull
Publisher: Baker ISBN: 9780801064708
This is an outstanding book. It is unfortunate that it is not more widely embraced, especially when one considers the primary mandate of Christ is to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20). What I mean by “widely embraced” is the wild popularity of some of the more recent Christian living books that might be included in the “call of discipleship” genre. Take for instance Not a Fan published in 2011 that has almost 900 reviews on Amazon.com or Radical published in 2010 that has over 1008 reviews and contrast those numbers with Choose the Life published in 2004, which has a mere 20 reviews. The question cannot help being asked, “Why such disparity in the numbers?” Might the reason be excellent writing versus poor writing? I submit that answer is a resounding “NO!” What is the reason?
The reason, in my opinion, is that discipleship—the type of discipleship modeled and taught by Jesus and his disciples—is costly…and difficult. Therefore, it is not a lifestyle that the masses will embrace and this is supported by the words and teachings of Jesus (Matthew 7:13-14). Yes, I realize this Scripture passage is referring to Jesus as the way, but the “way” of Jesus is becoming his disciple. Herein lies the problem for many people and this is exactly the path that Bill Hull outlines in Choose the Life.
I really like the summary of Bruce Demarest regarding Hull’s work in this book; he says:
“In a churchly culture of many decisions but few disciples, Bill Hull challenges us to exchange ingrained patterns of unfruitful mediocrity for the paradigm of radically following Jesus on the path of transformational discipleship. If faithfully heeded, Choose the Life will revolutionize the people of God.” -Bruce Demarest, Professor of Christian Theology and Spiritual Transformation, Denver Seminary
Mediocrity is not a high bar. It is likely the reason so many follow programs and systems built for mediocrity…this is the discipleship of the modern age. Disciples of mediocrity produce mediocre disciples. Choose the Life endeavors to raise the bar and set the course of discipleship on the life of Jesus and nothing less.
“Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship
Hull introduces what I might refer to as a macro-model for discipleship that follows the life of Christ with these specific learning components: (1) Believing what he believed—the transformed mind (2) Living the way he lived—the transformed character (3) Loving the way he loved—transformed relationships (4)Ministering the way he ministered—transformed service (5) Leading the way he led—transformed influence. He goes on to systematize this macro-model in a process he further outlines as follows:
- A disciple submits to a teacher who teaches him or her how to follow Jesus
- A disciple learns Jesus’ words
- A disciple learns Jesus’ way of ministry
- A disciple imitates Jesus’ life and character
- A disciple finds and teaches other disciples for Jesus
The system sounds simple, and quite frankly, seems so absurdly obvious that one wonders why it is not the defacto system of the Christian church for making disciples of Jesus Christ. This observation makes the following quote by Bill Hull all the more curious; “What I’m proposing is a radical departure from the norm. Most good and godly church members will look at you with befuddlement when this concept I presented. It is so different from what we have been taught and requires a very different focus and effort. We must choose the life—the life of discipleship as practiced and taught by Jesus and lived out by his first century followers. We must courageously cast aside our nondiscipleship Christianity and submit ourselves to a life of accountability, personal transformation, and making disciples among the unbelieving. This is our primary and exclusive work. This is faith as Jesus taught it. To do anything less is failure” (p.42).
The starting point for discipleship in the model of Christ is this: self-denial. It is the first step as voiced by Jesus himself; “He [a disciple] must deny himself” (Mark 8:34). This simple truth alone is why this book and the model it promotes is not more popular than it is to date. The radical denial of self is such a departure from the norm of Western civilization that to suggest as much elicits cries of “Anathema!” and labels the one suggesting such a pariah. This is the narrow way and this is why Jesus declared there are few who would find it.
This is a most excellent book; inspired, I believe and a prophet call to return to the model Christ taught his disciples for making followers of The Way. I believe as declared by Bruce Demarest, “If faithfully heeded, Choose the Life will revolutionize the people of God.” It is an absurdly simple format, but there is nothing easy about it. Choose the Life can revolutionize our churches for anyone bold enough to embrace it. Truly, a most excellent book.
Lent.01—Litany of Penitence
Readings: Psalm 37:1-18 ◊ Habakkuk 3:1-18 ◊ Phil. 3:12-21 ◊ John 17:1-8
I am still holding my experience from yesterday’s Ash Wednesday service in my heart and in my mind. In my heart, the seat of my emotions and spirit, I am still moved in a deeply mysterious way. I’m not sure I have words to fully articulate why I was moved so profoundly. It is not my first Lenten experience and this is why I’m holding this memory in my mind, the place of my logic, reason, and intellect. I’m trying to understand what it might be that God could be communicating to me. One of the aspects of yesterday’s service that continues to reverberate in my memory is the Litany of Penitence.
These penitent words seemed especially poignant to me this year; I think this is so for me personally, and for me corporately as I consider the community and people of God in the light of our need for repentance. I have decided through my reflection today to spend the next two weeks of Lent meditating on each confession of this Litany.
Today I began with the opening confession taking personal responsibility and collective responsibility for my sin and the sin of humanity with the following confessional:
Most holy and merciful Father:
We confess to you and to one another, and to the whole communion of saints in heaven and on earth, that we have sinned by our own fault in thought, word, and deed; by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.
I think it is far easier for me to consider the most vile and abhorrent manifestations of sin when I search my own heart. Finding none of those most vile and unthinkable acts of ungodliness in my memory or recent history, it is easy to pronounce myself “clean” and undefiled. I feel good about me, not terribly different from the Pharisee told of by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke 18:9-14. In reality, as the Litany of Penitence reveals, I fall terribly short of all that God wills me to be and has faithfully provided means for me to become through Christ Jesus. This is my confession and my plea of repentance. It is with this attitude and heart’s desire that I will reflectively linger through the Litany and each confessional statement in the coming days. Lord hear my prayer.
Almighty God, you have chosen to speak to us through prophets and wise leaders and most clearly through your son, Jesus Christ. Grant unto us now the ability to hear, understand, and obey him whom you have sent. Amen.
Ash Wed: Repentance, Recalibrating Re-Beginnings
Readings: Psalm 103 ◊ Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 ◊ 2 Cor 5:20—6:10 ◊ Matt. 6:1-6, 16-21
Repentance. Refocus. Recalibration. Reset. Renewal. Resurrection.
Everything re-begins with repentance.
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” -Joel 2:12
I meet each Wednesday with a group of men from my church. We were reflecting on some of the Ash Wed. readings today and the words from the prophet Joel were especially poignant for me.
“Return to the Lord your God…” -Joel 2:13
How easy it is for us to lose focus on the primacy of God in our lives. Not intentionally, not through complacency… drift just happens, even when we are living with degrees of devotion and intentionality.
“Gather the people, consecrate the assembly…” -Joel 2:16
I made the comment that my experience has shown me that even in seasons when I feel my life is dedicated to devotional living and missional practice unto the Lord, I experience “drift.” I’m not aware of it until I answer the call to “declare a fast; and return to me [the Lord] with all your heart!” I find that my attitude and sense of self is good…or so I think. I feel that I’m totally devoted to the things of God… or so I think. It’s when I stop and recalibrate; when I return to the Lord my God with all my heart—in a season and act of fasting, repentance, weeping, and mourning—this is when I realize I have unknowingly fallen into drift. No, I’m not referring to “backsliding” or known issues of sin. I’m acknowledging that my focus is slightly blurred. Things aren’t as sharp, my attenuation to the things of God might not be as heightened and sensitive as I thought they were.
“We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” -2 Cor. 5:20
I remember twelve or so years ago…maybe a bit longer, I wasn’t even aware that I needed glasses. I had been experiencing an unusually longer amount of time to “clear my vision” in the mornings. It seemed my sleepy-eyed blur was taking longer and longer to wear off. My wife suggested that I try reading glasses; I remember scoffing and laughing pridefully at that suggestion. I had always had better than perfect vision and there was no way I needed readers… until I tried them for the sake of humoring her. Incredibly, the world came into sharper focus than I had seen it in a long, long time. I was in shock at the clarity and detail I had been missing… even more, I was stunned by the fact that I was completely unaware that this “vision drift” had occurred until I experienced a recalibrated and re-clarified vision.
I think spiritual drift can occur too. We can think our hearts are pure and they might be. We can think all is right with God and it might be. But, things might not be as clear and crisp as they could be. I think, no, I know, God knows we are but dust. He knows that we can experience drift because he lived in our flesh. I believe this is why he gives to us these seasons of recall, reset, refocus, and repentance. It is here we remember our first love and get our Heart “readers” so our spiritual vision and our God-tuned ears and hearts are as perfectly tuned as can be. It’s a good season to fast. It’s a good season to remember.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. -Psalm 103:11-14
A Call to a Lenten Fast
Lent is a season of repentance. Lent slows us down and demands reflection.
Lent is a season that examines and recalibrates the soul. It is not about “giving something up” or being minimally inconvenienced. It is absolutely about discipline and bringing the body under subjugation to the Spirit of God who dwells within us. And to be truthful, it is demanding and it is inconvenient… and this, perhaps, might be a reason why many have made efforts to tame the Lenten Fast or to ignore it entirely.
Lent is a season that prepares us for new beginnings… fleshly deaths and resurrection newness. We enter a desert wilderness for 40-Days of Denial culminating in the joining of death with our Savior to be raised in newness of Life as we welcome the very transfiguration of our souls as we are translated from children of the first Adam to eternal offspring of the second Adam who is Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ!
These are reasons to engage and embrace this season. It is a mystery born in the traditions of the Church over a thousand years ago. Now, in our contemporary world, this rite of denial is needed perhaps more than ever… first world Westerners are likely some of the least inconvenienced peoples and least denied people of all the world and all history. What does it mean for us to go without and why would we? By “going without” and depriving ourselves of wants—even needs—we discover what our lusts are and what our body craves. It becomes apparent how much we are in slavery and bondage to the culture of convenience in which we reside. This discovery in itself might not be an issue of sin for us, but it might well be symptomatic of deep spiritual need that we have. This might be reason enough to engage in this Lenten discipline.
Just as Christ was not alone in the desert during his 40-day Fast, we are not alone either. The Lenten Season is an individually engaged and privately pursued fast, but done so in a Corporate climate. You are not alone… you are never alone. It is also helpful to remember too, and this most importantly, it was the Spirit of God who drove Jesus into the desert to be tempted by Satan. Tonight, as we examine our hearts, led by the Holy Spirit, come seeking…with hearts questioning how God might want to reveal Himself to you more. What might be a way He is asking you to embark on a Fast of self, so you might discover who you really are in Him—anxiously anticipating a new Raising of Spirit Life this Easter.
Another week passes, and we wait.
The time is never without purpose; there is always much to do that redeems all the moments in-between the wait. In fact, these moments “in-between” seem the proving ground more than any moments outside the wait.
Faithful: in-between. Trusting: in-between. Obedient: in-between
My way of thinking is slowly beginning to change with the belief that the in-between might be all there is for us on this side of eternity. The in-between is the now. The wait is the now. The in-between, the wait, and the now are all there is…and they are all one in the present. In this moment. Therefore, it makes the most sense and seems most prudent that here in the in-between is where I learn to love and learn to be fully satisfied in the God who led me to this oft-undervalued and underappreciated, glorious in-between.
Because, truly, it is here that our great God performs the greatest of miracles… purging, proving, and perfecting everything in us that is not Him until hopefully, all that remains is Him.
I AM and I am… embracing the wait living in the in-between.
Book Review: Sermon on the Mount
Author: Scot McKnight
Publisher: Zondervan ISBN: 9780310327134
I have appreciated the scholarship of Scot McKnight for many years and really connect with his writing style, so when I first heard Scot was going to be part of the editorial team of this new commentary series, I was excited about the prospects. I’ve only had the opportunity to check out the first couple of installments for this series, but my wait is being rewarded. So far, I think this is a very promising commentary set; it doesn’t rehash old conversations, but seems to build on and build out from them. This volume, The Sermon on the Mount, is a fine example of “building on and building out.” More on this point later, but first a few technical details about the series.
Several things about this commentary series make it a new favorite of mine. First, I really like the format. Zondervan has employed a three-stage outline to assist the reader through reading God’s Story. The first stage, or section one, encourages the reader to “Listen to the Story.” Zondervan explains it as follows: “Listen to the Story” includes the complete New International Version text with references to other texts at work in each passage encouraging the reader to hear it within the Bible’s grand story.” Section two, “Explain the Story” is described as exploring and illuminating each text as embedded in its canonical and historical setting. Finally, section three, seeks to impart practical application through “Living the Story.”
The formatting of the book itself is similar to that of other commentaries, whereas a short passage of text (usually a single unit of thought) is taken and expounded. In the case of The Story of God Commentary, the workflow is as illustrated above. While the writing is not highly technical and can be digested by the non-academic reader, there are theological and philosophical terms used that the layperson may not be familiar with; nonetheless, it is my opinion the book is accessible to the layperson and equally challenging to the academic. Both books I have reviewed (Sermon on the Mount and Philippians by Lynn H. Cohick), are well documented. There are extensive footnotes listing resources as well as expanded explanations of terms or references from the author as necessary. There is a thoughtful inclusion of Scripture, Subject, and Author indices at the end of the book. My only criticism regarding documentation of resources is the neglect of including a comprehensive bibliography. As mentioned, there are footnoted sources that meet this need, but it would be nice to have these sources in a single section.
My personal likes are still in the discovery stage as I make my way through the commentary, but I can list a few things that are putting big smiles on my face. First, I’m in agreement with the perspective with which McKnight writes and draws conclusions. Much of this perspective is outlined in the introduction (which is brilliant in my opinion). Additionally, the framework for this discussion on the SOTM is clearly established in a handful of quotes (found on opposite of page one) and the resource list provided for those “preaching or teaching the sermon” (p.18). Second, and likely most important to me, is the position that the Sermon is the expression of God’s Kingdom expectation for us today. Not only is it an example of how we are to live, today, but it is a promise of empowerment that enables us to live according to the Kingdom mandates set forth in this Sermon. I appreciate the gentle, patient, and meticulous teaching style of Dr. McKnight as he expounds on these details through the commentary.
There is much to glean in this commentary on the Sermon on the Mount. There are more technical and clinical versions available, and I think they should be employed as well, but this work should be well-considered and regarded as a major companion piece to any serious study of the SOTM. The research and resource lists included in this volume are worth its inclusion alone.
Book Review: Philippians
Author: Lynn H. Cohick
Publisher: Zondervan ISBN: 9780310327240
I have thoroughly enjoyed my reading and study of this Bible commentary on the Epistle to the Philippians. Zondervan touts this series as “A new commentary for today’s world, the Story of God Bible Commentary explains and illuminates each passage of Scripture in light of the Bible’s grand story.” I believe they have hit their mark and I find myself very satisfied and impressed with the results of their efforts thus far (I have also been working through Sermon on the Mount in the same series, written by Scot McKnight).
One of the more impressive points for this series is the exceptional blend of scholasticism and practical application with which the commentary has been written. It does not take much reading to realize the erudite study that has gone into this work; however, the high level of academia never smothers the reader. On the contrary, I found my reading experience highly engaging.
There are several things about this commentary that makes it a new favorite of mine. First, I really like the format. Zondervan has employed a three-stage outline to assist the reader through reading God’s Story. Stage, or section one, encourages the reader to “Listen to the Story.” Zondervan explains it as follows: “Listen to the Story includes the complete New International Version text with references to other texts at work in each passage encouraging the reader to hear it within the Bible’s grand story.” Section two, “Explain the Story” is described as exploring and illuminating each text as embedded in its canonical and historical setting. Finally, section three, seeks to impart practical application through “Living the Story.”
Regarding this particular volume, Philippians, I very much enjoyed Lynn Cohick’s treatment of the Christ Hymn (aka kenosis or self-emptying of Christ). While there is a great deal of study and academic insight evident in her work, I particularly delighted in her synthesis and subjective interpretation of her material. I have employed many resources (commentaries, papers, essays, and other) in my own studies and I have found objective interpretations do not always provide me the stimulus I need to engage my own thinking.
If there were any point that I find criticism, it would be in documentation of the resources. The book is well documented and annotated. There are source references at the bottom of every page, Scripture and subject index, and an author index. While these are certainly adequate, I would prefer a comprehensive bibliography of sources included in the appendices.
I rank this volume with four-stars. I don’t think it should be a standalone commentary as it is lacking some of the key features of some of my favorite resources when engaging deep study (timelines, graphs, charts, textual criticisms, etc.). I do think this is a “must have” compliment to any other commentary resource that might be your personal favorite.
I look forward to working in more volumes from this series.
Book Review: Centering Prayers
Author: Peter Traben Haas
Publisher: Paraclete Press ISBN: 9781612614151
I have been using this daily companion prayer guide in my personal devotions since the beginning of this year. Now, after almost eight-weeks of regular use, I feel qualified to provide an honest review. I will begin by saying that I have enjoyed these preludes or welcoming prayers that lead my spirit into a place of union and fellowship with God and I’m sure my delight in these prayers will continue as I enjoy the devotions through the coming year.
I think a good place to begin my review is with the introduction. Centering or meditative prayer is different from what many persons in my tradition understand prayer to be. My background is Protestant Evangelical and centering prayer is outside of the practice of what many people in my church family experience on a regular basis. Historically, it has been my experience; prayers of petition, supplication, and praise are the normal for most Evangelicals. Therefore, a bit of explanation and qualification is helpful in distinguishing what is different about this style of prayer. Peter Traben Haas provides us a very good disclaimer in his introduction, About the Prayers, he writes:
“The brevity of most of the prayers is an intentional effort in service of the contemplative prayer practice. Although almost all of the prayers use thee first-person singular “I” instead of the more universal first-person “we,” I recognize that our prayers are always in some way interconnected with the human family, across all times and places. Our communion of prayer is not limited by generations or locations. Prayer integrates time and eternity, earth and heave, and transcends any one person’s silent devotion and evocations of pain, ecstasy, or earnest plea. Thus, while this simple book of prayers will most likely be used by individuals devotionally, at no point are we ever really alone in this sighing of spirit to Spirit. We are praying as well as being prayed, as a continuing loving universal body becoming love.” (p. xv)
Centering prayer is a place of union, intimacy, and holy communion with the Godhead…a place of few, if any, words. This little book of prelude and/or postlude prayers by Peter Traben Haas is a helpful guide leading the pray-er into the mystery of holy intimacy.
While these prayers, as the author reminds us in his introduction, might be more often used for individual devotions, I have found as much joy and prayerful community using them on occasion with one of my discipleship and prayer groups (3-4 men).
Centering Prayers is a wonderful resource and I feel I’m only just beginning to plumb the depths of the gift that it truly is. I hope others, familiar with the practice of centering prayer as well as those new to the practice, will be equally blessed.