Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Return to Contemplative Life

Now that summer days are quietly settling in, the routine of peace becoming the norm of my days with homeschooling done, with deadlines behind me. I get up, spend time in Morning Prayer on my own and then with our children, following the Psalter and the Lectionary of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and praying The Divine Hours through Phyllis Tickle's books or the previous website link. We follow Scripture readings and ancient prayers with family prayer: for our political leaders, for our pastors and missionaries, for sick friends, for our family. As the sun shines brightly through eastern windows, I settle my ESV Bible, 1928 BCP, and prayer journal aside...for now.

At 12:30, my phone chimes church bells, reminding me to go upstairs. I settle on my side of the bed under the northern window, taking my copy of The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime from my prayer corner, and pray the Midday Office. Often I'll reach for my Anglican Prayer Beads and use them as a prayer aid, fingering the beads as I pray for family and friends and pray Scripture.

At 6:00 PM, my phone peals bells again, reminding me to pray Vespers. I need to improve in this prayer opportunity, for I rarely rise to my prayer corner, often combining Vespers with Compline, praying both at bedtime. At Compline I pray through The Divine Hours and Evening Prayer in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer , including the Psalter. Sometime during the day I also meditate on the short and sweet Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen. Daily snippets of his writings provide much food for thoughtful chewing, and before a friend presented me with a print version, I used this online daily meditation from The Nouwen Society.

It's lovely to have time in long summer days to sink into God's Word, into prayer, without pressure or time limits. Summer is my contemplative time, even if I am not a fan of summer's beating heat. I wish I could more easily combine my schooling/work life with my summer contemplative life. I pray that I can meld these two lifestyles far more effectively in the next year...always.

This week I am proofreading and giving editorial suggestions to Father Acker of Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity as he revises the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, which is doctrinally strong but consists of some poetic and archaic language that is less-than-approachable, especially with the Scriptures from the Great Bible of 1540. So Father is using the much more accessible English Standard Version (which we also use at Lake Murray Community Church) and is also basing the language of the Collects on ESV language. It's going to be a lovely version of the Prayer Book, one that the Anglican Communion may adopt in lieu of the 1979 BCP. Father is planning to send it to our bishop within a few weeks. I am really excited about the project and find that I am not only proofreading and suggesting other language options, but I am also praying my way through these Collects.

I also hope this summer to spend a few days on a private spiritual retreat, whether that be locally at Pine Valley Bible Conference Center in our town (and where my daughter works), or in the Alumni House of Point Loma Nazarene University , or at one of the contemplative retreat centers in our area, The Spiritual Ministry Center in Ocean Beach or The Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside. We'll see where I can spend time least expensively yet also be able to structure my time best in silence and meditation. I have been looking forward to a spiritual retreat all year, especially during my four straight months of online teaching.

We shall see where God leads.

Wishing you the peace of God which passes all earthly understanding,

holy experience

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