Sacred Restraint

Subscribe to the Spiritual Formation Center to share your Lenten Journey experience.

A Radical Love

Subscribe to the Spiritual Formation Center to share your Lenten Journey experience.

hands holding the sun at dawn

Lenten Practice: Fasting
Daily Act: Engage in an act of generosity today. Buy someone a cup of coffee, send a note or gift to someone you think could use it, or make time in your day to spend with someone who could use your gift of time and presence. Dwell in the experience of self-emptying for the sake of another.
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“OPEN ME TO RECEIVE MORE OF YOU.”

By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

The closer I grow to Christ
The more I feel
A radical love
On fire within me
Aching for release

How do I explain?
It is wholeness
It is salvation
It is justice

It is fulfillment
And emptying

What might happen
If I let this radical love
Lose on the world?

Where might it lead?
What might if ask of me?
How might it change me?

The more I get to know
The One I claim to follow
The more I see how
My wholeness is linked
With the well-being of all
The more I see how
The deepest dream within me
Is Shalom

Maybe this is what Lent is for
Attention to this radical love
Which is
Christ alive deep within you
With a heart on fire for
Something new

I am beginning to understand
In that space beyond words
What it means
That I must lose my life
To find it

REMINDER: March 1, 2015 is the registration deadline for our upcoming Lenten Retreat with Presiding Evangelist, David Brock. The theme is INTO THE WILDERNESS (March 13-15). If you are seeking a deeper exploration of the season of Lent in your life and yearn to grow closer with God, we would love to share this experience with you! Email khmclaughlin@cofchrist.org if you have any questions.

Lenten Spiritual Retreat with Presiding Evangelist David Brock.  March 13-15, 2015 Click here to register!

Becoming Free

Subscribe to the Spiritual Formation Center blog to share your Lenten Journey experience.

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Lenten Practice: Fasting
Daily Act: Find a possession that you value or enjoy and choose to give it away to someone else. What does it feel like to let go? How is God present in your generous giving?
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“OPEN ME TO RECEIVE MORE OF YOU.”

by Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

I love books. Our home office has stacks of books highlighted and underlined, with messages of meaning and question etched in the margins. If you ask to borrow one of my books, I will feel my heart rate quicken. Several times I have had good friends come to visit who decided to borrow books as they were packing up to leave. I let them go begrudgingly. In fact, I am ashamed to say that I was so focused on losing one of my books that I missed the last several moments with ones I love. I was blinded to the person in front of me because they were taking what was “mine.”

It is ok to love books. The concern comes when I refuse to let them go, when I place them in priority above people or use them to try to be something other than my most authentic self. Why this feeling of resistance? Why this holding on? Are my books part of an identity that I want to portray? Do stacks of books make me feel wise or educated? Do I feel like what I have gained from reading will be lost if I don’t have the pages to hold in my hands? Does the sight of all these books make up for the deeper sense of inadequacy that always threatens to emerge right beneath the surface?

Lent is about honestly confronting everything that keeps us at a distance from the connecting and reconciling impulse of the Holy Spirit. Everything means my attitudes, behaviors, and possessions. It is not exactly the thing that matters the most. It is about locating the feeling of attachment to the thing. It is about realizing, sometimes slowly, that I am not as free as I thought I was. It is about then locating that feeling in relation to all the other things, attitudes, behaviors, relationships I am attached to that keep me from being free in God’s Spirit.

This isn’t an exercise in meaningless, or even mean, testing. It reaches to the roots of a consumer culture that assigns value based on what we have and do not have. It triggers our impulses toward accumulation, sometimes at the expense of others, sometimes at the expense of ourselves. The health of our souls, and the earth, at this moment in history may very well be linked to our willingness or reluctance to let go of the things that have claimed us. This is a justice issue. This is a spiritual issue. This is a human issue.

If God’s desire for our lives is oneness and equality in Christ, then what is getting in the way of that ultimate vision? What are you willing to give to make it real?

Below is a prayer by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Some call it a radical prayer! May these words bless and challenge you as you continue to EMPTY during this season of Lent!

“Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O Lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and Thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.” –St. Ignatius of Loyola

REMINDER: March 1, 2015 is the registration deadline for our upcoming Lenten Retreat with Presiding Evangelist, David Brock. The theme is INTO THE WILDERNESS (March 13-15). If you are seeking a deeper exploration of the season of Lent in your life and yearn to grow closer with God, we would love to share this experience with you! Email khmclaughlin@cofchrist.org if you have any questions.

Lenten Spiritual Retreat with Presiding Evangelist David Brock.  March 13-15, 2015 Click here to register!

For Courage

cofcyaministries:

Each day we will be reblogging the Spiritual Formation Center’s Lenten Practice. Subscribe to their blog to share your thoughts or experiences about your Lenten journey.

Originally posted on Spiritual Formation Center:

Lenten Practice:Fasting
Daily Act: Create space within by opening your heart to another. Whom will you let in today? How do you experience God when you make genuine space for others in your life?
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“OPEN ME TO RECEIVE MORE OF YOU.”

For Courage
By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

Blessings of courage to you
In each opening
Of your deepest self
To someone else

In daring to see
The holy
Radiant
In another life

In each response
To what you see

Blessings of courage to you
When you encounter
Strangers in this desert
And feel the urge of hospitality
Deep in your bones
Welcoming and receiving
With a surprisingly open heart
Despite the pounding fear
Of the unknown
Only to discover
You’ve been entertaining
Angels
Unaware

Blessing upon each…

View original 129 more words

Blessed Letting Go

cofcyaministries:

If you are looking for a way to engage in Lenten practices, the practices are blogged each day at http://www.spiritualformationcenter.org. You can subscribe to the blog and share your own reflections and experiences along the way! Lenten blessings on this first week of Lent.

Originally posted on Spiritual Formation Center:

First Sunday of Lent
Practice: FASTING

Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“OPEN ME TO RECEIVE MORE OF YOU.”

Fasting Blessing
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

Blessed is the space made
From letting go
Blessed is each yearning
For what you’ve given
That reminds you of
Why you have given it

Blessed is what the space can mean
As it grows inside you
Sturdy for holding
What you never imagined
You could hold

Blessed is all that enters
The inward space
As it is being cleared
The way the Spirit
Stretches outward
Within you
And breathes deep
A joyful sigh of liberation

Blessed is the emptying
The heart-focused release
The desire to love
More than the desire to have

Blessed is the space made
That expands as you see
How the One you seek
Comes to your…

View original 24 more words

Still Time to Register! – YOUNG ADULT LEADERS’ RETREAT – MARCH 6-8, 2015

WhYoungAdultPostcardFrontPRo: This event is for anyone interested in young adult leadership or young adult ministries within the Community of Christ church (you do not have to hold a specific leadership role or be a certain age to attend (but 18+ please).

When and Where: March 6-8, 2015 at Bluewater Community of Christ Campgrounds in Lexington, MI (Flint, MI or Sarnia, ON are the nearest airports). Event will start approximately 6pm on Friday and end before noon on Sunday.

Cost: $45.00 We want this to be affordable, so the registration cost will cover food and accommodation. We encourage you to travel with friends to limit transportation costs to the campgrounds!

Registration forms can be completed here

 PLEASE RSVP to Noelle Gaffka at ngaffka@cofchrist.org to let us know you are planning to attend! 

GROW. Learn more about yourself, your gifts, your calling. Discover how to transfer your passions into your ministry leadership.

LEAD. Develop your skills and learn new ones. Receive valuable tools and resources that will help you be a better leader.

SERVE. Transfer skills to your local area. Find out how you can use these tools to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Deepen your spiritual connections and discern the ways your community needs you!

CONNECT. Build a community of supportive leaders working towards a common goal! Network, share ideas, build relationships that are intentional, meaningful, and helpful to you in your ministry with young adults!

This is a rare opportunity and has unlimited benefits to you and your communities – so don’t miss out! 

We encourage interested participants to partner with their congregations and Mission Centres. Talk to your leadership about your interest in attending, seek financial support, and offer to bring back what you’ve learned to your local area. The outcomes of this event are only as beneficial as the people you share them with! If you need help connecting with your local leadership, try these sources or contact us at yaministries@cofchrist.org:

Contact Noelle Gaffka at ngaffka@cofchrist.org or yaministries@cofchrist.org with any questions

This event is sponsored by Community of Christ Young Adult Ministries

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