Silent Before the Mystery

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silence-stillness

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

“HOLY MYSTERY, I AM SPEECHLESS IN YOUR PRESENCE.”

From the Community of Christ Guide for Lent: 

Practicing silence reminds us that relationship with God is a mutual, reciprocal act. In silence, we take the time to listen intently and be present with God without words. Often, our most profound spiritual experiences cannot be fully described. We know that in times of distress (Romans 8) the Spirit prays for us hearing the groans of our hearts that are too deep for words.

Intentional time in silence allows us to be fully present with God without the confines of language. As we enter Holy Week, the full implication of life as a disciple brings with it a weighted hush. There are moments when words are inadequate and our most faithful response is to stand humbly before the mystery.

Practicing silence may be difficult at first. The mind may run wild, and centering in God’s presence could take some spiritual effort! Allow yourself grace in this practice and the ability to slowly ease into longer periods of silent reflection.

Perhaps you begin in silence for 5–10 minutes and then write in a journal or pray about your experience. Breathe deeply. Focusing on each breath in and out can help quiet the mind and center you in God’s Spirit.

Become aware of your surroundings; notice how the air feels on your skin; trust that you are in the presence of the holy—fully surrounding and embracing you. Don’t expect that God will speak to you in a certain way. Just open yourself to what is.

Allow your inner conversations to stop for a while, being fully present with the one who is fully present with you.

After being silent for a while, offer a prayer of gratitude for God’s constant presence whether you are fully aware of it or not. Pray that you may continue to draw closer to God and discover what God is saying and doing within you.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 

Romans 8:26, NRSV

This week’s Lenten Practice: Holy Attention

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

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

GROW. LEAD. SERVE. CONNECT. – YOUNG ADULT LEADERS’ RETREAT – MARCH 6-8, 2015

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:

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 to attend).

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 on the Facebook event or to Noelle Gaffka at ngaffka@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

MEET YOUR TEAM: The Innovative Ministries Team

Team Meeting @ Farmhousewritten by: The Innovative Ministries Team

What if we could engage with the wider body of the church in a way that we never thought was possible? What if we, the prophetic people, took advantage of our ability to work with the Spirit, moving forward as a people of faith into the unknown, to face the challenges of our time?

Well, we can!

The Community of Christ is in a unique place right now. Autumn and spring are happening simultaneously. As we speak, the World Church (International Headquarters) is dealing with an issue where our income is not matching our intended mission plan. Consequently, we are bunkering down to weather the storm with cuts to staffing and intentional missional work. However, at the same time, we are seeing God work in amazing ways through new and exciting opportunities. We do not feel that one needs to be fixed before the other taken care of. We believe that spring can happen (and does happen!) whilst parts of the church take care of financial matters.

Traditions, culture, our global nature and ideological differences all lead us to different places. Does this mean change should not occur? No. This just means we need to work harder to ensure we move forward together.

Innovative Ministries Team retreatOver the coming weeks and months, the Innovative Ministries Team (formally the Young Adult Ministries Team) is moving forward in spring. Moving for change. We are working hard to ensure that new and exciting endeavours are seen as ways we can accelerate growth. Growth not only in discipleship and faith, but also in providing further opportunities to give. We know that if young adults are not intentionally engaged, we will not always respond. Our lives are complex and multi-faceted. We need to prioritise more than ever before where our 24hrs in a day goes. Unfortunately, this includes our spiritual lives.

So, what does this mean for us?

We, the Innovative Ministries Team, believe that there is a way to engage the church in missional and relational change that can “move the church forward to a place of significance” (priority) in the lives of young adults. This change requires us to risk. However we believe that inaction (or being focused solely on the autumn stage) is a bigger risk to the life of the church. We want to engage with the wider body! We want to ensure that we do not leave tradition and history behind, rather using it as our platform for faithful action.

Our team has developed a purpose statement that we believe will drive us (and you) towards positive, creative action:

By providing a resource of support and creative thought, we aim to inspire new expressions of meaningful communities.

We create opportunities for positive change that move the church forward to a place of significance while acknowledging our tradition and community identity.

We advocate for young adults and for opportunities that empower their visions and passions, resulting in a broader dialogue between diverse populations and church leadership; critical to the success of the Community of Christ.

With leadership development as a core value, we will provide experiences that develop individuals to serve through skills training and personal growth opportunities.

– Innovative Ministries Team (2014)

This is who we are. This is the change we want to see. This is the spring we are experiencing and the hope for the future, the summer, we are anticipating! We hope this reflects what you want to see in your community, too. We want to do this WITH YOU.

Come with us on this journey.

Follow what we’re up to, share posts, thoughts, comments, and ideas – and most definitely contribute your own.

This is OUR initiative. This is OUR community!

Facebook.com/CofChristYoungAdults

Twitter.com/CofCYoungAdults

yaministries@cofchrist.org

 

Emily & Andrew’s Peace Corps Adventures: Every Nica Cloud has a Silver Lining

Doña Nubia, Daniel, myself, and Maria Los Angeles

by Andrew Nilsen
Re-blogged from: May We Suggest

I’ve been fortunate in my life to have opportunities to travel to many countries. Invariably I hear, and even find myself participating in, some form of this conversation:

Local: “How do you like our country?”

Tourist: “I love it! The people are so nice!”

The tourist in this instance is almost always alluding to how much nicer the people are in X country than they are in their home country. I’ve always been a bit skeptical of these conversations because not only have I heard this from U.S. citizens traveling in other countries, but also from tourists visiting the States. Is it true that people are just magically nicer in every country but our own? Or is there something in traveling that pushes us out of our cocoon of familiarity and into interaction with strangers that makes us realize that, on the whole, humans are a whole lot better than we give them credit for?

That being said, the people here in Nicaragua are super nice. So much so that I’ve developed a new favorite hobby: getting caught out in rainstorms.

Although I’m sure it wasn’t a factor in choosing which part of the year to hold training, the rainy season in Nicaragua has been great for cultural integration. I have found the barriers to interaction between strangers to be so much thinner here than in the United States. A drizzle is excuse enough to be invited into a house, or huddle together under the awning of a business, and in the shared experience of escaping from the rain conversation blossoms. This was how I came to experience the most beautiful moment of my service yet: becoming friends with Doña Nubia and her family.

Back on September 11th two of my fellow trainees (Conor & Daniel) and I were on our way to the soccer field in town to use sports as a means to integrate into the community. When we reached the field the locals were disbanding due to the ominous clouds forming in the sky that we happened to overlook on our walk over. With the rainy season in full swing, we knew that we’d better not mess around and find some cover quickly. Although the coffee shop/cyber café was only a few blocks away, the clouds moved faster. Before we knew it we were caught in the middle of a torrential downpour. We found some trees to stand under, but they weren’t doing us much good. I looked up at the nearest house to see a little grandmother waving us into her house from her patio. Daniel, Conor, and I looked at each other for a second, wondering what to do, before we climbed up the steps to the patio, not exactly sure what we were getting ourselves into.

Forty-five minutes later we had become friends with Doña Nubia, her daughter Maria Los Angeles, and her niece Johana. We shared about where we were from, why we were in Nicaragua, and of all the delicious Nica foods we had tried already. In turn they told us of other national dishes that we must still try, taught us that the best vigoron and chicharones in the country come from the markets and bus stops of Grenada, invited us to come back to chat and drink coffee whenever we wanted, and exchanged phone numbers so they could invite us over and cook us delicious Nicaraguan food! I was deeply touched by this priceless display of Nicaragua hospitality and warmth, and felt such gratitude for the opportunity to be working for an organization where this kind of genuine human connection is what we are actively encouraged cultivate.

Over the seven weeks in my training town I returned several times to Doña Nubia’s house to delight in conversation. Through chats with her and her family I learned about the history of their family, the history of Nicaragua, their view on the current political landscape (specifically regarding the Grand Canal project), and the struggles and hopes they have for their country. I introduced them to Emily, and they showered her with compliments and asked her to tell them the truth about what kind of a guy I am. They called us a “beautiful, incredible couple”, and assured us that we would have gorgeous babies. They admonished me to continue learning about the Nica culture, but that I’d better not become machista, because if I stopped treating Emily with respect they’d come after me! I learned to time my visits for when Johana & Maria Los Angeles returned from their pastry baking class, and therefore became their most enthusiastic taste-tester and supporter. Although our busy training schedules didn’t end up allowing for us to share a meal with them, when Daniel and I said goodbye to the family on Thursday evening they made us promise that we’d visit when we returned to our training town, and assured that we had a place to stay at their house if we ever visited overnight.

The month of November marks the official end of the rainy season here in Nicaragua. I may not have the excuse of a thunderstorm to push me into conversation with potential friends, but from my experiences in my training town I’ve learned that they excuses may not even be necessary in Nicaragua. The people here are just that nice 🙂

WANTED: JOURNEY HOUSE CAMPUS MINISTER

logo_sized_downThe Journey House Campus Ministry Center in East Lansing, Michigan is looking to hire a part-time campus minister.

The Journey House Board of Directors is looking for a person who is passionate about ministry and interested in promoting mission, building relationships, and forming community with college students in the Lansing area. Employment could begin as soon as January 2015.

Read the full job description here