Advent resources: Spiritual Direction and Advent Lectio Divina

With a happy sigh, I sink into the comfy chair.

“Would you like some tea? The kettle boiled,” she offers.

“No that’s ok. Thanks though.”

“Let’s take a moment of silence then, and when you are ready, begin.”

As it does every visit, my gaze scans her heavily laden bookshelves (ooooo, so many books I want to borrow,) and the various lovely art pieces around her room. My favorite is the stained glass window depicting grapes and wine, that hangs above her seat.

I settle in, close my eyes, still my soul, and breathe.

I have a Spiritual Director.

A Catholic one.

Her name is Sue, and she is a lay leader at Regina Mundi Parish.

“What is a Spiritual Director?” you ask.

Put simply, spiritual direction is when two people have a conversation about one person’s relationship with Jesus.

I meet with Sue once a month, and talk and talk and talk. And she listens and listens and listens. And asks good questions.

Really good questions.

I find it so refreshing to have somewhere outside my usual circle of concern and influence, where I can go and unburden my heart and explore new spiritual territory.

In addition to individual spiritual direction. Sue also leads groups, and one of them is starting later on this week.

Here is Sues invitation to you. She’s quite fond of us Protestants and would love for you to come!

Beginning Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 at 7:45 a.m., and continuing for the Fridays during Advent, I will be offering an opportunity for group Lectio Divina (Divine Reading), a wonderfully meditative prayer form. Each session runs for approximately one-half hour. If you are interested, please come to the glassed in porch on the Upper Paradise side of Regina Mundi church (corner of Upper Paradise and Mohawk) and ring the bell. All are welcome!

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Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room. Prayer and Devotional Resources for Advent

The season of Advent is upon us. I love the Christmas season and this weekend gleefully set up our tree (although this years tree is persnickety and has toppled twice already). I unearthed my massive host of snowmen and have found them all homes throughout the house. At our Community House meeting last night we planned our in house Christmas party where we are going to eat turkey, play Balderdash, and exchange homemade gifts and prayers of blessing.

There are things about the season, however, that I find jarring. The madness of Black Friday, for example. It can be difficult to hear the whispers of heaven above the cacophony of Jingle Bell Rock jangling through the speakers in the malls and other shrines of consumeristic adoration.

How do we prepare our hearts for the coming of the King?

There are some lovely Advent resources out there that help our hearts prepare Him room.

24-7 Prayer is re-releasing it’s wildly popular Advent Podcasts, little 5 minute videos you can watch and pray along with each day. Here is the first one, released yesterday.

http://www.24-7prayer.com/blog/2147

There are links on that page where you can subscribe to the daily podcasts.

Christine Sine, author of Return to Our Senses – Reimagining How We Pray Has created this lovely Advent video as well

http://godspace-msa.com/2013/11/26/come-home-to-god-an-advent-meditation-video-for-2013/

I would love to throw it open for a bit of discussion. What other advent resources are you aware of?

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Congregation Relocation

Today was our last official Sunday at our church, Flamborough Christian Fellowship. We’ve attended this small and feisty charismatic church in Waterdown for six years. But when Kirk and I moved into Hamilton we knew that eventually we would have to find a local church in the downtown core. It’s taken two and a half years. We’ve dragged our feet because we loooooove our pastor Bob Warriner, and we have been so lovingly cared for by the congregation. They get us. And have supported our crazy urban mission/prayer adventures.

For the last year and a half, Kirk and I have been partnering with Sue Carr as she runs a chapel on Sunday afternoons at Mission Services. Mission Services cares for those who struggle with homelessness and addiction issues, and the urban poor who live nearby. Our Sunday chapel looks like a cross between an AA meeting and a Bible study. You never know what’s going to happen any given Sunday. We’ve grown to know and love the eclectic congregation there as I’ve co-ordinated hospitality (you get to know folks real well at the coffee urn) and as Kirk has served on the worship team, playing lotsa rockabilly on his snare as he accompanies our buddy Ellis.

After much prayer and consideration, we decided that we wanted to adopt the Mission Services Chapel as our primary church family. We want to deeply invest in neighborhood relationships. We want to step away from “ministering to the poor”, which creates in our mind an artificial separation, an “us and them” mentality. Instead, we simply want to relocate ourselves and try and learn how to love our neighbours well.

Here is a photo of Kirk and I with our beloved Pastor Bob from Flamborough Christian Fellowship, and one of Kirk and Ellis rocking it out at Mission Services.

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