I am a contemplative. It's not like a badge of honor, or a state to ascribe to. It's more like the way I connect with the Trinity and the world around me. I am a mother. It's not like a badge of honor, or a state to ascribe to. It's more like the way.... (Get where I'm going with this?) Are you sensing the tension? Yeah, me too. Contemplative prayer is a staple for me throughout the day. I return my thoughts to God when doing mundane tasks, like laundry, or vacuuming. I don’t return to a formal prayer, but instead bring my heart and mind to as full of an awareness of the presence of God as I can stand. Centering prayer is a part of my morning and evening rhythm. I focus my heart and mind on the belovedness of the Trinity and the invitation into my own belovedness . It is a prayer of “being” not “doing.” I've got a monkey mind that runs from dawn to dusk, centering prayer calms that monkey and opens the space for a deeper relationship with God.
Although contemplatives do things, too. I have often felt that action and contemplation go together and have found great joy in this. I think the key is to not separate the internal practices of contemplation from external acts of service. While on the surface they seem paradoxical, they actually are not. The internal connectivity of human spirit to Holy Spirit is what powers and directs the act of service. Without the internal contemplative attention the act of service becomes one of self service or loses the power to continue in the face of difficulty or suffering. Mother Teresa is an excellent example. Her inner posture of contemplation informed and powered her outward service.
I have experienced the inner contemplative posture powering my outward life and I wouldn't trade it for all the gold at The Franklin Mint. Until zombie killer games come into play. We have a Sabbath practice that looks like doing a bit of nothing, which I'm pretty fine with.
Recently I was convicted by two things. 1. I make my kids clean their room on the Sabbath. (Forgive me Lord, for my crappy example.) 2. Sabbath is celebration and celebration is not my strong suit.
My husband and children LOVE computer games. What is one way I could celebrate with them as an entrance into the Sabbath? (Get where I'm going with this?) As I lamented this conviction to a group of friends one said, "Yeah, you wouldn't want to be like Jesus and enter the world of your family and celebrate." Ok. I get it.
Not-so-secret service in my current season of life looks like starting the Sabbath by playing a zombie killer computer game with my children and husband. The real challenge for me is how to stay connected with God inwardly while engaging with my family in this manner outwardly.
I'm open for suggestions.
How do you connect your inner life with your outer?
How do you celebrate the Sabbath?