One of three foci at Faith Forward was on the rhythm of our spiritual lives. Like other rhythm, spiritual rhythm is created out of an intentional and regulated blend of sounds, or activities, and pauses. The spiritual pausing in which the seasoned leader of Youth Ministry, Mark Yaconelli, led us became a highlight for many of us.
Why would those of us in ministry with children and youth need regulated spiritual pauses? Pausing to reclaim our intimacy with God helps us see the world in colour instead of a depressing black and white.
You see, there are all kinds of jarring realities in our work in the church which drain the colour out of our lives and get us to doubt our calls and more. However, if we let go of what is killing our joy and move down into a place of knowing we are God’s beloved community, colour and joy are restored. And this, more than anything else, will attract children and youth to join us in journeys of discipleship.
What follows is the simple activity of guided, imaginative silence that Mark used to guide us into that place of knowing God’s love.
• Recall a sacred moment. Go into the memory with all your senses.
• Dwell there for 6 minutes.
• Pray, thanking God for the experience.
• Participate in shared listening pairs. Refrain from giving advice.
• Collect words in the larger group about how we experienced God in the silence, offering them to God as a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
As I recalled a sacred moment in my life, my imagination took me back to this lightly forested glade. It was just what my still-worn-out-by-winter soul needed and reminded me of God’s creative, generative playfulness. I hope sharing it here will help me remember to incorporate this way of pausing into my life’s ongoing rhythm.
I suspect this exercise could restore colour and joy to the lives of many others, and not just the 300 or so of us church workers at Faith Forward. Give it a try, and see how it colours your day. Shalom.