Prayer is the Bridge

“Prayer is the bridge between “longing” and “belonging.”
— John O’Donahue
Dear Friends and Family,

I am sitting in our former garage which was converted into office, guest, and retreat space in 1999 (between the births of Anna and Kathrine). Though our family has been primarily self quarantined since Friday the 13th of March, they have insisted I move several doors further to this space since my immune system is severely compromised.  

That actually began 49 years ago as I started treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma at St. Jude’s. I discovered the knot on my neck on Friday the 13th of November in 1970 (soon after football practice). But with the support of others, pretty soon I learned to see it as my “lucky day.” In the healing process, I came to realize that Friday the 13th was the day we began dealing with something that was a matter of life and death. If we had been unaware or in denial, I would not be alive now to write this 49 years later.) 

*** One of my biggest prayers, is that our key leaders: 
1) see the urgent needs during this immediate crisis, and; 
2) listen deeply to have compassionate, creative vision to see this as an opportunity to live as good stewards, and let political perspectives emerge from the authentic, deep truth that:

So here is one of the most significant things I have found in this time of crisis:  Prayer is especially about listening and seeing through God’s grace. It is noticing deeply the bridge that 
joins our deepest longings with our deepest, soulful belonging.

I’m trying to take this as an opportunity for an extended spiritual retreat. And I am grateful for the benefit of being able to communicate safely with people nearby and around the world.

Back in 2016 I noticed an announcement about a 
“Mindful Living Summit” in Washington DC. Almost immediately I was struck with a sense that “I need to go to this!” I did, along with about 1000 others from around the world.  It has changed my life for the better. And just last week, I was able to “attend” the most recent “Mindful Living Summit” addressing our current situation via the internet. Again, many people from around the world were there. 
When taken to heart, “mindfulness” helps us lean into grace, and helps us see everything with new eyes. It helps us be present to Christ’s Presence.
From my 49 years of “practice,” I believe with all my heart, that this deep, soulful Presence, (perhaps something similar to what Paul meant when he said “Put on the mind of Christ,”) (1 Cor. 2:16) is how we become awakened and faithful followers of the way of compassion… the eternally “new way” of Jesus.  That is how we become disciples, and instruments of God’s healing peace.  

During this unprecedented crisis, I pray for a “great awakening in compassion.”   Mindfulness is one of the most crucial long-term things we can practice, and participate in, as it helps us be present to God’s Presence.  

We have within our church community, many new and emerging ways to join deep longings with deep belonging.  (More on that next week.)

There are also other large outreach communities that are all about this “power of compassion.” Some of my favorite are:

1. Center for Action and Contemplation –
2. “Contemplative Outreach”-
3. “On Being” –
4. “Courage and Renewal” –
5.” –
6. “Fetzer Institute” –
7. “Shalem Institute” –

This is about discovering and connecting with neighbors, friends, family, and others around the world who are committed to soul care for themselves and others. Because we really are all in this together… or else…

Links above are some of the many helpful communities connecting and supporting others for a future of integrity, healing and wholeness.

Blessings to all of you on this, the most important time of our lives. I encourage you to listen for the wisdom of the Spirit within, and notice the power of compassion all around. 
See you next week.
Dr. Len Delony
Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation

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