By Lilly Lewin
August tends to be a month of transition for me and my family. School starts, people move, seasons baby step into changing. My facebook feed reminded me this morning that nine years ago today, my life was starting over in Napa Valley California as my husband started culinary school. That was a large change and a big transition. And five years ago in August, we were deciding where to live again after my cancer surgery. My son is making the big move this year, rather than myself. I almost stayed in Denver a bit longer just to escape the humidity of the extreme August temps in Nashville. But reality called and friends were moving on to new adventures and I wanted to be a part of saying farewell. So last Sunday, we bid farewell to a dear member of thinplaceNASHVILLE who is moving to Florida. This was a great opportunity for all of us to practice Laying Down and Letting Go and starting again in a new season of life and living. We all have things that we need to let go of in order to move forward and in order to make a fresh start into a new season of life.
What about you? What transitions or changes are taking place in your life right now?
What are the burdens weighing you down?
What are the things that seem to block your way?
Are there old things that need to be left behind in order to receive something new?
Write these down on a piece of paper.
There is a great liturgy of Laying Down and Letting Go in the Northumbria Community Celtic Daily Prayer Book Two: Farther Up and Further In pages 1041-1043
Here’s a part of this liturgy we used on Sunday night: hold your paper and pray this prayer.
Nothing I jealously guard is mine.
Nothing I freely give up is ever lost.
God who is both Alpha and Omega, be with me in the letting go.
Christ who is the First and Last, be with me in the laying down.
Spirit of all my journeying, be with me in the moving on.
The Sacred Three grant me thankfulness, as I rejoice in what has been well done;
I receive forgiveness, as I confess where I have fallen short;
I receive serenity, as I live with what remains incomplete or unresolved.
I begin to trust as I go to meet what lies ahead.
God behind me; God beside me; God before me. In Every season. Amen.
( adapted from p. 1042-1043 Celtic Daily Prayer)
I set up a small fire pit on our deck and I used a jar candle in the bottom to help with the burning of our burdens and of the things we needed to let go and lay down. We all burned our burden papers in the fire pit.
I used a HOPE candle from thistlefarms in the base of the fire pit for a couple of reasons. First, there is always HOPE when we give our burdens and barriers to Jesus, and NOTHING is too big for Jesus to carry or handle for us. Second, it provdied a different smell, scent than just burning paper. I wanted the scent to linger and go with us as we left the ritual.
The second part of our evening included receiving a new word to carry with us. I cut out pages and created cards from A Colorful Life Journal and put them in a basket to choose from. I knew the Holy Spirit would pick the word, phrase or quote that each of us needed in this next season. You can create your own cards with quotes or phrases or verses and have members of your community choose one to carry with them as their word of HOPE for the next season. Take some time this weekend to consider the season and the changes happening in your world. Talk to Jesus about where you are and where you’d like to be in the days ahead. Burn the old and receive the new. Let the heavy things be melted away into ash. Receive Beauty for Ashes. And let the scent of hope rise up bring you new life, new vision and new purpose. And remember the prayer from Celtic Daily Prayer volume 2