Godspace Light Newsletter

by Christine Sine

by Christine Sine

Welcome to the season of Epiphany. Over the weekend, I posted one of my Epiphany prayers on Facebook. It includes the lines:

The Christmas star has not faded,
It has been planted in us.
The light of the world has not dimmed.
It shines in you, in me, in all creation.
And the darkness can never extinguish it.

I really need these words at the moment. Christmas is over. This weekend we took down our decorations, dismantled our tree and turned off the Christmas lights. Everything suddenly looks very drab, and here in Seattle a dreary rainy day adds to that feeling. However, this month of January is a very important one. It is one that helps to set the trajectory of the rest of the year. It encourages us to think about the future, spend time listening to God’s voice and take time for discernment, and planning and, if you are a gardener like me, its time to begin planting too.

Henri Nouwen in his book Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life suggests that discernment needs to become a way of life for all of us, but we all need help to move in that direction. Ear marking January as a month for discernment is a great way to move the rest of our lives in the right direction. My own personal journey this year began with rereading both Nouwen’s book and Margaret Silf’s Sacred Spaces: Stations on a Celtic Way which provided the framework for my Monday Meditation: Letting Go. What she suggests is that we all need to strive to make decisions that encourage our roots to grow deeper. Our goal should be to develop the inner core of our being so that it draws us closer to God, to each other and to all of creation. Every time we choose well and grow our roots deeper, our ability to discern the next steps to enable us to grow into the people God wants us to become will grow a little bit sharper and more clearly defined.

It is easier for us to focus on the upward growth and the fruit, but this really is only an outward sign or an inward development. A good question to ask ourselves in every decision we make is: “Which course of action is more likely to lead to a deepening of our true self and a closer bonding with the truest self of every other creature and of all creation?”

I encourage you to develop your own discernment process for this month. Maybe you would like to read Nouwen or one of the other books in Godspacelight’s The Art of Discernment reading list. Please also consider signing up for the Spiritual Discernment: Finding Direction in a Confusing World webinar at the end of the month. This will be a great time to explore some of the best practices that help us discern and make discernment into a way of life.

Last night we chalked the doors on all three floors of our Mustard Seed House Community. What a fun activity to begin this season with. Like Emily Huff, who sent me the Chalking the Door description and practice several years ago, I never tire of this tradition to mark our door and to take a moment to remember the friends and family who have passed through our door during the past year. It’s great to give thanks for them, and to ask for God’s blessing and light to shine on those who will come through our door in the coming year. I talked about this in my sermon at Seattle Mennonite Church on Sunday too and one of the congregation came up to me later and told me he had already started his list of people to pray for.

The next wonderful celebration on my list for the year is Imbolc and Candlemas. I look forward to making St Brigid crosses again. Lilly Lewin and I talked about this in our Facebook live session Candlemas, St Brigid and Praying with a Cup last year. So if you are looking for another celebration to enjoy before Lent begins make sure you check it out.

I loved Lilly Lewin’s Freerange Friday: An Invitation to Follow… the Star. Don’t miss the stunning art piece of the Magi she included as well as her wonderful reflection. It was also a delight to have Ana Lisa De Jong contribute someNew Year’s Eve poems. She has blessed us with many such gifts over the years. I heartily recommend these new poems as well as her The Gateway to Heaven: Poems for Contemplation that is available as a free download from the Godspacelight store.

On Wednesday, Barbie Perks posted a very profound post Comfort My People that revolved around a discarded bird’s nest that she picked up. “How many times do we as people, I as a person, tend to discard God’s comfort without reason? Sometimes we just flat out don’t even know what that comfort looks like because we are so focussed on what we want, how our issues could be resolved, that we are oblivious to what God is doing in our lives. I know I am guilty of this.”

Last week, Forrest Inslee and I recorded the introductory episode for my new podcast The Liturgical Rebels and in the next few weeks I expect to interview Kelly Latimore, Drew Jackson, Scott Erickson and Brian McLaren. So exciting! No definite launch date yet, but I am still aiming for a birthday celebration for me on January 18th.

I am also delighted to announce that you can now sign up for our spring webinar series which begins with Spiritual Discernment in a Confusing World on January 27th, followed by Lent Quiet Day – Beauty from Ashes on March 2nd and then Spirituality of Gardening on May 11th. Once again we have a reduced price for those who sign up for all three. Your participation in the Spirituality of gardening webinar also includes a digital copy of To Garden With God.

Life is very full and very satisfying at the moment, though I am aware that we live in an uncertain world as is expressed in this closing prayer by the Celtic saint, St Brendan.

Help me to journey beyond the familiar
and into the unknown.

Give me the faith to leave old ways
and break fresh ground with You.

Christ of the mysteries, I trust You
to be stronger than each storm within me.

I will trust in the darkness and know
that my times, even now, are in Your hand.

Tune my spirit to the music of heaven,
and somehow, make my obedience count for You.
The Prayer of St. Brendan

Many Blessings

Christine is offering three virtual retreats this winter: Spiritual Discernment: Finding Direction in a Confusing World, Lent Quiet Day: Beauty from Ashes, and Spirituality of Gardening. Register for all three retreats here.

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