Contemplative Guide 1 – Source

 You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

–          Psalm 139: 13

 

Stilling: Being present to God

Begin with a simple stilling exercise.one candle 3

You may want to light a candle, or say a short prayer as you intentionally place yourself in the presence of the Holy One.

Find a comfortable position and be still for a couple of minutes. Concentrate on your breathing – slowly, in and out. Relax your muscles. Don’t worry about any thoughts that come into your head; acknowledge them, then come back to your stilling exercise.

 

Say the following prayer as you commit to being in God’s presence:

Dear God,

You sustain me and feed me;

Like a shepherd you guide me;

You lead me to an oasis of green,

To lie down by restful waters.

Dwell in me that I may dwell in you.

From Jim Cotter, Psalms for a pilgrim people, Psalm 23

 

 

Childbirth

In the first chapter of Growing up to be a child, I describe the wonder of childbirth, and particularly the wonder of my own daughter’s birth:

to help ease you out into the world, watch you fill your lungs and let out your first cry, cut the cord that had kept you alive those nine months, and pass you up to your mum, knowing that you were my daughter. Those were emotions that will stay with me forever. You were, and still are, my beloved daughter.

I go on to describe something of the amazing process that had already taken place before this birth:

Dramatic as it may be, birth is not the beginning. First there is a miraculous fusion of two living cells, followed by the nine months of gestation that precede a birth. It is an amazing period of what, to me, seems like almost constant miracles. Somehow, that one fused cell, drawing on information contained in microscopic strands of DNA, manages to divide into two, four, eight, sixteen, and eventually billions of cells, all different in their structures and functions. As they divide, those cells organise themselves into different organs and tissues, aligning and connecting with each other in the most incredible, choreographed dance. And all this is unseen.

Long before you were born, you were perfectly formed as a tiny human being – not just your little hands and feet, but your eyes and ears, liver and kidneys, nervous system, endocrine pathways, and circulation, all ticking over, getting ready for life in the outside world, and joining in that dance.

 

Prayer: Encountering God

Choose one of the two exercises below as a contemplative approach to prayer: Encountering God in Nature or Encountering God in Scripture (Lectio Divina)

 

Response: Thanksgiving

Respond to God in thanksgiving for the way you have been made – for the intricate wonder of who you are. You may want to sing a song of thanksgiving that expresses this.

 

Closing: Going on in God’s presence

Finish your time by saying the Lord’s Prayer.

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