morning bell: in Lent

 

Deeper we go into Lent – season of self-examination, penitence and preparation. It’s time to look seriously at the sort of people we are becoming, and to re-imagine what it might mean to follow the Christ and bring good to the world.

morning bell: who are we becoming?
morning bell: who are we becoming?

This series in Lent works with ideas emerging from a set of reflections on each day’s morning prayer readings from 22 March until 5 April that I wrote for Reflections for Daily Prayer 2013-2014 published by Church House Publishing*. The readings are from the book of Hebrews, which can seem to be a challenging read, but which turns out to be full of provocative wisdom, and just right for Lent…

Reflections 2013-14FrontCover copy

The images for this series are photographs taken during a brief stay this Lent in Falmouth in Cornwall, with some other artwork of mine that has a Lenten feel.

*If you have purchased the paperback version of the stand-alone Reflections for Lent the readings for the period 22 March – 5 April are mistakenly attributed to Bishop John Pritchard – and his to me for the period 10 March – 22 March!

 

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beloved life practices 20: greet your passing

 

REFLECTION: ‘For most of us, I suspect, there is somewhere deep down a quiet undercurrent of fear of death, an awkward reality against which we are ready to rage but which we most usually cope with through leaving well alone. But there is perhaps a deeper truth about our death that means that we need not be so fearful of it. Is it possible that our passing from this life might somehow be acceptable, in tune with the ways things need to be, and even somehow good? To be fully human, we need to prepare ourselves for making the greatest journey we will ever encounter after the journey into human life itself…

beloved life: greet your passing
beloved life: greet your passing

PRACTICE: ‘So I wonder what might happen if we begin to see preparation for our death as a key task for a good life? Greet your Passing is about accepting the one-day-reality of our death. It’s also about nurturing an openness towards the evolving, passing and changing nature of life now. Taking the advice of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, the practice of Greet your Dying is a daily call to remember the death of your body. Here’s a meditation to help you into the practice:

 As you prepare to sleep, lie on your back for a few minutes. Place your hands on your heart in a gesture of gratitude. Give thanks for another day of life. Make a prayer for a good passing from this life through death. Ask for strength and peace for the journey whenever that day may come. And for joy for whatever may unfold…’ 

©Ian Adams 2013 ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press)

Look out for short daily posts around this week’s theme on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doing the practices wherever we are, and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on – do let us know!

 

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beloved life practices 19: befriend your shadow

 

REFLECTION:  ‘We call this practice Befriend your Shadow. As with so many of the Running Over Rocks life practices this one requires us to nurture our self-awareness. It needs us to take a clear view of our instincts and patterns, our motivations and behaviors, our desires and our actions. This needs to be done, initially at least without judgement. Our own experience of this work is that our shadow is intimately linked to our light. It’s not a foreign body that has attached itself to us or wormed its way into us. Rather, our shadow is our joy off-balance, our hope submerged, our love trampled. And we couldn’t have the light without the shadow…

beloved life: befriend your shadow
beloved life: befriend your shadow

PRACTICE: One way into befriending your own shadow is to recognize what you condemn in others. The next time you feel angry with someone reflect on what may be going on. Of course their behaviour may need addressing. But the point in the practice of Befriend your Shadow is to turn the light quietly onto ourselves. Be curious. Is there something in this person that is actually present in similar form in me? Could that be why this person irritates me so much? Is it why their behaviour rankles so deeply with me? How does that behaviour materialize in me? And how could I change for good?’

©Ian Adams 2013 ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press)

Look out for short daily posts around this week’s theme on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doing the practices wherever we are, and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on – do let us know!

 

 

 

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beloved life practices 18: come to the edge

 

‘Walk with me to the bay
to where the cliff falls away                                                                                                                                  to the sea                                                                                                                                                                      and sit with me …’

REFLECTION: We are very interested in the idea of what we call edge space as being the place where change for good can happen. Edge space is threshold or liminal space, and offers a way into something new. It’s the site of potential transition, transformation, and deep change. Edge space can be encountered in a physical place, like the cliff in the poem Walk with me from Running Over Rocks but it’s much a wider idea than geography. Every task that feels beyond you is edge space. Every decision about your life direction is an edge space. Every new day is an edge space!

beloved life: come to the edge

PRACTICE: Look for opportunities to be in places where you sense that there may be for you the gift of change for good – however tough it may be to stay there. Begin to allow the open-ended nature of any situation you face to become a source of possibility rather than a source of anxiety…’

©Ian Adams 2013 ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press)

Look out for short daily posts around this week’s theme on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doing the practices wherever we are, and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on – do let us know!

 

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beloved life practices 17: speak no words

 

REFLECTION: ‘We’re aware of the irony of writing any words at all for a practice entitled Speak No Words. So we’re just offering a few, then leaving space for silence. Sometimes it is fine to run out of words. Helpful, important, even necessary. As Jesus demonstrated in his own use of silence before his accusers, there can be learning and healing through abandoning our words which, important as they can be, try to do so much fixing, so much arranging and so much explaining. Sometimes the very best thing, sometimes the only thing, is to lie face down on the ground, and say nothing…’

 

beloved life: speak no words
beloved life: speak no words

 

PRACTICE:

 

                                                                     (no words)

 

 

©Ian Adams 2013 ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press)

Look out for short daily posts around this week’s theme on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doing the practices wherever we are, and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on – do let us know!

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morning bell: into Lent

 

Lent is a season of self-examination, penitence and preparation. It’s a time to look seriously at the sort of people we are becoming, and to re-imagine what it might mean to follow the Christ and bring good to the world.

 

morning bell: Ash Wednesday, into Lent
morning bell: Ash Wednesday, into Lent

 

As we go into Lent this series of Morning Bell is inspired by the main Gospel reading set for each day. The Ash Wednesday image was taken on a local beach. The following images were all taken at the retreat centre at Sheldon, home of the Society of Mary and Martha. As we explore the Jesus path in this season may we be both provoked and blessed…

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