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No matter who you are, no matter where you come from or what your faith background, you are welcome in this place. Join us for our weekly services and many other community events:
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Operating as usual
"I like to call contemplation “full-access knowing”—prerational, nonrational, rational, and transrational all at once. Contemplation refuses to be reductionistic. Contemplation is an exercise in keeping your heart and mind spaces open long enough for the mind to see other hidden material. It is content with the naked now and waits for futures given by God and grace. As such, a certain amount of love for an object or another subject and for myself must precede any full knowing of it. As the Dalai Lama says so insightfully, “A change of heart is always a change of mind.” We could say the reverse as well—a true change of mind is also, essentially, a change of heart. Eventually, they both must change for us to see properly and contemplatively.
This is where prayer comes in. Instead of narrowing our focus, contemplative prayer opens us up. “Everything exposed to light itself becomes light” (see Ephesians 5:14). In contemplative prayer, we merely keep returning to the divine gaze and we become its reflection, almost in spite of ourselves. “All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image” (2 Corinthians 3:18). I use the word “prayer” as the umbrella word for any interior journeys or practices that allow us to experience faith, hope, and love within ourselves. It is always a form of simple communing! Despite what Christians have often been taught, prayer is not a technique for getting things, a pious exercise that somehow makes God happy, or a requirement for entry into heaven. It is much more like practicing heaven now by leaping into communion with what is right in front of us."
Richard Rohr Meditation: A Superior Lens Today the unnecessary suffering on this earth is great for people who could have “known better” and should have been taught better by their religions. In the West, religion became preoccupied with telling people what to know more than how to know, telling people what to see more than how to see....
"I don’t practice any particular prayer discipline. I have no specific technique I use to meditate. I know these methods work for many people. But for me, when I tried them, I just spent all my time rejecting my wandering thoughts, over and over. I’ve tried to practice these disciplines, but now I don’t worry about them anymore. Their only purpose anyway is to bring a person to union with God. Why should I fast or set aside particular prayer times or deny myself in some way when I’ve found the shortcut? If every moment I’m consciously practicing love, doing all things for God’s sake, then I don’t need to worry about these spiritual methods."
Richard Rohr Meditation: Practicing the Presence of God One of the simplest methods of contemplation is “to practice the presence of God” as described by Brother Lawrence (1614–1691), a French Carmelite monk of the 17th century. Lawrence was a gentle and humble man who, despite his lack of education, just radiated holiness—not from the abbot’s ...
"These four faculties [in Jesus’ commandment above] can be interpreted in various ways. I have, for instance, called them intellect (mind), will (strength), imagination (soul) and affectivity (heart). . . .
Keeping the mind . . . single means keeping our heart whole, keeping our mind whole, our soul and strength [whole], not letting any of them divide in two. So when we pray . . . we try to find our truest self by unifying and keeping whole our heart, mind, soul, and strength. This unification of the consciousness is what is usually called “concentration”: centering together. It is basic to spiritual practice.
How do you do this concentration? You just do what you’re actually doing in the moment, without thinking/feeling about the fact that you’re doing it. When you set your hand to the plow, you just concentrate on plowing and go straight ahead without looking back to see what you plowed or how well you plowed (Luke 9:62)."
Richard Rohr Meditation: Offering Your Whole Self “The Lord your God, the Lord is One. And you shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, your whole mind, your whole soul, and your whole strength.” (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30, 33; Luke 10:27)
"Chanting is at the heart of all sacred traditions worldwide, and for very good reason: it is fundamentally a deep-immersion experience in the creative power of the universe itself. Because to make music, you must engage those three core elements out of which the earth was fashioned and through which all spiritual transformation happens.
The first element, of course, is breath.
The second element is tone, or vibration, the sound you make when you add voice to that breath.
The third element, which I just mentioned above, is intentionality.
Richard Rohr Meditation: Finding Presence Chanting is one of the most traditional methods of contemplation. While some traditions repeat a single word or sound, Benedictine and Gregorian chant within the Christian tradition draw their inspiration from the Psalms. Cynthia Bourgeault describes how chant works as a contemplative method. She is...
Creator, God of Love and hope may we your people always have hearts full of thanks. Thanks for all the blessings in our lives; the blessings of family, friends, our MCC community, the very air we breathe, and for life itself. May we forever be mindful of your unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Lord let us love just as you do, being people of patience, kindness, humility, justice, and truth.
In a world where there is often division, unkindness and strife help us to remember that You are still moving in and through us, Your people, and that Your love never changes.
May we be vigilant and prayerful, always holding on to the hope we have in You. Hope of a future filled with kindness, peace, and justice for all of Your children regardless of the color of our skin, the depths of our pockets, who we love, or where we were born. May we never forget that Your Spirit lives within us. Give us the courage and strength to stand up for all that is right and just.
We ask all of this in your many wonderful and beautiful names. Amen.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
AL REID (he/his/him)
Serves as a Deacon, a worship leader, and a Co-Leader of the Worship Team.
upRising - a church without walls.
Austin, Texas, USA
Council of Elders Weekly Call to Prayer Prayer Submitted by Al Reid Creator, God of Love and hope may we your people always have hearts full of thanks. Thanks for all the blessings in our lives; the blessings of family, friends, our MCC com
"Be humbled and grateful in knowing that you are learning to awaken to your true nature in learning to be like God. . . . Jesus said, “Judge not and you shall not be judged” (Matthew 7:1). Sitting in meditation, we put this teaching of Christ into practice in remaining present, open, and awake to ourselves just as we are, without judging, without evaluating, without clinging to or rejecting the way we simply are."
Richard Rohr Meditation: Present, Open, Awake My friend and CAC teacher James Finley is a true contemplative! I watch the crowds—from conferences to Living School students—settle in his presence almost immediately. He is so centered in himself and in God that he is at peace and “transmits” the message with peace everywhere he goes. Here...
Michael's farewell sermon. Thank you for your years of ministry Michael.
"Prayer is indeed the way to make contact with God/Ultimate Reality, but it is not an attempt to change God’s mind about us or about events. It is primarily about changing our mind so that things like infinity, mystery, and forgiveness can resound within us. A small mind cannot see Great Things because the two are on two different frequencies or channels, as it were. The Big Mind can know big things, but we must change channels. Like will know like.
There are as many ways of accessing the naked now as there are individuals, so no exploration could possibly be comprehensive, even within our own Christian tradition. However, this week’s meditations on Doorways to Christian Contemplation will offer some modern descriptions of traditional contemplative practices. I hope something engages your heart and imagination enough to try it out for yourself."
Richard Rohr Meditation: A Tree of Life Anyone familiar with my writing knows that I believe that immediate, unmediated contact with the moment is the clearest path to divine union. Naked, undefended, and nondual presence has the best chance of encountering the Real Presence. I approach the theme of contemplation in a hundred ways, becaus...
"We invite you to pray this modern version of the prayer of Jesus from the Anglican Church of New Zealand, which both honors and reflects indigenous Maori culture.
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples
of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and for ever. Amen."
Richard Rohr Meditation: Great Themes of Scripture: New Testament: Weekly Summary Sunday The realm of God is right here, right now, in the present tense. The relationship with God’s love that sets us free is in our midst. The possibility of freedom, of a whole new world, is already here.
"Here’s where Brian McLaren envisions the “great themes” of Scripture ending up, in the reconciliation of God’s new heaven and new earth:
Imagine a moment before the Big Bang banged. Imagine a creativity, brilliance, fertility, delight, energy, power, glory, wisdom, wonder, greatness, and goodness sufficient to express itself in what we know as the universe. Try to imagine it, even though you know you cannot: a creative imagination and energy so great that it would produce light, gravity, time, and space . . . galaxies, stars, planets, and oceans . . . mountains, valleys, deserts, and forests . . . . gorillas, dolphins, golden retrievers, and us.
And then dare to imagine that this is the great, big, beautiful, mysterious goodness, wholeness, and aliveness that surrounds us and upholds us even now.
Finally, try to imagine that this is also the great, big, beautiful, mysterious goodness, wholeness, and aliveness into which all of us and all creation will be taken up—in a marriage, in a homecoming, in a reunion, in a celebration. . . .
The whole story flows toward reconciliation, not in human creeds or constitutions, but in love, the love of the One who gave us being and life. . .
So our journey in the story of creation, the adventure of Jesus, and the global uprising of the Spirit has come full circle. It all came from God in the beginning, and now it all comes back to God in the end. "
Richard Rohr Meditation: Mutual Indwelling The whole movement of the Bible is toward ever-greater Incarnation and embodiment, until the mystery of mutual indwelling is finally experienced and enjoyed even here in this world, in this life, and in this body. It then becomes the banquet that we call eternal life or heaven. For Christians, Jesus...
"Brian McLaren describes the new community we are called to in the Spirit of Christ:
We must find a new approach, make a new road, pioneer a new way of living as neighbors in one human community, as brothers and sisters in one family of creation.
That’s why the apostle Paul repeatedly describes how in Christ we see humanity as one body and our differences as gifts, not threats, to one another. In Christ, Paul came to realize that people aren’t different because they’re trying to be difficult or evil—they’re different because the Spirit has given them differing gifts. . . .
More than ever before in our history, we need a new kind of personal and social fuel. Not fear, but love. Not prejudice, but openness. Not supremacy, but service. Not inferiority, but equality. Not resentment, but reconciliation. Not isolation, but connection. Not the spirit of hostility, but the holy Spirit of hospitality.
So the “most excellent way,” Paul said, is the way of love [1 Corinthians 13:13]. Old markers of gender, religion, culture, and class must recede: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” [Galatians 3:28] . . . [and] “the only thing that counts is faith working through love” [Galatians 5:6]. Where the Spirit is, love is. Where the Spirit teaches, people learn love. "
Richard Rohr Meditation: Paul: A New Creation Paul, the great apostle to the gentiles, is a unique figure in the New Testament. About half of the books in the New Testament bear his name, either because he actually wrote them or because other early Christians attached his name to their work.
"Brian McLaren writes about the need for the fire of the Spirit today:
In the millennia since Christ walked with us on this Earth, we’ve often tried to box up the “wind” [of the Spirit] in manageable doctrines. We’ve exchanged the fire of the Spirit for the ice of religious pride. We’ve turned the wine back into water, and then let the water go stagnant and lukewarm. We’ve traded the gentle dove of peace for the predatory hawk or eagle of empire. When we have done so, we have ended up with just another religious system, as problematic as any other: too often petty, argumentative, judgmental, cold, hostile, bureaucratic, self-seeking, an enemy of aliveness.
In a world full of big challenges, in a time like ours, we can’t settle for a heavy and fixed religion. We can’t try to contain the Spirit in a box. We need to experience the mighty rushing wind of Pentecost. We need our hearts to be made incandescent by the Spirit’s fire. "
Richard Rohr Meditation: Acts: Knowledge on Fire In Luke’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit is fully bestowed on Jesus, the beloved Son who acts with God’s power, speaks with God’s authority, and loves with God’s love. Through the gift of the Spirit given to Jesus, God’s justice is announced and demonstrated as Jesus travels from Galilee to Jerus...
Heavenly Parent, Creator of the Universe, Giver of Life & Purpose,
I meditate on your goodness for all humankind even when we neglect to give you praise. You see each and everyone of us where we are. You know us as dearly loved children. I’m reminded of Hagar in Genesis 16:13 when she called you El Roi, “The God who sees” or the numerous epitaphs of unknown dead soldiers that says, “Known unto God”. You know us. You know us better than anyone or even we know ourselves. Even the unnamed have a secure place in your heart and you love no less. You captivate our hearts, you direct our steps, strengthen our legs in the midst of adversity, cover us during a pandemic, heal our wounds from every vicious word hurled towards us, provide a way to keep going when we are tired, weak, or just flat out done with life’s hardships.
After living through this last year, I am convinced more than ever that we are not here void of purpose. I pray that the obligations of this life do not distract us from loving our neighbors and telling them of love for them. Your presence is real, your grace is generous & your love is plentiful. I ask that we see the world with your eyes and possess these qualities in abundance. Whenever we encounter strangers we meet on the elevator, at the coffee shop, in a zoom call, no matter if they’re experiencing tragedy or triumph, we must make them aware they are known to God. That there’s a blessing in being seen by the Almighty.
In the quality of El Roi I pray, Amen.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
SOLÉIL MCCANTS (she/her)
is a member at Love MCC in Las Vegas, Nevada. She currently serves as a Board member for the church and is a current L.E.A.D 12 cohort. She's a member of two other Boards in Las Vegas that aim to improve the lives of LGBTQIA+ individuals and families.
Council of Elders Weekly Call to Prayer Prayer Submitted by Soléil McCants Heavenly Parent, Creator of the Universe, Giver of Life & Purpose, I meditate on your goodness for all humankind even when we neglect to give you praise. You see eac
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