On Mondays I have been sharing a few prayers from our new book “From the Psalms to the Cloud — Connecting to the Digital Era” (Mankin and Tirabassi, Pilgrim Press).
Kip Gilmore-Clough writes “During Lent, I tried a spending fast – refraining, as much as possible over the course of one week, from spending money. One observation, which arose from this, was that I have two types of spending rituals. One is relational – for instance, members of the choral group I sing with at church head to the local cafe together before worship each week. This is as much about enjoying the fresh air and catching up with each other, as it is about the financial transaction in a cup of coffee. The other is more obsessive – a regular compiling and updating of lists of music to buy. What happens when I have gathered more than I can listen to? This becomes, then, a reflection of the ethos of living within consumer capitalism. Do habits of consumption mask neglect of something else, be it of the self or of the wider world?”
A Consumer’s Prayer
Gracious God, if anyone knows about total expenditure, it is you – the giving forth of yourself to sustain this wild, tenuous, boundless creation of which we are a part. Heighten my mindfulness today of the ways in which I am intricately embedded within the economy of human relationship, the intertwined ecology of being. Bring to consciousness the means through which I expend my resources and myself. As I live and move, work and rest, think and play within your being, help me to remain unconsumed by my consumption, finding ways of spending and saving both which will increase my wholeness and bring blessing into the world. Amen.
Lent is a season when we face seriously the issue…longing…spiritual discipline… commandment about Sabbath. It is a time when we must reach even deeper into ourselves to find a place of restful contemplation, and we must be prepared to lay that part of us out for others as well. This is a time for us to choose between those activities that are truly meaningful, both inside the church and out, and those that only serve to remove us further from God. Matthew Braddock says:
“Our church schedules a monthly “Sabbath Sunday,” when there are no meetings, votes or agendas – a day my over-programmed, over-achieving congregation can walk out the church doors and find renewal in creation. It’s a struggle. Some churchgoers like it. Some want more meetings. Most are ambivalent. I, too, struggle to find time for rest, simplicity, freedom and gratitude. Sometimes my door resembles a turnstile at a sporting event. Glimpses of Sabbath are found in heartfelt yearnings for rest in the midst of demanding work and prayers to enjoy the simpler life.”