by Pastor Monty Stallins | January 1, 2019
Come and find the quiet center
in the crowded life we lead,
find the room for hope to enter,
find the frame where we are freed:
clear the chaos and the clutter,
clear our eyes, that we can see
all the things that really matter,
be at peace, and simply be.
From Come and Find the Quiet Center by Shirley Erena Murray
I need this prayer. What’s more, I need the practices that help me to find the quiet center of life where the presence of God brings order to chaos and peace to brokenness. This is not a place we can access easily. We do not slip in and out of it with a nimble step. Instead, finding the center of our lives is a matter of intentional engagement in spiritual practices. As we begin 2019, we will learn and practice ways of being and seeking that help us to find the presence of God in the center of our lives.
We will begin in worship with practices of gratitude. Throughout the season of epiphany, we will talk about and engage in intentional practices of gratitude together. We will consider the power of gratitude and explore ways to deepen our sense of it. You will be invited to participate in a 30 day practice of gratitude and offered ways to express your experiences with your family of faith. Throughout this emphasis we will ask folks from all stages of life to share their experiences in worship as we learn how to be grateful from one another. Several of our services during this period will feature round table discussions as a significant part of our worship.
On Wednesday evenings, adults will work on finding center through practices of reading Scripture together. We will use the ideas offer by Eugene Peterson in his work, Eat This Book, to practice reading, praying and contemplating Scripture together. This will prepare us for a contemplative look at the Stations of the Cross during Lent.
Gratitude is as much a spiritual discipline as prayer and worship. It requires intent and persistence. And like the other disciplines, it offers the promise of transforming who we are and how we live. Our hope is that the practices of gratitude will move us closer to the center of God’s presence in our lives.
Monty Stallins, Pastor