Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Sermon March 23, 2014 Lent 3

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
4And you will say on that day:
Give thanks to the Lord,
   call on his name;
make known his deeds among the nations;
   proclaim that his name is exalted.
During Lent we have been exploring our journey with Jesus as we travel to the Easter celebration.  IN the first two Sundays of Lent we explored ways of Spiritual Renewal .  This is the renewal which is unique to the church in a culture that looks to action and activity in how it renews itself.  Spiritual Renewal is a way which can help us navigate through those times in life in which we feel as if we are tottering on the edge of the pit as Isaiah spoke of in last Sunday’s OT lesson.  It can also help us to more closely follow our  Saviour each day – in the good times as well as the bad times. 

Today Isaiah speaks about drawing water from the well of salvation.  Spiritual Renewal calls us to different ways of draw on the water of salvation.  This is an echo of what Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well:  “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
 Jesus tells us to draw of the water which he provides that water of eternal life.  This is the goal of Spiritual Renewal.  On the first Sunday in Lent we looked at a way of reading scripture - Lectio Divino, Holy Reading .  There are four steps in Holy Reading.  The first is to read the passage – the Lectio.  The second step is meditation – meditatio. The third step is Responding – Oratatio.  Finally there is Rest – Contemplatio. 
Last Sunday we walked the Labyrinth - the moving prayer in which we follow the twists and turns of our spiritual life to the centre and back.  Sometimes it seems we are getting close to the centre and then there is a sharp turn in our lives and we seem to be moving away from our goal.  However, if we follow the path that our savour prepares for us we will reach it.  Today I invite you to experience a form of prayer which also helps us draw the water of eternal life from the well.  It is centering prayer.   Centering Prayer is a form of silent prayer in which you make space for you to be more aware of God’s presence in your life.  God is always there but we often have difficulty perceiving it.  The process is quite simple with just a few steps. 
Choose a word or phrase that resonates with you as an expression of your intent and desire - It use the word ‘return’.  Sit comfortably and upright, eyes closed, breathing naturally, and begin to repeat this sacred word silently. As your attention is focused on the desire behind the word, gradually let the word slip away. Rest in silence.  You will find that thoughts and images and feeling may come into your mind.  We are not used to quiet in our culture – our brains want to fill silence.  This has been called our monkey brains - which is very descriptive.  When these thoughts, images or sensations arise, gently return to the sacred word as a symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within you. 
The recommended period for prayer is twenty minutes each day.  However, we will begin today with five minutes to give you a taste of the experience. 

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