Pray Like a Celt!

Take a look at this reflection that comes to us from the CELTIC tradition. Like Patrick’s Breastplate it is firmly rooted in the world, the wonder of nature that is seen in everyday life.

CHALLENGE: Write your own reflection about God, in this same format….using your Modern context instead of this Medieval one. Feel free to share what you come up with in the comment section below….(anonymously if you prefer).

GOD

I am the wind that breathes upon the sea,

I am the wave on the ocean,

I am the murmur of leaves rustling,

I am the rays of the sun,

I am the beam of the moon and stars,

I am the power of trees growing,

I am the bud breaking into blossom,

I am the movement of the salmon swimming,

I am the courage of the wild boar fighting,

I am the speed of the stag running,

I am the strength of the ox pulling the plow,

I am the size of the mighty oak tree,

And I am the thoughts of all people 

Who praise my beauty and grace. 

- from Celtic Prayers by Robert Van de Weyer

12 Creative Prayer Ideas for your Church or Small Group

Another great list of 12 ideas from the Big Fat Toothbrush...

http://bigfattoothbrush.com/2013/08/12-creative-prayer-ideas-for-your-church-or-small-group/
12creativeprayer

Labyrinth as interactive prayer space

Temple du Marais ParisToday I will be about creating a labyrinth in this magnificent 17th century church in Paris – The Temple du Marais. It will be an octagon-shaped labyrinth with 4 different pause points, where the spiritual adventurer can stop and follow a suggested interactive experience based on hope, release and rest. While the labyrinth will fill the entire floor, choral music by Arvo Pärt will fill the rest of the rotonda. If you are interested, check out my other labyrinths at www.guerrillalabyrinths.com

Labyrinths provide for people a different kind of prayer experience – one that is more active, interactive, physical, spacial, visceral, silent and open-sourced.

Labyrinths can appear to some as just a nice design. If they appreciate in that way, that’s a start.

Labyrinths can also be seen as a detour from the common everyday path, an opportunity to slow down and reflect on life in general or even to let loose and play a bit.

On a deeper level, labyrinths are a walking metaphor of the call of life to the innermost place where you find yourself and God, where you receive what you need or let go of what is weighing you down, to journey back to the world to make it a better place.

On even a deeper, perhaps subconscience level, labyrinths touch on the primordial archetype within us all; that of the ordinary hero’s call to adventure, to overcome trolls and dragons guarding the way to the remote place: the bottomless lake, the belly of the whale, the center of the earth, the highest mountain.

Labyrinths and mazes have often been confused. When most people hear of a labyrinth they think of a maze. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns, and blind alleys. It is a left brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into the maze and out.

A labyrinth has only one path. It is unicursal. The way in is the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again.

A labyrinth is a right brain task. It involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a maze many choices must be made and an active mind is needed to solve the problem of finding the center. With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not. A more passive, receptive mindset is needed. The choice is whether or not to walk a spiritual path.

So if you happen to be in Paris, drop by the Temple du Marais on Friday 10am – 10pm or Saturday 10am – 6pm at 17 rue St. Antoine, Paris 75004.

Grapes

Green-GrapeI place a single grape in my mouth
My tongue contemplates the simplicity of design
My teeth break open the package
My mouth experiences the cool, refreshing gift
My throat accepts the life giving nourishment

O God, the lavish Gift Giver
One day I accepted your gift of life
Daily I welcome your gifts, sustaining my life
Today I seek Your life to be lived through me
That I might be a refreshing gift to others on the journey

This is a simple meditation that I wrote having been inspired by Anthony de Mello’s book, WELLSPRINGS: A Book of Spiritual Exercises.

Your homework assignment this summer is to set up a nice prayer meal and observe something in nature yourself. Write down your thoughts and then craft it into a simple meditation that will be meaningful to others.

There will be three others in this series: Candle, Rose and Leaves. They form a simple but meaningful group of creative prayer installations as well.

Here’s the French version below, for those of you who are interested.

Je mets un raisin dans ma bouche
Ma langue perçoit la simplicité de sa forme
Mes dents écrasent sa peau
Ma bouche goûte ce cadeau rafraîchissant
Ma gorge reçoit cette nourriture pleine de vie

 O Dieu, qui fait don de la vie
Un jour j’ai accepté ce don de toi
Chaque jour j’accueille tes dons qui soutiennent ma vie
Aujourd’hui je désire que ta vie passe à travers la mienne
Que je sois un cadeau rafraîchissant pour les autres
au long de mon voyage

 

Leaves

leafI pick up the leaves
My fingers feel their artistic texture
My eyes meditate on their rustic beauty
My soul senses their ancient existence
A long, royal dynasty of
Seeds, saplings, trees,
And dead trunks turning into soil
A holy cycle of living and dying

O God, the Ancient of Days
I sit before you as a simple leaf
Remind me that you see beauty and art in me
Assure me of my place in your grand tree of life
Allow me to give shade to those you bring my way

This is a simple meditation that I wrote having been inspired by Anthony de Mello’s book, WELLSPRINGS: A Book of Spiritual Exercises.

Your homework assignment this summer is to set up a nice prayer meal and observe something in nature yourself. Write down your thoughts and then craft it into a simple meditation that will be meaningful to others.

There will be three others in this series: Candle, Rose and Grapes. They form a simple but meaningful group of creative prayer installations as well.

You can find the French version below.

Je ramasse des feuilles
Mes doigts touchent leur texture artistique
Mes yeux s’attardent sur leur beauté rustique
Mon âme ressent leur existence ancienne
Une longue lignée royale de
Graines, d’arbustes et d’arbres,
De troncs morts qui retournent à la terre
Un cycle saint de vie et de mort

O Dieu, Ancien des Jours
Je suis devant toi comme une simple feuille
Rappelle-moi la beauté et l’art que tu vois en moi
Rassure-moi qu’il y a une place pour moi
dans ton grand projet
Permets-moi d’offrir un peu d’ombre reposante à ceux que je rencontre

A Candle

candleI stare at the flickering candle
I ponder this primitive light
Its simplicity, its beauty, its elegance

I place my hand near the flame
I feel the heat
Its power, its functionality, its illumination

O God, the First Light, the Eternal Light
Illumine the dark corners of my soul
Burn away the evident and the hidden trash
Be my fuel that I may be your light

This is a simple meditation that I wrote having been inspired by Anthony de Mello’s book, WELLSPRINGS: A Book of Spiritual Exercises.

Your homework assignment this summer is to set up a nice prayer meal and observe something in nature yourself. Write down your thoughts and then craft it into a simple meditation that will be meaningful to others.

There will be three others in this series: Leaves, Rose and Grapes. They form a simple but meaningful group of creative prayer installations as well.

Here’s the French version for those who are interested.

 Je regarde une bougie scintillante
Je médite sur cette lumière primitive
Sa simplicité, sa beauté, son élégance
J’approche ma main de la flamme
Je sens cette chaleur
Sa puissance, son utilité, son illumination

 

O Dieu, lumière première, lumière éternelle
Illumine les sombres coins de mon âme
Brûle les immondices visibles et cachées
Qui sont en moi
Sois mon huile pour que je sois ta lumière

 

Labyrinths

AmsterdamChapellabyrinthOudezijk100I like labyrinths! For me, labyrinths give me a way to pray, without words, but with my feet….and my imagination.

I like to create labyrinths! In fact that’s what I was doing over the Easter weekend. In a small chapel in the heart of the red-light district of Amsterdam, I was invited to create a labyrinth for Silent Saturday. The one that we created literally leads someone from the streets of the red-light district into the chapel, then to the center of the chapel (which is designated by a series of concentric circles), and then over to the baptismal pool.

Also, while I was in Amsterdam, along with some cool friends who like to do crazy art, we made some guerrilla labyrinths together in some of Amsterdam’s great parks with my new blue LED rope lights. You can check out some of the pictures at my other blog www.guerrillalabyrinths.com ….and more specifically, check out some of the “making of” pictures of our night-time guerrilla labyrinths in Amsterdam.

Some of you may ask the question I get all the time….“Why labyrinths?” Well, I tell people 3 things:

  1. labyrinths are public art that look cool.
  2. labyrinths give people a chance to depart from the normal path and play for just a bit.
  3. labyrinths are of an ancient design that represents the journey of life. There’s the CALL at the beginning where you have to accept the journey. Then there’s the CONFUSION of all the twists and turns. Then comes eventually the CENTER where you find your bearings, where you find yourself…or God….or peace, power, etc. Or it could be where you release and let go of the burdens that you’ve been carrying. Then you have the CAPACITY to find your way out of the labyrinth to become the human being you were created to be.

Have you ever walked a labyrinth? Where? What did you experience?

Creative Prayer Stations for Groups

CreativePrayerBookOnce you begin praying more creatively, the next step is a desire to share the experience with friends…or to create a similar experience with a group. People like my new virtual friend, Faith McCloud have been developing these ideas for a while. She has created a variety of group experiences that are available on her website (www.creativeprayer.com) and in her e-book, Creative Prayer. Once at the Creative Prayer website, click on the links in the upper right hand corner and you will find 79 well developed ideas. Thanks Faith!