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Prayer Bench September Newsletter
Inside Thanksgiving, Autumn, and Silence
Hello Prayer Bench friends,
Here is the September issue of the Prayer Bench newsletter.
It’s Autumn. I love the word “Autumn.” It’s a beautiful word. I was leading worship this morning, and travelling there, it was so hard not to stop and simply gaze at still waters, bright sunshine, hills in hazy blue, trees red with apples, and the occasional low mysterious fog. I did arrive on time.
It’s Sunday. And I’m getting ready for a few days of silent retreat. But if I don’t publish this newsletter today, it will no longer be a September newsletter. So it is a little briefer than usual. But read on and catch up with me and the Prayer Bench happenings.
A Prayer for You to Use
A Questioning Prayer for Thanksgiving Sunday, written by Jane Doull,
included in Let Us Pray: A Digital Collection of Prayers. Vol. 1
God of many gifts, how do we give thanks?
Are we truly thankful?
Do we have enough?
Do we want more than we need?
Do we struggle: why do we have so much, and others have so little?
Or why are we and our loved ones weighed down by hardship and need, physical, emotional, or spiritual?
We cannot be thankful that life is unfair and that there is great injustice in our world.
And yet we need to give thanks for what is good.
We need to watch for Spirit gifts even in our hard times.
And we need your Wisdom, your insight;
how and where can we make things better,
so that others have reason for thanks?
Teach us, we pray, a deeper way of giving and living thanks. Amen.
Words of Encouragement
Hear the good news. Spirit is at work within you, opening your minds, softening your hearts, deepening your imaginations. Savour what is good and beautiful around you! Open your eyes- where is the gift even in a troubled time? Know too that you are gift to the world, a gift to be shared in kindness and compassion. You are part of Love’s work of healing, comforting, strengthening and renewing, that each day may be a day of Thanksgiving. Thanks be to God.
Please credit Jane Doull if you share this prayer.
The first two volumes are now published. All who order Volume #1 are invited to purchase the three remaining volumes for a total of $50. Each one will also be available individually for $25 each. You can read more here and here.
“I have appreciated many of Jane's prayers that she has shared over the years, so this will be a great resource to add to my collection.” - Catherine MacDonald
For Your Autumn Meditation: Spiritual Memoir Prompt
“Goldenrods and asters appear very similarly to bee eyes and human eyes. We both think they're beautiful. Their striking contrast when they grow together makes them the most attractive target in the whole meadow, a beacon for bees. Growing together, both receive more pollinator visits than they would if they were growing alone... That September pairing of purple and gold is lived reciprocity; its wisdom is that the beauty of one is illuminated by the radiance of the other... When I am in their presence, their beauty asks me for reciprocity, to be the complementary color, to make something beautiful in response.” - Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass.
Where do you feel spiritually charged in Autumn?
Describe this in detail as if you are painting a picture. This is a great spiritual memoir prompt. How are you different because of this experience? What is the gift? In what ways does your experience shape what you know of God? Of love? Of faith?
Six recordings by Dr. Janet Hammock for Musicians of Holy Mystery are complete. I’m hard at work on the process. I learned so much about the six musicians Janet expertly and wisely profiles. This is a 6 week small group study that can be used any time of the year with special adaptations for use at Advent & Lent. I learned so much that I will be also producing an individual study where you can hear Janet’s recordings, listen to her provided playlist and use a one-page worksheet to reflect on spiritual themes raised by her reflections on musicians from medieval times to the present. Stay tuned. (Pun intended)
I also at work on a three week Advent retreat with Prayer Bench friend, Margie Ann MacDonald. It will be on the website soon. This Advent Pathways Email Retreat Series is for personal use, but will be adaptable for Advent worship or a study group. Wait for it. (Advent pun intended!)
The Practice of Silence
I’m looking forward to my days of retreat in the shared silence of my Common Life Group.
Perhaps this will be my practice:
Sometimes I can sit under a tree
looking into the spaces
And wait on the silence... ~ Steve Godwin
May you know the nourishment of silence,
the beauty of autumn,
the pondering of thanksgiving and
the gift of reflection.
Janice, Host of the Prayer Bench