Gospel contemplation

Michael Bishop 15 Apr 2019 sunday blog 

I was excited to meet with my spiritual director for the first time this week. In our conversation we talked about a prayer practice called Gospel Contemplation. It involves reading a gospel story (usually a healing story, or some kind of encounter with Jesus) and then entering into the story imaginatively – using all one’s senses, imagining that you are participating in what is happening. It ends with a conversation with Jesus.

I’m such a head person that I have usually avoided these kinds of approaches to prayer, preferring something more rational (and more within my control, I suppose). But even if it feels a little strange, I can see the wisdom of this way – praying like this means that the heart must be engaged (which is important if I don’t want to be a tadpole – all head and not much else...) and it also gives prayer a Scriptural vocabulary. What I mean by that is that the gospel story gives us words and images that make conversation with God easier. The story I am working with over the next week is the story of Zacchaeus and already I am wondering what Jesus is going to ask me about that Sycamore tree ... :)

As it turns out, you will all soon have a chance to experience something of this way of encountering God in prayer. Our holy week services this year will incorporate aspects of imaginatively entering a healing gospel story. You will have a chance to respond to God during the service in a range of creative ways. We’re trusting that people will experience God’s healing presence in all kinds of ways. It’ll be a little different, not at all threatening (no-one will make you do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable!) and appropriate for all ages, so younger children are welcome too!

We hope that you will join us for the services through the week as we approach this holiest and most mysterious and wonderful of weekends.

See you during the week!

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