Join Us For Lent 2013

Celtic cross retreat 2011

Celtic cross decorating altar retreat 2011

Lent begins in a few days and I am looking forward to celebrating this season with you. There is still time to join up to participate in the events and activities we are preparing. I hope that you will share these with your friends and send us feedback on what you do to celebrate this season of retreat, reflection and refocusing.

There is still time to sign up for Saturday’s retreat at the Mustard Seed House too.

The season of Lent awakens in all of us a hunger for deeper intimacy with God. Our world is alive with the presence of God, beckoning for our attention. Yet we are often distracted by busyness, worry and work.

Explore the simple things of everyday life – breathing, drinking a glass of water, running, picking up a stone or taking a photo – that open our senses to the God who shines through every moment and enlivens every creature. Develop new practices not just for this season but for future as well. Sign up here

If you cannot join us for the morning consider your own retreat, alone or together with friends. Carve out 2-3 hours at a minimum. Find a place with few distractions where you can sit quietly before God and reflect on your spiritual state. You might like to start with a breathing prayer to help you relax, or with a spiritual audit. If you keep a journal, you might like to read back over your entries for the last few months. What are the common themes? What has God been saying to you? How could you refocus your life to be more attentive to God during the season of Lent? Establish one new practice for the season of Lent. How will your keep yourself accountable to that practice?

Many of you have already downloaded the free study guide and purchased Return to Our Senses as a focus for the season. Others I know are preparing posts for the series that will begin on this blog on Thursday entitled Return to Our Senses in Lent. There is still time to contribute if you would like to share your own Lenten practices with us. The focus for this series is practices that transform your everyday activities and encounters into prayer and spiritual practices. Prayer is meant to interweave through all of life but we still need help to recognize how to integrate prayerful practices into our day. I hope that you will use this Lenten season to deepen your own relationship with God by establishing new spiritual disciplines.



Let the Newness Emerge – MSA Imaginings January 2013

Photo by Nick Lipinski

Photo by Nick Lipinski

God as this new year dawns,

May we take time to see the newness you are giving birth to.

May we not be blinded by the darkness that consumes our world.

Or consumed by the fear that paralyzes our actions.

May we remember,

Out of winter’s darkness you bring forth light,

Out of winter’s death you give birth to new life.

From New Year’s Prayer 

This prayer reflects much of the hope and despair we felt at the end of last year. The hope and promise of Christ’s return was tainted by the horror of Sandy Hook and the uncertainty of the world economy.  As we look to the future however, we find hope and promise in the new things God is giving birth to. We look forward, not just to personal change, but to a future in which society is transformed and healing finally comes for the broken, justice for the poor, peace for the nations and restoration to creation

In a volatility and uncertainty world we too need to allow the spirit of God to stir our imaginations and encourage the newness of God to emerge. We need fresh ways to strengthen our faith and equip us to be God’s compassionate response in our communities and around the globe.

Return to Our Senses in Lent

Newness must begin with our faith Our volatile world calls for new forms of prayer and spiritual disciplines that weave intimacy with God into every aspect of life encouraging us to reach out with compassion and love. Lent which begins February 13th, is a season to reflect and refocus our faith. It is a time to ask ourselves: How do I need to change to be a more effective follower of Christ in the future? As was mentioned yesterday, this will be the focus of our Lenten disciplines this year and we hope that you will join us.

  1. We have just completed a study guide for Return to Our Senses: Reimagining How We Pray and invite you to participate in a Lenten study that will draw you closer to God and equip you to respond in compassion and love to God’s needy world. The guide can be downloaded free and Return to Our Senses will be available at a special discounted price to facilitate its use.
  2. This will also be the theme for the Godspace Lenten series. The daily reflections and activities throughout the season will complement the resources in Return to Our Senses. We hope you will accept the challenge and use them to develop new disciplines that equip you to respond to God’s needy world. Or perhaps you would like to join the Godspace writing community and contribute your own approaches to innovative, experiential prayer. Our insights can inspire each other to new levels of commitment.
  3. February 16th I will facilitate a Lenten retreat at the Mustard Seed House here in Seattle. We invite you to join us in a time of reflection and refocusing. Allow new forms of prayer to be woven into your life so that you can become all that God intends you to be.  

Igniting the Divine Spark

The second place newness needs to emerge is in the unleashing of our creativity. Our God is a god of unlimited imagination and has placed the divine spark of that creativity within each of us. To provide for ourselves and continue to be generous to those at the margins we need new economic initiatives. Cindy Todd continues to inspire us with the creative business model on which Snohomish Soap is founded. And it is not just us who are inspired. She was featured this last month in Puget Sound Co-operative’s news, and at the end of the month her model will be touted in a TED talk as one of the new and innovative business models for the future.

Throughout February and March Cindy and others will post on the MSA blog about creative business models and the ways that God ignited the divine sparks that gave rise to these. March 16th this will culminate in a workshop Cindy will facilitate at the Mustard Seed House entitled Igniting the Divine Spark. So save the date. This will be an exciting and instructive event.

Unleashing our Imaginations

It is not just in economic provision that God wants to unleash creativity. My husband Tom is busily engaged in research for a new book on creativity and imagination, exploring ways to move from Biblical vision to new design for church, ministry, housing, simplification and sustainable living. He is excited about how God is stirring the imagination and creativity of ordinary people to advance God’s purposes and engages the challenges or our turbulent world.

God is doing something new in our midst and we ask you to help us connect to those at the creative edge. If you know of imaginative business models, ministries, churches or approaches to housing please let Tom know. These will continue to fuel his weekly blog posts so check the MSA blog regularly for new insights.

Teaching in Australia

For our Australian friends who would like to explore these themes in more detail, please consider joining us in Adelaide in June. Tom and I will be teaching an intensive: Reimagining Faith for Turbulent Times at Tabor College in Adelaide Australia in June 2013. Still room & time to sign up. We would love to have some of our friends join us.

Not All That Emerges is New.

Please continue to pray for the launch of Cascadia/CCSP in September this year and let your friends know. It is time for students to sign up and we need your help in getting the word out.

Join MSA Board member Mary De Jong:

For a retreat at the Whidbey Institute in Chinook March 8-10.

For a pilgrimage to Iona off the west coast of Scotland, May 12-20.

Dates you might be interested in:

Return to Our Senses in Lent – Retreat at the Mustard Seed House February 16th

Igniting the Divine Spark – workshop with Cindy Todd at the Mustard Seed House March 16th.

We appreciate your prayers and support as we move into the newness that is emerging.

Return to Our Senses in Lent – Accept the Challenge and Download Free Study Guide

Return to Our Senses - cover

Return to Our Senses

What are the experiences of everyday life that make you feel close to God or that make you want to respond to our broken world with compassion and love? For most of us it is not pipe organs, pulpits and churches. It is simple things like breathing, drinking a glass of water, running, or taking a photo. Our world is alive with the presence of God, beckoning to us in every moment and through every encounter. We just need help to recognize this.

Lent is a time to reflect on our faith and the practices that sustain it and I want to challenge all of us to consider the experiential practices we can incorporate during the season to increase intimacy with God and concern for God’s world. Is it gardening or painting pictures? Is walking the labyrinth or providing hospitality for those at the margins?  Is it participating in something like the $2 challenge or using public transport rather than driving the car? How does this connect you to God and what are you doing to nurture this practice?

Please consider contributing a post about practices you plan to use during Lent and beyond that transform your everyday activities and encounters into prayer and spiritual practices. Posts should be no more than 800 words long and accompanied by a short bio and photos you wish to include. (Please don’t forget to include credits for photos.)

The emphasis for this series comes from my new book Return to Our Senses: Reimagining How We Pray which was written out of my own hunger for experiential forms of prayer that open my eyes and ears and in fact all my senses to new ways to interact with God in every moment. We have just published a study guide that many of our friends and associates plan to use during Lent. I hope that the blog series will provide additional resources for those who want to integrate their faith and their everyday life.

So get ready to join us for Lent.

  1. Join us for a time of retreat of reflection and refocusing.  Establish new spiritual disciplines for the season: February 16th at the Mustard Seed House.
  2. Join us in the study of Return to Our Senses and challenge your friends to participate too. The study guide can be downloaded free from the MSA website. The book itself is available at a special discount price ($15 for a single copy; $12 for 5 or more) until Easter.  
  3. Share with us the experiential prayer practices you plan to incorporate in your life during this season
  4. Contribute a post to the series Return to Our Senses in Lent.