August 28, 2016
What is being mindful and what is Christian mindfulness?
On Sunday I announced that St. Francis would have a theme for this "program year:" Mindfulness.
Being "mindful" is a prominent topic among the edgy cultural set. There are book distributors, both online and physical, who are lining selves, metaphorically and literally, with books by authors covering mindfulness about our physical life, nutritional life, psychological life, and spiritual life. It is a popular pursuit among the "spiritual" but not religious. What does it mean? In short, it means being aware of the moment in which one lives. And by being aware, I mean being aware of: the person/persons, circumstances, food, psyche, and spirit of the moment one is experiencing right now.
It is a truly sound way to live. There is a great deal of wisdom in experiencing the moment you have, not the moment you do not. A lot can be learned by training yourself for this awareness.
The spiritual lives of Christians have been informed by this practice as well. There are disciplines that the church has developed in honing this skill. But there is one difference. Whereas those who do not follow God are training a person for the inner light of personal awareness, the Christian turns inward to pursue, understand, and encounter the God of all creation. Focused on that God, the Christian is freed to become what God has created that person to be, and is freed to minister to the world in each moment.
Part of the Biblical support for mindfulness comes from the "Our Father." Jesus' disciples asked, "Lord, teach us how to pray." In doing so, part of what Jesus teaches them to pray for is "the bread of presence (i.e. daily bread)," a prayer we continue to this very day. And the deep meaning of this request is for God and God's kingdom to be available to us all in each moment of each day, not just for each individual Christians but for the community as whole as well.
This year we will be teaching, preaching, using forums, and shaping our community around the eternal and imminent presence of God in Christ and our lives in the presence of the Lord.
The Rev. David Lucey