Spiritual Practices

Figtrees and Repentance (Luke 13: 1-9)

Luke 13:1-9

At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, ‘Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.’

The Lessons of the Wilderness

Starting with Mark's version of the story of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness, we touch on the film 2015 Wild (starring Reese Witherspoon), and examine the links between wilderness, suffering, and the way Lent works as a sort of portable wilderness, teaching us the importance of travelling light.

View it below, or else download the pdf

The Cafechurch session from 24/2/15

Lent As A Spiritual Practice

I suspect that for most people in Cafechurch, Lent is a bit of an unknown. It sounds boringly self-denying, isn't part of our tradition, and flirts dangerously with works righteousness. I hope that this presentation might go a little way to counteract that. Fun fact - mega-evangelist John Wesley used to fast weekly.

However, having said that, wherever spiritual practices are, um, practiced, there is the opportunity for irritating levels of self-righteousness, dull legalism, and the attempt to make God love you (you know that God already loves you anyway, right?)

The Examen

Preparation: You may wish to light a candle. Do whatever helps you to experience unconditional love. For example, imagine yourself in a favourite place with someone whose love you trust, such as a friend, Jesus or God as you understand God. Put your feet flat on the floor; take a few deep breaths from the bottom of your toes, up through your legs, your abdominal muscles and your chest. Breath in that unconditional love, and when you breathe out, fill the space around you with it.

Faith Stories

Take some time to read this through, quietly, meditatively, slowly - prayerfully on a quiet evening, or early in the morning. Light a candle if you like - that always make me feel spiritual - and hence helps me to concentrate, and to be present in the moment.

This exercise is also available as a pdf attached to this page. Print it out and read through it at leisure, away from your technology!

Ploughs and Faith Stories

Gratitude

Gratitude is a worthwhile thing to cultivate. The Bible seems keen on it
("Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances", 1 Thessalonians 5:!8.) Your life, the universe itself,
is nothing but a free gift from God. There are times in life when it is hard to do, but those are also the times when
it is most important. As we see below, the science backs this up. Let us learn and practice gratitude.

What-Went-Well Exercise (Also Called “Three Blessings”)

Seligman, M. Flourish Kindle edition Location 732

Votive candles in Notre Dame, Paris
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