This Advent, consider beginning a spiritual practice to draw you deeper into the wonder of the promised savior.
Below are described four different spiritual practices that Church of the Servant is offering during the season of Advent. You are invited to select one of the practices below and then send your selected request to Carol Burge. She will sign you up to become part of a trio of individuals or families growing in faith together during this special season! Materials will be available next week to pick up, or sent via email in time for the start of Advent. We pray that this may be an invitation to deepen your connection to the triune God during this busy season.
If you want to sign up next week please email Carol Burge
Reading with the Eyes of the Heart: Lectio Divina
One of the ways to read scripture is an ancient practice called Lectio Divina. This practice gives us the opportunity to prayerfully encounter and surrender to the living God, helping us to have an open, reflective, listening posture alert to God. This practice provides a way for us to respond to God with both our mind and heart and gives us the gift of a deepened prayer life. Lectio Divina has five steps: silence, reading, reflecting, praying and resting in what God has shown you so you can connect it with your daily life.
Each week of Advent, you will be given a different passage of scripture focusing on hope, peace, joy or love. A more detailed explanation of how to move through the steps of Lectio Divina will be provided. Like Mary, who pondered the word in her heart, you will explore God’s invitation to you in this season of Advent.
The Examen: A Daily Prayer
It invites us to find the movement of God in all the people and events of our day. The Examen is simply a set of introspective prompts for you to follow or adapt to your own character and spirit.
The Examen is a method of reviewing your day in the presence of God. It’s actually an attitude more than a method, a time set aside for thankful reflection on where God is in your everyday life. It has five steps, which most people take more or less in order, and it usually takes 15 to 20 minutes a day. Here it is in a nutshell:
1. Pray for light: Begin by asking God for the grace to pray, to see and to understand.
2. Give thanks: Look at your day in a spirit of gratitude. Everything is a gift from God.
3. Review the day: Guided by the Holy Spirit, look back on your day. Pay attention to your experience. Look for God in it.
4. Look at what’s wrong: Face up to failures and shortcomings. Ask forgiveness for your faults. Ask God to show you ways to improve.
5. Resolution for the day to come: Where do you need God today? What can you do today?
Service as a Spiritual Discipline
Spiritual disciplines are activities we engage in to open ourselves to God so we can experience his love and grace and so He can transform us. Many spiritual disciplines are solitary and contemplative, but service is one of the disciplines that involves work and expending energy on behalf of our neighbors. If we wish to become more Christlike, joining Jesus in selfless service is a natural place to start. Adele Ahlberg Calhoun says, “Service is a way of offering resources, time, treasure, influence, and expertise for the care, protection, justice, and nurture of others. Acts of service give hands to the second greatest commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Service as a spiritual discipline can have a dual function: we help someone else, but we ourselves can also grow in humility, love, and gratitude.
Each week during advent you can choose a way to serve your neighbor, and we can reflect together on how service makes us more like Jesus, who through his incarnation humbled himself and took on the very nature of a servant.
Advent Devotions for Families
God’s big adventure can be seen through the story of the Jesse tree which traces the family line of Jesus through different bible stories. Sign up to receive an electronic copy of the advent devotions and the Jesse Tree pattern that you can make with your family. You will be paired with two other families, who you will have the opportunity to connect with throughout Advent to share what you are discovering through this family spiritual practice. If you require hard copies of the devotional please let us know and we can make these available to you too.