March 30, 2022
“The Beloved is our refuge and our strength, a Loving Presence in times of trouble”.
~ Psalm 46:1 Psalms for Prayer, by Nan Merrill
This is not the way I planned to spend this week. I was scheduled to co-lead a retreat, “Tending to the Spiritual Heart” at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, NC. I am disappointed and hate that I’ve left my friend and co-leader in the lurch. That said, I decided to follow the rhythm of the retreat, observing silence and prayer during the scheduled gathering times as well as supporting my friend during phone calls. In a way that I can’t quite explain, I have been sensed being present far more that I imagined.
My prayer times have been largely silent, with times of centering prayer, lectio divina, imaginative prayer, and slow contemplative reading of the handouts we created. I also have imagined the setting, both the indoor spaces and outdoors, using as many of my senses as possible. It might sound crazy, but then, consider the Source.
The reading that I landed on this morning was Psalm 46 from Nan Merrill’s Psalms for Praying (a resource I highly recommend). After reading of yet more missile strikes in regions of Ukraine that Russia had vowed to leave alone in the morning paper, the words below hit home.
The Beloved is our refuge and our strength,
a Loving Presence in times of trouble.
The nations may be at war,
countries left in ruins,
yet the Voice of the Almighty
heard, slowly breaking through
hearts of stone,
The Beloved is ever with us,
the infinite Heart of Love.
Be still and know that I am Love.
Awaken! Befriend justice and mercy.
Break through hearts of stone and give us hearts of love ~ Anne