Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,
This week we are pleased release the final video podcast for the Birthing the Holy Prayer Cycle. Day 7 Morning and Evening Prayer honor Madonna Protectress and Mirror of Justice.
Here is an excerpt from Day 7 Evening: Opening Prayer
Mirror of Justice, you lift up all those on the margins; reflect the justice of Christ who redistributes power structures and gives amplification to the most vulnerable. You call us to solidarity with those who are in need and to remember that our own liberation is intimately entwined with the liberation of the whole human community and the whole natural world. With cries of lament for this hurting world we ask you, Mary, that in the midst of our holy birthing we too can be midwives of a new vision and a new way of being that allows all beings to be nourished and to thrive.
Every summer we try to step back from this wonderful work and take a bit of time off for planning, dreaming, and resting. Sabbath is one of the profound gifts of a generous and abundant divine presence who says that work is good and rest is necessary. It is an essential part of contributing to a more just and beautiful world.
We are so grateful for all the ways this community supports our work in the world and we are eager to listen more deeply in the coming weeks to what new things want to be birthed through the Abbey in the coming year.
We will be taking a break from our weekly love notes and daily quotes and questions starting tomorrow and will return on Sunday, August 6th with more Abbey goodness. You are still welcome to email us (or register for programs) we might just be a bit slower to respond than usual.
Theologian Walter Brueggemann has a brilliant little book titled Sabbath as Resistance. He describes the origins of the practice of Sabbath in the story of the Exodus in which the Israelites are freed from endless productivity and relentless labor into a way of being where rest is essential, and we reject our slavery to perpetual doing.
The God who is revealed in this story is completely unlike any they have known before, a God committed to relationship and rest. It is worth imagining for a moment the revolutionary power of this revelation and how strange the Israelites seemed to other cultures in their radical commitment to a day of rest each week as an act of resistance to the endless systems of anxiety. Everyone rested, no matter what gender or social class, because God saw that as very good.
It is worth further imagining the ways that each of us is enslaved in our own way by the current culture and system of perpetual overwork and exhaustion, of busyness and relentless doing. We may have our freedom on some levels, but how many of us choose to exercise that in favor of our own nourishment and replenishment?
Here is a blessing for your own Sabbath moments:
Blessing for Sabbath Sanctifier of holy rest, on the seventh day you paused, laying down the work of creation and entered into sacred stillness. Let us remember we were freed from slavery in Egypt and you continue to call us to be people of liberation. Kindle in us the strength to say no to a world of perpetual busyness. Inspire us to set aside our plans and goals to receive the lavish gift of rest for ourselves, to rediscover the Paradise within. Let the Sabbath be a time of profound renewal, a gushing forth of the holy well, a time of intimate connection with You, and a rekindling of our sacred desires to be of service. Sustain in us the desire to simply be and not succumb to the demands of productivity and an endless string of achievements. Let our lives be a loving witness to a world of restoration and refreshment, of the profound goodness of joy and delight, taking pleasure in the generous gift of pausing.
I love that after their escape from slavery, Miriam and the other women dance in celebration because a new story has emerged. In the scripture text one of my favorite details is that they carried their tambourines with them in their flight from Egypt. In the mad rush to flee death and destruction, one of the essentials they carried with them were their musical instruments, what allows them to revel and dance.
If you would like ongoing support this summer, consider our rich catalogue of self-study programs which are now on sale through tomorrow. (Use code SUMMERSALE25 to take 25% off.) With lifetime access to the materials you can take your time and allow your journey to be slow.
Wishing you a season of resting and dancing dearest monks.
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE