I am so pleased to let you know that the time has now come for Season Two of the Contemplative at Home podcast.
In the spring of 2015 a friend of mine asked if I would come and speak to a group of people about “Spirituality and the Everyday.” I was very flattered to be asked, but I didn’t feel uniquely insightful on the topic.
However, the talk wasn’t scheduled until March of 2016, so in truth, I had the better part of a year to prepare. In one way, a year is an excessive amount of time to be thinking about an hour of speaking and sharing.
But in another way it is incredibly rich to hold up one question, in this case ‘Where is the integration of spirituality and our everyday experience?’ and to let the myriad of answers slowly sink in and marinate and take on depth and maturity.
I spent the year watchful and listening, reading relevant books and re-phrasing the question, catching snippets of answers in surprising places and finding new questions.
And suddenly the week was upon us, I’d formed my thoughts into a few categories, I’d photocopied pages, I’d organised how to say things and when to leave space for the group to speak to each other, and I zipped down the road to the venue.
I was prepared and hopeful for the zing of connection. For people to be engaged and moved, inspired and energized by the content. I was excited and slightly anxious.
But oddly enough, the whole evening was somehow, disappointingly, very ordinary. I was late. The hour I thought I would have on arrival to do a final review was not actually available. The group sat in a circle so that I couldn’t actually see many of their faces, and of the those I could see, a number were in fact….asleep!
While I felt some initial disappointment (and have taken away some good learning points for myself!), I am not discouraged. Spending a year with this question on the sidelines has been a privilege and has borne fruit, just not perhaps in the specific moment that I had envisioned that fruit bursting forth!
Just 36 hours after I gave that presentation, I boarded a flight, with my two small boys, for Tel Aviv.
My sister has been in Israel for three years (her husband is in a post at the US Embassy), and for the first time we were going to visit them, to see their home, to celebrate a 3rd birthday, and to see the land where nearly the entire Bible narrative was played out.
Israel is remarkable on so many levels, there is just so much to consider and take in, both past and present.
And as so often happens when far-flung family is gathered, time stood still. We found ourselves suspended in kairos moments of shared joy, cousins connecting and sister chats about all that matters. Sacred moments.
And sacred indeed was experiencing the very real and ordinary reality of the land and sea on which Jesus lived and ministered. To feel the sun and the warm breeze, to see and smell the plants, to hear the birds, and dip our toes in the sea of Galilee, to explore the ruins of Capernaum and Bethsaida and to imagine here and very ordinary were all the people Jesus met and knew and healed and loved.
In an ordinary place, in an ordinary time, amongst ordinary humans, Christ came and lived and ministered and extraordinarily extended grace and reconciliation and relationship.
And it became abundantly clear to me, while I was there, that Season Two of Contemplative at Home must be about the ordinary sacred.
During the next few months, I will publish a new series of new podcast episodes. Some episodes will consider Jesus’ own ordinary life, others will look at the way Jesus used ordinary things to point to the truth, and others still will consider how Jesus interacted with ordinary people.
I hope you will join me for Season Two of Contemplative at Home: With Jesus in Ordinary Time.
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Thank you friends! Every blessing!