Author Archives: Lissy Clarke

The Beatitudes

Hello Friends!

Welcome to the first episode of Season Two: With Jesus in Ordinary Time.

This season we will consider the ordinary dynamics of Jesus’ life, the ordinary objects things he used to point people to the truth, and how he encountered ordinary people.

My family recently had the opportunity to visit Israel and in the midst of all that land holds we were struck by the ordinary realness of the place.

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We especially had this sense went we went north to the Galilee. It is beautiful in a simple, gentle way and still relatively undeveloped.

From our guesthouse, we could just see the top of the church of the beatitudes. In this place, so tradition says, Jesus sat and spoke the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount.

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Outside one morning I took in the landscape, considering the possibility that Jesus had been just here, living, walking, praying, listening, thinking, teaching.

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And while I sat there, I recorded this episode, reading the words from Matthew 5 that Jesus first spoke somewhere very close to that very place.

You will hear the wind and the birds in this recording, and I hope that as you hear the wind you can feel it blowing across your body, and imagine that same wind dancing around the first listeners to these words.

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Jesus spoke these challenging words to ordinary people, in an ordinary place, surrounded by ordinary things: clouds, breeze, birds, children, friends. This remarkable truth is for those in an ordinary context.

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How does it speak to you?

Season Two: With Jesus in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Click the subscribe button on the right of the screen (or at the bottom of the page on your mobile device) to receive each episode directly to your inbox. Please follow Contemplative at Home on Facebook and Instagram, too, and invite your friends to join us as well!

Thank you friends! Every blessing!

CAH10 So Peter Got Out of the Boat

He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. Matt 14: 29

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Hello Friends!

I’m delighted to bring you episode 10, prayerful meditation on Matthew 14:25-33, Jesus and Peter walk on water.

When my mom gives a slightly expensive gift, she always lets us know: “It’s a good one!”  Which, of course, always makes us laugh, but today’s prayer was so deep and personal for me this week, and the story so rich, that all I want to say to you here is “It’s a good one!!!”

In this story of Jesus and Peter walking on water, we have fear and faith: fears addressed and more fears addressed, Peter stepping out in faith and then succumbing again to fear.

If you feel led to pray with this episode, I hope it is as significant for you as it has been for me.

Early in the morning Jesus came walking towards them on the lake

They were terrified and cried out in fear

Peter said “Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water”

Jesus said “Come.”

So Peter got out of the boat

And started walking on the water.

May you have the gift of deep awareness of yourself, your fears, your faith and the Lord’s remarkable and reassuring presence.

Every blessing friends.

SHOW NOTES

Matthew 14:25-33 read in the NRSV

Photo: The Sea of Galilee today, photo by Katie Tierney

What did you find significant in this text? To leave a comment please click on “reply” at the top of this post.

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New Facebook Page

Hello friends

I’ve set up a Facebook page for contemplative at home, I thought it might be a friendlier place for people to give feedback and chat about the experience of prayer with contemplative at home podcasts. We’ll see how it goes! If you want to find us, please follow this link. It would be great to see you there.

Good news, I’ll be publishing episode 10 at the end of the week! Watch this space.

CAH09 “Why all this commotion and wailing?”

“Don’t be afraid. Just believe.”  Mark 5:36

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Hello friends!

Things are getting a little crazy around here – the end of the school year (yes we are in school until mid-July), wonderful house guests, getting ready to travel home for four weeks and much more.

But the stillness is still there, waiting, inviting, calling us to pause, to rest for a time in the Lord’s presence.

In Mark 5 (21-25 and 35-42) we meet Jairus: a man of importance in the religious community, a man with authority, and until this point probably wary of Jesus, at best. Now, however, he is desperate as the life of his dear daughter is slipping away. He comes and throws himself at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to heal her.

Jesus speaks:

“Don’t be afraid. Just believe.”

“Why all this commotion and wailing?”

“Little girl, get up!”

Please do come and pray with this story, if you feel led. I’m sorry that it may not be the best I’ve produced, but I trust that the power of the word to speak to you is not dependent on my strength to deliver it.

Thanks again for being here. Lots of love, friends.

SHOW NOTES

Bible read in the NRSV

Art: Christ raises the daughter of Jairus, Yelena Cherkasova

The play I refer to, by the Riding Lights Theatre Company is called Inheritance 

Closing prayer from the Church of England

This is the companion story to Contemplative at Home Epidose 8: Jesus heals the woman bleeding.

What did you find significant in this text? To leave a comment please click on “reply” at the top of this post.

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CAH08 If I but touch his clothes

She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well” Mark 5:27

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Hello Friends!

Wow, can I have another favorite? I loved the space I found as I prayed with this story. Perhaps you too will find the time to pray with this story, to hear what the Lord has to hear to you in this space.

Unclean for twelve years. Excluded from the temple and religious expression. Unable to touch anyone, anyone she loved, anyone at all. Twelve years.

All her money spent, countless medical procedures, which had only made things worse.

Courageously she moves towards Jesus, touches his cloak, and finds healing.

I love this story. I look forward to sharing it with those of you that feel led to join me.

Every blessing, friends.

Notes

Reading from the NRSV

Closing prayer from the Church of England (https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/texts/newpatterns/contents/sectionj.aspx

Art: James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Woman with an Issue of Blood (L’hémoroïsse), 1886-1896. Brooklyn Museum.

“Courage and Vulnerability are the same thing: letting yourself be seen.” I heard this today in this podcast from Care for the Family.

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What did you find significant in this text? To leave a comment please click on “reply” at the top of this post.

The Examen

Hello Friends!

Unfortunately there is no Contemplative At Home podcast this week but I want to point you towards the Examen, if you’re not already familiar with it.

The Examen, another tool from St Ignatius, is a way of prayerfully reviewing your day, or week, or event.

Here are a few audio recordings that I like to use from time to time (click for link). My favourite is the one for Young Adults.

And here is some more information from the Jesuits in America. (click for link).

Hope you are well, and have a good weekend.

Every blessing.

CAH07 Peace! Be Still!

On that day, when evening had come, Jesus said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” Mark 4:35

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After a long day of teaching, Jesus invites the disciples to cross the lake.

A storm whips up and the boat is nearly swamped.

While the disciples fear for their lives, Jesus sleeps.

Does he care that they are perishing?

I love praying with this story! Praying this story, in this style, is very precious to me as it was the story I used when learning to lead the Collatio.  I’m sure you will be moved if you take the time- 22 minutes!- to pause for prayer with this passage. May you sense the Lord’s invitation, and may the window of time open up for you, if this is right for you this week.

Thank you for being here, as always.

Notes

Reading from the NRSV translation

Art: Jesus Stilling the Tempest (Jésus calmant la tempête), James Tissot, Brooklyn Museum via Wikimedia Commons

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CAH 06 Bartimaeus

When he heard that it was  Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!”

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Then Jesus said “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again”

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Immediately, he regained his sight and followed him on the way.  Mark 10:47, 51, 52

You are warmly invited to pray with this remarkable story today.

Bartimaeus: blind, begging, crying for mercy.

Then: healed, sight restored, following Jesus.

Jesus said “What do you want me to do for you?”

If you find the time to pray with this episode, may you be greatly enriched by it.

Every blessing, friends.

Notes

The passage is read in the NRSV translation.

Photos: I love Ella K Lindvall’s Read-Aloud Bible stories, and these illustrations have stayed with me since my childhood. What a treat to share them with my own children now. The story of Bartimaeus is in Volume One.

CAH 05 Mary and Martha

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are necessary – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” Luke 10:41-42Johannes_(Jan)_Vermeer_-_Christ_in_the_House_of_Martha_and_Mary_-_Google_Art_Project

Two sisters

Different characters, different instincts

Each full of faith

Each turning to Jesus in her own way.

Will you sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to what he has to say?

Every blessing friend.

If you feel prepared to share a bit about what was significant for you, please click the ‘reply’ link at the top of the post.

Notes

Closing prayer from the Church of England (link)

Some background notes on Mary and Martha from ‘Women in the Bible’

I am praying with the NRSV version of the text, with a sprinkling of NIV (vs 38)

Art: “Johannes (Jan) Vermeer – Christ in the House of Martha and Mary – Google Art Project” by Johannes Vermeer – fwE2zem7WDcSlA at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons 

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