Category Archives: Uncategorized

Christmas

 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

Dear Friends,

This mini-episode is a tiny gift to you from Contemplative at Home, just a brief ten-minute prayer for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It was made quickly and spontaneously so please accept it in the spirit that it is given: with joy and gratitude (if not meticulous editing skills)!

May the joy of the angels,

the eagerness of the shepherds,

the perseverance of the wise men,

the obedience of Joseph and Mary,

and the peace of the Christ child

be yours this Christmas

Amen.

Thank you for praying here in 2016, may your journey continue to deepen and broaden you in 2017. I look forward to praying with you then.

Every blessing.

Image: By Gerard van Honthorst – Google Art Project, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45542035

Blessing: churchofengland.org

Lissy Clarke

December 19, 2016

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John 1:14 NRSV

Reading and praying through The Ignatian Adventure by Kevin O’Brien recently, I was struck by the concept that “God saves us in the detail of our lives.”

In today’s reflection, the final of our four on Christmas in Ordinary Time, we have time to ‘take stock,’ to consider the detail of our own lives, and with that in mind to pray with John 1.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

I hope that pairing the self-reflection with John 1 will help the Good News to land concretely and specifically in your story again.

And as we draw nearer to Christmas now, may Christ, who by his incarnation gathered into one things earthly and heavenly, fill you with joy and peace. 

Every blessing my friends! Thank you so much for sharing this space with us.

Photo by Jaimie Trueblood/newline.wireimage.com

Shepherds

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night.
Luke 2:8

Why did God send the angels to these apparently unimportant shepherds?

This story is so familiar (you can probably nearly recite it yourself), and it raises so many questions for me. I hope that you will have space to meditate on your own questions as you pray with it again in this season.

Every blessing dear ones!

Image: The Angel and the Shepherds, James Tissot

Magnificat

“My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.” Luke 1:48

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In this episode we continue our reflection on the profound blessing of saying yes to God, saying yes to the ways in which we are being called out of pride and fear and into redemption and creativity and wholeness and freedom and life.

Mary reminds us that this incredible journey only ever begins in humility.

Every blessing, friends!

Art: James Tissot , The Magnificat

For another lovely piece of contemporary art to assist your reflection visit this page.

Annunciation

The angel Gabriel… came to her and said “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.  

Luke 1:26, 28, 29

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In today’s episode with pray with Mary, and the angel Gabriel’s incredible announcement to her. We observe her response and her willing participation in this story despite her fear and her lack of understanding.

Every blessing as you pray with this, my friends!

Artwork: The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner

Christmas in Ordinary Time

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Dear Friends,

During the next few weeks, Contemplative at Home will be bringing you four special episodes on the theme Christmas in Ordinary Time.

As you know, Christmas is very specifically not ordinary time, it is an extraordinary season of festivity and abundance and celebration!

So why the theme Christmas in Ordinary Time?

As I’ve continued my prayer journey this year, I’ve been struck again by the ways in which God chose to work redemption through ordinary circumstances, relying on the willing involvement of real people just like you and me. I’ve also been pondering the repeated call to humility: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” said James, “He has regarded the lowliness of his servant” says Mary.

In the first episode (published today) we consider Mary, her call, and her willing response.

Later we will pray with the Magnificat, the Shepherds and finally, we will think about the ways in which God offers redemption in the ordinary details of our own lives, praying with John 1.

The more closely we look at our hearts, the more obvious it becomes how far we have to go on the spiritual journey, and I know that I personally have a very, very long way to travel! I very humbly offer these thoughts and this space so that we may continue on together.

If you can find pause to pray here between now and Christmas, I heartily congratulate you!, and pray that you will be nourished by the Holy Spirit. If you’d rather save these for another time (as likely your schedule will demand), the meditation will be relevant at any time of year, and, I trust, the Holy Spirit equally available to give you insight.

I wish you every blessing this advent my friends and I look forward to praying with you.

Warmly

Lissy

 

Image: Bus Shelter Nativity by Andrew Gadd

Consider the Lilies

Hello friends,

We continue our series “With Jesus in Ordinary Time” thinking about one or two of the ways in which Jesus used the ordinary world around him to speak truth into the hearts of his followers.

Consider these wildflowers, he said. They don’t reap or sow or spin, but their beauty is remarkable.

You don’t need to worry. The Lord is graciously and lovingly taking care of you and your needs.

I was fortunate enough to have a weekend retreat in Wales earlier in the month, so I recorded this while I was there, considering the wild foxglove (!) on an early morning hillside.

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May you know increased peace and trust as you sit with this text.

Every blessing, friends!!

A Quiet Place

 

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Jesus invites his friends: “Come away with me to a quiet place and get some rest.”

In this episode you are invited to observe Jesus as he goes to a deserted place and prays to his Father, and to have your own conversation with God as well.

Every Blessing!

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!

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.