I’m part of a prayer internship with GOHOP called Studies In New Monasticism. Each month we have a book to read and a Spiritual Practice to try on. This month was breath prayer. We were asked to try on a very old prayer passed down from the desert fathers & mothers through the Orthodox Church.
As you breathe in you pray “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God…” and as you breathe out you pray “…have mercy on me, a sinner.” As you breath in and out you repeat this over and over. It becomes a way to “pray without ceasing.”
I have used breath prayers before but have generally stuck to shorter prayers that fit my breathing rhythm better (I don’t have great lung capacity), but as I tried to use this less natural rhythm I discovered God interacting with me.
As I was walking in the rain one day with this breath prayer I noticed an inner dialogue happening. A prayer within a prayer.
Breathe in… “Lord Jesus Christ…” (Wow! I’m done breathing in) as I hold my breath I squeezed in a “…Son of God…”
Breathe out… “have mercy on me, a sinner.” (That is kind of negative, I’m use to God being all about love and invitation).
In… “Jesus Christ, Son of God…” (Crap! I forgot to say “Lord”) Out… “…have mercy on me, a sinner.”
In… “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God…” (God is infinite, of course it is a struggle to breathe God in) Out… “…have mercy on me, a sinner.” (Yes have mercy on me)
In… “Lord Jesus Christ, SON OF GOD…” (I’m a child of God, Jesus is The Son Of God, but we are kin. I’m also a son of God) Out “…have mercy on me a sinner.” As I say the word I can feel the mercy (God I’m your child and I can feel your forgiveness, it feels like love.)
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Amen (let it be so)
Sipekne’katik First Nation, Nova Scotia are asking for our support! Mi’kmaw lobster fishers are under attack by settler fishers; meanwhile, the government and the police stand by and watch the attacks carry on. Show your support by taking a selfie with the hashtag #1752
Unfortunately this is not a new fight, things like this have been happening for a long time. It feels especially heavy with the arrests also happening closer to home at 1492 Land Back Lane. All levels of government in Canada need to start working “nation to nation” with our first nations neighbours.
Nothing makes me feel quite as vulnerable as talking about money. It is taboo, it is embarrassing, and yet it is also necessary.
Over the last week I have been trying to build up my support team for my new job with GOHOP. I’m in the process of sending out emails asking friends, family, and strangers to consider being part of my monthly support team. As you push “send” you feel so exposed, raw and open to criticism. As responses come in you realize you still have a lot of work to do but you also feel reassured as people (regardless of whether they can give) send encouraging words.
This isn’t the first time I have had to do this. When I was the pastor of The Commons (a little Mennonite Church plant) this was a yearly rhythm. I remember the first time I stood up and asked my church friends to consider tithing (a spiritual practice of giving a percentage). After I explained the budget and asked everyone to consider what they could give, the first person who ran up to me to talk was one of the people I felt bad about asking (I knew they didn’t have a lot of money). This person was so excited to be asked but then confessed “I have felt so bad about never being able to give. I have been stuck in a cycle of PayDay loans and I’m in so much debt.” Being open about talking about my own financial needs broke the money taboo and my friend could now talk about their debt. On multiple occasions as a pastor these fundraising conversations led to conversations about debt. Each time I was able to refer people to debt counseling and watch them become unburdened by their money secret and work to be free from their debt.
As I am once again awkwardly asking for money I’m leaning into my past learnings about being willing to talk openly and honestly about money. If you have your own experiences about talking about money I would love to hear them.
If you are curious about my own financial support goals check out: randellneudorf.com/gohop