Last night at The Commons we had a beautiful Palm Sunday Gathering. Old friends stopped by and new friends showed up as well. Our little room was packed and there was an amazing energy in the room. This morning I read in the Hamilton Spectator that this was not the case for our brothers & sisters in the Coptic Church. We grieve with you, and our prayers are for you.
On Sunday Feb 21st we continued our Give Up Lent series by focusing on Giving Up Fear.
In Psalm 27:1 we read that “The Lord is my light and my salvation; I will fear no one. The Lord protects me from all danger; I will never be afraid.”
We watched a video about the Science of Light, to think a little more about what it might mean for God to be our light. The video reminded us that we can’t actually see objects in and of them selves. Everything we see is actually the reflection of light bouncing off objects and hitting our eyes. We can’t visually know anything about the world around us without light. If we think of God as our light, we can only truly see what is around us by the reflection of God’s light.
When I think of light, the most spectacular experience I have ever had was seeing the Northern Lights. I was on my way home from working at a factory and I saw a strange light. I got out of my car and walked into a farmers field to get a better look and I was surprised to see the Northern Lights. It lasted for about 20 minutes and it was one of the most magical, meaningful and present moments of my life. The darkness around me melted away. What would have been a cold and ominous place to be at that time of night was now a center of warmth and joy. Light transforms everything.
To end our gathering we used Psalm 27 as a reflective prayer exercise. We turned off all the lights and played an ambient music video by the band Boards of Canada that featured images of the Northern Lights. People were given permission to let the video be their focal point or to close their eyes if that helped them listen better. Psalm 27 was then read by flash light over the sounds and images of the video. Each line was read slowly with a pause between each line. People were instructed to pay attention to how that line made them feel. If their heart jumped at the line in a good way, like they were hearing something that really resonated or something that they really wanted to be true they were asked to simply pray “Yes!” silently to themselves. If they heard something that rubbed them the wrong way or felt off or awkward, they were given permission to pray “Why?” Not the most wordy of prayers but two very honest prayers. These two prayers were intentionally short to leave space to listen to what God might be saying to us through this psalm. Here is the version of scripture we read and where we placed our pauses.
Psalm 27 (GNT)
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
I will fear no one.
The Lord protects me from all danger;
I will never be afraid.
When evil people attack me and try to kill me,
they stumble and fall.
Even if a whole army surrounds me,
I will not be afraid;
even if enemies attack me,
I will still trust God.
I have asked the Lord for one thing;
one thing only do I want:
to live in the Lord’s house all my life,
to marvel there at his goodness,
and to ask for his guidance.
In times of trouble he will shelter me;
he will keep me safe in his Temple
and make me secure on a high rock.
So I will triumph over my enemies around me.
With shouts of joy I will offer sacrifices in his Temple;
I will sing, I will praise the Lord.
Hear me, Lord, when I call to you!
Be merciful and answer me!
When you said, “Come worship me,”
I answered, “I will come, Lord.”
Don’t hide yourself from me!
Don’t be angry with me;
don’t turn your servant away.
You have been my help;
don’t leave me, don’t abandon me,
O God, my savior.
My father and mother may abandon me,
but the Lord will take care of me.
Teach me, Lord, what you want me to do,
and lead me along a safe path,
because I have many enemies.
Don’t abandon me to my enemies,
who attack me with lies and threats.
I know that I will live to see
the Lord’s goodness in this present life.