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Silent Sunday

Ever Faithful Ever Fresh

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At the start of this new year, the theme we will explore is titled Ever Faithful Ever Fresh. I invite you to join in with the music, readings and reflections around this theme.

Opening music:

You shall be like a gardenJ. Phillip Newell and friends
00:00 / 07:51

Lyrics:

You shall be like a garden,

Like a deep spring

where waters never fail.

Time: 14 minutes

Spend some time in silent prayer now, opening your heart to the ever faithful, ever fresh presence of God (you can choose between a 10 minute timer and a 20 minute timer below, which each have a gong at the beginning and three gongs at the end). If you find your mind wandering, gently and humbly let go of your thoughts and return to being present, to awareness of your breath or your sacred word. 

Ten minute silence timerGuided Prayer
00:00 / 10:25
Twenty minute silence timerGuided Prayer
00:00 / 20:28

Listen to the following music as an ending to the time of prayer:

Great is Thy faithfulnessShavah Music
00:00 / 03:29

Lyrics:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases

Your mercies never come to an end

They are new every morning, new every morning

Great is Thy faithfulness, Oh Lord,

Great is Thy faithfulness

Reflection:

Read the following readings through twice or three times, with an attitude of open receptivity.


Lamentations 3:19-26

"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.  I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:  Because of Yahweh’s great love we are not consumed, for your compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “Yahweh is my hope; therefore I will wait.”


Innocent beginnings, by John O'Donohue:

May this be a morning of innocent beginning,

When the gift within you slips clear

Of the sticky web of the personal

With its hurt and hauntings,

And fixed fortress corners,

A morning when you become a pure vessel

For what wants to ascend from silence,

May your imagination know

The grace of perfect danger,

To reach beyond imitation,

And the wheel of repetition,

Deep into the call of all

The unfinished and unsolved

Until the veil of the unknown yields

And something original begins

To stir toward your senses

And grow stronger in your heart...



Receiving New Wine:

If you feel free to do this at home, have some bread and wine available. Read the following two readings, then eat the bread and drink the wine as a symbol of receptivity to the fresh gift of the Spirit's wisdom and hope in this new year.

  • "When our cup is emptied of all its stagnant contents, there is room for new wine." - Jean Yves-Leloup

  • "New wine is a marvelous image of the Holy Spirit. As we move to the intuitive level of consciousness through contemplative prayer, the energy of the Spirit cannot be contained in the old structures. They are not flexible enough. They may have to be left aside or adapted. The new wine as a symbol of the Spirit has a tendency to stir people up; ... it breaks out of categories and cannot be contained in neat boxes." - Thomas Keating

For Further Reflection:


I encourage you to spend some time in further reflection on this theme. Below are some quotes from the talk for further reflection.


Richard Young: 

"I'm not so interested in what you believe. The world is full of competing and conflicting beliefs that too often erupt in misunderstanding, hatred, and violence. But I am very interested in what you KNOW, after having completely exhausted all intellectual attempts to understand and then falling back helpless in the arms of Direct Experience."


The anonymous author of the Cloud of Unknowing: 

"Love may reach God in this life, but not knowledge. And as long as the soul dwells in the mortal body the accuracy of our understanding in perceiving spiritual things, most particularly God, is mingled with some manner of fantasy that tends to make our work unclean. And ... it would lead us into much error."


Ilie Cioara: 

"This Voice, coming from the depths of our being, does not originate in the “ego”, in the narrow, closed mind, limited to the past, conditioned by time, never capable of a real encounter. Its Source is beyond time – in the immense purity, never repeating itself, always newness, it guides us with wisdom. … The humble mind must be silent."


Adyashanti: 

"Wisdom is a fluid, living intelligence, born of connection to our True Nature. It knows that no statement can encompass or express reality. ... As your wisdom deepens, it becomes less credible to reduce it to a statement because it is an endless state of openness."


Cynthia Bourgeault: 

"The nature of a wellspring is to spring forth. The nature of hope is to move, and to move forward ..., carrying both itself and us toward deeper and more authentic manifestation."


Ending Prayer:

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.

I want to free what waits within me

so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear

without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,

but this is what I need to say.

May what I do flow from me like a river,

no forcing and no holding back,

the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,

these deepening tides moving out, returning,

I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels

into the open sea.


~ Rheiner Maria Rilke




Ending music:

Behold I make all things newAlana Levandoski
00:00 / 03:35

Lyrics:

Behold I make all things new

Behold I make all things new

Behold I make all things new

Let there be light, let there be light.


God unseen is taking form,

God unseen is taking form,

God unseen is taking form,

Let there be life, let there be life.


The first and last is surging forth,

The first and last is surging forth,

The first and last is surging forth,

Becoming life, becoming life.


Behold I make all things new

Behold I make all things new

Behold I make all things new

Let there be light, let there be light.

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Sharon's book that was previously called "Contemplative Living" has been republished by AnamChara Books under the title "Deeper: Finding the Depth Dimension Beneath the Surface of Life". The Kindle version is available from Amazon, and the hard copy version can be ordered from loot.co.za or from your local bookshop through Ingram Distribution.

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