Reading: Making All Things New: Part 3 “Set Your Hearts”
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 2: 22-23
As we draw near to the end of our Lenten journey, Henri wisely guides us to bring all that we have reflected on into the every day of our lives. So that our hearts can speak to the heart of Jesus every day. So that He can make things new in us each day.
In order to do this we develop a “spiritual discipline … the concentrated effort to create some inner and out space in our lives…” (p68). Henri urges us towards two disciplines of prayer: solitude and community.
1) “Without solitude, it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life. Solitude begins with a time and place for God, and him alone.”
a) When you think about setting aside regular times of solitude to be with God, what kind of resistance comes up in you (or used to)?
b) Do you find yourself afraid of the inner chaos that can erupt in such times of solitude?
c) Are you among those who have discovered the joy and healing that comes from time alone with God? What is your daily time of solitude like? Please share your journey with us, so that others who are just starting out with the discipline of solitude can be encouraged.
2) “Solitude is not a spontaneous response to an occupied and preoccupied life… therefore we must begin by carefully planning some solitude” (p71).
a) If you ready to move forward in your spiritual life, begin now by planning regular times of solitude with God. Even if you need to start with ten minutes a day. Plan it. Schedule it in. Protect that time. You are invited to share with us your commitment, so you have a sense of accountability.
b) What can you do right now to prepare a place where you can easily go for your time of solitude?
c) For those who are a little more experienced in this discipline, is there a specific Psalm, or word of Scripture that you have found to quiet your heart and focus your attention on God?
d) What are some of the other forms of solitude that you have found helpful in focusing your attention on God?
The second discipline Henri refers to is the discipline of community – “the effort to create a free and empty space among people where together we can practice true obedience. Through the discipline of community we prevent ourselves from clinging to each other in fear and loneliness, and clear free space to listen to the liberating voice of God” (p 80-81).
1) “Community is grounded in God, who calls us together, and not in the attractiveness of people to each other” (p83).
a) Consider the community you are in right now, marriage, friendship, family, religious life etc. You may feel at the moment that you are not mutually compatible. But ask God why He has called you together, ask Him what your true identity as a community is.
b) To help with question a), Henri invites us to hear the word of Scripture together in a communal silence (see page 85). No debating, discussing, sharing or arguing. Just a quiet listening together. An attentiveness to each other, and an awareness of the caring presence of God.
c) Please share some other disciplines of community that you have found that help your community (marriage, friendship, family, religious life etc.) “be an act of true obedience … responsive to the way we have heard God’s voice in our midst” (p88).
Again, there is much to reflect upon in this chapter, and I look forward to hearing from each of you.