The way of hope

” We are all meant to be mothers of God. For God is always needing to be born”

malagoli
~Meister Eckhart

Letting the reading read you

The text for this week is here  . If you do not identify as male, you might find this version of Isaiah 42 helpful. I thought perhaps we would stay with the practice of lectio from last week, so as not to overwhelm you, and to give you time to open more of the book of your life to the Word of Life in scripture.

Once you have followed your own journey of listening and responding to the passage, read on.

The prompts

Here’s what I noticed as I pondered the scripture: hope is a longing for change, for justice, healing, freedom – the new thing that God is bringing into being.

What longings for change are you able to identify within you?

We recognise Christ as the gentle servant who restores and teaches, who brings justice, healing and freedom. He is the embodiment of hope. At the same time, this hope is still always ahead and to be reached towards, even as it is brought near by the presence and action of God’s servant.

How do you find yourself responding to the idea that you also might be called to let the gentle servant within be brought to life?

What might it look like for you to partner with God and bring justice, healing and freedom in this time and in this place?

The practice

This is what Brene Brown’s research on shame has revealed about hope: Hope is learned as a function of struggle.

We learn to be hopeful by:

  • aiming for a realistic goal (to become more compassionate);
  • identify ways to help us towards the goal (prayer practice fuelling compassionate actions);
  • persisting and struggling with difficulty and adversity by experiencing disappointments and derailments (failure to notice opportunity, failure to act);
  • trusting that we will find within ourselves, or be graced with, what we need to accomplish the goal (self compassion, inspiration, encouragement).
  • letting the process sink in (That was hard, but I did it! I’m still opening to compassion…)

Is there a step in the learning process you miss out?

Are you holding the light of hope for another? Are you supporting them as they engage wholeheartedly with their journey?

Or might your help be keeping them from the struggle of finding their own courage, learning their own hope?

Practice hope

choose a practice for the coming week and return to it as you journey with what arises, or when you find hope draining from your soul.

  • Set yourself a realistic goal for your spiritual practice and identify ways to support your movement towards your goal, anticipating some difficulties along the way.
  • Light a candle as a symbol of hope, of light in darkness, a reminder that even a small light makes a difference to the darkness.
  • Write a list in your journal beginning with ‘I hope for…’ try writing it with your non-dominant hand, and don’t think too hard before you start.
  • Allow your body to find a posture or create a movement that expresses your hope, your longing for positive change, and offer this movement as a prayer.

A word on choosing a practice

Often it’s a good idea to go with the practice that attracts you and makes you feel alive when you think of it. But occasionally it is worth listening to the opposite response. If a practice is repellant or makes you feel like going to bed and hiding then the chances are there is something deeply important going on that is worth giving your attention to.

What is so awful and unattractive in the practice? What are you trying to avoid seeing/hearing/recognising about yourself? If you can approach these questions with compassion and curiosity, then give the practice a go and see what you find out about yourself.

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