Free to Follow God’s Call
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin, Spiritual Formation Ministries
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners…
to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion-
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. -Isaiah 61:1-3a
Spiritual freedom is an active, alert, attentive posture of openness to the Spirit in every condition and circumstance. It is the anchoring practice that returns us over and over to our intention of openness to God’s vision. In Doctrine and Covenants 163:9, we are reminded to “break free of the shackles of conventional culture that mainly promote self-serving interests.” Through the practice of spiritual freedom, we intentionally make space within to respond freely and faithfully, even when that response disrupts the status quo or challenges our own preferences and agendas.
Enter a few moments of silence. Attention to breath can be a helpful way to enter silence more deeply.
Remember our intention in this discernment journey-to be open to God’s vision in and for our community through this discernment process. We pray together for a “group heart large enough and free to follow God’s call as it becomes clear.” –Elizabeth Liebert, The Soul of Discernment: A Spiritual Practice for Communities and Institutions, p.52.
One minute of silence
Notice what obstructs or inhibits your openness to God or one another. Gently, and without judgement, name any areas within yourself of strong resistance, attachment, or agenda that you might hold and ask God to help you release these. If letting go doesn’t feel possible, commit to remaining conscious of them throughout the process.
Two minutes of silence
Imagine what freedom for openness to God might look and feel like in you and the group here and now. Let any images, words, phrases, or feelings surface that aid your sense of openness and freedom.
Two minutes of silence
Give thanks for any insights that have come and to remember your desire to be open to God and one another throughout this time of meeting and discerning.
Reflections and Conversations:
- What feels most free and unfree in you as you imagine post-pandemic church life? What feels most open or closed in you?
- Name assumptions together that are you invited to examine. What did we assume about church that has changed throughout the pandemic? What do we still assume as we come back together? Are these assumptions accurate or limiting?
- What does it look like to be free for faithfulness to God’s call as a community at this point in our life together?
“Discern what is the will of God” (Romans 12:2).
The heart of discernment is listening for God. God speaks and reveals in many ways-through nature, the voice of a friend, or a deeper knowing in our own souls. How can you create space today to listen for God in your life? What do you hear when you take time to slow down and listen?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.