Ready, Set, Go!
Sally Walton of Walkersville, MD, USA
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. -Colossians 3:16-17
I have always struggled with some aspects of spiritual formation because I tend to be more of a “do something” person than someone who can sit quietly and meditate. I recently attended a spiritual formation retreat and found the session on centering prayer to be very challenging. We were encouraged to find a sacred word or phrase to help us enter into a time of prayer. I tried several words which sounded very spiritual, but none of them seemed to fit.
A few weeks after the retreat, we had our four grandchildren and their parents visiting our home. After we had eaten, I found myself sitting on the couch while one of the grandchildren played nearby. My youngest grandchild, a two-year-old, wandered into the room. I invited her to sit on my lap, but she grinned and ran to the other side of the room before turning to face me.
Before she ran toward me, she said, “Ready, set, go.” I reached out my arms and picked her up for a hug. She repeated this activity several times, and each time I caught her, cuddled her, and told her I loved her. Each time she would wriggle her little body and giggle in anticipation when she said, “Set.” It was a time of joy for both of us.
While playing with this child, I realized that she was not asking for anything except the chance to share together. It occurred to me that God must like a chance for us to be together without any requests and with no preconceived ideas of what should happen.
I had found my sacred phrase: “Ready, set, go.” I need to get ready by taking care of anything obvious that might interfere with my time with God. I need to get set-get comfortable and anticipate my time with the Divine. Then I can go and run into the arms of God and just enjoy being together. It is so easy that a two-year-old taught me how to do it.
“Attention is the beginning of devotion” (Mary Oliver).
Spend a few moments paying attention, wherever you are. Notice your surroundings. What draws your focus? Look more closely at detail and color. Notice what pulls or prods within you. How is the God-in-all-things speaking to you through what you see and feel right here, right now?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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