One of the best things I did last week, was join an ecumenical group of lay leaders from churches in Greystones to lead a time of contemplative prayer. It has been such a joy to meet with these ladies each evening and hear from each of their hearts. We are led by a common group of readings that all churches participating in Unity Week all over the world were also reading. The gravity and weight of that global participation were evident each night. It has been an incredible experience for me to learn from these women and lay leaders in the beginning of my time here in Ireland.
Before we began the readings and reflections each night, we were led through some relaxation exercises that asked us to breathe deeply, to release tension in our physical bodies, and to listen to the still small voice of God. Most nights, it was the first time that I had been still and quiet all day, particularly in these weird initial moments of figuring out my role here in Ireland. The act of calming ourselves together was also weighty. It reminded me of Elijah crying out to God in 1 Kings while he is running for his life from Jezebel.
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
1 Kings 19: 10-12
Elijah was crying out to God for a path forward, but God was not in the big events like we think he’ll be. His voice was in the gentle whisper which Elijah had to still himself to hear properly. Stillness can be powerful and powerfully used by God to instruct us, to calm us, and to inspire us to worship. As I journey forward in my ministry here in Ireland, I am reminded to find moments of stillness, to use newly learned resources like the Daily Examen and Centering Prayer to find those moments. I am so grateful for the gifts of God during my first few months on field. Thank you to you friends and family that have been praying and thinking about me for years.
|What Am I Reading, Listening, and Watching?|
The Tommy Tiernan Show: you might recognize him as the dad from Derry Girls, but he’s a renowned Irish comedian that hosts a talk show where he has no idea who the guests are prior to meeting them on air. It’s fascinating, impressive that an incredible interview happens with no prep, and it’s really funny.
Hamilton: The Revolution: Lin Manual Miranda and Jeremy McCarter- I forgot this was on my Amazon wish list and it showed up in my very late Christmas package from my sister-in-law (not her fault, the Irish postal system’s fault). This is both a historical account of Hamilton in real life and the making of Hamilton the musical. It feeds my trivia loving, behind the scenes part of my brain. I am savoring it page by page and trying not to re-watch Hamilton every single time I read a single page of this.
All Creatures Great and Small, James Harriot: I watched this lovely, feel good show on PBS and loved to see that it was free in the Kindle library a few weeks ago. The story of a young vet that practices in the Yorkshire Dales in the early 20th century.
RTE Doc on One: This podcast is made by RTE, the public television station of Ireland. I have listened to episodes ranging from a family that kept one of Santa’s reindeer during the pandemic to discriminatory profiling of Romany Gypsy families in Ireland and greater Europe. It’s really well done and informative.
Films to Be Buried With: This is hosted by Brett Goldstein, writer, producer and actor most well known for Ted Lasso (which you should also watch). This podcast asks questions of its guests like “which film made you laugh the most and which film did you love in the past but doesn’t hold up now?” It’s a fun way to interview someone and has only served to increase my “to watch” list.
|What I’ve Been Up To|
|Pray with Me|
- The success of our Ecumenical Contemplative Prayer Meeting last week. We are very encouraged by the participation of all five of our churches and we are moving forward with excitement to continue doing things together.
- Virtually all of the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in Ireland which means we are starting up things like home groups and on site play groups this week and next. It’s exciting to have people in the building again and more freedom to meet.
- My youngest nephew, Ethan, is recovered from COVID-19 and did not get any of our family members sick.
- Continue praying for my patience as I wait to be interviewed for a PPS number which will allow me to get a booster shot among other things.
- For my church and our staff at Greystones Nazarene Community Church, here in Ireland as we move forward with plans in light of restrictions being lifted. Pray for safety of all that we have meeting in our building. Please pray for the beginning stages of a big renovation plan. We are excited for these plans but hold them lightly so that they may be exactly what God needs them to be.
- Please pray for my own life rhythms. Pray that I would be gracious and patient with myself as I am only beginning to find these out in my new context. Pray for my own health and safety as I pursue these rhythms.