Mindful worshippers

mindfulness

Prayerful Practices

A checklist for mindful worshippers

 

A checklist for prayerful practices to help us become more mindful as we engage intentionally with the spirit-work God that calls us to undertake during these 40 days of Lent, and at all times.

 

When entering the Cathedral

We are crossing a threshold, a liminal boundary between ‘outside’ and ‘in here’. You may want to acknowledge your entry into this house of prayer by making the sign of the cross, or offering a prayer such as this one attributed to St Francis of Assisi: We adore you, Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all your churches in the whole world, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

 

Stillness

Sit quietly in your place, breathe gently and allow the silence to envelope you in its wings. It is good to be here. It is good to be me.

 

Light a candle

Lighting a votive candle is a way of being conscious of a person or a particular matter we wish to hold in God’s love. The candle keeps burning as we walk away, just as our prayers continue to surround the person for who we are praying.

 

Stations of the Cross

The Cathedral has a set of modern stations that commemorate different moments in the traditional procession from the palace of Pontius Pilate to the execution grounds at Golgotha. Walk quietly from one to another and reflect on Jesus’ own faithfulness to God’s call on his life, as well as contemporary people who suffer abuse of judicial authority, who see their children tortured and killed, who struggle with doubt and fear.

 

The Gospel in Glass

Get to know the windows of this Cathedral and pray for the families who donated them. Delight in the skill of the artist and reflect on the biblical texts or characters depicted in the glass.

 

Memorial Plaques

Take time to wander from one memorial plaque to another. Who are they commemorating? What a precious legacy we have here. AMDG Ad maiorem Dei gloriam. Indeed. To the greater glory of God.

 

Organ preludes and postludes

The visual art of the building and its installations is matched by the musical art that streams out from the organ, as quiet preludes before the service begins or as triumphant celebrations as the liturgy ends.

 

Sing, choirs of angels

The Cathedral choir offers a variety of musical pieces during the liturgy, from the Introit to the Mass Setting of the day to the Psalm and the anthems during Holy Communion. Enjoy being carried by the angels as the Choir leads us in our worship.

 

During Holy Communion

While waiting during the time that other people are receiving the sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood, call to mind those people and those situations in your own life, for which you are seeking a blessing in this most intimate moment of the liturgy.

 

Pray the Pewsheet

The weekly bulletin has lots of information, most of which can be pivotal moments for prayer and reflection. Notice the Mass Setting and the musical choices for the day. Pray for those listed as sick, for bereaved families, the recently departed, and those whose year’s mind occurs at this time. Do you know any of these people? How might you offer them care and support this week? For what do you give thanks to God as a result of the time you shared with them?

 

Preview the Bible Readings

Our lectionary provides us a with a three-year cycle of texts to challenge, encourage, inform and stretch us. Do you recognise the readings set for today? What memories do those passages stir for you? Are you reminded of another passage you want to read when you get home? Should you be sharing these readings with anyone else who might find them helpful?

 

Pray the Hymns

The hymnbook is a rich collection of religious poetry. Look up the hymns set for today and consider why they may have been chosen to complement the readings or today’s festival. Read quietly through the hymns and pause to reflect on the deep experience of God among us that these poems preserve.

 

As you leave the Cathedral

Another beautiful prayer attributed to St Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek to be
consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying
That we are born to eternal life.

About gregoryjenks

Anglican priest and religion scholar. Senior Lecturer in the School of Theology at Charles Sturt University. Dean, Cathedral Church of Christ the King, Grafton and Rector of the Anglican Parish of Grafton. Formerly Dean at St George's College, Jerusalem. The opinions expressed in my publications, including my blog posts, are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Diocese of Grafton nor Christ Church​ Cathedral in Grafton.
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