Being with Jesus: A Spiritual Toolkit for Disciples, Session 1

On Wednesday, March 8 we enjoyed some delicious soups and salads provided by Nicole Mascheri, Anne Schiave, and Bonny Skutch, and engaged in the first session of our Lenten program, "Being with Jesus: A Spiritual Toolkit for Disciples." As a followup to each week of this year's Lenten program we plan to provide electronically some of the material we discussed so that those who weren't able to be with us can follow along and be enriched and those who were present can have an opportunity to dig more deeply into the material that was presented.

Lenten Bookstore

On the audio-visual cabinet in the Grauer Lounge we have made available for sale copies of the books we are referencing during the course of the series. Instructions for how to purchase copies of books are located there as well.

Discipleship/What is a disciple?

One of the anchors for decesion making from the St. Mary's Vestry Leadership Playbook: “Form Vital Spiritual Practices to Launch Disciples into the World.”

  • Most literally, a disciple is a student. For Christians, as disciples, we are students of Jesus. 
  • The relationship of a disciple to a teacher is not intermittent, i.e. just once a week, but rather it is a relationship that continues.
  •  Discipleship is “hanging on the teacher’s every word, following her steps, sleeping outside the door, watching how they conduct themselves at the table, in the street.” Rowan Williams, Being Disciples, pg. 2
  • Discipleship is breathing in the same air as the master, being with Jesus in order to be changed by him.
  • A disciple is also one who follows.
  • "Watching Jesus and learning from him assumes we are willing to go where he goes, which is “very frequently not where we would have thought of going.” Being Disciples 10
  • “The place where you are going to be is always going to be defined by the Master, not by you.” BD 10
  • Discipleship is keeing "the company Jesus keeps: the excluded, the disreputable, the wretched, the self-hating, the poor, the diseased. " BD 11

How do we...

  • die to self a little more every day?
  • share the atmosphere with Jesus?
  • learn at Jesus's feet?
  • learn to go where Jesus goes?

The balance of the series will be about vital spiritual practices that can help us do these things.

Prayer: One Way of Being with Jesus

Prayer as Birdwatching: "The true disciple is an expectant person, always taking it for granted that there is something about to break through from the master, something about to burst through the ordinary and uncover a new light on the landscape. The master is going to speak or show something; reality is going to open up when you’re in the master’s company and so your awareness (as has often been said by people writing about contemplative prayer) is a little bit like that of a bird-watcher, the experienced bird-watcher, who is sitting still, poised, alert, not tense or fussy, knowing that this is the kind of place where something extraordinary suddenly bursts into view.

I’ve always rather liked that image of prayer as bird-watching. You sit very still because something is liable to burst into view, and sometimes of course it means a long day sitting in the rain with nothing very much happening, and I suspect that most of us know that a lot of our experience of prayer is precisely that. But the odd occasions when you do see what T. S. Eliot called ‘the kingfisher’s wing flashing light to light’ make it all worthwhile. And I think that living in expectancy – living in awareness, your eyes sufficiently open and your mind sufficiently both slack and attentive to see that when it happens – has a great deal to do with discipleship, indeed with discipleship as the gospels present it to us. Interesting (isn’t it?) that in the gospels the disciples don’t just listen, they’re expected to look as well. They’re people who are picking up clues all the way through." - Rowan Williams

Prayer: Aligning Minds with Behinds: “Prayer has to do with creative listening and breathing. Prayer is the holy recitation of words silently and aloud that helps me individually and us collectively to align our mind and our behinds. Prayer breaks indifference. Prayer is the place I deal with the big questions: What am I doing with my life? What do I want? What am I willing to give to achieve it?” - Bishop Rob Wright, Diocese of Atlanta

The Daily Office

The Daily Office is an ancient way of marking and hallowing (making holy) time at various points throughout the day through praying the Psalms and other prayers and reading Scripture. Christians have been praying this way from the very beginning.

Rodger Patience, a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac, and former parishioner at St. Mary's, has put together a series of videos that outline the history of and development of the Daily Office and give instructions for how to pray the more full form of the Office as found in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. 

For a convenient and free way to be able to pray the entirety of the Daily Office via your computer or mobile device, the Brotherhood of St. Gregory, a religious community in the Episcopal Church, has put together a web app that can be found here

Fr. Patrick shared with us about a more accessible way to pray in the form of the Daily Office, the Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families, found on pg. 137 of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. The text of this can be found here. Another good way to access this on your mobile phone is through the eCP app. More information about this app can be found here. Daily Readings to use in the praying of the Daily Office or Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families can be found here

Fr. Patrick also shared with us some questions for reflection that he uses as a part of his praying of the Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families:

  • What is a word or image that stood out to me today’s reading?
  • How/where might I be encountering Jesus in these prayers?
  • Who or what do I need to pray for?
  • What is one thing I might do today in response to these readings or prayers

To download the entire powerpoint from the Wednesday, March 8 presentation, click here.