March 30, 2022
By Jo Wiersema
Meet Midweek Musings, a weekly Covenant blog with a variety of authors! We are excited to be reviving this blog, and hope that it blesses you this week and the weeks to come. #midweekmusings
Ignatius of Loyola is known for many things. He was the founder of the Jesuits and overall, a dang interesting person. He also was a huge advocate of “Praying the senses”.
This is where you read through a story in the Bible, maybe it’s what you’re reading through in John right now, and you put yourself in the story. Let go. Don’t make it realistic, don’t come up with the “what if’s” and “I can’ts”. Put yourself into the story and walk alongside Jesus. Read this sentence and then close your eyes: you’re along with the disciples, the smell of dough as someone is cooking in the house, the feel of dust between your sandaled toes, your heart is racing as Jesus is challenging another Pharisee, maybe your mouth is dry from the sand and the thirst and the nerves, you hear the folks in the kitchen moving around, the sand whirring outside, maybe there is a gasp as Jesus betrays another cultural norm or expectation.
How does it feel to be in the middle of the story? What do you see differently than when you keep the words on the page and then close your Bible, not to think much more about the story? When I open my Bible and just read the gospels, I assume I would be the beloved disciple. I’d be the good guy, the right-hand gal, the sidekick to the most epic hero. But when I let go of my rationalities and pray the senses and put myself into the story, I’m no longer the beloved disciple, I’m the bumbling disciple. I’d be flushed when confronted with authority, I’d stutter in awe of miracle after miracle. I wouldn’t be a very good sidekick. It’s through this process, I am more aware of not just the gospel, but of myself. Not who I want to be, but the person I am.
To open my heart, body, and soul to the Holy Spirit, I can’t just take prayer as a checkmark. It’s not another thing to do before dinner like setting the table, or before bed as I brush my teeth. Prayer is a feeling that is initially uncomfortable, as I try to schedule my day hour by hour, minute by minute, prayer doesn’t fit on the schedule nicely. I didn’t grow up saying my prayers before meals or bed but stumbled through prayer as I came to faith. I can’t say a perfect prayer, but I can spend the day going back to the Bible story I opened when I was sleepy eyed and undercaffeinated in the morning. I can open a well-loved children’s bible, or The Message, or a very literal translation of the Bible, and ask “what would I do here? How did it feel? How do a pray to be a little less bumbling today?”
May the Grace of God and the unending Love of the Son let you find peace this day.
Blessings on Blessings,