More than Words
The following are some features of our church that merit a little more explanation. While many of these things are well-worn, ancient Christian practices, we recognize that using these words today can come across a little pretentious and, at worst, be off-putting.
In using these words, we hope both to honour what has come before us and maintain continuity with historic, contemplative Christian practices. More than the words, it is the practices the words point to that we value. The practices provide a kind of spiritual architecture for a deeper experience of God, and it is experience of God – even more than the practices in and of themselves – that is of ultimate significance here. God is always the means and end; the real life, desire, and joy.
- Resources (for finding a spiritual director, practicing Lectio Divina and contemplative prayer, following the Lectionary, training etc.)
Lectio divina (Latin for “divine reading,” pronounced “Lex-ee-oh Div-ee-nuh) involves repeated listening to a short Bible passage. We notice what word or phrase sticks out and converse with God about its relevance to our current life.
Abbeys are monasteries that are led by “abbots” or “abbesses” and usually have at least twelve people. Like monasteries, abbeys are places where people live together with a view to deepening their life with God through daily rhythms of prayer, study, and work.
The Lectionary presents a selection of Bible passages – typically from the Old Testament, Psalms, Gospels, and New Testament – designated for personal and Church use and reflection on particular days. The passages follow the Church Calendar.
Contemplation in the Christian tradition is an intentional, unhurried beholding of God. St. Gregory the Great described it as “The knowledge of God impregnated with love,” while Jesuit theologian Walter Burghart describes it as “A long, loving look at the real.”
A homily is similar to a sermon where someone preaches from a particular Bible passage or theme. It is usually shorter (around 10 – 15 minutes) than a sermon, follows the Lectionary, and is focused on revealing the nature of God.
Spiritual direction is a relationship between a “director” and “directee” where the former attends (primarily through compassionate listening and good questions) to the latter’s experience of God’s presence, voice, and activity in their lives.
The Church or Liturgical Calendar is a way of annually observing and experiencing various parts of the gospel story during the year. In particular, it follows Jesus’ birth, life, crucifixion, and resurrection, as well as significant events like Pentecost.