Dear Friends,

You are receiving this email because you have made a commitment to spend fifteen minutes a day, five days a week, in solitude and silence, so as to draw near to God. A special thank you to Rev. Steffi Miller who is helping write these reflections!

We want to hear how this is going for you! Please respond to this email and tell us what you are learning, what God is saying, and how this commitment is going.

Also, who else do you know who might want to make this commitment? Forward this email to them. They can receive these emails by registering here.

We are praying with and for all of you!

Blessings as you spend time in solitude, study and prayer,
Cindy and Chuck

P.S. Have you picked up your Drawing Near Resource Guide and Prayer Journal? They are available for pickup in front of the church offices. These weekly emails will soon start referring to prayers and practices that are in the resource guide.
Drawing Near

See below for General Instructions

Lectionary readings:

Read these chapters paying attention to what you see in the relationship between God and people. As you read this account of creation, what stands out to you about the character of God? About human nature? About God’s relationship with people? Since people know good and evil, God’s presence in our lives becomes very important. How do you find God’s presence in your daily life? Choose one of the centering prayers on pages 24-25 of the Near resource booklet, to help you begin a time of solitude today. Choose a different prayer each day this week.

The prophet Isaiah is called to announce God’s coming to a people who are suffering. What does he communicate about God and his relationship to people? If you were to cry out to those suffering, what would you cry? How would you reassure people of God’s presence in the present moment? Reflect on the last two quotes on page 31 of the Near Resource booklet, by Johannes B. Metz (from Poverty of Spirit).

The psalmist reminds us of our sin and the need for confession. As you prepare for God’s coming this Advent, what sins do we need God to forgive? Personally? Communally? As a nation? In the church? Pray the traditional prayer of confession from the Book of Common Prayer (page 13 in the Near resource booklet) to lead you in a time of confession. What assurance of God’s love and presence do you hear in Psalm85:8-13? 

As you read verse 11, what kind of life ought you to be living in response to God’s promise of love, faithfulness, presence in your life? How do you wait? What discipline could you add to your daily life to increase your patience? Sing or pray the Irish hymn in the Near resource booklet on page 22, “Be Thou My Vision.”

How does one prepare the way of the Lord in 2020? How can the church prepare the way of the Lord in 2021? How are you a messenger of God’s coming? Write down your thoughts about being a messenger and read the Serenity Prayer on page 14 in the Near resource booklet.
Drawing Near
General Instructions:

  1. Be patient and give yourself grace. This is new for many of us! 
  2. Decide which days and what time you will enter into solitude and silence. Consider putting these times on your calendar, and, if needed, share this commitment with those you are living with so that they can support you.
  3. Find a quiet place, free from distraction, where you can be comfortable.
  4. Consider lighting a candle so as to claim the space as “holy ground.”
  5. Begin each time by letting your spirit and mind settle, and asking God to guide your time with him.
  6. Consider keeping a journal so as to record how God is leading you.