Practicing Mindfulness

Shea: Hey Tim, I’m loving this new series! What are we going to discuss this week?
Tim: Thinking through my own spiritual journey, I have found that often times the busyness of life is a great inhibitor to our spiritual practices.

Shea: Tell me about it! Between school, life, and work, I feel like I have so much on my mind that there are times when I cannot seem to find time for spiritual practices.
Tim: And it is spiritual practices that ground us in life, empowering us to live a life of faith. They sustain us in the work that we do–remember word, work, worship?

Shea: You are wise and correct, my friend. How do we embrace practices amidst our busy lives?
Tim: By practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is a conscious desire and effort to open your mind, self, and senses to your surroundings/circumstances. Mindfulness meditation allows us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.

Shea: Wow, there’s a lot there. The word “open” really sticks out to me.
Tim: Yes, openness is key to mindfulness. If we aren’t careful, for various reasons, we can live lives closed off to the workings of the Spirit. Mindfulness helps us open up by being present and aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Shea: I want to be mindful. How do I begin?
Tim: In the Hebrew Bible, God appears to Solomon and asks him a tremendous question: “What should I give you?” Solomon responds that he wants to be able to discern what is good and evil so that he can be wise in his service to others.

Shea: Solomon practiced mindfulness.
Tim: Exactly. He made the effort to be open and to learn. Rather than material possessions and riches, he asked for the gift of wisdom that comes through a posturing and centering of the self.

Shea: Where do we begin?
Tim: It’s important, first, to know that mindfulness is not a fixed destination. It is something that we have naturally available to us; we just need to practice and develop our capacity to be mindful.

Shea: I see. Well, I’m “open” to that.
Tim: Then you’re on your way. This week Reverend Michelle Hughes will lead us on this journey as she hosts our the study this Thursday night. She’s been on the forefront of social justice for a long long time and is no stranger to struggle. We’re truly blessed to have her bring this lesson. It’s not something you want to miss!

Join us this Thursday at L!VE Café, 163 S. Oak Park Avenue in Oak Park. Doors open at 7:00p, the study begins at 7:30p. If you can’t be with us in person, join us via Facebook Live.

We need your help!

As we think about the future of Gather, please let us know what gifts you bring and would like to share with the community. There are many roles that have to come together to make Gather happen every week. This includes setup, technical support, worship, managing handouts and information, coordinating drinks, and teardown. We need your help. Please let us know what type of service you’d be interested in!

Watch God Work,
Tim & Shea

NEW SERIES BEGINS IN SEPTEMBER
What kinds of spiritual practices and habits work best for us? How do we keep our faith life fresh? What do we do when things we’ve always done feel like they’re not working? How do we stay plugged in to God’s work in us and our community? This fall we’ll look at spiritual disciplines as our means of survival in an increasingly chaotic world.
Join us every Thursday from September 6 through October 11, as we examine Spiritual Disciplines for Undisciplined Times.

UPCOMING GATHER OPPS

September 20 – This week, Rev. Michelle Hughes, Interim Pastor of Pilgrim Congregational UCC, will lead the study on mindfulness.

September 27 – Next week, Pastor Tim will be back to talk about embodiment!

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from them!

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Mark your calendars for October 27, when Pilgrim Congregational UCC will host an extraordinary concert featuring two amazing talents: Andrew Barnes Jamison (keys) and Darnell Ishmel (vocals). The concert begins at 7:30. It will be one of the highlights of the fall!

As we prepare to become a vibrant worshipping community, we invite you to enjoy a Spotify playlist that captures the kind of worship we hope to embrace. Give it a spin while you’re driving. Make it your workout jam. Add it to your devotional time. Most of all, feel yourself becoming part of a sacred village of believers who love their God and one another!
Check out the Gather Worship Playlist here.