Not sure where to start when praying or meditating? You’re not alone. If you manage to carve out time to do it, it’s often hard to quiet your mind. Well, on July 15th, for just an hour, we’re going to give it our collective best shot! To help us focus, we’ve carefully selected readings here that are related to our mission. Part of that mission is having conversations with each other – really listening to others’ opinions and life experiences, and considering how we can make help each other make our community a better place. We hope these thought-starters are interesting and inspirational to you.
Resources on Mindfulness & Meditation
If you need help centering yourself and quieting your mind prior to meditating or praying, you may find these resources helpful.
> When we meditate, we inject far-reaching and long-lasting benefits into our lives: We lower our stress levels, we get to know our pain, we connect better, we improve our focus, and we're kinder to ourselves. Learn the basics in this mindful guide on how to meditate.
> Sharon Salzberg, one of America's leading spiritual teachers, introduces loving-kindness meditation in this Google Talk – watch it on YouTube through this link: "Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection"
> This Loving-Kindness Meditation is a Radical Act of Love: Jon Kabat-Zinn leads us in a heartscape meditation for deep healing of ourselves and others.
Prayers and Words for Meditation
I have learned the guilt of indifference. The opposite of love is not hate but indifference. Elie Wiesel
As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Martin Luther King
Only to do justice and to love goodness and to walk humbly with your God Micah 6:8
God of peace, we pray for Newfane, Olcott and our surrounding communities: For our local leaders; for our schools; for our neighborhoods and workplaces. Kindle in every heart a desire for equality, respect, and opportunity for all. Give us courage to strive for justice and peace among all people, beginning here at home.
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart and especially the hearts of the people of this town, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Love and Justice are not two. Without inner change, there can be no outer change. Without collective change, no change matters. Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams, Sensei
Online Resources for Further Study
Not in Our Town
Resources for Racial Reconciliation and Justice
Responding to Racism
Ten Ways to Eradicate Hate
Sacred Ground curricula
Neighborhood Prayer Walks
How to Fight Racism Through Inner Work
Richard Rohr on White Privilege
What does LOVE look like?
TELL the truth when it's tempting to be quiet
SEEK the stories of people who are different from you, especially those of oppressed peoples
ACT and speak in ways that bring life, instead of tearing others down to build yourself up
REPAIR what’s broken in your own life and community (even if you didn’t break it, be part of healing)
Questions for challenging and engaging conversations.
- How will we grow as reconcilers, healers, and justice-bearers?
- How can I respond when I witness bias and racism?
- What gives you energy or inspires you to act, in the current situation?
- What is your greatest concern or anxiety, given the current situation?
- What resources or relationships do you need most right now?
Additional Questions for Individuals or Small Groups
- In what ways are you or your church engaged in your community, especially across racial/cultural lines?
- What is the racial/cultural, socio-economic make-up within a 1, 3 or 5 mile radius of your church?
- What is the racial/cultural make-up of your congregation? How does it compare to the area around you?
- What gifts do you bring, as a church, that will be helpful for a time such as this?
- How have you participated in healing and justice work in the past? How can you show up now?
- How could you support and stand in solidarity with other congregations, especially in suffering areas?