By Lawrene Denkers
Q: How do you sum up nine weeks that are literally life-changing?
A: You answer a few questions.
In January and February of this year, facilitators Shirley Sewell and Linda DeBurger took twelve of us through The Way of Love: Practices for a Jesus-Centred Life (https://www.episcopalchurch.org/way-of-love/). On the last night, they asked us for our thoughts.
Intention was the biggest takeaway overall for the group. “Intentionality is the key to everything.” We need intentionality to live our baptismal vows, to centre for worship. We needed it to centre on the prayer and discussion that happened around the study focus points each week.
For in this study each week had a focus. They were Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, and Rest. These seven simple steps show us what it looks like to live a Christian life, what it looks like to live those baptismal vows.
What focus/step did most of us find the most difficult? You’ll laugh. It was Rest. Real rest is really hard, because, yes, it includes intentional rest from work, but, yikes(!), it also includes resting from technology. The FOMO (fear of missing out) was real!
In the Turn section, we committed to change and to that intentionality, to set aside time to say, “Am I doing and being all that I am called to do and be?”
In Learn, we reflected on where our past studies have led and committed to future studies. In Pray, we learned to centre ourselves before prayer to add intentionality.
In Worship, we paid attention to the words and actions of worship. The pandemic, surprisingly, helped with this. When you move worship to Zoom, and all is truncated, you pay attention to what is important, and notice what has been left out (in our case the confession) and intentionally put it back in!
In Bless, we learned to pray for all and to express gratitude.
In Go, we agreed to do something right away. In our case, that something was two things. We committed to support the Reverend Enrique Martinez’s Huron Hispanic and Migrant Farmworkers Outreach Ministry, and we spent Lent studying water issues in Canadian Indigenous communities.
What stood out?
Here are a few of the answers to that:
“Being able to take part in this with everyone was a blessing.”
“It was overwhelming at first but all fit together and it all worked in.”
“It sounded like a lot, but focusing on one thing a week made it work.”
“It makes us aware to be intentional.”
“It is training for Lent.”
“It made intentionality more natural.”
“This is the way of love, the way of Jesus. Following Jesus on the way of love is what it means to be the Church.”
And the very first answer on our last night?
It was one of hope: “It’s not over!”
It isn’t over in these pages, either. Next up for us was Wade in the Water, and we intend to tell you all about it!
Lawrene Denkers is a parishioner of St. Matthew's, Florence.