During our next worship series we will look for Grace, all summer long! We will embark on a journey that takes us from Yoga to Crossfit, Baseball to Knitting, Picnics to Movies. There will be space for play and time for prayer. We hope to rest in the assurance of God’s dynamic presence while we seek to identify the way in which God’s Grace comes to us. By focusing on Grace all Summer Long we intend to practice “noticing and naming” the ways Grace appears so that we will improve our skills in this area. W
This week our worship will be grounded in Psalm 77.1-2,11-20 and the Practice of Yoga.
Yoga was originally designed for those who had removed themselves from society to live as monks. Yoga is a four-thousand-year-old practice that developed in India around the same time as the Hindu faith was being formed. Yoga was handed down verbally from teacher to student for many generations. It began to solidify 1800 years ago when an Indian mystic named Patanjali decided to write down the principles of yoga in what is now called the Yoga Sutra. The word “Yoga” means “Union” in Sanskrit. The “Union” includes a realization of the oneness between the mind and the body as well as between the soul and the Spirit. This “Union” is realized through the practice of physical poses, deep and conscious breathing and silent meditation. Today, you do not have to be a Hindu to practice Yoga. People of many religious traditions are on Yoga mats! People who simply wish to learn principles of relaxation are also there. Yoga provides its practitioners with a set of poses which strengthen the body and train the mind to focus on body and breath. While doing the perfect yoga pose or clearing your mind of all thought is well and good, in the end it is the practice of returning to yoga over and over again that allows you to live life with focus and strength. (these notes taken from “Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic” by Darren Main)
From the New Interpreter’s Bible we learn about the writer of Psalm 77: Notice the transition from despair to hope. Walter Brueggemann suggests that this transition involves “a shift from ‘I’ to ‘Thou’ as the writer is remembering the Exodus which ‘takes the mind off the hopelessness of self….this transition is not an achievement of the individual psalmist. Rather, the psalmist takes part in a communal process of remembering….everything depends on having the public, canonical memory available which becomes in this moment of pain a quite powerful, personal hope.”
What physical practice do you do which compliments your faith practice? In what way does your physical practice take you from despair to hope within the hour that you practice? During the following hours? How about the week? What are the challenges that you face each week as you attempt to root your life in a physical practice and in Grace?