Formation Resources: Turn Toward the Light

by: 
Bob Scott, Kathryn Carroll, Dr. Kathy Bozzuti-Jones

Stained glass window at Trinity Church

“Pain that is not transformed will be transmitted.” —Richard Rohr 

 


 


This Sunday
 

To prepare for Sunday, see this week’s readings and download the worship bulletin.

Each week, we’re offering Family Worship: Home Edition, a simple service for children and families to follow together at home.

 


Adult Learning and Discovery
 


Contemplative photo by Kathy Bozzuti-Jones

Apocalypse Now: Our Turn

Bob Scott, Director, Faith Formation and Education

What does the word “apocalypse” make you think of? End times? Violent clashes? Catastrophe? If so, Jesus’s use of the word in today’s reading may have slipped right by you. Let’s take a closer look at how he uses it, because he points to a vital truth for his time and ours.

In this speech Jesus offers guidance to help his disciples stay steady in dangerous times. Mostly, he wants them to resist fear, a tool used by the Roman Empire and regimes up until today for social control. Don’t be afraid, he says, because — and here comes the apocalypse ­­­— “nothing is covered up (kaluptó) that will not be uncovered (apokaluptó)” (Matthew 10:26).

The word “apocalypse” means “reveal” or “uncover.” The very fact that the word summons images of turmoil and horror speaks to how we humans feel about our secrets coming out. Even secrets that aren’t ours in particular may keep our society afloat, so we’d rather leave them be. At this point in Matthew’s gospel, huge crowds have been stirred up by Jesus’s telling the kind of truth that casts out the demons of oppression, cures the illnesses of exclusion, and insists that those on the margins be cared for as a priority. The authorities are already plotting to kill him. His disciples must be wise.

Don’t be afraid, he says. Why? Because the truth will be revealed. The whole truth. God’s truth. It will bring freedom, change, and healing. He makes no secret of the fact that getting there will be a trial. I encourage you to read Matthew 10:24–39 with this in mind. Members of Trinity’s Broad Way Bible Study called it “a string of hard sayings,” full of threats and ultimatums, hardly what we expect from compassionate Jesus. Digging deeper, we found a kind of tough love using stern language to deliver golden advice. Be steadfast. Go all in. (“Go big or go home.”) In 10:28, “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul,” we heard Jesus telling us that the real danger lies with forces that dehumanize us ­— including anything that turns us against our consciences.

Recently we’ve seen truths about economic inequity, lopsided healthcare, violence under the guise of peacekeeping gushing out in ways that trouble our consciences. We’ve had to look within, as well, to ask what our part is, and, for white people, how we profit from the status quo.

This apocalypse (revealing) has been every bit as unsettling as Jesus said it would be. We may wonder which way to turn. As it happens, “Turn” is the first practice in The Way of Love, a program created at the request of The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry. A wise observation came from author and artist Roger Hutchinson in an online class for Trinity’s children and families on Sunday. He showed how flowers and all growing things always turn toward the light of the sun for nourishment and life.

We’re seeing millions of people turning toward the light, giving up habits of silence, seeking change, willing to endure discomfort in order to move toward a just society where all can flourish. It’s a place we can only reach together. May we each embrace our apocalypse and turn toward the light.

Reflect

  • What do you notice being revealed by recent events?
  • Read Matthew 10:24–29 and ask, what does Jesus say about how to avoid being trapped by fear?

The Broad Way Bible Study

If you would like to join the Broad Way Bible Study on Mondays at 1pm, please email BScott@trinitywallstreet.org to receive an invitation.

 


Adult Practice
 


Contemplative photo by Kathy Bozzuti-Jones

A Meditation: Turning Inward to Turn Outward

Dr. Kathy Bozzuti-Jones, Associate Director, Faith Formation and Education

Today’s spiritual practice offering is a daily meditation script for people who want to grow in their capacity to respond skillfully to the social justice demands of our day. Begin by reading the script when you meditate and, eventually, trust that the words matter less than your intention to serve the world in Christian discipleship. The Presiding Bishop has invited all Episcopal Christians to practice “Turn” as a spiritual discipline related to the conversion of our hearts and souls to the call of social justice and anti-racist action.

Finding a comfortable seated posture,

taking a few deep cleansing breaths,

whatever helps you to transition

to turning your attention inward.

Closing your eyes or softening your gaze

begin noticing sensations in and around your body

where your back touches the chair, your feet touch the floor,

the air on your skin, sounds and scents, along with

feelings and thoughts arising in your heart your mind.

Allowing anything and everything that is happening,

an image, a memory, a mood, an idea, a regret —

with curiosity and compassion.

Now, bringing a quality of tenderness and care to

your experience, here and now, as you tune into

your bodily sensations, your thoughts and emotions

resisting the temptation to judge them. Simply noticing.

Now, bringing your attention to your breathing

resting your attention there as an anchor,

counting in rhythm 1-2, 3-4, or saying “in-out.”

Settling in to awareness of the breath of life

breathing in you and through you, and checking in

with your heart: How are you doing, right now?

Making space to honor the truth of whatever is present

Whether intense or subtle, pleasant or not, chaotic, numb,

checked-out, or lost — just bringing some loving attention there,

tending to the heart, holding it all with warmth and tenderness.

Making space for all of it. There is room for all of it.

Inviting the questions: Where do I feel called to respond with love?

What is my part to play in a collective response to justice?

Where will I turn my heart and my attention?

Just listen and make space for whatever comes.

It may not make sense just yet…just receive it, stay with it

This is an invitation, an exploration, a desire to grow.

Remembering that we are not alone on the disciple’s journey,

In the struggle to rebuild our world in a just and equitable way

to serve the flourishing of all people, of all beings.

May we listen to the still small voice in our hearts

And offer our best to the healing of the world

Why Meditate? Fun Facts

  • Did you know that we have 60,000 thoughts in a day, 95% are repeating habits of mind and 80% are negative?
  • Did you know that a Harvard study shows 47% of the time our minds are in some other time (worrying about the future or ruminating on the past)?

A Poem

I sometimes imagine God, with face turned toward us and with great patience, waiting for us to turn our heads and respond. This poem by W. S. Merwin, “Turning,” reminds me of the turn that love and relationship require.

 


Children and Families Resources
 

See Family Worship: Home Edition to see this week’s resources for children and families.

 


Song of the Week
 

Each week, we’ll share a song of the week to help you go deeper with each Sunday’s theme. The playlist will be updated weekly, and the song of the week will sit on top.