Merciful Lord, grant to your faithful people pardon and peace, that we may be cleansed from all our sins and serve you with a quiet mind, and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you forever. Amen. (The Book of Occasional Services, a companion volume to the Book of Common Prayer)
I recently have had difficulty falling asleep. Even after a long day when my body and mind are physically drained, the proverbial hamster wheel willfully keeps spinning. I roll through my to-do list, unpack thoughts from the day, or find myself mulling over something random of which I have no control. Running, running, running…wheel whirring.
To try taming the hamster, I attended the first session of our St. John’s “Prayer that Goes Deeper: A Short Course on the Practice of Prayer.” We learned good disciplines and practiced two forms of meditative prayer. In one style, we focused on certain phrases or words in scripture; the other style encouraged us to harness our imagination and senses while reflecting on a passage. But I could still hear the wheel spinning. Serving God with a quiet mind is a challenge.
This Lent, we have been reciting the above blessing following communion, which calls us to serve God with a quiet mind. I’ve been sitting with that phrase a lot. A quiet mind sounds lovely, ethereal even. Is it possible to achieve? I am trying to figure that out. Often, I don’t do a great job. The hamster keeps running; I catch myself and try again to let go.
As Holy Week approaches, how can we turn toward Jerusalem and recommit to a quiet mind? My prayer is that we are each able to find that quiet, if only for a few moments: for the whirring of life to slow and the wheel to stop–that we may walk with Jesus, fully present and intentionally, toward Easter.
Appointed readings for today: Jeremiah 20:7-13, Psalm 18:1-7, John 10:31-42