Spiritual Practices ~ Ordinary Time
Scripture ~ “When will the new moon be over, So that we may sell grain, And the sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, To make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger.” Amos 8:5
Breath Prayer ~ Inhale – All I have all I need, Exhale – right here right now,
Fill in the blank __________________.
Devotion ~ As we continue to navigate a new, abnormal time, some interesting observations are being made. One observation is that people are noticing an inability to make decisions as they attempt to maintain routines, create new ones, or modify activities in quarantine. Making decisions about simple things like what to have for dinner or what game should be played next are met with responses of “I don’t care, whatever you decide is fine.” The inability to make decisions arises when we find ourselves in a prolonged period of living in between crisis mode and establishing a new normal. During this “in-between time” we are searching for balance. We want to know what we can take from our past experiences to help us find balance in a new situation.
The scripture today finds the poetic prophet Amos speaking into that same in-between space and looking for balance. The unlikely prophet Amos writes this scripture during a time of peace but also of great inequity between the wealthy and the poor. He goes on to say only justice, not sacrifices or rituals, will bring balance back into the life of God’s people. He implores the people of God to change, to make a decision toward God’s way, and affirm that this path will lead to a balanced life.
On June 20, 2020 many yogis celebrate the summer solstice, the first day of summer and a time of change. Solstice means “sun standing still” and has been celebrated annually by ancient and contemporary cultures. Certain solstice celebrations can be found at the intersection of faith and yoga philosophy. Celebrating the sun is to acknowledge God, Christ consciousness, and the triumph of light over darkness. It is a time of reflection, celebrating nature and examining the inner sanctuary. It is a time of patience, new beginnings and change. Best of all, there is not just one way to celebrate this day, no one ritual nor practice. Many yogis will do Surya Namaskar, a 108-sun salutation practice. Others will sit in a gratitude mediation for the change of season. Perhaps this year we celebrate the solstice with an intention for the holy breath to guide our path and lead us toward the balance we need during this in-between time.
Today’s poem by Mary Oliver
Have you ever seen
in your life
than the way the sun,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon
and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone–
and how it slides again
out of the blackness,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower
streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance–
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love–
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure
that fills you,
as the sun
as it warms you
as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world–
or have you too
for power, for things?