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Spiritual Practices

Scripture ~ Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.Do not repay anyone evil for evil but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Romans 12:16-18

Breath prayer ~ Inhale – all is   Exhale – as is, Inhale -we are  Exhale – all connected 

Devotion ~ We are all connected. Even in times of physical distancing, we are socially connected. Some of us have the ability to connect via technology: Zooming into classes, happy hours, book clubs and Yogadevotion. Some of us are calling people and writing letters or sending cards to people we have not connected with for a very long time. Many of us are finding a connection in nature—more than ever before people are walking, meeting in parks, hammocking. That connection in nature is where we find a peaceable connection with everything and everybody, a connection that is God-breathed. 

In a recent interview on the Today Show, Rue Mapp, the Founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro, a national non-profit organization, talked about the healing power of nature, calling it the “true equalizer.” Mapp said, “Go out in nature and the trees don’t know that you are black, the birds are going to sing no matter how much money is in your bank account, the flowers are going to bloom no matter what your gender is or whether you are a Republican or a Democrat. It is truly an equalizer.” We are created to connect with each other, with nature, and by connecting in these ways, we are connected with God. 

Yogis refer to the OM as the universal hum of the universe. When we OM together, we connect with each other, nature and the Universe. We are connecting so much so, that the earth contracts and expands just like our lungs, giving life and breath to all living beings. In this way, the universal breath connects us to healing and brings peace.

Our poetic reading this week is from author and Episcopal priest Barbara Brown Taylor. She has been writing about the intersection of faith and science for a long time. This poetic reading was written 20 years ago. This writing paints a beautiful picture of what being connected might look like, if we see ourselves truly connected. 

“In Sunday school, I learned to think of God as a very old white-bearded man on a throne, who stood above creation and occasionally stirred it with a stick. 

When I am dreaming quantum dreams, what I see is an infinite web of relationship, flung across the vastness of space like a luminous net. 

It is made of energy, not thread. 

As I look, I can see light moving through it as a pulse moves through veins. What I see “out there” is no different from what I feel inside. 

There is a living hum that might be coming from my neurons but might just as well be coming from the furnace of the stars. 

When I look up at them there is a small commotion in my bones, as the ashes of dead stars that house my marrow rise up like metal filings toward the magnet of their living kin.

Where am I in this picture? I am all over the place. I am up there, down here, inside my skin and out. 

I am large compared to a virus and small compared to the sun, with a life that is permeable to them both. 

Am I alone? How could I ever be alone? I am part of a web that is pure relationship, with energy available to me that has been around since the universe was born.

Where is God in this picture? God is all over the place. God is up there, down here, inside my skin and out. 

God is the web, the energy, the space, the light—not captured in them, as if any of those concepts were more real than what unites them—but revealed in that singular, vast net of relationship that animates everything that is.

(Barbara Brown Taylor, The Luminous Web: Essays on Science and Religion (Cowley Publications: 2000), 73–74)

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