Tree of Life

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Bearing Fruit is our purpose.

I love the imagery of a strong tree bearing fruit.

I found this image today during my studies:  a 10 week on-line study of Richard Rohr’s Immortal Diamond:  A Study in Search of the True Self.

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Contemplative Practices:  every once in a while I gather my family together and ask that we do some sort of devotion time.  The most important thing I can do for my children is  guide them to an intimate relationship with God.  Sometimes we will read a devotion from a book or from the Bible.  Sometimes we will pray or talk.  Lectio Divina together.

Every once in a while we do a version of the contemplative prayer practice – 20 minutes of clearing the mind of anything which would grab its attention.  Cole has mentioned that he cannot clear his mind.  And that is fine.  It would defeat the purpose of contemplative prayer to become upset with yourself for not being able to do contemplative prayer.

My guiding voice in contemplative prayer is Cynthia Bergeoult.  Her book:  The Heart of Centering Prayer.

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This weekend Cole participated in an annual church youth event called 30 Hour Famine. For 30 hours, beginning at noon on Friday, the youth fast and study hunger concerns in our world.  They also do a service project which requires them to deliver meals to others.  In church today he spoke about a highlight of the event for him.

He spoke about a morning activity where they did Tai Chi with Paul.  Paul leads Tai Chi on the church patio each Saturday morning.  Cole spoke about how the Tai Chi cleared his mind and prepared them for the day ahead.  It prepared him to deliver meals in the 25th hour of his 30 hour famine.

As I listened to him speak I wondered if he realized that he did what he said he could not do:  he cleared his mind.

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Today’s church bulletin shows that Alice and Jim are leading a class in Centering Prayer on Wednesday nights, beginning April 4th.  OOOOOOOOOooooohhhh!  That is awesome.  Alice, I want to sign up.  Except I can’t commit to be there every week since I don’t really know where I will be from night to night.  Thank you, thank you,  thank you for offering that class.

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Today’s sermon was about pilgrimages.  Pastor Jeff pointed out, we are all on some sort of pilgrimage.

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This afternoon I returned to my classwork and found the tree illustration – contemplative practices.

I texted the picture of the tree to Cole and pointed out that there are many ways we are contemplative.  He with his music and tai chi.  Me with my labyrinths and silence.  He said, “thats cool!”

I particularly LOVE the activist branch of the tree.  The mission trip to Arkansas, was a pilgrimage (I’m taking the picture).

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Volunteering.  For a short bit of time I marched with others in my home city this Thursday to bring awareness to the young man who was shot 20 times in his grandmother’s backyard last week.  Bearing witness.

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The tree of life makes an appearance at the beginning and ending of the Bible.

Genesis Chapter 2

The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Revelations Chapter 2

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

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“If it’s bad at the roots, it’s bad at the fruit,” says John.

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Which contemplative practices do you do?  Which branch draws your attention?  Do you participate in a contemplative practice which is not yet on that tree?

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