Taking the Time to Practice

Lenten Reflection, Friday, April 1

By: Ashley Cameron

I recently described my viewpoint on my personal relationship with God like a relationship with a dear friend. There are seasons when we know every minute detail of each other’s daily lives. And then there are seasons where we go months with only sporadic check-ins. The relationship ebbs and flows but there is never any love lost in either season of life. Lately, my relationship with God has been one where there are only sporadic check-ins. But there has been no love lost.

This Lent, I decided to enter a season where God and I were back in the “knowing every minute detail” phase or at least have more than an occasional, “Hey, how’s it going?” So, I took on practicing Centering Prayer with David May and the small group on Thursday mornings. Fr. Thomas Keating, a central figure in the Centering Prayer movement, writes, “[centering prayer] is a discipline to foster the relationship [with God].”

The practice is for you to settle in a comfortable position, close your eyes, focus on a sacred word, and then sit in silence for about 20-30 minutes. As David reminds us, when you have thoughts float in, simply brush them away and focus back on the sacred word. It seems simple enough, but for myself who is constantly thinking of the next five things on my to-do list, it is difficult to let go of what is going on around and within me for 20 minutes of silence. I even told someone that I wasn’t sure if Centering Prayer was an efficient use of my time.

I continuously had these thoughts creeping in and thought that this is not what Centering Prayer is “supposed to be.” But then I realized that these thoughts weren’t ones of daily tasks and chores, but deeper wanderings of my imagination. I remembered ideas and longings of doing new projects or hobbies that would bring me great joy and allow me to be in conversation with God that have recently been lost within the busy day-to-day.

This someone’s response to me was, “I want to affirm that this is absolutely an efficient use of your time because, in being a spiritually whole person, there is no better use of your time than making time for your relationship with God. And I would invite you to consider that maybe what it is ‘supposed to be’ is what it ends up being.”

It was a reminder that in cultivating my relationship with God, it isn’t “supposed to be” one way or another. Rather, that as long as I’m taking the time to practice simply being, then it will deepen. And if this practice ebbs and flows in my routine, there is no love lost between myself and God. God will always be present.

2022 Lenten Speaker Series: Do this in Remembrance of Me… Forgive

This year’s Lenten Supper and Speaker series focuses of on the redeeming work of Jesus and our work of his Kingdom. It is titled “Do this in Remembrance of Me… Heal, Proclaim, Show Compassion, Forgive.” On Wednesday, March 30, the series concluded by focusing of the redeeming work of forgiving with guest speaker the Rev. Deacon Peggy Newman, a LCSW and Vocational Deacon in the Episcopal Church. Listen to Peggy’s talk in its entirety below:

A Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

Sunday, March 27, 2022

By: David May, Rector


I used to cross the Norris Bridge that connects the Middle Peninsula with the Northern Neck at White Stone all the time. Where the bridge goes across the Rappahannock River the water is a mile or more across. It’s hard to take a good look when you’re driving across the bridge, but even a quick glance is breathtaking. To the west, the river stays broad into the distance; to the east, the wide river flows out into the great Chesapeake Bay and beyond. If you were to trace the river west, (say you could fly just above the surface) it would still be broad – a mile across at least – as you reach the crossing at Tappahannock. Further west, as you go on, the river stays broad until it narrows suddenly just east of Port Royal near the fall line below Fredericksburg. At this point, the ocean tide ceases to influence the rise and fall of the river, and the water becomes entirely fresh for the first time. Traveling still further west, you arrive at a branching where the Rappahannock continues to the north while the Rapidan River flows off to the south. Into the hilly country still further west, the Rappahannock narrows more past Culpepper , and runs northwest til it plunges into the mountains south of Front Royal. Somewhere below Chester Gap, in the shadow of Mount Marshall’s 3,368 foot peak, the Rappahannock contracts from a hurrying river to a narrower stream, to a racing creek, til it arrives at its spring and source. In all, the river runs 184 miles, from a spring breaking out of the mountains, to the broad ocean-like mouth near the bridge at White Stone.

One day when I was stopped at the top of the bridge for roadwork perched 110 feet above the river’s surface, I had a funny thought. I thought, what if you could find your way to the source where the original spring breaks clear of the earth and begins to flows out…and what if a leaf dropped onto that fresh surface. (For all we know, that could’ve just happened!) Could that leaf make it all the way to the Bay? Seems unlikely doesn’t it. Too many obstacles along the way. It would just have to get lost somewhere along the way, rigtht?. But stranger things have happened. Consider this…

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Learning to Forgive

Lenten Reflection, Friday, March 25

By: Stephanie Williams

This week’s Gospel lesson is about forgiveness. As I sit here and think about that word, it occurs to me how foundational it is in our lives, starting even as young children. When our son knows he has made a mistake, the first question that he wants answered is, “Do you forgive me?” Yes, this is his question, even before the question, “Mom, can I have more Robux now?”

Confirming that I am “okay” with someone is what brings me comfort and allows me to move forward. Not only does it feel good to be forgiven, but it also feels just as good to forgive. There are times when I wrestle with whether or not I can or if I even want to, but ultimately, the burden is too heavy. The weight has to be lifted. Forgiveness is healing for both the Forgiver and the Forgivee. I hope that in our actions we are showing our son the real and positive impact of forgiveness so that he may grow up to be brave and forgive, even when it is really hard.

I am blessed to say that I have never been really “wronged” in my life. I have never experienced a tragedy incurred by another forcing me to forgive at a depth where the pressure is the strongest, but I know of people who have and have heard or read their stories that seem like modern Biblical tales. My husband told me the story of his Episcopal priest. His daughter was killed one night while at college in a random act of violence. The next Sunday was Father’s Day. This priest, the father who had just lost his daughter so tragically, stood in the pulpit, delivered the Father’s Day sermon, and forgave his daughter’s killer and asked the parish to pray for him. Like Jesus, these Forgivers are examples of some of the strongest, bravest people I know or have ever heard of. I want to be like them when I grow up.

2022 Lenten Speaker Series: Do this in Remembrance of Me… Show Compassion

This year’s Lenten Supper and Speaker series focuses of on the redeeming work of Jesus and our work of his Kingdom. It is titled “Do this in Remembrance of Me… Heal, Proclaim, Show Compassion, Forgive.” On Wednesday, March 23, the series continued by focusing of the redeeming work of showing compassion with guest speaker the Rev. Ben Campbell, a retired Episcopal priest. Listen to Ben’s talk in its entirety below: