The Contemplative Companion for Wednesday, September 27, 2017

At the time of the evening sacrifice, I, Ezra, rose in my wretchedness,
and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees,
stretching out my hands to the LORD, my God. – Ezra 9.5

Today’s lectionary reading from the book of Ezra sets a dire tone, and reminds us that we’re not the first culture to experience confusion, conflict and decline.

Ezra demonstrates at least three principles for our emulation and, perhaps encouragement:

First, practice a daily rule of prayer. Live by the prayer of the hours. As much as possible, seek to cultivate a daily life built around set times for prayer – morning, noon and night.

Second, when you pray and worship, incorporate your body. Rise. Kneel. Weep. Dance. Stretch out. Lift hands. All such embodied expressions are useful and vital for our well being and spiritual development. Physical movement moves spiritual energy. It’s easy to grow sedentary, rote and muted in our religious expression. Focused work against such normal ossification takes intention and will.

Third, remember Almighty God. It is easy to make spirituality all about our self development, well being and “happiness.” Of course that is a part of spiritual life, but not its primary motivation. Suffering has a way of waking us up to the Ultimate Reality of God – reminding us of our contingency to God – our source of Life, Truth and Love. Remembering God and loving God with our whole being, these are our first priorities, and Ezra’s reminder and witness.

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1 Comment

  1. Not just for today but for every day I give thanks for this beautiful devotional teaching…a gentle leading to study, learn and grow deeper in the love and knowledge available!


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