Writing as Spiritual Practice
Please note: Writing as Spiritual Practice will meet at 9:15 am June 4-August 6.
Lay Minister, Emerita, Myrna Adams West, facilitates “Writing as Spiritual Practice” first Sundays at 9:15 am in the couch room near Rev. Alison’s office. This group offers an opportunity to explore spiritual expression through various genres.
Rev. Alison said in her sermon “Going Beyond, Going Within,” and I’m paraphrasing here, spiritual practice takes one outside of self or within self. It transcends the everyday attempts to put into words that which cannot be named or spoken. It is communication–pick one or more or make up your own word–with God or self or nature or the universe. When we engage in spiritual practice, we go beyond self-interest and give self away. Join us.
Overarching Theme for 2017-2018 Program Year: Love Calls Us On (New Program Year begins in July.)
Each Sunday the topic for the worship services will relate to that month’s theme, not as a series, but just another angle on a subject to deepen the exploration of that particular theme. The suggested prompts for Writing as Spiritual Practice assignments will follow the monthly worship themes.
The theme for August is “Returning.”
Choose one or more of the following or make up your own assignment:
- George Webber, the main character in Thomas Wolfe’s famous novel, You Can’t Go Home Again, realizes: “You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
- Have you returned to a place of your youth—a house, a school, a building? What had changed? Be specific and concrete in describing the changes. Then think philosophically. What/Who has really changed? Why?
- Is there a place you visit regularly because you just can’t stay away? What draws you back to this place? What is special—or ordinary—about this place that makes you want to return again and again? See Karen Rush Jones’ poem, “Buckeye Lake, Summer Pilgrimage,” for inspiration. Email Myrna for a copy.
- Is there a person or animal that you return to again and again? Or maybe one that returns to you again and again? Why? What is special or important about this person or animal? See Mary Oliver’s poem, “The First Time Percy Came Back,” below, for inspiration. Email Myrna for a copy. NOTE: Percy is her dog. 😉
- Is there a place that you never ever want to return to again? Why? What happened there that makes it so dreadful to you?
- Do you have recurring thoughts or dreams? Are they good or bad? Do you summon them, or do they come unbidden? Explain.
- The title chosen for Rev. Alison’s “homecoming” service is “Return Again,” taken from a chant that we often sing at the Solstice Services and will sing on August 6, #1011 in the turquoise hymnal. A line in the chant says, “Return to the home of your soul.” Where is the “home of your soul”?
- Do you ever experience déjà vu? How is that a “returning”? How does it make you feel? See the essay by Gary A. Kowalski, “Déjà Vu.” Email Myrna for a copy.
- Bonus Prompt! Rev. Alison has just returned from her sabbatical. Sunday, August 6, is her first Sunday back in a worship service. The following Sunday, August 13, will be her first Sunday back in the pulpit. The Worship Arts Committee is collecting special messages to her from members of the congregation. These messages can be about what she missed while she was gone or about how you grew/changed while she was away or what you wish you could have told her while she was incommunicado. You can include photographs, drawings, sketches, poems, songs, lists, letters, journal entries—whatever media will convey your ideas and feelings. Be sure to include your name(s).
Return/Send your message to Myrna by July 30 for inclusion in the August 6 presentation. Late entries may be added after August 6.
For more information or for copies of inspirational pieces for this assignment, contact Myrna.