Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

Hanging Out in the Light

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Last weekend I helped lead an event at Holy Cross Retreat Center. The days were long and full, which meant that we were traipsing about between buildings long after nightfall. The retreat center is located near an acequia, or irrigation ditch, which is used to water the pecan groves which surround it. This meant that I saw something I have seldom seen since I lived near the Rio Grande River as a child: toads.

IMG_1613Every night we noticed large toads hanging out by the lights which illuminated the various pathways. It didn’t take long for me to realize that they were there because the lights attracted bugs, which became dinner for the toads. Smart toads.

As I reflected on those toads, it led me to wonder what lights I frequent. Do I hang out where I will be nourished? I hang out in my garden, which is already providing me with lettuce, cilantro, chard, and onions, and promises to provide much more as the season progresses. The garden also provides me with ideas and images that are food for my spiritual life, and sometimes end up in my blogs.

There are other lights in my life, including a series of free online artist interviews I’m listening to right now. The various artists are sharing some of the wisdom of their craft and their own experiences. By hanging out in their light, I’m helped to make connections with my own spiritual and creative life, and gain some new ideas for living out my own ministry.

Another light in my life is Embodied Prayer worship. I end many of my Embodied Prayer sessions with a sacred circle dance called The Source, where we take the source (whatever that might mean in a particular moment: love, peace, God, Jesus, light, inspiration), gather it to our hearts, and then share it with the world. It’s a powerful way to close our worship session because it reminds us that this experience is not just meant to nurture us and connect us with God, but also to help us spread God’s love to the world.

IMG_1620What lights do you frequent? Where do you hang out and gain nourishment? It might be reading scripture and spiritual books, walking in nature, singing in the choir, teaching the next generation…. What else comes to mind?

Are there lights that you no longer frequent, but that still tug at your heart? Might it be time to seek out those lights again?

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