I’m thrilled to say that I received a direct message on my Twitter account (@psdlund) the other day from Frederic Brussat regarding these small group ministry session I’ve been putting together using material from Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat’s website spiritualityandpractice.com. He said he was “thrilled & honored by your small group ministry sessions organized around our…practices. They are helpful, accessible & elegant!” As I said, I’m the one who’s thrilled by this. And I’m honored to say Frederic has given me permission to go ahead and create more of these sessions based on their Spiritual Rx practices they’ve developed. My goal is to add a new one each Sunday. So, without further ado, here’s the first: Attention (because they’re, you know, in alphabetical order).

Discovering the World Anew

Chalice/Candle Lighting

Opening Words:

Permit me to say without reservation that if all people were attentive, if they would undertake to be attentive every moment of their lives, they would discover the world anew. They would suddenly see that the world is entirely different from what they had believed it to be. — Jacques Lusseyran in Against the Pollution of the I

Check-in/Sharing

Topic:

A Teaching Story from Clowning in Rome: Reflections on Solitude, Celibacy, Prayer, and Contemplation by Henri J. M. Nouwen

In this volume of his lectures, Henri J. M. Nouwen shares his reflections on four clown-like elements in the spiritual life. In this passage the author exhorts us to pay close attention to the natural world.
“Our difficult and very urgent task is to accept the truth that nature is not primarily a property to be possessed, but a gift to be received with admiration and gratitude. Only when we make a deep bow to the rivers, oceans, hills, and mountains that offer us a home, only then can they become transparent and reveal to us their real meaning.

“A friend once gave me a beautiful photograph of a water lily. I asked him how he had been able to take such a splendid picture. With a smile he said, ‘Well, I had to be very patient and very attentive. It was only after a few hours of compliments that the lily was willing to let me take her picture.'”

Questions: Share a story about a time when paying attention enriched your understanding of a relationship, an event, or the natural world.

Check-out/Likes and Wishes

Closing Words:

Just remember that those things that get attention flourish. — Victoria Moran in Shelter for the Spirit

To Practice This Thought: Take time to really see what is right in front of you.

Group Session Plan based on resources on Attention from www.spiritualityandpractice.com.

For a PDF version of this small group ministry session, click here: Attention.

For more information on small group ministry, visit the UU Small Group Ministry Network.

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