Quiet the Soul; Open the Senses

March 3, 2021 The Ministry Lab’s Midweek Retreat shared a practice for Allowing the Senses to Be Alert. Later that day, Cooking with Elsa’s blog post with additional Opening the Senses meditations appeared in our inbox. So, thanks to Rev. Elsa Cook for sharing these Great Ideas!

Rev. Cook suggests building silence and contemplation into a regular worship service. Recent milestones: the one-year anniversary of many of us going to online worship; marking the death of 500,000 US residents; and now (not on Cook’s radar, but certainly on ours), the beginning of the Derek Chauvin trial here in Minneapolis – all call for more reflective moments in our gatherings.

Rev. Cook offers liturgical framework for times of silence, utilizing RCL texts from Lent 4. While those texts may have gone by the wayside, her elements remain appropriate and applicable for at least the remainder of Lent.

She also created a sensory grounding practice, based on this one from University of Rochester Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Partners. Melissa Nunes-Harwitt, LMSW, shares this additional anxiety-reducing practice here in video form. Cook created a litany to incorporate these concepts into worship, also available through her blog here.

Either form – or both – might be healing for all ages when shared collectively in worship, study groups, leadership or staff meetings, or at the beginning or end of an activity time. You could use a version of these to flesh out (literally) a Maundy Thursday or Good Friday experience: connecting the body to the Passion narrative in very tangible and nuanced ways. Michel Le Gribble offers Story & Stretch yoga practices for Palm Sunday, the Triduum, and Resurrection Sunday that may also be highly effective for this type of experience.

Folks are feeling highly anxious, uncertain, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Helping people connect with their bodies and connect their emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual realities may help foster a sense of renewal and resilience. It may help you, dear leaders, in the same way!

Feel free to register for Midweek Retreat, where we practice similar forms of prayer each Wednesday at noon (CST).