Here are five things worth paying attention to this week. These are designed to expose you to a perspective you may not normally come across.
- Epiphany – Last Sunday, our church celebrated Epiphany. While many of my clergy friends chose to have a “star words” theme (cutout stars contain a word of hope the congregant is to carry with them into the new year), I spoke about darkness. We cannot truly understand the light of Epiphany, the brightness of the incarnation, if we first do not understand the darkness from which we come. God is not absent from darkness; rather, God is indeed with us in the darkness as well as the light. 2019 will surely bring us darkness as well as light. May we remember God’s presence with us as we enter the new year.
- Centering Prayer – While I try not to recommend a book I have not yet read, I have to make an exception with Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening by Cynthia Bourgeault. My co-pastor gave me this book at Christmas with the hopes that centering prayer could be a metaphorical port in the storm for me. While my younger self may have found centering prayer difficult, I am now finding how radically life changing it is. So far, this book is amazing. Read more reviews about it at Amazon
- Sojourners Daily Verse – Did you know Sojourners has a daily inbox devotional for folks dedicated to social justice? I didn’t, but now I get a daily verse, prayer and quote sent to my email. It’s brief but powerful and thought provoking. Even for those who are busy, this devotional will fit your schedule.
- The Working Poor and the Modern Economy – While today’s economy boasts jobs opening up across the country, not all who are employed are able to “make it.” Full-time employment does not guarantee a way out of poverty. This article follows a woman named Vanessa who works long, difficult hours as a home-health aide (a burgeoning job opportunity that promises inconsistent hours for barely minimum wage) while also parenting.
- Pay Attention to Your Health – It’s cold and flu season. Don’t be a hero. Stay home if you’re sick and help immune-compromised folks. Wash your hands. Drink plenty of water. Get some good sleep. You can’t be your best if you don’t first take care of yourself.
Joanne K. Gallardo is Pastor of Faith Formation at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship.