• Eirenicole

Embracing Joy

Embracing Joy 1080 1080 Nicole

To be eirenic is to be aimed at peace, oriented toward reconciliation. As a centering prayer I have adopted the prayer attributed to St. Frances, Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. So, that is why I call my website Eirenicole – a composite of eirenic and Nicole.

For Lent, we are using the book, The Art of Lent: A Painting a Day From Ash Wednesday to Easter, by Sister Wendy Beckett. This week, the theme is joy. Our meditation for today is entitled, “Embracing Joy,” and the focus of our attention will be on the painting, By Moonlight, 1994, by Margaret Neve. The image is included in the post for this podcast, and accompanies the places where this is posted. If you do not have access to the photo, but do have access to internet, you can google “By Moonlight, 1994, by Margaret Neve.”

So as you settle in your space, pay attention to your breathing.

Notice your breath as it passes in through your nose, out through your mouth.

Pay attention, slowing your breath a bit.

Embrace silence, surrender your thoughts to quiet

Settling into the awareness that God is present.

And as you recognize God’s presence, bring your thoughts to earlier in the day.

When did you notice moving away from God’s love?

Was it regret or disappointment? Or maybe fear? Or a careless word said?

Notice it. Recognize it for what it is.

Breathe out an acknowledgment that Jesus meets you here, within it.

Breathe in the grace that God fills this space.

As you breathe out, exhale a prayer of relinquishment.

Continue breathing in and out, allow the Spirit to saturate, to fill you with strength.

Pay attention to God’s invitation to be present.

Settle into the peace of Christ as you listen. Hear the mediation and notice what the spirit of God draws your attention to in this painting. What is Jesus speaking to you here, now?

“We surrender to joy: we have no option …. while greeting joy as integral to our very substance.”

Is it possible to recognize grief as human experience, to surrender to it, yet not succumb? If grief, if suffering, is a feature of being human – being alive – to resist, rail against it even, would serve only to generate more pain.

What if, in our suffering, we were to open our arms wide, as with the girl in this painting – expose every bit of every wound, unprotected from our meager attempts to shield?

What if we abandon ourselves at cliff’s edge and give permission to the Spirit, notice the Comforter, healing breath – ruah, that is the very air we all breathe – whirl around and encircle, embrace us, hold us in our suffering?

Because no longer attempting to cover your grief, your suffering, the “silky air” is free to minister to your wounds, every inch of you swathed in healing breath – you are fairly held aloft, entirely surrendered to embracing joy.

How is joy meeting you in this moment?

May real joy suffuse you this day, and may you walk at the pace of grace.

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About the author

Nicole

Nicole Oliver Snyder’s expertise lies in the areas of leadership, gender issues, and mindfulness practice as it affects both. Leadership, particularly in an urban setting, requires community-relations skills, and an ability to clearly convey justice issues as they relate to felt, spiritual ones. Dr. Snyder is author of Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone, and specializes in teaching mindfulness leadership development, formative spirituality, counseling, and Old Testament theology (emphasis on justice issues). She has a diverse background in international community-relations work combined with volunteer work in multi-ethnic communities, and with local institutions. She is an ordained Clergy; holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies, w/Education Certificate, an MA-Counseling, MDiv Equiv., holds a Doctor of Ministry and Advanced Certification in Formative Spiritual Direction, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (MI).