My Continuing Education retreat a few weeks ago was wonderful. Ghost Ranch in the high desert of New Mexico is truly what the early Christians in Celtic lands called a “thin place” – a place where earth and heaven are very close together.
The course I took was called “Soul Collage® As A Spiritual Path.” We began each session with a wonderful ritual. Our teacher, Kat Kirby, “rang us into the present moment” with a Tibetan Singing bowl. The bowl is struck with a mallet, and then the mallet is gently run around the edge of the bowl. A lovely, luminous tone fills the air, calling us to mindfulness of the present moment, and the Presence of the Holy.
Bells often have a ritual use. My friends Rev. Deke and Wendy Spierling have a lovely bell they strike before they thank God for the food at the dinner table. Deke refers to it as “the bell of mindfulness.” It is a lovely ritual which brings them (and Howard and I, when we are their guests) into the present moment—where God is.
We at New Hempstead do this every Sunday morning before we begin the worship service. Kryste gives that big ol’ rope several good tugs and rings in the hour—the hour in which we worship God as a community.
What ritual—of sight, sound, touch, smell or taste, can you think of to make a part of your prayer life? You might consider a bell to “ring you in,” to remind you that as you pray, you are stepping out of chronos—clock time; and into Kairos—God’s time.
Bells. They are not just for Christmas anymore!
Love, Grace and Peace,