Coming Up in 2019-2020
Continuing Classes and Offerings
the Gospel of Thomas
1st and 3rd Thursdays, 7:30 pm
The Gospel of Thomas is new to most of us and it is at the same time ancient. It may well be the oldest of the gospel writings. This gathering of sayings of Jesus seems to have been a source for the writers of the canonical gospels. The sayings from this text, which was found in a cave in Egypt in 1945, have contributed to a new appreciation of Jesus as a wisdom teacher in the Eastern tradition. We meet twice a month to work with one or two of the 114 sayings through lectio divina, or sacred listening. All are welcome for this reflection/meditation/discussion gathering. You do not need to have attended previous meetings to participate.
2nd, 4th, and 5th Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.
We gather on these Thursdays for conversation about the Spiritual Life. We meet in this community of others who, with us, long to become the sound, whole persons our traditions tell us we were created to become. The leader for the evening opens with a reading, we share the guidelines for welcoming conversation, then those who wish to are invited to speak about the experience of trying to live intentionally the life to which they feel called.
Awakening to Reality:
Thomas Merton on the Contemplative Life
February 10, 17 & 24
7:30 -9:00 pm
With L.J. Milone
Thomas Merton was long driven by the question, “what is contemplation?” His life is a testimony to contemplation being at the core of the Christian experience. Additionally, in his later years, Merton realized that contemplation was necessary for the life of the world and for humanity. Merton wrote, “contemplation is a sudden gift of awareness, an awakening to the Real within all that is real.”
In this series of talks, we will discuss what Merton discovered to be the meaning of contemplation and how we might live more contemplative lives in our daily existence. We will look at a few of Merton’s later works to probe the theme of contemplation as awakening to reality.
L.J. Milone is the Director of Faith Formation at St. John the Baptist in Silver Spring, MD. He has been working in pastoral and contemplative ministry through a Catholic parish and the centering prayer movement for over a decade. L. J. is working on a new book on Meister Eckhart.
Midrash - Seeking a Deeper Understanding of Contemporary Issues Using Lessons from Biblical Text
March 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Join us for a different kind of Bible study--one where you are listened to before you are taught, where theology mixes with vulnerability, where all voices hold an important space in the conversation, and where you are free to have more questions than answers.
The ancient practice of midrash seeks answers to religious questions by plumbing the meaning of the words of the Torah. Jesus, like other Jews of his time, approached Hebrew scripture with the assumption that God had been in dialogue with humanity since the beginning; He used midrash as a way of participating in that dialogue. Midrash allows the text and the Spirit of God (Ruach Elohim) to open us up to transformation; it can help us respond to contemporary problems by making connections with lessons gleaned from Biblical texts.*
Rabbi Alan is a Massachusetts-based congregational rabbi turned itinerant spiritual leader who has devoted his life to teaching the Bible to Jews and non-Jews in America, Israel, and around the world. Rabbi Alan uses the Socratic method of teaching--seeking to connect his students to the text, relating passages studied to issues and concerns brought forth by the students, and bringing forth those moments when the Ruach Elohim enters a time of study.
Group Spiritual Direction
The singular intention of spiritual direction is companionship and support in our relationship with the “something greater” that we sense at work in our lives. In group spiritual direction, we form a community with others who share our desire for connection to the divine other. We agree to accompany and support one another on our spiritual journeys.
The process centers around silence. Trusting that the spirit is present within and among us, we weave into the sharing of our stories and experiences quiet space to sense that presence. Group members may offer a question or a reflection that comes out of our prayerful listening. At other times, silent prayer for the other will be the richest offering.
If you feel you may be called to go deeper by discerning in community, or if you have questions and would like to know more, contact Lisa Richard or John Baker. One group has already begun and meets on a monthly basis. Additional groups of three to five people may form at any time during the year when there is interest.
One-on-One Spiritual Direction
Tilden Edwards writes in Spiritual Director, Spiritual Companion of our yearning “…for a soul-friend with whom we can share our desire for the Holy One and with whom we can try to identify and embrace the hints of divine Presence and invitation in our lives. Neither soul-friends nor anyone else can fully enter our deep soul space. However, they can listen to our articulations of it, silently open these to God as soon as they are heard, and occasionally speak when something is heard in that openness that seems to be meant for [us].”
A spiritual director (or guide, or companion, or friend) is someone who holds a space for our stories of the journey and listens with us for the workings of that greater “something.” The work of the Spirit in our lives can often be heard in our own voices--seen in our own faces and our own eyes. Companions on the journey can hold up the mirror that lets us see it.
If you feel you may be called to one-on-one spiritual direction, or if you have questions and would like to know more, contact Lisa Richard or John Baker. We have contact information for a number of local directors and can help you connect with them. Note that directors generally meet with people once a month; some charge a fee, while others do not. Each director’s approach is different, so it can help to talk with more than one before you make your decision.
Every Week at St. Aidan's
Worship, Prayer, & Meditation
Tuesday and Friday mornings at 8:00 am
We light a candle and spend 25 minutes in silence. The last person out of the room blows out the candle. It is that simple. Those who seek to include meditation in their weekly practice often find it easier to do so in the company of others.
Every Sunday, 5:30 pm
Sunday Evening Celtic Service
Candles, gentle music, and silence enhance this simple Eucharist. The service includes poetry, a reading from the day’s scripture lessons, and a meditation, as well as communion where all are welcome. On the third Sunday of the month, a community dinner follows the service.
St. Aidan’s has two labyrinths for walking prayer and meditation. The outdoor labyrinth, located between the memorial garden and Riverside Road, is always available. The labyrinth in the church is available most of the year and is used during special services and retreats. We can also arrange to open the church at other times for those who would like to walk the labyrinth.