Spiritual Exercises – Covenant

Spiritual Exercises - Covenant

Option 1) Live in the Plural

UU minister and writer Victoria Safford writes:

We are bound by coven­ant, each to each and each to all, by what theologian Rebecca Parker calls “freely chosen and life-sustaining interdependence.” The central question for us is not, “What do we believe?” but more, “What do we believe in? To what larger love, to what people, principles, values, and dreams shall we be committed? To whom, to what, are we accountable?” In a tradition so deeply steeped in individualism, it becomes a spiritual practice for each of us to ask [these questions], not once and for all, but again and again. … The life of the spirit is solitary, but our answers to these questions call us to speak, call us to live, in the plural.

Full article here: http://www.uuworld.org/articles/bound-in-covenant

What might it mean to live more consciously “in the plural”?

For this exercise, get out a big sheet of paper and write “ME” in the middle of it. Then start adding the people, principles, values, and dreams you’re committed to. Draw lines of connection, creating a mind map of the network of covenants you live within. Make lines thicker or shorter for strong connections.

When you’re done, set it aside for a few days. Then come back to it and notice what stands out for you and, also, what is missing in your web. What covenantal relationships do you have in your life?  Which ones are your priority?  Which ones need some attention?

Bring your mind map and your insights to your small group.


Option 2) Return & Repair

UU Minister Gretchen Haley writes:

“What our faith asks of us, what our faith imagines for us, is that somehow, right at that moment when our hearts break, we will find our way to see through that heartbreak.  We will stay put – not close off, not run away, not hurt back – but keep on being in relationship, doing what we can to repair the world and each other.”

This exercise asks you to do the work of return and repair.

Pick a relationship of heartbreak in your life.  Maybe it involves a friend or family member, maybe even someone who is no longer living. Maybe a neighbour. Maybe even an institution, like your church or our government. Whoever or whichever it is, make time this month to return to that relationship and work on repair.

Take some time on a walk, or when you have time to contemplate and ask yourself “Where have I withdrawn, been betrayed or broken something myself?” Your heart will know the answer. Listen to what it says.  Be patient and give yourself time to acknowledge your struggles and hurt.

Then open your heart one more time and lean into relationship once again, doing what you can to repair what you can.  This may be as simple or as hard as a quick hello or a phone call, writing an email, or writing a letter of forgiveness, even to yourself.  It may be a change in attitude.

Come and share your story with the group.


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