Today, what brought me to being awake to the Divine, was working on and implementing a ritual that I am sharing with you here. How do you use ritual to be awake to God?
This evening, I did a ritual with my interns. It was the ending of our formal relationship as supervisor / intern and the beginning of a journey into being colleagues! Definitely a sacred time. As I pondered what to do, I knew two things.
- LaPadre had given me the framework for ritual creation.
- I wanted a ritual that honored releasing of my interns to the world and a way to release the many things that chaplains of incarcerated juveniles carry.
I lay pondering these things and then I went, “Ah-ha!” I had a God-breathed inspiration. And it was all based on breath, wind, spirit, and release.
And so, now that it is complete, I share the ritual with you and I hope that you will be inspired to find your own way of entering in sacred space!
Phase 1: Create Sacred Space
When Moses was asked by God to go free the Israelites from Pharoah, he asked God for credentials. “What is your name?” he asked. And God answered with the sacred name.
Warning! If you are Jewish, please turn away. The sacred name is used here.
The sacred name, JHWH, was God’s answer. This is the verb, “to be.” Meaning God’s name is I was, I am, and I will be. We usually shorten it to I AM. Now, I heard this story at a Spiritual Director’s International Conference-a woman discussed this with an old Rabbi friend. And he told her a few things, first, when this was written, there were no vowels used. So Yahweh or Jehovah are essentially made up vowel inserts. If you try to pronounce JHWH without the vowels and with the growly Hebrew it sounds very breathy and windy—like the wind of Genesis 1 that swept across the face of the waters.
Hold this in mind as we establish our sacred space.
Now we are going to do a body prayer. It is easy. Only your arms will move!
Say: Your pattern is perfection
Move: Your hands start over your heart. From there, they extend upward to the sky and then return to the heart
Say: It quiets the soul that knows it
Move: Your hands from your heart. From there, they extend downward to the earth and then return to the heart
Say: And it’s eloquent expression
Move: Your hands from your heart. From there, they extend forward to others and then return to the heart
Say: Makes everything clear
Move: Your hands from your heart. From there, they extend behind you and then return to your heart.
Say: So that even the simple
Move: Your hands from your heart. From there, they extend up and outward, sweeping into a large circle, reaching out to the cosmos, then return to your heart.
Say: Are wise
Move: Simply keep your hands over your heart and pulse two heartbeats.
Repeat 2 times. Then one last time without words. Just the motions.
Say: Let the meditation of our heart
Move: Your right hand out and open upward in offering
Say: Be acceptable in your sight
Move: Your left hand out and open upward in offering
Say: oh YHWH (say it like the breath of God)
Move: Your hands come together like you are holding a megaphone up to your mouth, then push outward to the universe
Say: Our breath, our release
Move: Circle your hands around and clap them together when you say the word “release”
Phase 2: Declare Intention
This is a moment in our day, when we gather here to honor one another and to release each other and all that we have carried together.
From Psalm 119
33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes,
and I will observe it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
36 Turn my heart to your decrees,
and not to selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes from looking at vanities;
give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise,
which is for those who fear you.
39 Turn away the disgrace that I dread,
for your ordinances are good.
40 See, I have longed for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life.
41 Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise.
42 Then I shall have an answer for those who taunt me,
for I trust in your word.
43 Do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your ordinances.
44 I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever.
45 I shall walk at liberty,
for I have sought your precepts.
46 I will also speak of your decrees before kings,
and shall not be put to shame;
47 I find my delight in your commandments,
because I love them.
48 I revere your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.
Phase 3: Body of the Ritual
We have bubbles. We will name our release and blow the bubbles into the cosmos.
I release injustice. <blow>
I release K. <blow>
I release racism. <blow>
I release fixing. <blow>
I release consumerism. <blow>
I release choices. <blow>
What do you release?
Phase 4: Closing
This is from The Work of the People, Kelly Ann Hall
Be confident, beloved, rest assured
for I Am among the givers and takers;
afflicters and afflicted;
the self-less, and the selfish.
I know by name
the run-and-hiders and surrenderers,
masked avengers and offenders—
I am with you as you prioritize Me, and when you put your way first—
I AM here. I still Am.
I met Moses on the mountaintop, and sought Aaron at its base
and I will be with you in your highs and lows.
No one is missed! No one can hide!
My presence is always now,
and now is what matters.
I am with you now.
So, trust Me when you can.
I cover you, even when you can’t.
I continue to pursue you,
to love and free you
and welcome you into My now
where I AM, always.
by Terri Stewart