Women’s Listening Prayer
Wednesday, Jan. 14, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Dawn Lundgren’s home
1545 Arden Place, Arden Hills
Call Barbie Anderson with questions: 651-491-3536
Ever wonder why you act the way you do? What keeps us from living out of the heart of love and joy that our Lord has provided? Those are, in essence, the questions before us as we continue together in Women’s Listening Prayer. Every woman of Church of the Redeemer is invited to join us as we consider the answers to these questions through worship, through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, through listening to one woman share her story, through a time of quiet personal reflection before the Lord, and through prayer in groups of three. Here is what we have learned so far:
Joy is a relational word. Joy is imparted to the human soul through relationship. Without relationship it does not come into being. An infant’s primary, primal, experience of joy happens directly and only in a relationship. The mother looks into her baby’s eyes, and, with her own delight at the baby’s existence, she imparts the smiles, the laughter, the joy to her infant. She calls joy into being, and it is absolutely relational. Thousands upon thousands of times, the baby’s parents call up and establish joy in their child. Siblings and grandparents perform extreme antics for a smile, and the antics are always accompanied by a facial expression that says, “Hi, you! I am so glad to be here with you!” Think now of the Lord Christ who actually stands at the door of your heart and knocks. Revelation 3:20
As the infant matures into a toddler and experiences the full range of difficult human emotions, it is the parent’s task to help her find her way back from fear, sadness, and anger to joy, to relationship. The mother uses her presence to help the child find the emotional road back to joy. The comfort that a parent offers to a child is, in essence, her presence. Biologists who study the brain now understand that neural pathways are thereby laid down in the brain to “integrate” the brain, to increasingly connect different centers of emotion and thought neurologically, as a parent again and again responds to the cries for help with his presence. We have each developed in this way to one degree or another. The question for each of us is: “To what degree is relational joy my steady state, the place of relationship with God and others to which I return from the difficult emotions of my life?” The place in which relational joy is not one’s steady state is the place where the Holy Spirit is ready to work.
The Apostle Paul in Ephesians announces boldly that there is a life of love and joy in Christ for each of us, that transformation is real and available. The Scriptures are also quite clear that the new way of living is a mystic combination of the work of the Holy Spirit and our own participation and willingness to receive grace through the means that God has provided. One essential means is the Body of Christ, the Church, each other. To the degree that all of us are, in our fallen state, “disintegrated,” fractured, and broken, Ephesians assures us that God intends in Christ to make everything whole, and he will do it in us together. The Christian life is not independent study; it cannot be lived alone. Lonely pleasures are not the foundational relational joy for which God designed us and to which end our mothers comforted us. Come, and invite the Holy Spirit to minister his love and joy in your heart through the women of Church of the Redeemer.
– Barbie Anderson