As a mystic, [Howard] Thurman understood that the inner life, the contemplative life, was key to obtaining the spiritual freedom needed to do the outer work of justice.
… In many majority white churches, pastors are criticized for social-justice sermons, while in groups organized around social action, spirituality is often dismissed as navel-gazing or narcissism. However, as Thurman teaches us, neither position is the one put forward by Jesus. Rather, a deep listening to Jesus draws us both into our selves and onto the streets. Jesus listened to both his Father and the cry of people with leprosy who were discarded by society. In doing so, Jesus is not following two calls—one to God and one to those in need—but a single call that says, “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40).
—Daniel Wolpert, Creating a Life with God: The Call of Ancient Prayer Practices, 20th Anniversary Revised Edition (Upper Room Books, 2023)
How much time do you typically spend in “deep listening” to Jesus? Join the conversation.
Now as they went on their way, [Jesus] entered a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him.She had a sister named Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to what he was saying. … Martha was distracted by her many tasks, so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her, then, to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things, but few things are needed—indeed only one. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
—Luke 10:38-39, 40-42
Prayer for the Week
Holy God, help me to spend time each day focusing on you. Guide me as I try different ways of praying, and help me to grow ever closer to you. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
Creating a Life with God is celebrating its 20th anniversary with this revised and updated release. Over the past 20 years, author Daniel Wolpert has inspired many to reflect on a life of prayer and what it means to be intentional about creating daily life with God. In this edition, two new chapters ask how we can use the practice of prayer to engage a world in crisis. Learn more here.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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