Soul Care Week Six: Encountering Silence

Join us for our final podcast of the Soul Care series, on the gift and challenge of silence prayer.

“God’s first language 

is silence.

Everything else,

is a poor translation.”

-Fr. Thomas Keating

Pray as you go: Centering Prayer

Centering Prayer is a receptive method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God’s presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. – Contemplative Outreach

A Guide to Centering Prayer from Gravity: A Center for Contemplative Activism

  1. Sit in an upright, attentive posture in a way that allows for an erect spine and open heart. Place hands in your lap.
  2. Gently close your eyes and bring to mind your sacred word, image or breath as your symbol to consent to the presence and action of God within you. Your sacred symbol is intended to be the same every time you pray. It helps to ground you in the present moment, allowing you to give your undivided loving, yielded attention to God. Choose a name for God or a characteristic for God like, Love, Peace, etc.
  3. Silently, with eyes closed, recall your sacred symbol to begin your prayer. As you notice your thoughts, gently return to your sacred word. Do this however many times you notice your thoughts.
  4. When your prayer period is over, transition slowly from your prayer practice to your active life.

It is recommended to pray in this fashion for a minimum of 20 minutes, two times a day. Start out slowly with initial prayer periods of five to ten minutes, working up to the desired length of time.


Intimacy with God: An Introduction to Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating
Into the Silent Land Martin Laird: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation by Martin Laird
The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice by Cynthia Bourgeault
Breathing Underwater: Spirituality & the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr
The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Chris Heuertz

Resources from Cynthia Bourgeault
The Center for Action and Contemplation
Daily Meditations from Richard Rohr

Family Practice: Shadow Art

Indoor or Outdoor shadow activities work for all ages.

The key is to have a source of light, your body or a toy as the object to block it, and a surface for the shadow to fall upon.

This exercise will help you stay still for a while.

Trace a shadow of your hand, a toy, or have a family member trace a shadow of your face or body.

You are indeed created in the Image of God.

Just Be Still.

Soul Care Week Five: Getting Lost

Join us on the podcast this week as we talk about the spiritual practice of getting lost, learning to navigate the wilderness of place and soul.

The wilderness

holds answers

to more questions

than we have yet

learned to ask.

– Nancy Newhall

Pray as you go: The Welcoming Prayer

Sink into this three part prayer that helps us welcome uncomfortable feelings and experiences and find God in the midst of one.

First, feel and sink into what you are experiencing this moment in your body.

Next, “welcome” what you are experiencing this moment in your body as an opportunity to consent to the Divine Indwelling.

Finally, Let go by saying “I let go of my desire for security, affection, control and embrace this moment as it is.”

“Start practicing the  Welcoming Prayer with the little things in life  — small,  everyday frustrations like sitting in traffic or waiting in line at the grocery store.  Practicing with the small things prepares us for the bigger upsets.”

Learn more about The Welcoming Prayer at


Grab some crayons,
or colored pencils
and retreat into your
cave as a family
and color a picture
of a Wild Cactus

Soul Care Week Four: Nourishing Creativity

Join us on the podcast this week as we talk about creativity as a spiritual practice!

When you were a child, you knew yourself to be co-creator of the universe.

But little by little you forgot who you were.

-Mirabai Starr,
Wild Mercy

Pray as you go: Put Two Things Together

The practice of creativity is more broad than we give it credit for. Chase Jarvis, the author of Creative Calling defines creativity as “the act of combining or arranging two or more unlikely things in new or useful ways.”

This week, get creative in some small way--through your work, your parenting, your cooking, or the aesthetic of your space, by putting two or more unlikely things together.

Consider this your prayer.

God created us in God’s image, and we were made to be co-creators with God. When we tap into our creative spark, we tap into the Spirit of God within us.

Family Practice: COLLage

This cut-and-glue craft activity for families helps build creativity, improve motor skills, and create memorable pieces of art.

scissors (child safety if you have young ones)
colored paper with predetermined shapes
magazine clippings or photos
drawing paper
cloth, wood, stickers, or any other items you have around

Gather your supplies and invite everyone to spend time together at the table. Open with a prayer, thanking God for creating the world, and for inviting us to create, too. You can make a family collage together, or each make your own collage. When you are finished, ask each member of the family to share about what they created.

Soul Care Week Three: Offering Gratitude

Join us on the podcast this week as we talk about the science, the art, and the spirituality of gratitude.

Wear gratitude

like a cloak,

and it will feed

every corner

of your life.


Pray As You Go: The Examen Prayer

St. Ignatius of Loyola was a 14th century catholic priest who founded the monastic order of the Jesuits, which is still alive and thriving today. In his writings Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius invited the monks to examine their conscience daily, looking for the movement of God in their lives and giving thanks. There are a few days you can practice the Prayer of Examen.

At the end of each day, spend a moment reflecting on this set of questions:

In my day, when did I feel closest to God?
In my day, when did I feel farthest from God?


What am I most grateful for today?
What did I find most challenging?

This is a version of the five-step Daily Examen that St. Ignatius practiced, borrowed from

1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.

Family Practice: Thank you notes

This week, harness the power of a handwritten note to offer gratitude and appreciation for those God has used in your life. They don’t take that long to write. So, dig out your personalized stationary, or some craft paper and markers, and as a family make a list of those you want to thank, and write or create a thank you note or card for each name.

Closing prayer:
Dear God, thank you for all the people you bring into our lives. We are grateful for your love and provision. Amen

Soul Care Week Two: Wearing Skin

Are our bodies important for our spiritual lives?

Join us on the podcast this week as we muse about how wearing skin, being peoples of flesh and blood, can shape and nurture our spiritual lives.

The miracle

is not

walking on water,

but on

the earth.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

Pray as you go: Walking Meditation

Today, notice what its like to walk on the earth.

Stand outside.
Feel the soles of your feed on the ground.
Take slow movements.
One foot.
Then the next.
Slow down the breath.
Look around you.
What do you notice?
Look within you.
What do you notice?

Give thanks for your body, for all that it does for you, for how God created you and calls your body “good.”

“Walking meditation, whether in a labyrinth or in a park, is a physical expression of the interior journey towards Christ. Like a pilgrimage, forms of walking meditation evoke our earthly journey towards heaven while simultaneously giving us time and space to listen and respond to God.”
– Stephen Barany


This week’s family activity invites you to walk in nature.

You can do this in your back yard, at a park, or around your neighborhood.
As you walk, be willing to slow down, to observe, bend and reach and notice how your body opens and relaxes in the process of finding the things listed in the Nature Scavenger Hunt card.

At the end, have each family member name on thing they are grateful their body can do, and give thanks to God.

Soul Care Week One: Becoming Present

The best preparation 

for a life of prayer

is simply to become

more intensely human

-Kenneth Leech

The practice of presence is about paying attention, waking up to the world around us. Each day this week we will post meditations, images, poetry and activities inviting us to become present–in our surroundings, with our deepest selves, and with the Spirit of God.

Pray As You Go: Breath Prayers

Breath prayers are brief prayers found in scripture that we can offer in any moment, using the inhale and exhale of our breath. They are a link that help us stay connected to God’s presence within us, and within the world. Below are some examples of prayers, but there are limitless possibilities if there is a particular Scripture you wish to pray. Each of these prayers follows the rhythm of the breath, the first line being offered on the inhale and the second line being offered with the exhale.

When I am afraid,
I will trust in you.

The Lord is my Shepherd,
I shall not want.

Be still,
and know.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

(this is a form of the Jesus prayer)

Family Activity: BLOWING BUBBLES

Rainbow bubbles, bouncing bubbles, big bubbles, and small bubbles — bubble blowing can be  fun family activity as the weather gets warmer. This practice brings awareness to your breath and your child’s breath as they blow out bubbles. “Listen to your breath” is a gentle way to focus attention on Practicing the Presence.

Finding Community during COVID

We know many of you are longing for deeper connections and spiritual sustenance during this season of isolation. We are working hard to create new opportunities for community and support for those connected to Tabernacle both locally and globally. We have a number on ongoing groups that are open for new participants to join. We will also be creating new 8-week groups that will begin mid-April and continue through mid-June. If you are interested in getting plugged into one of these, or hearing about other upcoming opportunities for connection during COVID, please fill out the following information and one of our pastoral staff will be in touch with you to help you discern the right next steps for you and your family.

Maundy Thursday: Gathering for Holy Conversation

In John 13, Jesus gathers his disciples together around a table. After he washes their feet, he commands us to love one another as he has has loved us. (By the way, the meaning of the Latin word Maundy is commandment.)

To celebrate Maundy Thursday this year, we invite you to share a meal and holy conversation with others virtually. Invite one or two other families or individuals to participate with you by gathering at their table, with their meal, at the same time. Use it as an opportunity to reflect on who you feel God is nudging you to connect with or reach out to during this season. 

Details for the Meal
Virtual Format – You can use any form of virtual connection that works for you. There are many free video conference services, including FaceTime (Apple), Google Hangouts, and Skype, and audio only options, such as FreeConferenceCalling.Com. Tabernacle Community, If you need help setting one of these up, please contact and she will assist. Members of sister churches are encouraged to reach out their pastoral staff members for assistance.

Who – One of the gifts of our traditional Maundy Thursday meal is its inter-generational nature. We encourage you to use this meal as a time to connect with someone outside of your typical circle or age group, or even someone that lives in another part of the world but who is connected to Tabernacle through Livestream ministry or other avenues.

Time – There is not a single time for this event, as we expect folks to gather at various times depending on what works best for their schedule. Be sure to consider time zone differences should you want to dine with someone that doesn’t live in your neck of the woods.

Holy Conversation: Group Reflection Questions

Spend the first part of the meal catching up with one another, sharing the gifts and challenges of this season together. When you feel ready, we invite you to transition into a time of Holy conversation using the following questions that bring us into connection with the Passover meal Jesus shared with his disciples.

  1. Why is this night different from all other nights? Why do we call this particular Thursday “holy”?
  2. Share one word about how you are feeling in the midst of this Holy Week, as we navigate the rituals and rhythms in a totally different way (virtually).
  3. Lent began nearly 40 days ago, when our whole world was totally different. Lent is meant to be a time of prayer, preparation and fasting. We are probably all praying, preparing, and fasting, but maybe for different reasons that we originally planned: 
    • What is your prayer during this season?
    • How do you sense God is using this time to prepare you?
    • What are you fasting from–whether by choice, or maybe because your life has changed in a way that has forced you to give up or let go of something you love? 
  4.  Why these symbols– why do you think Jesus gathered the disciples for a meal?
  5.  Why the bread? Why the cup? Why do you think Jesus chose these elements to remind the disciples of his love?

You may choose to celebrate communion together, with whatever bread and cup you have available. You may choose to end with a blessing, or with sharing of prayer concerns. 

Blessing the Bread, the Cup 
A Blessing for Holy Thursday by Jan Richardson

Let us bless the bread 
that gives itself to us 
with its terrible weight, 
its infinite grace.

Let us bless the cup 
poured out for us 
with a love 
that makes us anew.

Let us gather 
around these gifts 
simply given 
and deeply blessed.

And then let us go 
bearing the bread, 
carrying the cup,
 laying the table 
within a hungering world.