EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise, Week 2, Palms Down

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Hands Extended, Palms Down – Blessing

Leviticus 9:22-23 – Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. And having sacrificed the sin offering, the burnt offering and the fellowship offering, he stepped down. Moses and Aaron then went into the Tent of Meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people.

As God gives to us, we give to others—we extend our hands to give to and to bless others. As Moses and Aaron blessed the people, the glory of the Lord appeared—as we bless others, we reveal the glory of God through the generosity of our actions. We are the hands and feet of Christ.

Luke 24: 50-53 – When Jesus had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his Sacred Hearthands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

As the resurrected Jesus ascended to heaven, where he was seated at the right hand of the Father to rule and reign over heaven and earth, he extended hands of blessings to his followers to bless them. This blessing brought them great joy—joy that kept them continually in the presence of God.

Putting It Into Practice

This posture can be done standing or seated. As you experiment with today’s posture, imagine someone you love or someone you have been interceding for in front of you. Extend your hand, as if they are right there with you and you can place your hand on their head. Offer a blessing over their lives. Pray for them. Praise God for them and all they mean to you. Continue reading

Lenten Reflection: Christ-Centered Life

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Scripture Reading:

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. Continue reading

EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise, Week 1, Hands Raised

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Hands Raised in Praise, Prayer & Petition

I Kings 8:22-23 – Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven and said: “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.”

Solomon is 1st giving words of praise to God; 2nd witnessing in front of everyone; and 3rd remembering God’s covenant of love.

I Timothy 2:8 – Therefore I want people everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

Here we find hands raised in prayer, and note that it is to be without anger or dispute in your heart.

Psalm 28:1-2 – I pray to you, O Lord, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die. Listen to my prayer for mercy as I cry out to you for help, as I lift my hands towards your holy sanctuary.

In this prayer, the writer David is petitioning God to hear his prayer with arms reaching. He cries out to God, lifting his hands towards God in heaven.

Putting It Into Practice

hands upThis posture can be done standing, seated or kneeling. I like to imagine I am a young child, reaching my arms up to my Father God. As you experiment with lifting hands towards God today, start by letting go of any anger you have towards another. Second, remember scripture says your hands are holy. Next, think about literally lifting your praise towards him, and finally, lift your prayer of petition (request) before him. Might I suggest using Chris Tomlin’s song I Lift My Hands as you do: Continue reading

Moving Creatively Through Lent

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Yesterday I posted information on a new series called EMBODIED that starts this Friday, February 16th and goes through Good Friday. Embodied is a 7 week-long exploration of postures of praise & prayer to help us move mindfully through the Lenten season. I will be posting one posture each week (on Friday) to take us through the season of Lent.

In addition, to further help us move through Lent creatively, I will also be posting from the previously featured  “7” Virtual Art-Walk series each week on Wednesdays throughout Lent, as well as reflections from our church’s Lenten sermon series on Monday of each week. The 7 Virtual Art-Walk includes the artwork of Matt Durbin, the poetry of Sarah Wells, and music that all focus on the last 7 words of Christ spoken from the cross. And our church (5 Stones Community Church) will be working with passages throughout Ephesians to help us prayerfully remember and reflect on Jesus during this season.

So…
Sermon reflections on Mondays 
7 Virtual Art-Walk on Wednesdays
EMBODIED exploration of postures of prayer & praise on Fridays
…starting this Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) and working our way through Good Friday, March 30th.

J from tombWhether you grew up in a high church tradition (one that celebrated Lent) or not (like mine), I pray that you will find a way to mindfully, creatively and prayerfully prepare your heart for the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior on Resurrection Sunday, April 1st.

You can follow along by visiting http://www.jodythomae.com every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (and searching under the “Creative Spiritual Practices” tab), signing up to receive my emails (<– Look left or for + sign upper left), or following along on Instagram or Facebook. Stay connected by using the #GodsCreativeGift hashtag.

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EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

jodythomae.com

In Luke 10, when the lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, he asked him how to inherit eternal life. Like a learned rabbi, Jesus turned the question back to the lawyer, who answered:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus confirmed his answer as true, with a command and a promise: “Do this and you will live.”

When I teach on embodied prayer and worshiping with your whole self (including the often-excluded body), I am often asked where to begin. “EMBODIED” — a 7 week long exploration of postures of prayer and praise through the Lenten season — is designed as a starting (or restarting point) for those wanting to engage their bodies in prayer and worship.

  • Perhaps you have never used your body to pray or worship?
  • Or perhaps you’ve danced like David before the Lord and are looking for a new way to explore the movement of worship that flows freely from your sinew and bones?
  • Or perhaps you’re looking for an embodied way to spend an intentional week of prayer and worship before the Lord?

Whatever your reason, I’m glad you’re here. Continue reading

Yoga as a Creative Christian Practice

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Shoulder to shoulder with my Jesus tribe I know that I am accepted and loved, that I belong and that I have found a group of people who have experienced the great love of Jesus Christ…. on a mat… a yoga mat.

Raise PraiseYou ask me how? How can a Christian practice yoga? I mean, isn’t it Hindu? Aren’t you worshiping the sun or Shiva or a weird looking elephant dude… or something? I could tell you that the movements we call yoga in America are actually more closely derived from the exercise regimens of Indian palaces than from the ashrams who adopted them (Science of Yoga, W.J. Broad), but I’m not sure you’d believe me. So I’ll tell you what God told me.

First, let me clearly state that I recognize that not everyone can or should practice yoga. There are people who have had negative experiences with yoga, and I agree 100% that yoga is not the best creative practice for them to adopt. However, that doesn’t mean that it effects everyone in the same negative way (proceeding with wisdom, discernment and caution). For I have experienced the love of God in such strong, powerful and healing way on the mat, that I cannot go along with the notion that a Christian cannot practice yoga. Let me tell you what Jesus has taught me along my journey into yoga…

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Creative Spiritual Practice: Creating a Sacred Space/Preparing an Altar of Remembrance

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Hebrew: Mizbeach מִזְבֵּ֫חַ

An altar or place of sacrifice

In the Old Testament, agreements were sometimes ratified through the building of altars.

Throughout scripture we find the people of God creating sacred spaces, from piles of rocks to a Tabernacle and a Temple. And they all have one thing in common—they are places where people encounter God. The altars were built to serve as a remembrance of their encounter with God and his faithfulness in their lives. Altars were built by Noah (Gen 8:20); Abraham at Shechem, Hebron, Moriah and Bethel (which means: house of God) (Gen 12:7-8, 13:18, 22:9); Isaac (Gen 26:25); Jacob at Shechem and Bethel (Gen 33:20, 35:7); Moses (Ex 17:15, 24:4); Joshua (Josh 8:30, 24:25-27); Samuel (I Sam 7:12) and many others. As you study these scriptures, note the encounter with God that each person had.

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Two noteworthy stories:

1) When the Israelites crossed the River Jordan, each tribe was instructed to take one stone from the river bed and they used those stones to create an altar to the Lord. Joshua also created an altar in the river bed itself:

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” Continue reading