Practice: The Examen
by Rev. Aune Carlson
Exodus 17:1-7 🌿 Psalms 95 🌿 Romans 5:1-11 🌿 John 4:5-42
The Romans text for today acknowledges experiences we will all have at one time or another in our earthly life. While we’ve been justified by faith, and know peace with God, we will still learn much through suffering, trials, and tension. We must choose to be peacemakers and live in hope of the realization of God’s perfect peace.
An appropriate response to tension is a critical component of being someone who pursues peace. The Christian advocacy group Sojourners reminds us: “Working for peace doesn’t mean avoiding tension. Peace is about using a creative tension that transforms the word with love. In a peaceful world, people still argue and disagree, but they do it respectfully. They don’t let emotions like anger and fear decide how they will act. They don’t purposely hurt each other. To be a peacemaker means to embrace tension – it is always an element in human life – and to show the world how to use it constructively and lovingly. As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught, tension can be a good thing: ‘I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.’”
A prayer for peacemakers:
God of Heaven, May we as peacemakers be willing to constructively enter into tension as we persistently hope for peace.
In a world full of tensions everywhere we turn, help us discern how to respond constructively. Help us not to avoid tension but to respond to it in a way that transforms and leads to peace. Give us persistent hope as we reflect and seek you during this Lenten season. Amen.
The Examen is an ancient practice of St Ignatius. Typically, this practice takes place at the end of the day. A set-aside time where you settle yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to meet you as you contemplate your day.
- Give thanks for God’s great love for you and our world.
- Ask God to give you the grace to see and know how the Spirit is active in your life.
- Review your day, recalling specific moments and interactions and noting your thoughts and emotions at the time.
- Reflect on what you thought, said, or did in those times. Consider when you drew nearer to God and repent of the spaces where you moved further from God.
- Finally, turn your thoughts to the day to come, resolve to seek after God, be mindful of ways you might collaborate with God, and be specific.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever, Amen.
*The email that was sent out had a typo in the quote of MLK Jr. above, which has been corrected on this post.