This Fall, we’re putting together another set of Koinonia groups, at different points during the week.  We welcome you to sign on for one–as we explore CONTEMPLATIVE COMMUNITY and the practices that invite spiritual depth and growth.  Use the button to the right here to find the registration link!
Check this page weekly for ideas, questions and themes–as we look forward to small group conversation and discernment.  “How is the Spirit working among us, evoking new dreams, expressing deeper desire, this fall?”  “What kinds of practice connect you to community, purpose and hopefulness?”
This Year’s Conversation:
Kernels for Koinonia:

Bending Over Her Baby
In our contemplative practice this fall, we’re reading sacred texts and beloved poems together–and listening in the depths of our hearts for the stirring of the Holy Spirit.  This week, we take up “The Creation”–written in the early 20th century by African American poet and statesman James Weldon Johnson.  (You’ll note that Johnson also wrote the text to the Black National Anthem: “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”  You’re invited to read “The Creation” and join us in reflection and discernment.  Note that you can also watch an animated interpretation of the poem here, on the left.


LECTIO DIVINA (Sacred Reading)

First Reading:  Is there a word, a phrase that seems particularly potent in your heart, seems to speak directly to you, your spirit, your experience this week?  Is it possible the Holy Spirit is addressing you, you in particular?  Maybe you’re moved to write a few lines in response…

Second Reading:  How are you moved—or are you—by this poem and Johnson’s vision of creator and creation, dust and clay and living souls?  Are you moved to new images of the divine, or renewed affection for creation itself, or…

Third Reading:  Does this poem evoke a prayer in your heart?  A prayer of longing, perhaps, or profound gratitude for creation and life, or perhaps a lament for creation’s present distress?




Stirred by these readings and reflections, aware of the gathering of the Holy Spirit in this embodied circle of friends, we sit in stillness and prayer for 10 minutes.  Simply being.  Simply being together.  Simply being together with God.




As you sit with James Weldon Johnson and his poem, you may also invite his extended church community—the Black Church on this complicated continent—to gather around you in spirit.  How might “The Creation” settle into a worship service, on a Sunday morning, in the Deep South, for example, in the mid 20th century, as Jim Crow segregation tightens its grip?  Or on the South Side of Chicago in 2023, as church folk seek to build coalitions of power to protect their kids and empower teens?


Given all of this—reading it a few times, inviting the perspective of a wider circle—consider your own heartfelt response to “The Creation.”  While could analyze the poetry, consider the unique voicing of it, or even the historical moment out of which it emerged…reflect on where you are provoked, where you are moved, whether something within that was settled seems to stir now.


In our circle on Thursday (October 5), after Lectio Divina and after Meditation, I’ll invite one or two of you (as you’re moved) to share your particular responses as a practice of discernment.  There’s no need to have something fully formed, all fleshed out…  What we’re curious about is the movement of the Holy Spirit in you (and therefore, in us, too!)—and the practice of listening, honoring, inquiring and blessing the Spirit’s stirring.  If you are shaken, or stunned, or puzzled, or moved to praise or action…maybe you’d like to entrust this to the circle…and see where the Spirit takes us.


You’ll note, obviously, that in a group our size, and in a practice like this, we have time each week for just one or two or three of these reflections (discernment in the circle) each week.  So be aware of that too.  And know that the gracious partnership of the Holy Spirit is a gift in each and every one of us, week to week…If you don’t have the opportunity to share aloud this week, maybe you’d like to invite a friend to coffee or tea, and have a conversation around your reading, your reflection and the Spirit’s motion within you.

FALL 2020: “Raw, Ragged Openness”
FALL 2020: “Raw, Ragged Openness”