Discovering God’s amazing grace
Introducing the Examen
Over the next five weeks the sermon series will be looking at “God’s amazing grace” through the book of Ruth.
Alongside the sermon series the material for the housegroups will provide a slightly different way to help us encounter God’s grace on a daily basis based on a reflective way of praying. It’s called the “Examen” and from a set of spiritual exercises developed by Ignatius (1491-1556) the founder of the Jesuits.
The Examen is a simple way to end each day but can be used in any situation of life. It is based on two questions:
- For what moment today am I most grateful?
- For what moment today am I least grateful?
There are many versions but perhaps the simplest is this:
- Stop and become aware of God’s presence.You might like to light a candle, become aware of your breathing and imagine breathing in the presence and love of God.
- Ask Jesus to bring to mind the thing you are most grateful for from today. Ask yourself what happened in that moment. Breathe in the gratitude you felt and the life of that moment.
- Ask Jesus to bring to mind the thing that you are least grateful for from today. Ask yourself what happened during that moment and why it may have been difficult. Stay and acknowledge how you feel but don’t try to change it. Breathe deeply the love of God, allow him to fill you.
- Give thanks for the experiences of the day. Where possible share them with a friend.
The two central questions could be asked in any number of ways:
- What was the most life giving part of the day?
- What was the most life draining part of the day?
- When was I happiest today?
- When was I saddest today?
- When was I most able to give and receive love today?
- When was I least able to give and receive love today?
The housegroup notes will invite you to reflect on the passage in Ruth, including any reflections or applications from talk you heard. Then introduce an aspect of the Examen with the opportunity to prayer and reflect as a group.
Please encourage people to try the Examen at home on a daily, it’s simple enough to remember and can be a 2 min or 20 min prayer time. So it works anywhere.
For some, this simple spiritual exercise might be a very powerful experience.
Please remember that Sharon and her pastoral team are happy to help, listen, suggest retreats, spiritual direction etc for individuals or as a group if you feel the need to go deeper.
Mark Searle, 21/06/2008