Voice of the Vestry, November 2022
By Emily Culler
I recently stumbled across a wonderful (and entertaining!) TED Talk given by Dan
Harris, who is a former anchor with ABC News. The title of the talk is “The benefits of
not being a jerk to yourself”; probably something for which all of us could use a little
practice! In his talk, he shares a simple loving-kindness meditation that has since
become a daily part of my prayer life. It only takes about a minute, and includes four
“May you be happy. May you be safe. May you be healthy. May you live with ease.”
For the practice, you send this sequence of prayers up for the following: A beloved
(a spouse, child, etc.), yourself, a mentor, a neutral person (acquaintance), a difficult
person, and finally, all beings everywhere. Though it is not in and of itself a religious
practice, I have personalized it to be more prayer-like by adding an additional wish
of “may you be filled with God’s love and peace.”
The simple intentionality of this meditation has had a profound effect on me. While
the practice itself is quite straightforward and easy to remember, I’ve found that
quietly sitting with these intentions and allowing myself to feel and visualize these
prayers for each one of the individuals that come to mind is heart-opening and,
sometimes, challenging, especially for the difficult person. Above all, I’ve found it to
be spiritually refreshing to center my heart and mind on channeling God’s love
outward, and restoring my 360 degree view of creation. As a beloved pastor and
mentor of mine loves to say, too often we see the world not for how it is, but for
how we are.
Our stewardship season is, in a way, I think, like this practice. It invites us to pause,
bring to mind members of our community, from the beloved to to the strangers,
and to offer our energies and gifts so that all may be happy, safe, healthy, and
surrounded by God’s love. Our collective prayers, intentions, work, and investment
in the life of Grace Church weaves a tapestry of love that embraces and uplifts not
only the congregation, but countless lives beyond our sanctuary and fellowship hall.
It is God’s love in action.
Thank you for the love and the energy that you pour into this community, and for
being a part of Grace Church. May you be happy, may you be safe, may you be
healthy, may you live with ease, and may you be filled with God’s love and peace.