Guest Blogger Pastor Jon Heydenreich

Jon is Lead pastor of Faith Lutheran in Andover, MA.

I invited him to pen an article on something that's working at his church.

Faith Lutheran meditation program

We started a centering prayer/guided meditation session at Faith Lutheran.  We meet once a week – discussion, scripture, guided meditation and communion. Typically, 4 – 13 people attend each week, age 8 to 78.  These are their reflections….  

My Prayer/Meditation  Practice…The daily practice of centering prayer has changed my life. It's a place, a space, a time, a process, a home that I go to and carry around with me all at the same time. Practicing centering prayer with others on Wednesday nights has been a gift. There really are no words to describe what I receive on those nights.

The daily practice of centering prayer has changed my daughter. The less I say, "hurry!" the less she says, "wait!"

My Prayer/Meditation Practice… What meditation has given me is space.  Prior to starting this last fall, my days were packed.  Packed with to-do lists, obligations, meetings…pressure, stress and anxiety.  Today, we have no less activities, but there is space.  Space in my mind, my heart; space for fun and reflection, and space to remember to listen fully, use a kind word and hug a little longer, smile more. 

My relationships with my children are deeper and richer, my teenage daughter speaks with me (in large part because when she speaks, I stop what I am doing and I am fully present.)  I have helped my younger daughter use meditation to get over anxiety and she uses meditative breathing to help study.  My husband and I no longer have logistics meetings, we converse, often over a cup of coffee; it has become a wonderful Saturday morning ritual.  In all areas of my life I feel more focused and more genuine.  I am learning to trust my instincts again, something I didn’t even know I had lost amidst all the distractions. 

My Prayer/Meditation Practice… The sign-up sheet read “Meditation - A Time for Stillness & Disconnection“. I joined the group to help me do just that … unplug from the wake of uncertainty from  tragic family calamity. Why not add a coping technique? Yet looking back, the irony is not lost on me… We forged great connections with our fellow meditation teammates as we learned to “disconnect together.”

     For me, our time together was an exploration as each session tended  to provide a foundation for me to seek, find and reflect in a rediscovery of faith. Midway, I ceased psychological counseling as Faith Lutheran had greater effect and tangibility.  Thoughtful communion was most definitely experienced with my companions in meditation. I believe that being there for one another helped me be there for me and helped me heal my family. Eyes closed & eye opening. Thank you.