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This afternoon, Mary Lee and I met at Panera’s in Biddeford to discuss communication, technology and other things diaconal. We spoke a bit about a posting she made a few weeks back about how we nurture our spiritual lives and live out our vows–there were 3 comments made at the time. We had hoped for more, so this is another “ask” — this blog is as good as we all make it, so put in your two cents worth..

Here are the three comments, in order, without authors (go back to the post “Living our Vows” and find out who they are!)

1. For me it’s reading the daily newspaper. I can’t think of anything in print that would lead me to prayer more effectively!

 2. I’m new to the iPhone world, but I’ve recently begun using the Daily Office app from Mission St. Clare, which I really like because it includes all the readings — and I always have it with me. I’m trying (but failing to keep up with) the Bible-in-a-year challenge; it pushes me to read, but without time to study what I read. Except when I preach, I’m not doing so well with the studying part of our vow. How do the rest of you manage?

3. I love ****’s comment! How true. Listening to the news at night also drives me to prayer on a regular basis. I always have one or more books by Frederick Buechner within easy reach – his sermons, his reflections, are always spot on and so thoughtful and spirit-filled. Am now reading Marcus Borg’s The Heart of Christianity – an older book, but fascinating. Very thought provoking. I am learning to love the psalms more and more as well. So ancient, and yet so perfect for the modern world and its problems!!

I can relate to all of these comments.   For years, music has filled the bill for me–it gets my heart in the right place. I also read books. Within the last year, like one of the commenters, I have begun to use iPhone/iPad apps like Mission St. Clare’s Daily Office (pictured here)–I love the blend of old and new in the “look” of this app–ancient parchment on an a 21st century iPad…  Well, apps are handy, but…

I have a strong attraction to all things digital–I have an iPhone, an iPad, a digital camera, a hospital pager, an iMac–and I’m slightly addicted to Facebook.  A few weeks ago,  I preached about Jesus and his disciples trying to get away for a rest from the crowds. As part of the sermon, I thought I would ask members of the congregation what got in the way of their making time for God. How might they make more space for that all important relationship? As often happens with my sermons, as I was typing the words, I realized that I was preaching to myself … I began thinking about my own relationship with God–and my relationship with other important people in my life. What was taking time away from those relationships? And it hit me–it was all those electronic gadgets. If I were to practice what I planned to preach, I was going to have to make a change in my own behavior. For one day a week, I needed to eliminate those electronic distractions. Gulp.

The next day, Monday (my day off), I powered down the iPhone…the iPad….the iMac. Even the hospital pager went off. It was hard. Harder than I expected. I kept getting tempted to push those power buttons. But I resisted.

The next morning, when I powered up, all was well. The world had gone on without me. I turned it all off again last week and this week. I noticed there were fewer temptations. I spent time with God. I went to the beach and read a whole issue of Weavings. I prayed for others.  I mended a shirt. I cooked a meal using a cookbook rather than allrecipes.com. I wrote a note to a friend. I spent time with my husband. It was a true Sabbath. My spirit was revived.

So from now on, don’t try to reach me on Mondays. We’ll catch up on Tuesday…

Now, it’s your turn.  How do you nurture your spirit?  How do you live out your vows? Leave a comment below, and let us know!

Sudie B

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The deacons of Maine have maintained a prayer list for a number of years. When I was in deacon formation, one of us in formation took responsibility for maintaining it. As we were ordained, we passed it on to another behind us in the class. I was responsible for it for one of the years I was in DFP. It was on of the duties in the job description I got as your new “communications officer.” Mary Lee has passed it on to me, and I sent it out to the 38 people who have been getting it.

I certainly don’t mind maintaining the list and praying it daily– after all praying is one of the most important things any of us can do! But at this transition time, it seems wise to hear what others think.

When I sent the list out yesterday, I asked the recipients for comments.

One said that she was surprised that it was no longer a responsibility of a member of the DFP as it was when she was going through the process.

Another suggested the list be for and about deacons, their families, ministries i.e. more personal and specific to our particular community. It would allow us to connect with each other through prayer and to be more aware of each others lives. If it were made accessible only to the community there might be less need for strict confidentiality. (If we did this, we’d need to set up a more secure venue than this publicly available blog!  I could probably figure out how to do this…)

For reasons of confidentiality, the list is currently very generic — no last names and very few details:
e.g. “Pray for Mary who is grieving”
It is also “blind copied” so that the names of other recipients are not known. “Reply all” sends the reply only to me.

So, deacons and deacons in formation, what do you think? Comments please.

If you are one of those who gets the list currently, what do you like about it?  Dislike?

I’m all ears.

Sudie