I find it fascinating when God connects ideas that are seemingly unrelated but, in the end become significant. I was thinking about some of the teaching in our pornography recovery programmes that stresses the use of our right side of the brain as well as the left. This allows concepts to be better cemented into our understanding and our limbic system of brain function. The limbic system is far more instinctual than other areas of our brain.
These are the functions of the two sides of the brain:
Left Side: logic, realistic, analytic, strategic, accurate, mathematical, and in control.
Right Side: free spirit, artistic, creative, poetic, passionate, and adventurous.
As you can see, they are very different and though both are important we will have a leaning towards one side or the other but crossing over is achievable.
I was talking to my friend Colin Shilston about my desire to see us engage the right side of the brain as we participate with the Easter story and celebrations. He replied there is a type of prayer called Ignatian Prayer which does just that. Here is the definition that he sent me.
Ignatian prayer is imaginative, reflective, and personal. Ignatian prayer places great emphasis on the power of the imagination to deepen our relationship with God. One of the forms of prayer is imaginative reflection on scenes from the Gospels. The praying person becomes a participant in the event – the healing of the blind man Bartimaeus, for example. They feel the heat of the sun, smell the passing animals, hear the noise of the crowd. Above all, the person watches and hears Jesus as He approaches the man, heals him, and disputes with the angry Pharisees. This kind of imaginative prayer seeks the truth of the heart rather than the truth of facts. The person who prays this way notices the feelings and desires inspired by an encounter with Jesus.
So, what I am encouraging you to do is engage your imagination and senses in the process of looking at parts of the Easter story. What would it look like, smell like, sound like, what is happening? Place yourself in there somewhere; you may be an observer, you may be one of the characters, these will create different perspectives. Are you a main character or someone in the crowd? What would the atmosphere be like? What might you be thinking? This type of reading and prayer should bring new life to a narrative you know so well.
Here are some scenes and readings that may work well over this time:
- The Woman Who Anoints Jesus in the Home of Simon the Leper. (Matthew 26:6-13).
- The Passover Meal / The Last Supper (Matthew 26:17-30).
- Jesus’ Betrayal and Arrest (Matthew 26:47-56).
- Jesus Dies on the Cross (Matthew 27:45-61).
- He is Risen (Matthew 28:1-9).
Having worked this out, I am going to use the first four readings from Tuesday (today) till Good Friday and then use number five on Easter Sunday. I invite you to join me, and it would be great to hear how it works for you. I must admit I am quite excited by the process of bringing new life into my Easter journey for 2022.
Have a happy and fulfilling Easter from the team at PK.