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The Invitation

Post by Patience Robbins

In recent months, I have felt more than the usual turmoil, anxiety and distress in the air with all that has been happening in our world. And more days than I would imagine, I felt tossed around by a sea of negative and hostile words and emotions, both within and without. So I have been sitting with the question: What is the Holy One inviting me to do or be in this time?

My pondering led me to a scripture passage from the Gospel of John: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives peace, do I give it to you” (John 14:27). I pray to be open to receive that peace, to intentionally take it in, soak in it and let it flow through me so I can send it out to the world.

This is easier said than done. It is challenging to stay present to what is real—the fear, division, hostility—and to choose to embrace it with peace. It takes trust and courage to stand with arms open wide and receive the upheaval and allow it to flow through a loving and peaceful heart.

I am reminded of another scripture phrase from the Gospel of Luke: “Fear is useless, what is needed is trust” (Luke 8:50). So as I envision a body posture with arms wide open, I am also deeply grounded and rooted in the source of divine love. I could never produce this kind of love; rather, I ask and trust that it flow through me from the Wellspring of love.

It is helpful to recall that this is a practice. Some days I forget about it entirely and other days I wonder how I could ever live without it. Although it is easy to get caught in the negative, I can choose to be aware of those things that bring me back to my desire for trust and peace. Things that come to mind for me are being in a serene or beautiful place, hearing an inspiring story, remembering a courageous and generous person, feeling grateful for clean water.

Some words that accompany this practice are: open and willing. These words, so familiar in Shalem programs, continue to have profound meaning during this tumultuous season or perhaps during any time of challenge. Each day, I offer this prayer for both:

May I be open and willing to be a channel of peace and trust.

May I be open and willing to embrace the divisions and hostility within myself.

May I be open and willing to let love and light soak the darkness of separation and fear.

And may we all be open and willing to take delight in what is good, true and beautiful and celebrate and nurture it.


This article appeared in the 2015-2016 Annual Report.

To nurture your practice in these times, you are invited to join Patience in our Wednesday Prayer for the World Gatherings happening in Advent.

You are also invited to join Patience in an online course in our School of Contemplative Prayer Series: Living Word, Living Way, available through January 2018.

2 responses to “The Invitation”

  1. Dana Greene says:

    Thank you, Patience. These are perilous times. The question is how to hold steady, be open and make that a form of resistance.

  2. Lori Abreu says:

    I really needed to read this today! Thank you so much for allowing peace to flow through you so that we all are touched by it.

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