Holy Interruptions

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You are in the Morning Session | Afternoon Session

Welcome to this Retreat Day!


Wherever you are, we invite you to pause, quiet, and center yourself as we seek to be refreshed in the presence of the Holy.

Feel free to take as much time as you need with the following video, poetry, readings, and body prayers. Take a few moments of silence between each one, allowing the silence to create a sense of spaciousness within you. Feel free to jot down any responses or noticings in a journal.

A welcome by the late Ann Kulp (Audio, 7 min)

Press play to view when you are ready. We invite you to consider making the video full screen to minimize distractions.

Sounds of the Eternal
A poem by John Philip Newell

Early in the morning I seek your presence, O God,
not because you are ever absent from me
but because often I am absent from you
at the heart of each moment
where you forever dwell.
In the rising of the sun,
in the unfolding colour and shape of the morning
open my eyes to the mystery of this moment
that in every moment of the day
I may know your life-giving presence.
Open my eyes to this moment
that in every moment
I may know you as the One who is always now.

From Sounds of the Eternal, by John Philip Newell


i thank you God for most this amazing day
e e cummings’

As you like, you may listen to two versions of the poem below.

First Version:
The poem is read by the author himself.

Second Version:
The Messiah College Concert Choir performs “i thank You God for most this amazing day” arranged by American composer Eric Whitacre, under the direction of Elliott Z. Levine.

Body Prayer


Inspired by Jim Cotter in Waymarks

Here are several body movements for opening your body more fully to the presence of the Holy, along with three prayerful gestures for each movement. Feel free to stand or sit, follow the movement directed, stretching into the spirit of that movement in the three parts noted. Take as much time on each movement as needed, paying attention to your body and your breathing as you do so.

Movement 1 2 3
Reaching up: Adoring Yearning Leaping
Reaching down: Contemplating Rooting Deepening
Becoming narrow: Recognizing Refining Dying
Opening wide: Affirming Expanding Forgiving
Reaching backwards: Thanking Remembering Recalling
Reaching forwards: Trusting Risking Venturing
Afterwards, consider what feelings or emotions were evoked, and what this experience was like for you.

Mid-Morning Break


When you are ready, feel free to take a ten or fifteen-minute quiet break before continuing with the next guided meditation.

Ann Kulp’s teaching on “Holy Interruptions” (Audio, 10 min)


Reflection Questions

Click the image above or here to access the Shalem timer.

Click the image above or here to view, download or print the reflection questions.

Mid-day (Lunch) Break


Around mid-day, please take a break for lunch and anything else you need to attend to.

As you eat, try to maintain the sense of mindfulness we’ve begun to cultivate.

In that spirit, you are invited to enter this time with a prayer by Thich Nhat Hanh:


This food is the gift of the whole universe –
The earth, the sky, and much hard work.
May we be worthy to receive it.
May we transform unskillful states of mind, especially that of greed.
May we eat only food that nourishes us and prevents illness.
We offer this food for the realization of love and understanding.

When you are ready, please continue to the Afternoon Session of your retreat.


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You are in the Morning Session | Afternoon Session