A Prayer Guide for Holy Week
The Rev. Dr. Paul D. Strawn
…upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5b (NRSV)
“But here’s the thing,” says Eugene Peterson, “this suffering is not presented as tragic, as a misfortune, as an interruption of what should be. The suffering is the chosen means of salvation…the servant serves God by serving the sinner, by taking the sinner’s place, taking the consequences of sin, doing for the sinner what he or she is helpless to do for himself, herself.” (The Jesus Way)
I want us to think differently about shadows this Holy Week. We often think of shadow as something dark and even sinister. During these seven days leading up to and including Easter I will be using “shadow” as something entirely different. The cross of Jesus Christ, in all its torturous and hideous history, becomes for the follower of Christ, a sign and symbol of great hope – casting long, powerful and victorious shadows of holiness and power across our lives. Each day will look at a different intersection of that shadow on the road map of our lives. It is my prayer that each day of this sacred week we will discover that the Son who casts the constant shadow is, not only our Savior, but also our traveling companion throughout this journey of life.
On Holy Monday we examine the Shadow of the Cross in our RELATIONSHIPS. How is the power of the cross transforming our every encounter?
On Holy Tuesday we examine the Shadow on our VOCATION. How is the reality of the cross informing our purpose in life?
On Holy Wednesday we examine the Shadow on our ATTENTION. How does the cross make a difference in our awareness of the world around us?
On Maundy Thursday we examine the Shadow over our DESIRES. As Jesus said on the cross, “I thirst,” how does the result of his sacrifice affect our thirsting?
On Good Friday we examine the Shadow on our FEARS. What difference does this most passionate act of our Lord make on the evil we experience on earth?
On Holy Saturday we examine the Shadow of the Cross on our own MORTALITY. How might eternal life change the way we live in our world today?
On this Day of Resurrection we examine the disciplines found along the Way of following Jesus and how they provide for total FITNESS.
Holy Week Prayer Guide will be available soon.
Paul retired from forty years of full-time pastoral ministry in 2011 and is currently working “part time” with Renewal Ministries Northwest as a Pastoral Associate. Having pastored congregations in Montana, California and Washington, Paul brings valuable experience as a preacher, teacher, caregiver and administrator. He is married to Kathy and together they have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. Both are committed to and actively volunteer their time in their own local church. Paul’s work with RMNW is concentrated in three areas. As a Spiritual Director he works regularly with clients, assisting them in developing their own prayer life and relationship with the living God. From time to time he will be found assisting ministry directors in Prayer Retreat leadership. Paul is also available to pastors as an advocate and mentor for Personal Soul Care, including consultation with pastor and churches in transition. In his spare time Paul enjoys being a househusband, spoiling grandchildren, fly fishing, reading, home improvement, travel and supporting our local sports teams.
PASTORS | ELDERS | MINISTRY TEAMS | DEACONDS | LEADERS | CHURCH STAFF
Guided by The Apostle Paul’s words from Galatians 2:19-21 and Psalm 84 as our basic texts, we will delve into the often troubling arenas of spiritual atrophy, servant burnout, conflict and anxiety that frequently accompany Christian vocation in some form or another. Our teaching time will follow an outline what will include the following topics:
• When the Train Goes off the Tracks
• Common Pitfalls We don’t learn about in Seminary
• Forty Years of Soul Care Lessons
• Developing One’s Personal Soul Care Plan
In addition to learning from my personal experience there will be ample time for reflecting on the participants own contextual struggles and working through guided prayer exercises. Each participant will receive the resources needed to complete his or her own plan for sustainable Sabbath Care.
Retreat to the beautiful and peaceful grounds of the Peace and Spirituality Center, experience a day of renewal and encouragement for Pastors, Elders, Church Staff, Leaders, Deacons and Ministry Teams. This all-day retreat will include morning and afternoon worship with renowned musician Jeff Johnson, encouragement and equipping with Rev. Dr. Paul Strawn as well as time for individual prayer and spiritual direction. Lunch and snacks also provided.
Morning and Afternoon Worship with Special Musical Guest : Jeff Johnson
Jeff Johnson leads Selah worship for churches, pilgrimage groups and retreat centers around the world. His many ArkMusic recordings feature music from Selah as well as collaborations with Irish flutist, Brian Dunning inspired by Stephen Lawhead’s novels and guitarist, Phil Keaggy. To learn more about Jeff Johnson and his music, visit www.arkmusic.com.
About our Speaker: Rev. Dr. Paul Strawn
Paul retired from forty years of full-time pastoral ministry in 2011 and is currently working “part time” with Renewal Ministries Northwest as a Pastoral Associate. Having pastored congregations in Montana, California and Washington, Paul brings valuable experience as a preacher, teacher, caregiver and administrator. He is married to Kathy and together they have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. Both are committed to and actively volunteer their time in their own local church. His work with RMNW is concentrated in three areas. As a Spiritual Director he works regularly with clients, assisting them in developing their own prayer life and relationship with the living God. From time to time he will be found assisting ministry directors in Prayer Retreat leadership. Paul is also available to pastors as an advocate and mentor for personal soul care, including consultation with pastors and churches in transition. In his spare time Paul enjoys being a househusband, spoiling grandchildren, fly fishing, reading, home improvement, travel and supporting our local sports teams.
Paul is deeply committed to assisting pastors and other leaders create their own environment for soul care and a sustaining, personal relationship with God that will guide them through the sometimes wild and always unpredictable ups and downs of following Jesus in all forms of Christian vocation. Some years ago he experienced his own dark, wild-side journey through depression and burnout that led him to a different approach to ministry with a God whose desire is always to fill us with love and Holy Spirit presence. Based upon his own experiences, Paul will be sharing insights on personal soul care for pastors and church leaders, including a challenge to develop one’s own Yearly Sabbath Soul Care Plan.
SPONSORED BY |
Mike Morishima and Sandra Hiramatsu share how the 5-Month Guided Retreat
impacted their lives, and their marriage!
What are the Spiritual Exercises?
The Spiritual Exercises are an invitation to renew and deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer and meditation on Scripture. The Exercises are not intellectual exercises – teaching a set of theological propositions, but rather a series of prayerful meditations on Scripture that help us to clarify and deepen our devotion to Jesus Christ.
What does the commitment look like?
1. We meet one Saturday a month from January to May.
2. A commitment to a daily time of prayer. You are provided with guided prayer exercises to aide you in your daily times of meditation and prayer.
Location: St Mary on-the-Lake Peace & Spirituality Center, Bellevue
Cost: (includes retreat materials and snacks). $50 deposit due at time of registration, 1/2 of balance on first day of retreat, final payment in March. Payment plans & Scholarships available upon request.
General Registration, $375
Married Couple, $600
Retreat Alumni, $275
*NPSP Clergy may apply to COM for scholarship funds.
Dates of January to May 2015 5-Month Guided Prayer Retreat:
Saturday, January 24, 2015 – 9AM to 3:30PM *lunch provided
Saturday, February 28, 2015 – 9AM to 1PM
Saturday, March 28, 2015 – 9AM to 1PM
Saturday, April 25, 2015 – 9AM to 1PM
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – 9AM to 1PM
Optional Wrap-up Retreat: Saturday, June 27, 2015 – 9AM to 2PM | $50 -
Click here for Ignatian Full Sheet with Registration 2015 form (pdf)
GROUP SPIRITUAL DIRECTION
Group spiritual direction is a gathering of the Spiritual Exercises Retreat participants to assist one another in an ongoing awareness of God in all of life. Our intention is to assist one another in our deepening awareness of God as we journey through the Spiritual Exercises Retreat. Participants seek support for their responsiveness to God and agree to support others in that same responsiveness. Three conditions are essential to the life of the direction group. Members agree to:
- commit themselves to an honest relationship with God
- participate in the group process through prayerful listening and responding
- to open their spiritual journeys for consideration by others
The depth of sharing necessary in group spiritual direction is grounded in a common trust of God’s desire for each participant individually as well as the group as a whole.
When asked by a friend how she prayed for her, a thirteenth-century anchoress, Julian of Norwich responded “I look at God, I look at you, and I keep on looking at God.” Put simply, the group’s challenge is to keep on looking at God for each person in the group.
2015 5-Month Retreat Spiritual Direction Group, facilitated by Rev. Dr. Robert Slater.
Group Spiritual Direction will meet from 10 AM – 11AM on the following Dates: February 7, 2015; March 14, 2015; April 11, 2015; May 16, 2015; June 13, 2015.
Sessions will be held at the RMNW offices and be approximately 1 hour in length. For maximum effectiveness, group size is limited to 8 participants. Cost is $100 for all 5 sessions.
INDIVIDUAL SPIRITUAL DIRECTION appointments will also be available with Rev. Denise Easter, Rev. Dianna Kunce, Rev. Dr. Robert Slater or Rev. Dr. Paul Strawn.
Save the Date! Details coming soon!
“Praying discernment in a decision making group frankly had never occurred to me. Most likely because it didn’t really seem possible. This is not the first time I have been in a workshop concerning prayerful discernment – however it is the first time I have been in a focused retreat on group discernment. The clarity and the practical processes outlined in your presentation and documents are so valuable both for reference and guidance; personal and for the Body of Christ.” ~ Discernment Workshop Participant
As followers of Jesus, we live, work, and minister in a complex and rapidly changing culture. The church is reforming and recalibrating to minister more effectively in this context. As we face these challenges we need spiritual renewal and to intentionally seek God’s way forward through our practice of communal discernment.
We want to hear God speak into our challenges and our opportunities. We want to learn more about how to do that. At this Half-Day Workshop you will learn and begin to “practice” a process of communal discernment.
By the end of our time you will learn how to:
♦ Awaken your soul to discern the presence and work of the Spirit of Christ.
♦ Identify the Charism/Continuity of the Spirit’s presence and work in your community through Appreciative Inquiry.
♦ Frame Your Question for Discernment – the matter you are putting before the Lord.
♦ Listen for the Voice of Jesus within yourself (the role of silence in listening).
♦ Listen for the Voice of Jesus while listening to others (double listening/holy indifference).
♦ Leave knowing the “next steps” in your own communal discernment process.
The Practical Steps to Spiritual Discernment in Community Workshop is offered periodically as an introduction to the discernment process for communities. If you would like Renewal Ministries to teach this foundational half-day session with your church or leadership team, please contact us for further information.