Shared experiment in Watchfulness: August 8-September 6

Last Friday I spent some time catching up with a good friend. We talked about our hopes and dreams for the future and how we wish to grow and develop. Both of us have exciting and fulfilling work to do, but our common challenge is  to manage the stress and keep a spiritual center to our days. Its too easy to compulsively distract ourselves with tasty food and drink or escape through media entertainment at the end of the day. There might be times when instead of finding ways to escape or relax, it would be better to adopt a more sober-minded posture– so that we are more prepared to hear from God or be present to the needs of those around us. My friend is working in a neighborhood recently terrorized by violence. I’m in the process of walking along-side a relative in crisis. This is a time when we really need to be alert.  We’ve decided to do a 30-day experiment in watchfulness.Jesus once told his disciples, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is week,” (Matt. 26:41) Elsewhere he warned, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life…be always on the watch and pray.” (Luke 21: 34,36)

Now my friend and I are not ascetics, we love celebrations, food, drink, films and fashion. But we live in environments where its too easy to always expect the best of these things on a daily basis– and we think we might be helped by balancing our feasting with times of fasting and some voluntary limits. For our experiment in watchfulness over the next thirty days we are committed to:

*Begin and end each day with a time of prayer– stillness prayer in the morning and examen each evening before bed.

*Read the historic lectionary scripture readings for each day.

*Limit our food intake during the week to simple meals with no sugary or salty snacks.

*Abstain from screen entertainment during the work week.

*Over the next 30 days, work out how to simplify our wardrobes and choose a limited closet that can serve as a visual reminder of our commitment to be present to God and people.

We’ll let you know at the end of the thirty days what we discovered as a result of our experiment in watchfulness.

SEE WHAT OTHERS HAVE DONE. BE INSPIRED TO TAKE ACTION. Taking risks to practice the teachings of Jesus is the way disciples to Jesus have always been made. We can think of these acts of obedience as experiments– because we learn how to integrate the teachings of Jesus to our lives through some trial and error. Click on one of the 5 categories of experiments to the right to read a story about a group of people who took a risk together  to Practice the Way of Jesus.