When I was in Moose Jaw last week I received two lovely little additions to my spiritual practice. I have enjoyed them all ready.
Deacon Arleen gave me a lovely set of wooden prayer beads for times of contemplative prayer. They are purple and tan with a small cross on the end of the loop, a bit like a rosary. She makes them herself, teaches workshops on making them and includes a lovely book of prayers to say using the beads. Anglican prayer beads are shaped consistently with the Anglican devotion of Offices of the Morning and Evening Prayer. There are 33 beads in the loop to represent the number of Jesus' years on earth. The beads are grounded in Incarnational theology. The symbolism points to the Celtic idea of the sanctity of God's entire creation. The size of the beads determines if they are invitatory, cruciform or weeks beads. There are so many prayers in the booklet: the Lord's prayer, morning and evening prayers, prayers of oblation, the Trisagion, Agnus Dei, prayers of praise, baptismal meditations, prayers of Julian of Norwich, Celtic prayers, bedtime prayers, ACTS prayers (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication), seasonal prayers, St. Patrick's Breastplate, the Hear O Israel....and on and on. I am so enjoying using it to centre my prayer life after a time of scattering and confusion.
My friend Chris gave me the most amazing holding cross made out of very old oak taken from the church my husband helped to renovate a few years ago. He makes them in different sizes and plays with the shape of the crosses so that they fit perfectly into the palm of a person's hand. Mine can lay in the palm tightly gripped on all sides by my fingers, or I can lay it flat against my palm and drape my index and middle fingers over the top of the cross bar to keep it securely in my hand. When I have trouble sleeping at night now I hold my little wooden cross and go right back to sleep. It is a visual reminder of my invisible Father God. When I don't feel well I can hold it and stay relaxed. When I have aches and pains I can squeeze my holding cross and remember there is more to life than this present earthly existence.
I am so grateful to Deacon Arleen and to Chris for sharing their creative talents with me and for allowing me to participate with them in times of contemplative prayer and when I need a visual reminder of my security in Jesus.