Holy Whisper

“This is the body of Christ, broken for you.”
“This is the blood of Christ, shed for you.”

In my life, I have celebrated communion hundreds (maybe even thousands) of times. In all those times, I have never heard these words shouted. I have never heard them proclaimed with strong authority. I have never even heard them loud enough to create an echo, or be heard more than a few feet away. No, these are words that are always said in a holy whisper. Whether the server is a bishop or a teenager, it is always whispered:

This is the body of Christ, broken for you.”
“This is the blood of Christ, shed for you.”

Maybe the whispers are signs of reverence and awe of what Christ has done and is doing. We know that the presence of God is passing from server’s hands to congregant’s hands, and therefore too important to announce casually.

Maybe the whispers are remnants of the early church, whose people whispered these words because saying it any louder could invite persecution, arrest, or even death. In the face of danger, they whispered to keep the holy mystery alive.

Maybe it is because the distribution of bread and cup is too intimate to shout. No matter how large the congregation, it is one person feeding another, as long as it takes, until all have eaten. This is the body of Christ, for you. This piece of bread, these few drops of wine, are not for your neighbor. They will receive their own. No, this morsel, this drop, is for you, picked out especially for you by the God who loves you, and I say these words so that you and you alone may hear.

Maybe it’s something else entirely. Whatever it is, I am glad to give and receive this holy whisper. I am glad because it reminds me of the saints before me, the saints around me, and the saints to come. And it reminds me that sometimes, God speaks in a still, small voice, perhaps even a holy whisper. – Pastor Erik

Breath Prayer

Have you ever tried to pray using a breath prayer? It is an ancient way of practicing the presence of God, cultivating a posture of awareness and availability toward God. Here is some information about developing your own breath prayer, taken from a spiritual practices curriculum called “Companions in Christ.”

Developing Your Breath Prayer

Like prayers of repetition, breath prayers can be phrases from tradition, scripture, or hymns. We repeat these phrases with our lips, carry them in our hearts, and whisper them under our breath.

Spend a few minutes now in developing and praying your breath prayer. The following steps are taken from the book The Breath of Life: A Workbook by Ron DelBene.

Step 1: Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and remind yourself that God loves you and that you are in God’s loving presence. Recall a passage of scripture that puts you in a prayerful frame of mind. Consider “The Lord is My Shepherd” (Ps. 23:1) or “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).

Step 2: With your eyes still closed, imagine that God is calling you by name. Hear God asking you: “[Your Name], what do you want?”

Step 3: Answer God with whatever comes directly from your heart. Your answer might be a single word, such as peace or love or forgiveness, or it could be a phrase or sentence, like “I want to feel your forgiveness” or “I want to know your love.” Prayer is personal. Your response to God’s question, “What do you want?” becomes the heart of your prayer.

Step 4: Choose your favorite name or image for God. Common choices include God, Jesus, Creator, Teacher, Light, Lord, Spirit, Shepherd.

Step 5: Combine your name for God with your answer to God’s question, “What do you want?” You then have your prayer. For example:

What I want: Peace
Name I Call God: God
Possible Prayer: Let me know your peace, O God.

What I want: Guidance
Name I Call God: Shepherd
Possible Prayer: Shepherd, guide me in your way.

Step 6: When you have a prayer of 6-8 syllables that has a natural rhythm and flows smoothly when spoken aloud or expressed in thought, begin to repeat the prayer over and over again. Say the first half of it while inhaling, and the second half while exhaling. Do this as long as you like, until you feel a sense of relaxation and connection with God.