July 19 | Parish Post

From the Rev. Paul Rietmann

The Parable of the Sower and Contemplative Prayer-Part II

The first is RECEPTIVITY.  The contemplative is someone who is open and receptive to God’s Word.  We are open to what God is doing in our lives and in the world.  We want nothing more than for God to plant the seeds of his grace into our souls.  What could be better than that?

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the patron saint of contemplative prayer.  Mary was open to God.  She was receptive to God’s action in her life.  Mary said “YES” to the Angel Gabriel when he announced that she would conceive and bear a child who would be the Son of God.  That is the posture of the contemplative — open receptivity. 

The second posture is SILENCE.  Contemplative prayer involves spending time with God in silence, listening. Just being there in quiet with an open heart and mind.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Listen to what the Spirit is doing in your life.  Be open.  Be receptive. Listen to the silence.  It doesn’t have to be perfectly quiet.  Just sit in a quiet corner of your home and listen to the sounds around you.  That is contemplative prayer.  God speaks in the quiet.

Suzuki Roshi, one of the great Zen Masters who brought Zen Buddhism to America from Japan, once said:  “I don’t know anything about consciousness.  I just try to teach my students how to listen to the birds sing.”  That is it!  Just listen to the birds sing.

The third posture is patient waiting or waiting patiently.  The seeds of God’s grace take time to germinate, grow and eventually bear fruit.  We cannot rush the coming of God’s Kingdom in our lives and in the world. 

Eugene Peterson, the late Presbyterian spiritual writer and author of the The Message, wrote of this spiritual process of patient waiting:

“The person who wants quick results in the seed planting of well doing will be disappointed. If I want potatoes for dinner tomorrow, it will do little good to go out and plant potatoes in my garden tonight.  There are long stretches of darkness and silence that separate planting and reaping.  During the stretches of awaiting there is cultivating and weeding and nurturing and planting still other seeds.”

There is great wisdom here.  The contemplative life involves patient waiting for the fruits of the Spirit to grow.  Judie and I have noticed that watching and waiting for our little flower plants to grow and eventually blossom is the real joy of gardening.

It is sometimes said that contemplative prayer is coming home.  Coming home to ourselves.  Coming home to God, in the present moment, in the here and now.

So I encourage you to be sure to include some silence in your prayer time.  Put down your Bible, your Prayer Book and whatever devotional book you are reading.  Just sit there in God’s presence.  Enjoy the silence.  Enjoy the wonder of just being alive. God will speak without words in the depths of your heart, planting the seeds of the Kingdom of Heaven.  “Be still and know that I am God.”

What kind of soil do we aspire to be?  Good fertile soil, of course. Open and receptive.  Ready to hear and receive God’s Word.  In doing so we can bear much fruit for God’s Kingdom — some thirty, some sixty, some one hundred fold.


St. Mary’s Book GroupThe Second Mountain by David Brooks

St. Mary’s Book Group will read the New York Times Best Seller, The Second Mountain by David Brooks.  Join the group via Zoom on Friday July 31 at 10:00 AM.

Everybody tells you to live for a cause larger than yourself, but how exactly do you do it? The author of The Road to Character explores what it takes to lead a meaningful life in a self-centered world. “Deeply moving, frequently eloquent and extraordinarily incisive. Available on Amazon in Kindle $13.99, Hardcover $13.99 (and used) or Paperback $14.49.

Zoom link coming soon!


Mysticism: Final segment of the classic mystics and their relevance for our times.

Friday July 24 at 10 AM we will wrap up Faith Formation and the study of the Mystics with Rev. Dr. Bill Hardwick

  • July 24 – Julian of Norwich

Contemplative Chapel and Prayer Groups take a Break this week

The Contemplative Prayer Chapel scheduled for Tuesday evenings at 7 pm and Thursday Contemplative Prayer at 11 am will take the week off. Rev. Paul will be out of town during the week of June 20, 2020. These activities will resume the week of June 27.


Wit and Wisdom

The bad news is time flies. The good news is youre the pilot.

Negative people have a problem for every solution.


Remembrances – Celebrations

Fred & Heidi McIlroy in honor of their wedding anniversary.

Terry & Walli Roarke in thanksgiving of the birthdays of daughter, Julie Scott and granddaughter, Alexandra  Sjoboen.


Foreseeable Future – Weekly Parish Calendar

Access to Worship, Bulletin, Coffee Hour Made Easy

For all weekly events you can find the Zoom links and additional information by visiting this link:

  • Sunday worship can be viewed on the website along with the bulletin. Visit the homepage at www.stmaryslw.org.
  • Coffee Hour – Each Sunday at noon you can join in the fun with online Coffee Hour. Smile and wave to everyone and say hello your friends and neighbors. Bring your own coffee and goodies!
  • Tuesdays – Bible Study The Rev. Dr. Bill Hardwick will lead this study group for men and women beginning at 10 am via Zoom. Readings the weeks following Easter are available via the Lectionary Page.
  • Zoom Contemplative Prayer Chapel.
    • *Contemplative Prayer Chapel will not occur on 7/21 and will resume on 7/28*
    • Tuesday evenings, 7:00 – 7:30 pm. “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10. To sign up for this new prayer group please contact Paul Rietmann at prietmann@comcast.net
  • Contemplative Prayer continues Thursday at 11 am via Zoom.
    • *Contemplative Prayer Meeting will not occur on 7/23 and will resume on 7/30*
  • Mysticism: Final segment of the classic mystics and their relevance for our times. Friday, July 24 at 10 AM we will wrap up Faith Formation and the study of the Mystics with Rev. Dr. Bill Hardwick.
    • July 24 – Julian of Norwich
  • Book Group
    • The Second Mountain by David Brooks

Visit the Foreseeable FutureWeekly Parish Calendar for more information!


Online GIVE Works

Now it’s easier than ever to manage your pledge payments without writing a check. GIVE is our new online giving platform that is available on the church website. Visit www.stmaryslw.org at the top left of the home page you’ll see a large green button. There is a 3% processing fee for each transaction. Please consider including that amount in your donation to cover the cost of processing.


Help Desk Remains Open

We have the cure for this condition called IT Frustration…

If you are having connectivity problems, need technical help or have questions forward to parishoffice@stmaryslw.org.

We’ll have one of our help desk volunteers contact you.