Pray: To open your time together.
Read: “Psalm of Ascents”: Read Psalm 134 aloud in your group Consider:
Some thoughts for your group:
The pilgrimage that takes place during these songs of ascents is both an invitation and a command of and to the people. This is also true for blessing – we are invited to bless the lord and commanded to bless the lord. Our feelings about the need for perfect honesty or authenticity don’t change that. Bless the lord. Lift your arms and eyes.
“We can’t always command our heart, but we can command our arms. We are psychosomatic beings – body and spirit are intricately interrelated. Go through the motions of blessing God and your spirit will pick up the que and follow along.”
– Eugene Peterson, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction”
When you read Psalm 134 aloud, what images come to mind?
How do we worship God with our bodies?
How do our feelings often drive our worship? How do you navigate worship when you don’t feel like worshipping God?
Have you experienced a time when you didn’t feel like worshipping or blessing God, but decided to anyway. Describe that experience. What do you take away from that experience?
Peterson describes humans as psychosomatic beings – “intricately interrelated” through our body and spirit. In your spiritual journey, have you experienced that interconnection of your body and spirit? Has your experience mainly been in one facet more than the other? Which facet do you most rely on and why do you think that is?
Spend some time praying for one another. For those who feel comfortable, take a moment to position your body differently than you may be used to for prayer. You can kneel, raise your hands, lay on the ground, or stand. There is no “right way”. But take a moment to respond with your body before you respond with your words.
Pray for God to meet you in every facet of your mind, body, and spirit. Pray for a tangible experience of God’s nearness to you and the group. Pray for each other by speaking God’s promises of life, love, grace, and hope for today.