This morning as we continued our series, Engage, we explored the spiritual practice of examen. While this may be a new concept to some of us, the practice of examen has rich and long history among the people of God within the Judeo-Christian faith tradition. The practice of examen is a daily spiritual exercise typically credited to Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), founder of the Society of Jesus) who encouraged his followers to engage in the practice for developing a deeper level of spiritual sensitivity and for recognizing and receiving the assistance of the Holy Spirit. At the heart of the practice is developing a growing awareness of God’s presence and the Holy Spirit’s movement throughout the day. Ignatius stated that the key to a healthy spirituality was to find God in all things and work constantly to gain freedom in one’s life in order to cooperate with God’s will.
Dennis Hamm describes the practice of examen as “rummaging for God.” He likens it to “going through a drawer full of stuff, feeling around, looking for something that you are sure must be there.” I think this is a good description of what it’s like to practice examen. We look back on the previous day, rummaging through the “stuff,” and finding God in it.
To help us explore the practice of examen, we introduced the song “Search My Heart” to our community of faith. If you are not familiar with this song from Joel Houston and Matt Crocker, check out this episode of New Song Cafe from Worship Together.
Here is our complete worship flow:
- Not to Us/Here is Our King (Todd Fields version)
- Psalm 28
- Rock of Ages (Paul Baloche)
- The Same Love (Paul Baloche)
- Report from Our Gulf Coast Team
- Announcements and Offering
- Search My Heart (Hillsong)
- Message (Engage Examen)
- Reprise: Search My Heart
- Benediction (from Mars Hill Church): “Ever-present Father, help me to meet you in the Scriptures I read and the prayers I pray; in the bread I break and the meals I share; in my investments at work and my enjoyments at play; and in the neighbors and family I welcome, love, and serve, for your sake and that your love and peace may reign now and forever. Amen.”
You can learn what other communities of faith experienced in worship this weekend at The Worship Community.