Many of you will be familiar with Jenny Walley, one of our Canopy Online contributors, who hosted a live zoom seminar around a guided meditation. Jenny is part of Bearsden Baptist Church, and works as a spiritual director for those keen to explore and become more mindful of God in their every day lives. Jenny shares with us a reflection and an opportunity that some of the members at Bearsden Baptist have been working through over the last year…
How has God found you in these three years of upheaval and change?
What invitations has he offered to you to receive and offer love?
Who has he placed in front of you to walk and learn together?
I watched my kids from the large picture window as they rebuilt the landscape of my front garden yet again, this time creating a mud bath in the old flower border. The sun was shining, sky bright blue, and I couldn’t bring myself to go outside with them. My kids seemed unfazed by the fact they hadn’t left our neighbourhood in two months. They accepted the change with delight, delivering bouquets to the neighbours and lingering to chat as people walked past. I marvelled at their uncanny ability to adjust, even as I was descending the well-trod path into valley of disillusionment.
In the spring of 2020 we were locked away in our houses, fatigued as the novelty wore off and kindness came less easily. Conflict was beginning to brew over masks, lockdowns, whether it was the end of the world, and who was on the right side of history. Our fears began to bleed out into the only public square we could access, social media.
And my kids continued to create, to design, to play. As I watched them, I began to learn from them about living lightly, being present to the moment, and learning to love. The tables had turned as to who was the teacher in this particular home school!
The invitation to explore and live in the Fruit of the Spirit continually found me throughout that spring. I found words, images and invitation welling up within me, asking to be let out. So every day after lunch I sent my kids into “quiet time,” sat in front of my window, and began to write. For a year I wrote nearly every day, exploring these nine “Fruit of the Spirit,” the marks of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives, sharing my thoughts twice a week with a small group of folk who joined in from around the world.
We wondered together about how patience plays out within the Trinity. I remembered stories from my own journey toward receiving the gentleness of God. We responded to the invitation of Mother Teresa to love our “home people,” and of Martin Luther King Jr. to use our power to effect change in the world. The process of remembering, receiving and offering these reflections transformed my experience of God through these unprecedented times.
I have gathered these thoughts, along with poetry, art and music into a retreat experience that I would love to invite you to join in! The retreat is hosted online, costs only £45 (with discounts for groups), and runs for nine months. You will receive the materials each month and make your way through them at your own pace in your own space, with the option to join others at the end of each month to share your experience.
It is intentionally designed to allow you to take as much or as little time as you have, and to weave into your life rather than be a burden added on to what you already do. On average, about 30 minutes twice a week, plus about 5 minutes a day is enough to engage with the material.
The second cohort has just begun on the 1st of February, but I am leaving the registration link open through the 5th of February for those in the Baptist Union who wish to join in. This would be a great experience for your house group, leadership team, or prayer triplet to do together.
You can learn more and sign up here: livingseeds.teachable.com/p/livingseeds2023
Grace and Peace, Jenny Walley
This course was a delight from beginning to end and helped me understand the different facets of God in a really accessible way. Jenny’s writing is beautiful and easily understood and the accompanying art, poetry, music and optional additional reading make this course really special. Do try it!
– Allison Christie, Bearsden Baptist Church
The living seeds project led me to slow down and be attentive to God’s desire to pour His Spirit afresh into me and flow through me into my immediate relationships. It asks for a response of openness and trust in God and creates expectation in prayer. My soul found increased hope as I moved through the readings.
– Anja Kappers, ReachAcross, Birmingham, England