Contemplating Together: A Guide
Contemplating Together Virtually in a time of COVID-19
For many of us privileged to be working from home during this Circuit Breaker period, we may have lost a sense of time, rhythm and boundaries.
We thought it would be restful but we are only more restless.
We need to intentionally redeem our time. We need a chapel in time.
Some of us at Micah Singapore embarked on a journey together to recreate a rhythm to each day through a silent ‘mid-day contemplation’.
We set aside 30 minutes each day to gather as a community on an online platform to be quiet, to reflect and meditate on the things of God, and to intently listen for His voice.
Many of us have been refreshed by this spiritual practice in community.
"The Micah Contemplatives has been that oasis of silence, solitude and connectedness with God in the midst of the uncertainty and anxiety." - GWL.
“Attending Contemplations during Holy Week while being quarantined in a hotel room, was encouraging for me, as we considered the suffering of Christ and its significance together with the wider Body of the Singapore church.” - Joyce.
"It has been a privilege and blessing to be able to intentionally pause in the day. To pause my heart, to pause my mind, to pause for God. To pause in silence in my own space, yet together with others in Zoom… unprecedented fellowship of time and space. Thankful =)" - CL
"I thought all [the other] prayers were 'better' than mine, meaning that I learned from reading your prayers.” - Kiem.
"It has been vital to take intentional moments of rest to dwell in God’s presence during this distressing time. With the time we have on our hands right now during the Circuit Breaker, we can choose to either fret, worry or distract ourselves on social media, or we can choose to slow down and seek God’s face. We can choose to let the Holy Spirit penetrate deep into our inner world during this vital time, not only to make sense of what’s going on, but to reconnect with God’s heart. Our contemplations together as a group has also given me a sense of solidarity with fellow believers - to know that we are still the Body of Christ, though physically separated, but spiritually united in seeking the Father’s heart together". - EY.
We want to share this practice with others.
So, we’ve put together this guide for churches & small groups to do the same.
You can also access the guide on Google Doc or download it as a PDF.
Contemplating Together Virtually
Daily or certain days a week
1.30pm - 2pm (or at any other time feasible for your small group, e.g. 9.30pm - 10pm)
Churches, parachurch ministries, small groups, families, colleagues, leadership circles
Try to keep participation to a ‘by-invite only’ basis, open to personal contacts for security reasons and to foster the sense of community.
[Suggestion: Try to keep it to less than 12 people if possible]
Decide a fixed period of time to attempt this practice (i.e. it can be daily or Monday-Friday for a full week, or once a week for four weeks, whichever suits your group best).
Roster a meditation leader for each day for your group of participants.
Participants will log-in to the video conference room at the set time.
The meditation leader will offer participants a prompt to silently reflect on it. It can be in the form of a passage of scripture, a poem, song, piece of art, or a combination of the same (see examples/illustrations in annex).
At the end of the 30 minutes, participants will leave a written prayer in the video conference room chat.
Participants may stay to chat with one another or leave to return to their day after the 30 minutes.
[Suggestion: Keep a record of the prayers that have been written/prayer, to chart your journey together and continue to reflect on them together/keep the conversation ongoing]
Suitable Online Platforms
Zoom. Articles on conducting secure Zoom meetings: Wired.com, uMich.edu, Zoom.
Get in touch
To find out more about how this may be done, or to learn from our experience, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“How lovely is your dwelling place,
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God…
…Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere…”
Examples / Illustrations above & below