Feasting on Fruit: Kindness

May 18th, 2014
Kindness: Child's Pose

Breathe In

You might begin by exhaling kindness' opposite which is unkindness and meanness. Imagine kindness filling and spreading through your body with each inhale and letting go of any unkindness or meanness with each exhale.

Soon you'll not only be able to picture yourself breathing in kindness but you will have such an abundance of kindness it will overflow and you'll begin breathing out kindness into the world. Practice consciously breathing kindness in and out as long as desired.

Look at today's body prayer, this posture is ideal for being kind to yourself. It is often used to check in with your body or to find rest between postures. In our faith life, we often must intentionally pause to show ourselves kindness in the way God shows us kindness. Rest in the posture allowing your body to experience a deeper welcome and awareness of this particular fruit of the Spirit.

  • Continue to lengthen the flow of fruit in your body by beginning with the love posture, moving into and through joy, peace and patience and resting in kindness.
  • You might combine the posture of kindness with the breathing described above. God delights in your prayer of kindness filling and being embodied by your own body.
  • Invite your mind and will to join the body prayer. Through the Holy Spirit, we are freely offered the wisdom of God, the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2). Whether combined with the posture or said lying in bed, driving in your car, standing in a line somewhere, joining others at church, you can prayerfully say,

I have the mind of Christ.
My mind is full of kindness.
I choose kindness today in my
thoughts, words, decisions, and actions.

Breathe Out

How can you breathe out kindness everywhere you go? Remember Hildegard of Bingen's words and allow yourself to be “a feather on the breath of God.” In other words, rest assured that God is kindly leading you.

  • As you sit in church or consider the people you worship with, pray and envision kindness being breathed over or perhaps growing and ripening in your congregation. Imagine kindness growing within each person, breathed among the people gathered there.
  • Figuratively or literally walk God's kindness through your own neighborhood or larger community. Perhaps look at a community map and divide it into nine areas to pray over. You may even take your own body of kindness and walk through each area and with each breath, blessing it with this fruit of the Spirit.
  • Looking at a world map, you might consider praying for these nine areas—the seven continents (Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America), eight being all bodies of water and nine, all air/space. Whether you pray for a particular area or over all areas, allow yourself to be led by the Spirit whether with words, picturing kindness in a certain place, or silently offering that area to God.

More ways to breathe out and kindle the fire of kindness in the world:

  • Turning to the New Testament stories of Pentecost (Acts 2), Peter's vision of the sheet coming down and conversation with Cornelius (Acts 10) and Paul's blinding on the road to Damascus (Acts 22), enter in with all of your senses and pay attention to how kindness may be present.
  • What part of your own self is longing for kindness? As you consider the Scriptures you've read, any dreams and conversations or times of prayer, do you have a sense of what the Holy Spirit is saying about kindness in your own internal world?
  • Who is the Spirit bringing to mind that is in need of greater kindness in your external world—workplace, church, neighborhood, family, etc.? Is there a particular person or group of people coming to your awareness that is in need of kindness today? How might the Holy Spirit be inviting you to widen the welcome by bringing and offering kindness to the world? Ask the Spirit to show you what simple step you can take now in offering the fruit of kindness.

This full series will be posted here.

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