Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)
In the past couple of weeks, I have had three members of our church ask me about rosary beads. Two were former Roman Catholics … one was a person who has simply enjoys a variety of spiritual disciplines. But each of them in essence asked the same question … “Is is OK that I still pray the rosary, even though I am a Lutheran?” My immediate response was “Of course its OK. Christian spiritual disciplines are never a bad thing.” And then I started thinking. Why would someone ask that? Are Lutherans so parochial as to suggest that anything outside the Lutheran tradition is anathema? Am I so parochial as to imply such a thought by my teaching or preaching or conversation?
So … let’s clear the air. Any Christian discipline that draws you closer to God is a good discipline. Maybe it is a classic and simple discipline like solitude … or fasting … or study … or confession. Maybe it is a version of prayer that opens up new avenues into Holy Spirit like circle prayer … the prayer of examen … the breath prayer … or contemplative prayer. Maybe it is even a Christian appropriation of a spiritual discipline practiced by another religious tradition like yoga … reciting of mantras … pilgrimage … or a meditation garden.
Maybe you can spend some time this week exploring one spiritual discipline with which you are not familiar. Maybe Lectio Divina or ritual prayer or visualization. Try it for a week … or two … or six, and see if God can speak to you through a different spiritual medium. See if God can mold your spirit in a way not experienced before. If all else fails try the rosary. Or you can try what I sometimes tell my confirmands is the “Lutheran Rosary.” Recite the Apostles’ Creed so that you know who God is … pray the Lord’s Prayer, so that you find yourself in conversation with the God you know … and rehearse the Ten Commandments so that you know how the with whom you are connected wishes you to live. And at the end if you want to throw in a “Hail Mary, full of grace … ” go ahead.